Saturday, October 15, 2011

Then Portugal was scheduled to pay a visit to CSSR. With a point at Wembley, where Czechoslovakia miserably lost 0-3, a tie was expected in Prague.
The new Portugal: front, left to right: Martins, Octavio, Alves, Coelho, Chico.
Standing: Artur, Alhinho, Humberto, Damas, Teixeira, Osvaldinho.
Not a team equal to old Portugal with Eusebio, yet dangerous enough with Humberto and Artur in defense and Alves in midfield. May be not a danger to the English, but to the Czechoslovakians – surely.
Led by Barros and Ondrus the opponents came out on the pitch in Prague. The Portuguese looked fierce, too fierce. Remember, in the 70s the longer the hair and the beard – the classier the player. Ondrus paled next to Barros, the outcome of the match was crystal clear.
CSSR lining up before the home game against Portugal started: left to right: Bicovsky, Nehoda, Gajdusek, Petras, Knapp, Koubek, Jozef Capkovic, Masny, Ondrus, Viktor, Pivarnik – captain. Hardly a great team, with some unknown players like Knapp and Koubek, and some remembered for their fiasco at the 1970 World Cup like Petras. Jumping ahead, the substitutes, replacing Koubek and Knapp during the match were also quite unknown – J. Svoboda and Medvid. Perhaps when these guys grew their hair longer then now, they were to start winning, but not yet…
Five goals later the burly Portuguese, not the Czechoslovakians, were completely destroyed.
Damas winning the air battle with Petras, who once upon a time made the sign of the cross after scoring against Brazil at 1970 World Cup. Back then few players were crossing themselves and surely not those from Communist countries. Now Petras was losing a cross and the representative of a Catholic country was getting the upper hand. But no goalie is a hero after 5 goals in his net:
Petras scoring the 5th.
This picture summarizes the match – supreme Nehoda, desperate Barros and Damas, the ball missed and going in the net, Pivarnik at the back ready to lift hands in triumph and Alhinho looking gloomy next to him.
Alarming victory of CSSR? Well, not really – there was no panic: everything was fulfilling predictions – CSSR and Portugal were to fight among themselves for the second place, neither particularly great, and England having an easier life. May be Portugal was even out of the race already – but England had a confident victory over Czechoslovakia already.