Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And since the World Cup was the highest point of the year, ups and downs belong to it as well. Going down was certainly Italy. The Italians were considered the most likely candidate for the world title, but were not able to progress beyond the first stage. More importantly, they played disgusting football.
The Italian squad at their opening match against Haiti: top, left to right: Giorgio Chinaglia, Francesco Morini, Gianni Rivera, Luciano Spinosi, Dino Zoff, Luigi Riva.
Bottom: Fabio Capello, Romeo Benetti, Tarcisio Burgnich, Giacinto Facchetti, Sandro Mazzola.
Ominous signs, if there was anybody to read them – the old-fashioned reserve kit, stuck in the 1960s; the squad featuring numbers strictly from 1 to 11 (the only team to appear in such clear division of starters and reserves in the classic tradition). When the match started it became clear that not only the kit and numbers are from the 1960s, but the players were stuck there too. Major failure – and inglorious end of the mega-stars of the 1960s.
Going up? Poland, of course. Nobody expected anything from the largely unknown team. By the end of the championship Polish names were hit, casually mentioned by all and sundry.
Third row, left to right: Tomaszewski, Domarski, Wieczorek, Gorgon, Zmuda, Fischer, Musial
Middle row: Strejlau – assistant caoch, Szarmach, Maszczyk, Bulzacki, Szymanowski, Kasperczak, Gut, Deyna, Kalinowski, Gorski – head coach.
Bottom: Kusto, Kmiecik, Lato, Cmikiewicz, Jakobczak, Gadocha, Kapka
An excellent and charming team, deservingly finishing third in the world.