Monday, June 29, 2009

The third club tournament was both new and old – it was the first year the UEFA Cup to be contested. The old International Fairs Cities Cup was transformed into UEFA sponsored and organized competition with new rules and format: first, it was the largest club tournament with 64 clubs participating. Different countries had different quotas, depending on complicated standing of their total club performance in European tournaments during the last 5 years. Thus, football powerhouses got 4 clubs each, but the weakest nations – only one participant. Third, domestic final table promoted participants to the UEFA Cup – the general rule was those finishing second, third, and so on, to go to the UEFA Cup. The idea was to provide international competition to clubs still strong, but not winning neither championship, nor national cup. It was fair idea. Forth, no more innovations to be tasted, like it was in the old Fairs Cup, except for one surviving rule – there was to be two-leg final, instead of one final match on neutral field, like the other two European tournaments. So far, so good – the new format provided for tradition as well: English teams won the last few Fairs Cup competitions, and the first UEFA Cup featured two English teams at the finals – Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Since the UEFA Cup was not to be simply continuation of the Fairs Cup, a tournament never really sanctioned by UEFA, the old winners were not to be counted. But they were and are, so in reality UEFA Cup is treated as continuation of the old Fairs Cup. Sounds complicated, so better not think about it. Brits rule!

Final 1st Leg, Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, 3 May 1972, att 45000

Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 1 Tottenham Hotspur (0) 257' 0-1 TH: Chivers72' 1-1 WW: McCalliog 7287' 1-2 TH: Chivers

Wolverhampton Wanderers Parkes; Shaw, Taylor, Hegan, Munro, McAlle, McCalliog, Hibbitt, Richards,Dougan, Wagstaffe

Tottenham Hotspur Jennings; Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery, England, Beal, Gilzean, Perryman,Chivers, Peters, Coates (Pratt)

Final 2nd Leg, White Hart Lane, London, 17 May 1972, att 54000 Tottenham Hotspur (1) 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (1) 130' 1-0 TH: Mullery41' 1-1 WW: Wagstaffe

Tottenham won 3-2 on aggregate

Tottenham Hotspur Jennings; Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery, England, Beal, Gilzean, Perryman,Chivers, Peters, Coates

Wolverhampton Wanderers Parkes; Shaw, Taylor, Hegan, Munro, McAlle, McCalliog, Hibbitt (Bailey),Richards, Dougan (Curran), Wagstaffe

Tottenham Hotspur won the first UEFA Cup. Tottenham were good team, perhaps one of the best the club ever had, but were not exactly strong enough to win the competitive English championship. The European cup was a good consolation for a team featuring World champions from 1966, various old and new English national players, and great goalie, handicapped by nationality – Pat Jennings. Playing for weak national team, Jennings had little chance to shine internationally (Northern Ireland finally reached World Cup finals in 1982, when, by then, veteran Jennings performed strongly. At least he was luckier than George Best.) The Wolves also had one of their best teams, although not crowded with big stars. Derek Dougan was Jennings’ teammate with Northern Ireland, but did not last until 1982. For the rugged Scot McCalliog the yellow jersey was perhaps a bit down from the champion’s red and white of Arsenal he was sporting just a year before, but still it was not bad to play at the final. Having two English finalists provided for attractive football – both played typical British football: fast, attacking, fair tackles, long balls and great headers. Good beginning of UEFA Cup. Yet, in the British battle Tottenham looked stronger and apparently not only by names.

The first UEFA Cup. Not the last for Tottenham.

Almost golden boys… the Wolves ended speared by Spurs.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Well, the other finalist and moments from the final:

