Saturday, November 6, 2010

The first match of the Scots attraced little attnetion – it was taken for granted they will beat Zaire. Of course, they won – 2-0. Commentaries were minimal: Zaire was hopeless. It was detected that Scotland may be stronger then initially estimated and there were warnings that they may pay heavy price for low scoring in their opening match.
Lorimer scores against Zaire.
The second match was to be the real test of tartan strenght – against World champions Brazil. The Scots delivered spirited performance charming everybody.
Scotland flying in high altitudes: Joe Jordan way above Mirandinha. But the match ended scorless – a 0-0 tie.
Since Yugoslavia thrashed Zaire 9-0 and there was no doubt that Brazil will win their last match against the outsiders, arithmetics came into consideration. Scotland, having inferior goal difference, needed to win their last round robin match in order to continue. Yugoslavia, on the other hand, needed only a tie. Psychologically, such situations are always risky: often when a team must win it is so nervous, it underperforms. But equally difficult is playing for a tie. There was a high probability of mean, defensive minded, and may be brutal meeting of Scots and Yugoslavs, both scheming. But it happened otherwise: it was entertaing, attacking match, pleasant to watch. The Scots attacked, but Yugoslavs did not play defensevily either. With both teams determined to win, the match ended in a tie… 1-1. Meantime Brazil won 3-0 and Scotland was out on goal difference without losing a single match.
Yugoslavs on their knees, alas, only ocasionally… and they protested angrily – here Enver Hadziabdic instructs the refferree about usage of yellow (or may be red) cards.
Scotland was a team mourned. They endeared everybody with their play. Many fans and specialists felt and said that Scotland deserved to go to the semi-finals and the rules are unfair. But rules are rules… three teams ended with same points and goal difference decided who goes where. It was the games against lowly Zaire deciding the fate… At the end, Scotland felt victim of themselves: like every other team from the British isles, Scotland struggled to score against lowly opponents. Was it arrogance? Partly… but it is British arrogance combined with tradition – British teams tend to play better against strong opponents and have difficulties scoring aplenty to this very day. It was sad to see Scotland exiting nevertheless.