In this episode I was planning to give you my ‘brief History of the World Cup’ but I abandoned that idea because I decided it was too boring! Instead I’ve decided to just play you a recorded conversation I had with my Dad about his experience at the 1966 World Cup in London. He saw the semi-final between England and Portugal, and lived in London during the swinging 60s. I asked him to tell me what it was like. I hope you find it interesting. Right-click here to download the episode.
You can still read the script to my history of the World Cup as it is written below.
Don’t forget to add your comments to the World Cup thread in my forum. Just click in the Discussion Forums link in the menu above.
Bye for now ;)
- Original ‘script’ below
Luke’s Brief History of the World Cup
We continue with part 4 of this series of World Cup podcasts by looking at a brief history of The World Cup. You may be fed up with the World Cup at this stage, and I completely understand. Some of you simply might not be into football, and you can’t escape from it at the moment, and you might be thinking – not you too Luke! You’ve been bitten by the World Cup zombies! Well, for those of you who feel that way, don’t worry, this is just a phase and it will pass very soon, I promise! Who knows, perhaps I can actually get you into football, just for a while. In any case, normal podcasting will resume soon, but for now I’m sticking to the World Cup.
World Cup Fever is still gripping Luke’s English Podcast, even though England are out after losing our first 2 games. It hurts, but never mind. I’m getting over it, and anyway there are plenty of nations who didn’t even get to the finals so I’m not going to complain about it too much. So, as I said, this episode is all about the highlights of World Cup history. You can read a transcript for pretty much everything that I am saying on my website. Just find the page for episode 190.
When I was 14 my Dad bought me a Panini sticker album for World Cup 90. I got all the stickers and all the additional pages. I read all of it again and again during the tournament and I loved reading about the history of international football. It was much more engaging than my history lessons at school, and it gave me a taste of life and culture in other countries. Now, as World Cup history is being made again every day, let’s look back at some of the highlights of the World Cup over the last 84 years. This is my World Cup history. It’s written using a combination of extracts from Wikipedia, my knowledge and memory (I attended The World Cup in Japan in 2002), and some contributions from my Dad, Rick Thompson, who I sometimes call Rickipedia (he attended the World Cup in England in 1966).
A Brief World Cup History (Written by Luke from Luke’s English Podcast, with help from Rickipedia and Wikipedia)
The first World Cup took place in 1930 and was hosted by Uruguay. The first goal in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent of France against Mexico. Four days later, the first World Cup hat-trick was achieved by Bert Patenaude of the USA in the Americans’ 3–0 win against Paraguay. Are you surprised that the USA took part in the original compeition? In the final, Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in front of a crowd of 93,000 people in Montevideo, and became the first nation to win a World Cup.
The 1934 World Cup was hosted by Italy, which caused some political disagreement. Uruguay, the titleholders from 1930 boycotted the 1934 World Cup because they were upset that so many European teams hadn’t attended their original world cup in 1930. Italy won the tournament, beating Czechoslovakia to become the first European team to win the tournament.
The 1938 World Cup competition was also held in Europe, much to the consternation of many South Americans, with Uruguay and Argentina both boycotting. France hosted, but for the first time the hosts did not win the competition, as Italy retained their title, beating Hungary in the final by four goals to two.
Up until about 1950 the World Cup was beset by political disagreements and boycotts. During the 40s The World Cup was overshadowed by a larger, much more serious and massively more aggressive contest. Yes, that’s right, World War 2 kicked off in 1939, which kind of interrupted things slightly. It’s hard to organise an international football tournament when the nations of the world are busy using all their time, money and resources on blowing each other up. So, the 1942 and 1946 games were cancelled.
Competition resumed with the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, which was the first to include British participants. Yey! However, in characteristic fashion the English failed to qualify for the final group round in a campaign that included a 1–0 loss to the United States. Very humiliating! Eastern European countries (such as Hungary, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia) did not enter the tournament. Title-holder Italy did take part, despite the Superga air disaster of 1949 in which the entire Grande Torino team (many who were national team players) were killed. Uruguay were surprise victors over hosts Brazil (in a match which would later be known as Maracanazo) and became champions for the second time. Well done Uruguay. Perhaps you can do it again this year, although you shouldn’t get too pleased with yourself after beating England. Everyone seems to be able to do that nowadays (and one of those goals shouldn’t have been allowed because Suarez was offside, but never mind that now!)
