Monday, December 8, 2008

Curiously, Bulgaria and Peru played friendlies before the finals, and everybody in Bulgaria was confident – Peru was not much of an opponent; Morocco were just flunkies, and the second place in the round-robin group was guaranteed. West Germany was too strong, but nobody else – an easy group. Bulgaria had the best ever team… or so was the opinion then. Going directly to the second stage, no doubt about it. Well, Bulgaria lost 2-3 to Peru (now everybody ‘saw’ the ‘wisdom’ of the winter mountain training camp – the players suffered from the Mexican heat and hardly walked on the pitch). They lost ‘confidently’ from the Germans – 2-5, and ‘improved’ the Moroccan record – 1-1. End of story… Peru went to the 1/4 finals and, although no further, they pleased both crowds and specialists enough: players were noted. For instance Hugo Sotil, who was the first foreign player Barcelona bought after Spain lifted the ban on foreign players in 1973.
West Germany continued to impress, reaching the semi-finals. Gerd Muller was the top scorer of the tournament. He was already European Footballer of the Year in 1969. He had great playmates and his scoring magic was at its highest – his goal against England was one of the most popular moments at World Cup 1970:
Muller scores and Peter Bonetti – ‘the Cat’ – can’t do anything about it. Unlucky or lucky Cat? Gordon Banks got the ‘Montezuma revenge’ and the reserve goalie played his only match… which was lost. Muller was supreme, though – already long-haired; still beardless. As for the Cat: older Chelsea consider him the club’s all time best keeper. Not using gloves… in 1970 gloves were still optional choice for goalies
And another look at the same goal – the winning German goal in overtime. Was it the only fun?
Not at all - this is the famous moment of Uwe Seeler's header with the back of his head.
Bonetti is beside himself – Germany just equalized 2-2. Seeler has just scored… and this was not the only drama of ¼ finals…