An interesting team this vintage Dinamo: Yashin already an administrator; talented, but ill-fated Bajdachny, who died in car crush not long after the final. Both goalkeepers eventually played for the national team – Pilguy already in 1973. Very promising Gershkovich, Eshtrekov, and Kozhemyakin – but never becoming more than a promise. Old fox of legendary status – Josif Sabo. A somewhat quite player in 1972, but almost ten years later top goalscorer of USSR championship – Andrey Jakubik. And a coach who became a legend, but not with Dinamo – Konstantin Beskov. Lastly, yellow jerseys are not typical Dinamo colours (they played with familiar white and blue against Rangers).
From British perspective, Dinamo played ‘bravely. From Soviet perspective – naturally, they were better than Rangers, but the referee plotted against them. According to the pictures, looks like Dinamo played mostly in defense. Not true, really.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The next level of international football – the European club tournaments – will be slightly changed here: the European Champions Cup will be last. The Cup Winners Cup was a Scottish triumph: Glasgow Rangers won their only European club title. It was sweet – Celtic dominated the Scottish league for so many years, the Old Firm were becoming desperate. Finally, the gloom was over. At least, if one was Rangers fan… for the final was somewhat tainted: Rangers faced Dinamo (Moscow), the first Soviet club to reach European final. There was a bit of irony in it: Lev Yashin was still a player of the team winning the Soviet Cup in 1970 (because of their one-year season, the Russians were unable to field their cup winners in the same year, but actually the next – so, Dinamo started the 1971-72 Cup Winners Cup, reaching the final in 1972, almost two years after winning the domestic cup). He retired in 1971, and the greatest goalkeeper of all time missed the greatest international success of his club. Rangers was leading 3-2 a minute before the final whistle of the final and its fans rushed on the field to celebrate. In the chaos, the referee ended the match. The Russians protested – they, and not only they, felt the rules were breached and Rangers were made winners unjustly. Political discrimination, fumed the Soviets. But UEFA sided with the referee – the time left of the match was negligible and there was no reason to think the Russians would have equalized, left alone scoring two goals, during the few seconds left. Rangers got the cup, but for puritans of the game taint remained. It was felt that the fans effectively helped their team to get the cup. The pitch invasion also left a bitter taste of different nature – security. It was still cheerful and harmless crowd, yet, it was dangerous and intimidating event. Football hooliganism was just becoming noticeable and in the next years became severe and growing problem. As for me, I have no clear opinion: at that time it was common crowds to invade the pitch to celebrate with their team. It was traditional. I was also glad that the Russians lost the final – I never supported Soviet team for political reasons. In purely football terms – hard to say. What difference few seconds could make? It was not like Dinamo player was in a position to score when the final whistle came. More or less, I felt the Russians used formal reason to protest, hoping the result to be annulled and the match replayed. Rather weak protest, though.
Final, Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona, 24 May 1972, att 35000
Rangers (2) 3 Dinamo Moscow (0) 223' 1-0 R: Stein40' 2-0 R: Johnston49' 3-0 R: Johnston60' 3-1 DM: Estrekov87' 3-2 DM: Makovikov
Rangers McCloy; Jardine, Johnstone, Smith, Mathieson; Greig, Conn, MacDonald,McLean, Stein, Johnston
Dinamo Moscow Pilgui; Basalayev, Dolmatov, Zykov, Dolbonosov (Gershkovich); Zhukov,Baydachny. Yakubik (Eshtrekov), Sabo; Makhovikov, Yevryuzhikhin

Thanks to Igor Nedbailo for Stadion team photos!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The second big tournament of the year was the Olympic Games. Normally, nobody paid much attention to Olympic football – on one hand, the Olympics were overwhelming with their many sports. On the other – Olympic football was considered second rate and the domain of Communist countries. The West played amateur teams not at all at the level of the professionals. Eastern Europe, pretending to have only amateur sportsmen, used their best players, the actual national teams, and the difference between genuine amateurs and fake amateurs was huge. For that reasons something was missed: Poland won the Olympics. As far as it was still in the usual tradition, nobody really looked closely. To a point, Poland was a surprise winner – they played against USSR at the final, and contrary to expectations, won. Common sense expected USSR to win, but the Poles actually fought. It was sweet revenge for them – Poland played spirited football and visibly fought to the end for the title. The interest in the new Olympic champions stopped there, which was a mistake: this Polish squad was to become the great Polish team of 1974, finishing third at the World Cup. Same coach, same concept, and more or less – the same players. England was to fall victim first – underestimating Poland, the Brits were for nasty surprise in 1973. Poland qualified for the World Cup finals at English expense.

