Monday, October 17, 2011

A small tremor was felt when England visited Cyprus – it should have been relaxed, almost tourist trip, and between tanning and beers, the mighty guests were to score 5,6,7,8… whatever number they fancied, goals. Instead England struggled and barely won 1-0. Still, they got 2 points and continued to lead, but now the program of the remaining games was an obstacle as well: England was left with two away matches against Czechoslovakia and Portugal. CSSR, after hosting England, was visiting Portugal and lastly Cyprus. Portugal was not out of the race either with three home games. Heavy calculation replaced confidence: suddenly England depended on the results of the opponents and, ideally, had to win both matches on hostile turfs.
England getting ready. Somehow the picture seems prophetic: Don Revie shows the way, the team looks at the opposite direction.
Did not look like terrible when England and Czechoslovakia came on the pitch.
New scipper – Gerry Francis instead of Emelyn Hudges. Dangerous team nevertheless.
CSSR hardly introduced changes. Gogh is listed with wrong number here by mistake –he played with number 2.
Apart from squad photos, nothing went right at first – on October 25, 1975 the match started.
Colin Todd blocking Zdenek Nehoda – or may be not. Hard to see…
From left – Keegan, Pivarnik, McFarland, Masny, Bicovsky, Clarke. Who kicked the ball? Where were these players – in front of the Czechoslovakian net? In front of the English one? Somewhere else? May be in England? The British fog was so thick, the match was abandoned at the 17th minute.
Replay on October 30 in better visability.
And everything goes normal… in the 26th minute Keegan made a cross, Knapp was late, Viktor kind of uncertain, Channon volleyed and the Albion Lions were leading 1-0.
Followed by typically English goal with powerful header… except it was scored by a player with dark shirt. Colin Todd was late and Nehoda equalized – 1-1 in the 45th minute.
The equalizer from another angle – how British a goal can be?
Until Gallis scored another English looking goal 2 minutes later and Clemence was helpless.
Same goal from another angle: Clemence had no chance, Madeley seems a step behind Nehoda, but it was Gallis, hidden behind, to score with a header. 47th minute of the game.
If the Wembley match between England and CSSR was symbolized by the picture of punching Dobson and missing Viktor, now it was different: Francis trying hard, but Viktor trying even harder and winning the ball. And the match at the end.
Final triumph – the happiness of little known Peter Gallis says it all.
Suddenly the ghost of 1973 came alive – was England repeating itself? Nothing was lost yet, but the future was not entirely in English hands either – they had to win their last match in Lisbon. Portugal and CSSR had to end in a tie… which was not up to Don Revie and his players to arrange at all. But winning their last match was up to them.