Group 7. Greece was the obvious outsider, so what really mattered were the matches between Spain and Yugoslavia. They were unable to beat each other, ending in two ties. But neither was able to reach superior goal difference when beating Greece. The point is not much Yugoslavia, but the regular failure of Spain. It was no longer a question of disappointing performance at the final stages – by now Spain was unable even to qualify! Yes, they played tough football, but nothing more. They had no inventive spark and stifled by fighting spirit, the Spaniards were clueless what to do with the ball when finally having it. For a nation traditionally thought flamboyant, technical, and imaginative in football, Spain played incredibly dull and mean game. Hardly a single player impressed.
1. Spain 2 2 0 8-5 6
2. Yugoslavia 2 2 0 7-4 6
3. Greece 0 0 4 5-11 0
Play-off was scheduled for January 1974 in Frankfurt, West Germany. Yugoslavia won 1-0 with a goal of their stopper Katalinski. Not a great win, but suggestive – Yugoslavia was more oriented towards the change of the game. The Yugoslavians were approaching total football, but Spain was not even contemplating it.
Spain in 1971: Back, left to right: Iribar, Sol, Tonono, Gallego, Anton, Costas, Abelardo.Front: Amancio, Pirri, Arieta, Claramunt, Churuca.More or less, the core of the team for the World Cup campaign. Judging by the names, not a bad squad. Yet, only Iribar made positive impressions outside Spain. There was something very wrong with the very attitude to football in Spain and failure trumped failure.
Iribar worked hard, but was unable to qualify Spain alone – Yugoslavia, the more attacking team went to the finals.
Golden Yugoslavian goal. Triumphal Hadziabdic and Katalinski and very unhappy Garate (left).