Back row, left to right: Jacek Gmoch – assistant coach, Kazimierz Gorski – coach, Hubert Kostka, Jerzy Gorgon, Marian Ostafinski, Zygmunt Anczok, Marian Szeja, Wlodzimierz Lubanski, Antoni Szymanowski, Jerzy Kraska, Joachim Marx, Zbigniew Gut, doctor, masseur.Front row: Kazimierz Deyna, Zygfryd Szoltisik, Grzegorz Lato, Zygmunt Maszczyk, Jan Latocha, Andrzej Jarosik, Leslaw Cmikiewicz, Robert Gadocha, Jan Wrazy. Under Kazimierz Gorski Poland not only vastly improved their football – similarly to West Germany, this was carefully developed team: exciting core of talented and young players, and smooth replacement of older stars. Poland also benefited by their relatively low status in European football: nobody was concerned with them. The team was really noticed in 1974, when they were the sensation of the World Cup, but the foundations of their success were built in 1972.
USSR on its way to the Olympics final – against lowly Sudan. Kolotov doesn’t seem suprime… the Olympic team was heavily criticized, yet no attention was paid to the champions – Polnad. Perhaps because the Soviets were involved with the first hockey series against Canada (NHL). Olympic football and ice hockey got the same coverage, but the hockey challenge got bigger attention. Football lost.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

European Championship 1972 - Final Tournament - Full Details


14/06/1972, Antwerp, Bosuil Stadium, 55.669

1. Christian Piot [Standard Liege]
2. Georges Heylens [RSC Anderlecht]
3. Leon Dolmans [Standard Liege]
4. Jean Thissen [Standard Liege]
5. Erwin Vandendaele [KV Brugge]
6. Jean Dockx [RSC Anderlecht]
7. Leon Semmeling [Standard Liege]
8. Maurice Martens [Racing White]
>65' 14. Odilon Polleunis [VV Sint-Truidense]
9. Raoul Lambert [KV Brugge]
10. Paul van Himst [c] [RSC Anderlecht]
11. Jan Verheyen [RSC Anderlecht]
[COACH: Raymond Goethals]
Odilon Polleunis 83' (1-2)

Erwin Vandendaele [Y 17']

1. Sepp Maier [Bayern Munich]
2. Horst-Dieter Höttges [Werder Bremen]
3. Paul Breitner [Bayern Munich]
4. Hans Georg Schwarzenbeck [Bayern Munich]
5. Franz Beckenbauer [c] [Bayern Munich]
6. Herbert Wimmer [Borussia Monchengladbach]
8. Uli Hoeneß [Bayern Munich]
>58' 7. Jürgen Grabowski [Eintracht Frankfurt]
9. Josef Heynckes [Borussia Monchengladbach]
10. Günter Netzer [Borussia Monchengladbach]
11. Erwin Kremers [Schalke 04]
13. Gerd Müller [Bayern Munich]
[COACH: Helmut Schön]
Gerd Müller 24' (0-1)
Gerd Müller 71' (0-2)

Referee: William Mullan (Scotland)

14/06/1972, Brussels, Stade Emile Verse, 16.590

1. Evgeny Rudakov [Dynamo Kiev]
2. Revaz Dzodzuashvili [Dynamo Tblisi]
3. Murtaz Khurtsilava [c] [Dynamo Tblisi]
12. Vladimir Kaplichny [CSKA Moscow]
13. Yury Istomin [CSKA Moscow]
6. Viktor Kolotov [Dynamo Kiev]
7. Vladimir Troshkin [Dynamo Kiev]
8. Anatoly Baidachny [Dynamo Moscow]
9. Anatoly Banishevsky [Neftchi Baku]
>65' 16. Givi Nodiya [Dynamo Tblisi]
14. Anatoly Konkov [Shakhter Donetsk]
18. Vladimir Onischenko [Zarya Voroshilovgrad]
[COACH: Aleksandr Ponomarev]
Anatoly Konkov 53' (1-0)

Murtaz Khurtsilava [Y]

1. István Gáczi [FTC]
2. Tibor Fábián [Vasas]
3. Dr Miklós Páncsics [FTC]
4. Péter Juhász [Újpest Dozsa]
6. László Bálint [FTC]
7. István Szöke [FTC]
8. Lajos Kocsis [Budapest Honvéd]
>60' 5. Flórián Albert [FTC]
9. Ferenc Bene [Újpest Dozsa]
>60' 13. Antal Dunai II [Újpest Dozsa]
10. Lajos Kü [FTC]
11. Sándor Zámbó [Újpest Dozsa]
12. Dr István Juhász [FTC]
[COACH: Rudolf Illovszky]

