Beach, Guns, Cars, Music, Friends and Football. This is Romario in Rio de Janeiro, in 1991, while he was playing for PSV Eindhoven. 10 minute documentary with English subs.
Johan Cruyff sharing Cruyffian pearls of wisdom in this short interview about the 1994 World Cup.
After all, “You can’t order Steak in a Fish Restaurant”.
Eight years after Argentina had won the World Cup in 1978, they were in the final again. With a team however, clearly not as filled with quality as their ’78 counterparts. There was no Mario Kempes, no Ossy Ardiles, no Daniel Passarella. But there was Diego Armando Maradona. Indeed it is hard to fathom how Argentina would even have reached the final without Maradona to guide them past opponents like England.
West-Germany didn’t have a Maradona, but they had team filled with players who combined quality with German effectivenes. From the notorious Tony Schumacher and the world class wingback Brehme, to the dynamic Matthäus, the playmaker Felix Magath, and the excellent strikers Rummenigge and Allofs – this was Germany’s best team since Beckenbauer had retired from Die Mannschaft.
We may credit the English with a long list of fine inventions. From the steam engine and the chocolate bar, to one the best selling products of all time: the toothbrush. But surely the best English creation of them all – sorely overlooked by the Radio Times when it crafted a top 50 of British inventions – is football.
Yet that same fantastic invention was once banned. In England, in Scotland, and even in France.
Long before the Football Association set the Laws of the Game in stone in 1873, football was played all over medieval England. There was no defined set of rules, and in some regions, the game consisted of two mobs from neighbouring villages trying to kick, throw or carry the ball to the church, town square or graveyard of the other village.
A 1994. A World Cup recent enough that a list of names should be enough to bring back the memories. Let’s just do the B: Baggio. Balakov. Baresi. Batistuta. Bebeto. Bergkamp. Brolin. And let’s not forget the M of Maradona, the S of Stoichkov, and the R of Romario. This was a World Cup of iconic star players. Together, however, they created a tournament with only a small number of exciting games. Romania vs Argentina and Brazil vs Holland come to mind, but not much else.
More interesting, from a more zoomed-out perspective, was how in the absence of England and France other European nations took their chance to jump into the limelight. In Bulgaria, Sweden and Romania people look back more fondly to this World Cup than to any that has come since.
For Brazil this World Cup marked a definite change in their approach to the game. After 24 years of World Cup defeat, and with Germany equalling Brazil’s 3 World Cup triumph record in 1990, and with both Italy and Argentina looking keen to make the same jump, the Brazilians decided that now was the time to forget any notion of beautiful play. Only winning mattered.
Holland vs the home nation. In a sense it was a repeat of the World Cup final of 1974. But this time, Holland were not the favourites. Without the genius of Johan Cruyff and Willem van Hanegem, people questioned whether the Dutch could replicate their Total Football master classes from four years before, which included a 4-0 crushing of Argentina. And indeed, their poor performances in the initial 1978 group stage indicated this team was nothing special. But relying on a melange of good fortune and the battle-hardened experience of Neeskens, Haan, Rensenbrink and Krol, the Holland of Happel made their way to the final, proving too big a hurdle for genuinely strong opponents like Italy and West-Germany.
But now they faced a challenge of the highest caliber. The Germans in 1974 had been welcoming and respectful to their rivals. The Argentines were different. Hostile. They wanted to win this World Cup at all costs. On their own soil, they were beyond eager to wash away the humiliation they had suffered four years before. Like Holland, they had experienced moments of doubt during this World Cup, but they too, spurred on by the quality of Passarella, Ardiles, Kempes and the chain smoking manager Cesar Luis Menotti, and even more so by sheer desire and the “luck” that seemed to accompany them during this tournament, had overcome their adversaries.
Argentina and Holland, two nations capable of great football, and if need be, violence, would fight it out in a match that would, in today’s world, never ever end with 11 vs 11.
A completely unknown figure beyond the borders of Germany until only a few years ago, Jurgen Klopp has quickly established a reputation for himself. Both for the excellent results of his team, as for his witty sayings. Given that he’s only 46, a Part II of this feature seems inevitable. For now though, enjoy his 18 best quotes so far.
Junhino Pernambucano, the Brazilian with the golden right foot, has announced his retirement from football today, at the age of 39. As a midfielder, he was above average. As a free-kick specialist, he was masterful. Not even the likes of Zico and Platini could match the diversity of his set-piece ability. With the inside or with the laces. From close to the box, or close the center circle. It mattered little to Juninho.
Check out some of his greatest set-piece goals in this video.
An unnamed man has provided fellow football fans with an unexpected delight. Somehow, he found a great slow-motion recording of Maradona’s Goal of the Century, against England during the 1986 World Cup, from a different camera angle. Check it out!
It was the last game of the 1988/89 English First Division. And it was this game that would decide who would win the championship. Liverpool or Arsenal.
The odds were heavilty stacked against the Gunners. Liverpool had won the FA Cup the week before, and were in prime position to win the double. They had dominated English football for the past two decades. Arsenal hadn’t won the league since 1971. Liverpool had more points and a better goal advantage than Arsenal. They enjoyed the tremendous home advantage of Anfield. A place where Arsenal hadn’t won in 15 years. And just winning wasn’t enough for Arsenal. If they wanted to claim the league, they had to win by a 2 goal margin. Liverpool meanwhile, had never lost a match when strikers Aldridge and Rush played together. And they would be playing together this match.
Note, by the way, the complete absence of any Continental European or South-American players in both line-ups. This is English football, before it became rich.