The 1954 World Cup, held in Switzerland, was the first to be televised. The Soviet Union did not participate because of their dismal performance at the 1952 Summer Olympics. It’s not clear why they didn’t join in. Were they just embarrassed? Scotland made their first appearance in the tournament, but were unable to register a win, going out after the group stage. West Germany were the tournament winners, defeating Olympic champions Hungary 3–2 in the final, coming back from being 2-0 down to Hungary. The match is known as the Miracle of Bern in Germany.
Brazil won the 1958 World Cup, held in Sweden, and became the first team to win a World Cup outside their home continent. Only 3 teams have done this to date – Brazil in 1958 (Sweden), 1970 (Mexico), 1994 (USA) and 2002 (JPN/Korea), Argentina in 1986 (Mexico), and Spain in 2010 (South Africa). The Soviet Union participated this time, most likely due to their win at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. For the first (and so far only) time, all four British teams qualified for the second round. The tournament also saw the emergence of Pelé, who scored two goals in the final. French striker Just Fontaine became the top scorer of the tournament with a still standing record of 13 goals.
Chile hosted the 1962 World Cup. Before play began, an earthquake struck, the largest ever recorded at 9.5 magnitude, prompting officials to rebuild stadiums due to major damage to infrastructure. When the competition began, two of the best players were in poor form as Pelé was injured in Brazil’s second group match vs Czechoslovakia, and USSR saw their goalkeeper Lev Yashin show poor form including a 2–1 loss to hosts Chile as that team, inspired by team spirit captured third place. The competition was also marred by overly defensive and often violent tactics. This poisonous atmosphere culminated in what was known as the Battle of Santiago first round match between Italy and Chile in which Chile won 2–0. Prior to the match, two Italian journalists had written critical articles about the host country. In the match, players on both sides made deliberate attempts to harm (injure) opponents though only two players from Italy were sent off. In the end, the Italian team needed police protection to leave the field in safety. When the final whistle blew, Brazil beat Czechoslovakia for the second World Cup in a row by a final score of 3–1 led by Garrincha and Amarildo, in Pelé’s absence, and retained the Jules Rimet trophy. In this tournament, Colombia’s Marcos Coll made World Cup history when he scored a goal direct from a corner kick (called an Olympic Goal in Latin America) the only one ever made in a World Cup. Not only that, it was also against the legendary goal keeper Lev Yashin, from the Soviet Union.
The 1966 World Cup, hosted by England (UK), was the first to embrace marketing, featuring a mascot and official logo for the first time. The trophy was stolen in the run-up to the tournament but was found a week later by a dog named “Pickles”. North Korea, became the first Asian team to reach the quarter-finals, eliminating Italy in the process. England won the tournament, and Geoff Hurst became the first and to this day the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final. Eusébio, whose team Portugal were taking part in their first World Cup, was the tournament top-scorer, with 9 goals to his name. *Controversial goal. *Did the ball cross the line (no) *Joy for England in a pretty special year/decade for the country. *Interview with Rick Thompson.
In 1970, The finals were held in Mexico. The group stage clash between defending champions England and Brazil lived up to its billing, and is still remembered for England goalkeeper Gordon Banks’ save from a Pelé header on the six-yard line, arguably the best save ever. Gordon Banks is considered the 2nd best goalkeeper in the world, after Lev Yashin of Soviet Union and before Dino Zoff of Italy. What happened was, England were playing Brazil, with their legendary 1970 team including Pele. Jairzinho crossed the ball from just inside the penalty box, the ball sailed over to the far post where Pele leapt high into the air, beating his defender to head the ball down towards what looked like an open goal. Gordon Banks had been covering the near post and the ball had gone over his head. Pele headed the ball hard and fast downwards towards the open space near the far post. It looked like a definite goal, but somehow Gordon Banks managed to leap over and turn the ball around the post. What made it particularly impressive was that the ball had bounced and was moving upwards from the ground and into the goal. Banks was diving and falling and the ball was bouncing upwards. When he stopped it, the ball was at about chest height. It was a perfectly timed and very athletic save, and is considered by many to be the best save ever.