*Sándor Zambo had a penalty saved after 84'

László Bálint [Y]

Referee: Rudi Glöckner (East Germany)


17/06/1972, Liege, Stade Sclessin, 6.184

1. Christian Piot [Standard Liege]
2. Georges Heylens [RSC Anderlecht]
3. Erwin Vandendaele [KV Brugge]
4. Jean Thissen [Standard Liege]
5. Léon Dolmans [Standard Liege]
6. Jean Dockx [RSC Anderlecht]
7. Jan Verheyen [RSC Anderlecht]
8. Odilon Polleunis [VV Sint-Truidense]
9. Léon Semmeling [Standard Liege]
10. Paul van Himst [c] [RSC Anderlecht]
11. Raoul Lambert [KV Brugge]
[COACH: Raymond Goethals]
Raoul Lambert 24' (1-0)
Paul van Himst 29' (2-0)

Léon Dolmans [Y]

1. István Géczi [FTC]
2. Tibor Fábián [Vasas]
3. Dr Miklós Páncsics [FTC]
4. Péter Juhász [Újpest Dozsa]
5. László Bálint [FTC]
6. Lajos Kü [FTC]
7. Mihály Kozma [Budapest Honvéd]
8. Flórián Albert [FTC]
9. Antal Dunai II [Újpest Dozsa]
10. Dr István Juhász [FTC]
11. Sándor Zámbó [Újpest Dozsa]
>46' 12. Lajos Szücs [Budapest Honvéd]
[COACH: Rudolf Illovszky]
Lajos Kü 53' (2-1) PEN

Péter Juhász [Y]

Referee: Johan Einar Boström (Sweden)


18/06/1972, Brussels, Stade Roi Badouin, 43.437

1. Sepp Maier [Bayern Munich]
2. Horst-Dieter Höttges [Werder Bremen]
3. Paul Breitner [Bayern Munich]
4. Hans Georg Schwarzenbeck [Bayern Munich]
5. Franz Beckenbauer [c] [Bayern Munich]
6. Herbert Wimmer [Borussia Monchengladbach]
7. Josef Heynckes [Borussia Monchengladbach]
8. Uli Hoeneß [Bayern Munich]
9. Gerd Müller [Bayern Munich]
10. Günter Netzer [Borussia Monchengladbach]
11. Erwin Kremers [Schalke 04]
[COACH: Helmut Schön]
Gerd Müller 27' (1-0)
Herbert Wimmer 52' (2-0)
Gerd Müller 58' (3-0)

1. Evgeny Rudakov [Dynamo Kiev]
2. Revaz Dzodzuashvili [Dynamo Tblisi]
3. Murtaz Khurtsilava [c] [Dynamo Tblisi]
4. Vladimir Kaplichny [CSKA Moscow]
5. Yury Istomin [CSKA Moscow]
6. Anatoly Konkov [Shakhter Donetsk]
>46' 14. Oleg Dolmatov [Dynamo Moscow]
7. Vladimir Troshkin [Dynamo Kiev]
8. Viktor Kolotov [Dynamo Kiev]
9. Anatoly Baidachny [Dynamo Moscow]
10. Anatoly Banishevsky [Neftchi Baku]
>63' 15. Eduard Kozinkevich [Karpaty Lvov]
11. Vladimir Onischenko [Zarya Voroshilovgrad]
[COACH: Aleksandr Ponomarev]

Murtaz Khurtsilava [Y]
Vladimir Kaplichny [Y]

Referee: Ferdinand Marschall (Austria)



Christian Piot [Standard Liege]
Georges Heylens [RSC Anderlecht]
Léon Dolmans [Standard Liege]
Jean Thissen [Standard Liege]
Erwin Vandendaele [KV Brugge]
Jean Dockx [RSC Anderlecht]
Léon Semmeling [Standard Liege]
Maurice Martins [Racing White]
Raoul Lambert [KV Brugge]
Paul van Himst [RSC Anderlecht]
Jan Verheyen [RSC Anderlecht]
Luc Sanders [KV Brugge]
Gilbert Van Binst [RSC Anderlecht]
Odilon Polleunis [VV Sint-Truidense]
Jacques Teugels [Racing White]
John Thio [KV Brugge]
Frans Janssens [SK Lierse]
[COACH: Raymond Goethals]


