Posts Tagged Banks
For the English, it’s above all a great test. A way to measure its strength a mere 60 days before the team is asked to defend its national honour in the first (and so far, last) World Cup organized on the British isles.
For Scotland, which had failed to qualify for the 1966 World Cup, this is a chance to restore some pride.
Whatever the motivation – this would be quite the spectacle.
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1972. Six years have now passed since the infamous England vs Germany World Cup final of 1966, but its key moments are still vividly remembered by all who share a passion for football. And none more so than in Germany. Certainly, the Germans exacted some revenge in the 1970 World Cup, but that game had been played in far away Mexico.
Tonight’s game presents a far better occasion for revenge.
Because tonight, West-Germany and England are facing each other on the exact same ground as in 1966.
Both the English and Portuguese had claimed their place in the semi-finals after memorable encounters. The Iberians had overcome North-Korea with what remains one of the classic comebacks in World Cup history. The English, on the other hand, had beat the Argentines under less glorious circumstances, with the Argentine captain being sent off for, apparently, no reason.
But only the present mattered now. Portugal had demonstrated impressive form through out the entire tournament, with Eusebio clearly being the World Cup’s eye-catching player thus far. England had not shown the same flair as the Portuguese, but looked defensively sound, and effective enough up front. And, what’s more, as the home team they knew the whole of Wembley would cheer them on.
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As such, its ranks are filled with phenomenal players from every era of the game. Some primarily known through tales and legends, others through weekly appearances in full HD on our television sets. But there’s no question that England’s glory days as the Land of Football lasted, at best, until the 60′s. Consequently, England’s ideal XI ought to heavily feature players from that time frame, when England could field the world’s best players.
England had arrived in the 1966 World Cup final on the back of a few controversial classic matches. The quarter-final against Argentina had been won after the Argentine captain had been inexplicably sent off. The semi-final against Eusebio’s Portugal is still remembered in Lissabon for a streak of dubious decisions by the referee. But regardless of the road that had taken them there, what mattered was that the English were in the final, for the first and last time in World Cup history. Playing on Wembley, with their wingless 4-4-2 diamond formation, featuring Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton, only one outcome was acceptable to the English. The same one as 21 years earlier: Victory.
They faced a solid German side, however. Captained by the experienced forward Uwe Seeler, the Germans had knocked out Spain, Uruguay and the Soviet-Union with a more traditional 4-2-4, where the young Franz Beckenbauer (20) and Wolfgang Overath (22) were tasked to run the midfield. While undoubtedly talented, perhaps their days of glory would come into the future.