The tournament is also remembered for the semi-final match between Italy and West Germany, in which 5 goals were scored in extra time, and Franz Beckenbauer played with a broken arm, since Germany had used up all their allowed substitutions. Italy were the eventual 4–3 winners, but were defeated 1–4 in the final by Brazil, who became the first nation to win three World Cups, and were awarded the Jules Rimet trophy permanently for their achievement. This was a legendary Brazilian squad, including players like Pele, captain Carlos Alberto Torres, Jairzinho, Tostão, Gérson and Rivelino. For me this was when the World Cup entered a new era, with superstar players, in colour, with television in many people’s homes.
A new trophy was created for the 1974 World Cup, held in West Germany. Some people make jokes about its appearance. I’ll let you imagine what those jokes are.
The West German hosts won the competition by beating the Netherlands 2–1 in the final, but it was also the revolutionary Total Football system of the Dutch that captured the footballing world’s imagination. Johan Cruyff was one of the stars of this competition, showing off close ball control and dribbling skills, including the legendary “Cruyff Turn”. This is a kind of ‘dummy’ which he used to great effect on the wing. He’d make it look like he was going to kick the ball but then at the last moment he’d use his foot to drag the ball between his legs, then turn and beat his defender before running towards the goal line and crossing at close range. In football, it’s important to “get round the back” which means get around the defensive line by dribbling or passing the ball around the side, and then passing it into the penalty area from a ‘deep’ position. The Cruyff turn was quite a revolution in terms of close ball control. Nowadays it’s really common to use a variety of tricks in order to beat defenders and get through a team’s defensive line. The very well-playing Poland finished third, after defeating Brazil 1–0 (and after defeating Argentina 3–2 and eliminating Italy 2–1 in the initial group play). They ultimately lost 0-1 in terrible rain in the semifinals to West Germany.
The 1978 World Cup was held in Argentina, causing controversy as a military coup had taken place in the country two years earlier. Tunisia won their first match against Mexico 3–1 and became the first African team to ever win a world cup game. There was some on-field controversy as well. During the second round Argentina had an advantage in their match against Peru since the kick off was several hours after Brazil’s match with Poland. Brazil won their match 3–1, so Argentina knew that they had to beat Peru by four goals to advance to the final. Trailing 2–0 at half-time, Peru simply collapsed in the second half, and Argentina eventually won 6–0. Rumors suggested that Peru might have been bribed into allowing Argentina to win the match by such a large margin. Argentina went on to win the final 3–1, Mario Kempes scoring twice, with the Dutch being runners-up for the second time running. Obviously it was a great result for Argentina. The Netherlands still haven’t won the World Cup, despite being one of the great footballing nations of our time.
I was a one-year old baby during this competition, and I wasn’t really developed enough to appreciate either the complexities of dutch footballing strategy or the finer aspects of the socio-political context of World Cup 78. I was more interested in throwing food on the floor and falling asleep. I still am quite interested in those things to be honest, but never mind that now.
Spain hosted an expanded 1982 World Cup which featured 24 teams. The group match between Kuwait and France was stage of a farcical incident. As the French were leading 3–1, the Kuwaiti team stopped playing after hearing a whistle from the stands which they thought had come from the referee, and French defender Maxime Bossis scored while the Kuwaiti team were not playing. As the Kuwaiti team were protesting the goal, Sheikh Fahid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, president of the Kuwaiti Football Association, rushed onto the pitch and gave the referee a piece of his mind, who proceeded to disallow the goal. Despite this diplomatic intervention by the Kuwaiti football president, France scored another valid goal a few minutes later and France ultimately won the game 4–1. Also during the group stages Hungary beat El Salvador 10–1, which has been the only occasion to this day that a team has scored 10 goals in a World Cup match. The final was won by Italy (against West Germany), making Italian captain Dino Zoff the oldest player to win the World Cup at 40 years old. You might be thinking, well if Italy win this, will Andrea Pirlo beat that record. Well, no he won’t, because he just looks older than 40. He is in fact, just 35. Italian striker Paolo Rossi, who was making his comeback after a match-fixing scandal and the ensuing ban, was the tournament top-scorer with six goals including a classic hat-trick against Brazil.