István Géczi [FTC]
Tibor Fábián [Vasas]
Dr Miklós Páncsics [FTC]
Péter Juhász [Újpest Dozsa]
Lajos Szücs [Budapest Honvéd]
László Bálint [FTC]
István Szöke [FTC]
Lajos Kocsis [Budapest Honvéd]
Ferenc Bene [Újpest Dozsa]
Lajos Kü [FTC]
Sándor Zámbó [Újpest Dosza]
Dr István Juhász [FTC]
Mihály Kozma [Budapest Honvéd]
Antal Dunai II [Újpest Dozsa]
József Kovacs [Videoton]
Imre Rapp [Pecs]
Flórián Albert [FTC]
[COACH: Rudolf Ilovszky]


Evgeny Rudakov [Dynamo Kiev]
Revaz Dzodzuashvili [Dynamo Tblisi]
Murtaz Khurtsilava [Dynamo Tblisi]
Nikolay Abramov [Spartak Moscow]
Viktor Matvienko [Dynamo Kiev]
Viktor Kolotov [Dynamo Kiev]
Vladimir Troshkin [Dynamo Kiev]
Anatoly Baidachny [Dynamo Moscow]
Anatoly Banishevsky [Neftchi Baku]
Vladimir Muntyan [Dynamo Kiev]
Oleg Dolmatov [Dynamo Moscow]
Vladimir Kaplichny [CSKA Moscow]
Yury Istomin [CSKA Moscow]
Anatoly Konkov [Shakhter Donetsk]
Eduard Kozinkevich [Karpaty Lvov]
Givi Nodiya [Dynamo Tblisi]
Vladimir Onischenko [Zarya Voroshilovgrad]
Vladimir Pilguy [Dynamo Moscow]
[COACH: Aleksandr Ponomarev]


Sepp Maier [Bayern Munich]
Horst-Dieter Höttges [Werder Bremen]
Paul Breitner [Bayern Munich]
Hans Georg Schwarzenbeck [Bayern Munich]
Franz Beckenbauer [Bayern Munich]
Herbert Wimmer [Borussia Monchengladbach]
Jürgen Grabowski [Eintracht Frankfurt]
Uli Hoeneß [Bayern Munich]
Josef Heynckes [Borussia Monchengladbach]
Günter Netzer [Borussia Monchengladbach]
Erwin Kremers [Schalke 04]
Michael Bella [MSV Duisburg]
Gerd Müller [Bayern Munich]
Berti Vogts [Borussia Monchengladbach]
Rainer Bonhof [Borussia Monchengladbach]
Horst Koppel [Borussia Monchengladbach]
Johannes Lohr [1FC Cologne]
Wolfgang Kleff [Borussia Monchengladbach]
[COACH: Helmut Schön]

West Germany. Worthy European champions. Any other team paled in comparison. Any other team had a lot of catching up to do – that is, to learn to play total football. The Germans were blessed with highly talented generation of players and great coach. The transition in the national team was smooth: Schnellinger, Haller, Libuda, and Seeler, great stars of the 1960s were replaced, although they were still active players, by exciting youngsters. Wolfgang Overatt was injured and even this was not a problem – the Germans apparently had plenty of classy players. Netzer, usually left behind because of disagreements with Helmut Schon, was fantastic. Beckenbauer was the leader and although he had played at two World Cups already, he was still young. Young guys were pushing older players out too – Breitner and Hoeness were not old enough to sign professional contracts yet. Rainer Bonhof was also very young and already in the squad. There was no fear for the future – rather, it looked like West Germany was to dominate the years to come.
Unlike the typical image of Germany of later years, this team did not only run – superb physical condition and discipline were obvious, but there was much more: technical skills, creative imagination, and improvisation. This team did not outrun the opposition – they outplayed the opposition. Unstoppable.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The final was no contest: West Germany clearly dominated the match in Brussels. The Soviets were outplayed and at moments looked hopeless. They were obviously outdated and unable to survive the assault of total football. Which was no that much total either, for German superiority was established early and so effortlessly, for a good part pf the match the Germans did not have to play on high gear to maintain it. 3-0 they won, somewhat economically. European Champions for the first time. USSR must had been happy with silver – there was no way they had a chance to score a consolation goal. Equalizing and winning was beyond the wildest imagination, even Soviet one.

