Saturday, September 13, 2008

Continental championships were established by the end of the 1960s – Africa and Asia still lacked firm regularity, but it was obviously coming. Europe had a formula combining round robin qualification groups and direct elimination from quarter-finals to the finals. I still prefer the formulas of that time – 16-team World Cup finals and semi-finals and finals played in one country in the European Championship. The Olympic games were still monopoly of the Communist Eastern Europe, but there were signs that the West was incorporating their Olympic teams into the building structure of the national teams:
The West Germany Olympic team in 1972. Uli Hoeness, already a European Champion of the same year, was included along with a player yet to make a name for himself: Manfred Kaltz. Jupp Derwall was the coach – in 1980 leading the West German team to a second European Cup.
On the level of national teams, the world structure was established and either running well, or going to run well shortly.