Mexico hosted it again. José Batista of Uruguay set a World Cup record after being sent off after just 56 seconds into the game against Scotland. The quarter final match between England and Argentina is remembered for two remarkable Diego Maradona goals, later regarded as player of the tournament. The first was the controversial handball goal, and the second was considered to be the Goal of the Century, in which he dribbled half the length of the field past five English players before casually tapping the ball into the back of the net. It was incredibly cheeky and skilful, as if to say, “I may have scored the previous goal with my hand, but you can’t deny that that one was the probably the best goal you’ve ever seen”. In the final, Argentina beat West Germany 3–2, inspired by Diego Maradona, who was their captain. I watched the quarter final on TV with my family. I was 9 years old.
The 1990 World Cup was held in Italy. Cameroon participating in their second World Cup, made it to the quarter finals after beating Argentina in the opening game. Roger Milla was quite a big personality in the Cameroon team, and they developed a funny dance which they did every time they scored (which was quite a lot). They ran to the corner flag and did a kind of sexy dance. That’s the first time I remember seeing celebrational dancing after scoring a goal. No African country had ever reached the quarter finals before. An unpleasant episode marred the South American qualifying games: during the match between Brazil and Chile, a firework landed close to the Chilean goalkeeper Rojas, who then pretended to be injured. In fact he had cut his own face with a razor blade which he had hidden in his glove. The plan was to have the game cancelled, or to have Brazil eliminated from the tournament as the flare had come from the Brazilian stands. His team refused to continue the match (as they were down a goal at the time). The plot was discovered and resulted in a 12-year suspension for Rojas and Chile were banned from the World Cup in 1994. The final featured the same teams as in 1986. After finishing runners-up in the two previous tournaments, West Germany beat Argentina 1–0 in the final to record their third title. It was a pretty special result for the Germans, with the context of the fall of the Berlin wall a year before. The Republic of Ireland also made their first appearance in the tournament, reaching the quarter-finals without winning a single game (4 draws, with a penalty shoot-out win over Romania in the second round). This is the furthest a team has ever advanced in the World Cup without winning a game. The luck of the Irish?
During this World Cup I was 13/14 years old and obsessed by football. I watched the tournament on TV and I had the fully completed Panini sticker album which my Dad bought for me. I loved that England team, and we nearly got to the final! We got knocked out by Germany in a nail-biting semi-final which we ultimately lost on penalties (the first of our terrible run of penalty-based defeats). I remember the excitement of when Linaker scored our goal against the Germans. The whole family jumped out of our seats screaming. The cat was terrified and ran out of the room. That’s the closest we’ve got to the World Cup final for a long time.
The 1994 World Cup, held in the USA, saw the first World Cup final to be decided on penalties, with Brazil edging out Italy and Roberto Baggio famously failing to score his penalty. Unfortunately Yugoslavia was excluded due to UN sanctions in connection with the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Russia (taking the place of USSR which had disintegrated over 1990 and 1991) played their first World Cup competition as a new country, with Greece, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia as the other first-timers. Along with disgrace – Diego Maradona being banned mid-tournament after testing positive for recreational drugs (cocaine). It’s not clear if he was actually on cocaine during the games, but he certainly looked like he was off his head! Without him, Argentina were eliminated in the last 16 by Romania — the tournament also saw tragedy when Colombian defender Andrés Escobar was murdered 10 days after his own-goal against the hosts in their first round match that eliminated Colombia. Apparently, gangsters had threatened the players before the game. So, not only did Escobar have the shame of scoring an own goal, but he may also have known at that point that he would pay the ultimate price for it. Oleg Salenko of Russia became the first player to score five goals in a single World Cup game in his country’s 6–1 win over Cameroon. In the same match, 42-year old Roger Milla scored the only goal for Cameroon, becoming the oldest player ever to score in a World Cup match. England didn’t qualify for this competition, but I watched a lot of the games anyway, although I was less interested in football than I had been 4 years earlier . My interests were more focused on music and girls and that sort of thing. I was 17 and one of my friends had a free house during the final week of the tournament. We all hung out there in a big gang and watched a lot of games together. Fun times.