New boy Breitner making himself memorable, including his trademark rolled down socks.
Onishchenko had to wait 3 more year until winning over Gerd Muller. In 1972 winning over Muller was unimaginable.
Total German dominance and total football – Wimmer was unlikely source of attacks from the air, judging by his nominal post – defensive midfielder. But here he is, terrorizing four Soviet players.
Netzer flying. 1972 was perhaps his finest year.
Perhaps this photo says it best – total football presented by the Germans. Every old line involved: Muller, a striker; Netzer, a midfielder; and Beckenbauer, a defenseman, attacking the Soviet net. Outnumbering, outplaying, confident, surprising… Beckenbauer shoots and the lonely Russian captain Hurtzilava (central defenseman) can’t even watch…

Liège, June 17, Stade Sclessin
Belgium 2-1 Hungary [Lambert 24, Van Himst 28, Kü 53pen] [ref: Boström (Sweden); att: 9,000]
Belgium: Piot, Heylens, Van den Daele, Thissen, Dolmans, Dockx, Verheyen, Polleunis, Semmeling, Van Himst, Lambert
Hungary: Géczi, Fábián, Páncsics, Bálint, P.Juhász, I.Juhász, Kü, Abert, Kozma, A.Dunai, Zámbö (46 Szücs)
FINAL Bruxelles, June 18, Stade Heysel
West Germany 3-0 Soviet Union [G.Müller 27, 58, Wimmer 52] [ref: Marschall (Austria), att: 50,000]
West Germany: Maier, Höttges, Beckenbauer, Schwarzenbeck, Breitner, U.Hoeneß, Wimmer, Netzer, Heynckes, G.Müller, E.Kremers
Soviet Union: Rudakov, Dzodzuashvili, Kaplichny, Istomin, Khurtsilava, Kolotov, Troshkin, Baidachny, Banishevsky (66 Kozinkevich), Konkov (46 Dolmatov), Onishchenko

Monday, June 15, 2009

The end of the tournament was hosted by Belgium, but it was the old format of the European Championship – only four teams, playing a total of four games. The semi-finals, the match for the third place and the final. After England – West Germany, the ½ finals were anticlimactic: the draw paired the Germans with the hosts, Belgium. USSR was to meet Hungary. There was no doubt about the outcomes: it was widely believed that any East European country was to lose to the Soviets, whether by official order, or by ‘silent understanding’. In Brussels the Russians won 1-0. Ordered or not, the Hungarians were not that good anyway. It was not a match to be remembered. Belgium bravely resisted the Germans in Antwerpen, which was also expected: as hosts, they were supposed to play with high spirit and even over-perform. But it was West Germany at the end, as predicted – Belgium lost honorably 1-2.

They won the third place in Liege, beating Hungary 2-1. Small results, speaking not that much of tough equal games, but rather of relatively clumsy teams going too far, but unable to dominate an opposition. Parity in this, not in quality. The Belgians were quite happy with their achievement, and the Hungarians had no reason to complain either – this is their last high place in international competitions.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

