Monday, November 15, 2010

The first match opposed the ‘Brazilians of Europe’ to the real Brazilians – and the fakes did not disappoint. The Plavi played better and the world champions were lucky to survive. 0-0 tie, but entertaining fixture thanks to Yugoslav – not Brazilian – magic.
Contrary to the depicted here, Yugoslavia was hardly playing desperate defense. But when it did, Enver Maric was solid goalkeeper, and Ivan Buljan (#2) knew his job to perfection.
The second match was no brainer – Zaire already proved that they were complete strangers to the game. Yugoslavia was more than confident winner – they were flying, taking full advantage of their superiority. 9-0. Many suspected that the match was fixed, but the possibility was unlikely: the Yugoslavs were inspired by their opening game with Brazil and, facing no opposition, just scored and scored. This is not a match to really talk about, except for one thing: Scotlnad, failing to score plenty against Zaire, was a bitter lesson of underestimating the importance of thrashing midgets.
Oblak scores one more in Kazadi’s net.
The third match – as predicted before the start of the tournament – was to decide who will to the second round, but with slight difference: Yugoslavia needed a tie. Scotland had to win and nothing else worked for them. It was a critical moment for the fragile Balkan mentality – if they were to collapse, it was right now. Well, not this time… the Yugoslavs played strong, attacking football without a trace of calculations. Scotland, of course, attacked too, and the match was highly entertaining. A 1-1 tie at the end, but not a boring tie. The only sad thing about it was that Scotland was out, but Yugoslavia finished first in the group. A surprize.

Dalglish (left) and Acimovic in equal struggle. Worthy teams, alas one had to exit…
Yugoslavia qualifying for the second round was not a big surprize, but their game and spirit was. The team demonstrated contemporary total football and clearly was the best team in Group 2 – not by results, for three teams ended with equal points and their matches with Zaire decided the final table, but by the football they displayed. Yugoslavian players impressed fans and specialists. Were they to make a run for the title? Well… nobody thought them that strong. But one thing was sure – Yugoslavia presented various strong players of: well known stars like Dzajic; solid, but not fully recognized in Europe yet, ‘lesser’ stars like Oblak; and brand knew and previously unknown talent like Surjak.
Dzajic (left) and Oblak – never disappointing.
Ivica Surjak took the opportunity to introduce himself to the world.