The 1998 World Cup was held in France. Iran beat the Maldives in qualification by the widest margin in World Cup history: 17–0. Hosts France won the tournament by beating Brazil 3–0 in the final. What a great moment for the French! There was a lot of hype around the Brazilian squad going into the competition, especially around the star player Ronaldo. As the scorer of four goals in the tournament, Ronaldo appeared to be less than a hundred percent in the match, and was unable to make any impact. Some say that he shouldn’t have started the game as he wasn’t fit or healthy enough. I’ve heard suggestions that as team sponsors, Nike put pressure on the team to play Ronaldo, as he was so important for their brand image. Certainly there was a sense that the World Cup had become way too commercialised and more about money making than the true values of the World Cup. Debutants Croatia finished a commendable third. I watched many of the key games at home, on my own :( This is when I was on summer holiday from university, living at my parents house, in the middle of nowhere. We lived in the countryside and I didn’t have a car, so I had to try and persuade my mates to come and collect me so I could watch games with them. A lot of the time I was just stranded on my own, shouting at the TV. I was 21. England were knocked out by Argentina in the 2nd round. Yes, on penalties.
The 2002 World Cup was the first to be held in Asia, and was hosted jointly by South Korea and Japan. Australia defeated American Samoa 31–0 in a preliminary match – a new record for the margin of victory, and the highest-scoring match ever in World Cup history. 31-0??? Australia should have saved some of those goals. The could have used them last week. The tournament was a successful one for teams traditionally regarded as minnows (small fish), with South Korea, Senegal and USA all reaching the last eight. Brazil beat Germany 2–0 in the final for their fifth title. I was in Japan during this competition. I was 25 years old. England were knocked out by Brazil in the 2nd round, not on penalties, but it still hurt. I watched one of the games in Saitama stadium. It was England vs Norway. Most of the crowd were England fans. Japanese England fans. The Japanese loved England, but I think that was mainly because of David Beckham.
The 2006 World Cup was held in Germany. Brazil and England were initially the English bookmakers’ favourites. A strong performance by Germany brought them as far as the semifinals. However, the final match-up was between Italy and France, in which French captain Zinedine Zidane was sent off in the last 10 minutes of extra time for a headbutt to the chest of Italian central defender Marco Materazzi. Apparently Materazzi was whispering some insults into Zidane’s ear, and Zidane just lost it. The headbutt was pretty shocking, but it was also one of the most impressive moments in the game! POW! A headbutt direct to the chest and Materazzi hit the deck! Really, it’s a pity that this happened, because Zidane is one of the best players we’ve had in the world, and this really tainted his image. He’s be celebrated more if it wasn’t for that. Italy went on to win 5–3 in a penalty shootout, the score having been 1–1 after 90 minutes and extra time. I watched this game in my flat in London, joined at half time by a Polish friend called Marek who brought beer, and who might be listening to this. Hello Marek. I was 29 years old.
The 2010 World Cup was held in South Africa. It was the first cup hosted in African, and the cup was won by Spain. The tournament was noted for its highly defensive opening matches, controversies surrounding goal-line technology, and the introduction of vuvuzelas, which some people believe destroyed the atmosphere at many of the games. The noise was pretty annoying. [Play vuvuzela sound] It sounds like a swarm of angry bees or something. The main problem was that it was just a constant droning sound. There was no difference between a goal and normal play. Just a constant AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA sound. Though considered as one of the tournament favourites, the Spaniards won the cup despite scoring only 8 goals in 7 games and losing their opening match to Switzerland. In a final which saw a record number of yellow cards distributed and what some considered violent play from the Dutch side, the 10-man Netherlands squad were defeated 1–0 in the 116th minute of extra time by an Andrés Iniesta goal. Maybe the Dutch defeat of Spain last week was a bit of revenge. I watched a lot of this in London with my girlfriend. I was 33. England were pretty rubbish. We seemed to have no team spirit at all. The players didn’t gel, and Rooney was a disappointment. We got smashed by an amazing German team 5-1. Frank Lampard had a goal disallowed by the referee, although it did cross the line. Perhaps this was justice for the non-goal which was allowed back in the 1966 final when England beat West Germany. England were knocked out of the tournament. But I’m still with my girlfriend!
That brings us up to the current world cup, which is of course being held in Brazil. The next one is due to be held in Russia in 2018, and then in Qatar in 2022. Hopefully, I will still be recording Luke’s English Podcast, and I will still be with my girlfriend, who at that point will have become my wife!
So that’s the end of my World Cup History. As usual, leave me your comments. I’ve opened another comments thread in the discussion forum. Write comments there and I will read them out on the podcast when I get the chance.
Bye for now,