And the big drama at the end: England and West Germany. Two great teams, playing exciting football. Very personal to me as well – I was big fan of England. The first leg in London is the best match between national teams I ever saw. It was breathtaking football, attacking, fast, tough, yet fair. No simulations, no tactically wasted time. Gentlemen’s game in the rain. Hoeness scored first in the 26th minute, and I regained hope in 77th minute, when Francis Lee equalized. But it was not to be… 85th minute… a penalty kick for the Germans. I was unable to watch – and I missed it therefore. Netzer scored. Today I regret my fear and superstition… for I missed a great duel between Banks and Netzer. And Muller in 89th minute made it 3-1 for West Germany. I was both happy and unhappy – my guys lost, but what a match.
Not a single dull moment.
This match more than less established total football on the national teams level – there was visible difference between England and West Germany: the Brits were not free, they did not cover fearlessly the whole field regardless of nominal player’s post. Their defense was in a line, which may be the thing to do today, but clearly was dangerous liability in the 1970s – too easy to penetrate. Bobby Moore was somewhat static when contrasted to Beckenbauer. The Germans changed positions and it was difficult to say who was defender and who – a striker. They improvised and their moves were unpredictable. England was worthy and brave opponent, yet, it was clear to whom the future belong.
England did step down without a fight, but after the first match there was no hope – the second leg in West Berlin ended 0-0. If football was ‘fair’ game, England and West Germany should have played the final. Alas, it was only quarterfinal…
Gordon Banks saves this one, but Gerd Muller had the last word – in the last minute too.
Captains Moore and Beckenbauer are all smiles before the beginning of the second leg in West Berlin. They respected each other, but friends or no friends, the German smile lasted longer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Romania and Hungary, technically the ‘outsiders’, had to play three games until reaching a winner: 1-1 in Budapest; 2-2 in Bucharest; and finally Hungary outwitted their neighbours 2-1 at neutral Belgrade.
A moment from the Bucharest leg: Nunweiler VI of Romania gets ahead of Szucz (Hungary, at the left). The Romanian playmaker was part of great footballing dynasty – he was the 6th (as his media name shows) Nunweiler gracing Romanian football. Alas, Hungary went ahead (they had players with Roman numbers attached to their names too.) Hungary got some attention – there was some hope this new crop may have been a revival of the great 1950s… at least media articles give such impression:

Hungary managing measly 1-1 against France in Budapest. The qualification group was barely won by the Hungarians.

But some quality was quickly invented: at top, Szusz keeps an eye on Georges Lech (France). Bottom, left: Kalman Meszoly was considered the ‘conductor’ of Hungarian defense. Already 30 years old, Meszoly was not that impressive, as journalists suggested. He became coach of the Hungarian national team in the 1980s. On the right: Ferenc Bene – the leader of Hungarian attack, and the real star. He was supposed to be glorious continuation of tradition, stretching from Ladislao Kubala in the 1940s through Ferenc Puskas in the 50s, through Florian Albert in the 60s, and on, and on, through Bene… But he never reached the class of the legends. Today Bene is largely a club legend of Ujpest (Budapest), but not a legendary national player.

New kids to continue Hungarian glory: the goalkeeper Rothermel guarded by his club teammate Laczko in domestic league match in 1971-72 season. Their club – Tatabanya – was small one. Rothermel never became star goalkeeper – he was mostly second goalie in the national team. However, he was good enough to move to a better club – he became teammate of Ferenc Bene in Ujpest Dosza (Budapest), arguably, the best Hungarian club in the 1970s.
Lajos Kocsis, from Honved (Budapest), was considered one of the young hopes of Hungarian football. He was 25 years old in 1972, having played in the Olympics 1968, so it is hard to see why he was considered ‘a hope for the future’. Contrary to journalistic prognostics, Rothermel did not play at the finals; Kocsis was replaced in the ½ final and was not fielded in the match for the third place; and Meszoly was not even in the squad at the final stage of the championship.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yugoslavia and USSR were considered equal, yet the Yugoslavs were slightly favoured, having the great left winger Dragan Djajic in their squad. But Yugoslavia were also known for underperforming at important tournaments. Scoreless 0-0 in Belgrade left possibilities open for both teams, however, with better chances for the Soviets this time. They won 3-0 – after the first goal the Yugoslavs, quite typically, collapsed.
A. Banishevsky (in white) scores the second goal in 74th minute in the Moscow’s second leg. Paunovic (in front of Banishevsky) is late and hopeless.
90th minute – E. Kozinkevich makes it 3-0. Kozinkevich, like Banishevsky, was a rarity in the Soviet squad - playing for small provincial club: Karpaty (Lvov) (see earlier posting). Banishevsky played for Neftchi (Baku).
Russians to the ½ finals – Revaz Dzodzuashvili waives and smiles after the final whistle. Russians? Well, in terms of USSR. By today’s measure, not so – Dzodzuashvili is Georgian, Banishevsky – Azerbaijani (although an ethnic Russian), and Kozinkevich – Ukrainian.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The quarterfinals for the European Championship were in the spring of 1972. Only two of the 8 teams did not play in the World Cup 1970 – Hungary and Yugoslavia. The draw played a cruel joke: England paired with West Germany and the weaker Hungarian and Romanian teams were to play against each other. Yugoslavia and USSR were considered equal and difficult to predict, and finally – Italy had the easiest lot against Belgium. The only ‘predictable’ ¼ final proved how unpredictable football is: Belgium eliminated Italy, after scoreless 0-0 at Milan, and 2-1 win at Brussels
In front of Van den Daele (5), Piot wins the ball against Riva. Belgium won 2-1 and qualified.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

If the Albanians look clumsy, they were not alone:
Wacker (Innsbruck) clearly was no match of Benfica (Lisbon). Fear and trembling, when Jaime Graca cannoned the ball in the direction of the Austrian net. Benfica was in decline, but still was much, much stronger team than any Austrian one. The next round opposed Benfica to CSKA (Sofia) and the Bulgarians were gone.

CSKA – Benfica was tough fixture. Benfica won with difficulty – and here CSKA attacks once again. Attacks, attacks, but goals count, not fancy dribbling. Then Benfica faced Ajax to their own peril – the eliminations proceeded logically: the better clubs eliminated the weak. May be too logically… looks like boring, predictable tournament. Except for the bomb in the 1/8-finals – Inter (Milan) met Borussia (Moenchengladbach) and lost the first leg 7-1. The attacking Germans trashed the old-fashioned slow and defensive Italians – good bye, 60-s! For ever! Well, not so fast… Italian football is more than football: during the game so obviously lost, Roberto Boninsegna dropped dead… allegedly, hit by a beer can thrown by the German fans. He never recovered – as long as this match lasted. Inter protested to UEFA, Borussia was punished – the result was annulled, and the match had to be replayed, but not on home ground. Meantime the original second leg was played in Milan, and Inter, with miraculously recovered Boninsegna, won 4-2. Now Inter had the edge, and splendidly killed the game in West Berlin to the beloved Italian result: 0-0. Classic Italian performance: if the opposition is too much, then simulations, appeals, butchered football, wining, kicking, and spitting, win games. It was scandalous, but at the end who cares? Certainly not the Italians – they reached the final, proving once again that football is not restricted to the pitch. Nothing is lost until UEFA rules on contestations and protests. Bribes are handy too… whatever takes to advance. Outscoring and outplaying the other team is of tiny importance, if important at all. Thus, preliminary stages went in the fall, sifting and reducing the teams for serious spring action. Club tournaments, but also the national teams were reaching the last stages of the European Championship. By right, the top tournament of the year 1972, so no more clubs for awhile. At least we are in 1972 now, not in the limbo 1971-72… may be.

Monday, June 1, 2009

There were no surprises in the 1/16-finals – the favorites won. The weaker clubs were really weak. A sample: Bulgarian champion CSKA ‘Septemvriisko zname’ played against the Albanian champion – Partizani (Tirana). Hardly anything was known about Partizani, yet nobody worried: the Albanians were no opposition. The hewspapers presented them in somewhat curious, but correct way:
The centre-forward Pano often had to play behind his own goalkeeper, the observers said. The Albanians spent most time in desperate defense, involving everybody.
Yet, the goalie Muhedini had to fish out the ball from his net.
The Bulgarians were confident and rightly so:
They dominated the matches: on this occasion the left winger Marashliev did not reach the ball, but there are three Bulgarian players and only two Albanians.
And here the goalie is alone and desperate against two strikers. Clumsy too, Muhedini.
And Albanians down – Tzvetan Atanasov (in white) scores the first goal for CSKA.
Most early matches were like that, and the stronger teams did not sweat much. The favorites hardly played on the top of their abilities. CSKA won easily, if not beautifully, and advanced. Today, in 2008, a match between Bulgarian and Albanian team would not be sure thing, but rather equal and unpredictable – it was not so in the early 70s: the outsiders were truly outsiders. If I am showing Albanians here, it is because it was very rare to find Albanian players depicted. For many years these were the only photos of Albanian football I saw. True exotica – nobody photographs the lowliest losers, except for amusement. In the same time the football division in Europe was very clear and unflexible.