Tag Archives: World Cup

2 England v Poland Qualifiers To Make You Worry

With Hodgson’s boys looking good for World Cup qualification in a Pole filled Wembley tonight you’d think England would be a beautiful place of rainbows and optimistic thoughts instead of the gloomy autumn clouds hovering over everyone’s pessimistically groaning head.

Rather than being proud of potentially joining the world’s best at next summer’s tournament, fan’s already have us out of the group stages next year to Ethiopia and simultaneously dislike the use of sturdy old players and promising young talents.

But we should be thankful. We didn’t always have the luxury of being unsatisfied with success; as with haircuts, people had it worse in the 70s.

So read and watch on and be grateful that you won’t have to witness these scenarios tonight.


Poland 2 – 0 England, World Cup Qualifier 1973

England got what appeared to be a sweet deal in qualification for 1974’s West German World Cup; just Poland and Wales in qualification. But it was about as sweet as a James Milner’s crossing and, when England traveled to Chorzow in ’73, several horrifying things happened.

First of all England wore yellow shirts like some kind of knock off Brazil, and secondly the man who’s so English his heart is shaped like a lion – Bobby Moore – had a ‘mare.


First of all, England’s World Cup winning captain scored an own goal, then he got caught in possession after making an uncharacteristic poor decision under pressure. To top it off, Alan Ball – another winner in ’66 – got a red card in what was Poland’s first and currently only defeat of England.

England 1 – 1 Poland, World Cup Qualifier 1973

After the yellow nightmare Poland routinely beat Wales meaning England would have to beat them at Wembley to advance to Germany.

Everything looked good though; England had just beaten Austria 7-0 in a friendly and had recovered from the last Poland game. By all accounts, the Polish were in for a hell of a game.

There was just one thing that Alf Ramsey and co hadn’t banked on though – Jan ‘The Clown’ Tomaszewski, the Polish goalkeeper.

They say every player plays the game of his life at some point, and this was Tomaszewski’s. Staring down the barrel of 36 shots and 26 corners, the keeper’s resistance was only broken by a Allan Clarke penalty which only served to cancel out the earlier Polish goal conceded by a combination of Norman Hunter’s sluggishness and Peter Shilton’s ability to give away easy goals at key moments.

At a 0-0 half-time Brian Clough reassured viewers that goals would be coming, calling Tomaszewski a “circus clown in gloves” (something he apologised personally for years later), but they didn’t.

A series of great saves and some debatable box work saw England held to a draw, knocked out of the group, and Tomaszewski become a folk hero.

Bar that truly ridiculous save from Colin Bell, the most amazing thing about ‘The Clowns’ performance is that – in true pre-Premier League style – he broke five bones in his wrist after two minutes and continued on to play an outstanding game.

Think about that next time Ashley Young ‘breaks’ his shin pad on a particularly unruly blade of grass.

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The Five Footballing Halloween Horrors #3: Dives

Part #1 here and #2 here and #4 here and #5 here

Continuing with the Halloween theme this time is one of the biggest bugbears of the game, the downright despicable discipline of diving. As a modern football fan,we have to accept that diving is a part of the game, and it will remain so until the punishments outweigh the benefits. But that doesn’t make these Tom Daley impressions any less horrifying.

Aurelien Chedjou vs Inter Milan, Champions League group stage 2011. This one begins how about 50% of dives are made; an arm or hand going near the air near a player’s face. Chedjou grabs his face as is standard procedure, but then something amazingly unlikely happens.

The Bullet Ant that Chedjou was keeping in his mouth clamps down on his cheek and he simultaneously gets shot in the eye. Seriously, I thought when he moved his hand I was going to vomit. Turns out this thespian is probably in the wrong profession, listen to that scream – I’m thinking war film extra?

Rivaldo vs Turkey, World Cup group stage 2002. The holy grail of dives. Many of us familiar with the Brazilian’s antics wish the ball had hit him in the face. This wasn’t too bad, the worst thing is that Hakan Unsal gets the red and Brazil eventually knock Turkey out. Actually, the worst thing is that Rivaldo went on to have an excellent World Cup. Actually, the worst thing is that he only got fined £5180, money he was going to use to stud his gold Rolex with diamonds.

Actually, this is horrible.

Bryan Carrasco vs Ecuador, U20 World Cup qualifier 2011. Watching youth football is exciting. Sure the moves aren’t perfectly worked out and the finishing is rough, but it’s fine. The performances are worse than what you expect from seniors basically. And that goes for all aspects of the game – apparently including diving.

That might even be a new type of foul there, forcibly making the opposition foul you and then diving. I take it back, the U20s are innovators!

Dider Drogba vs Jens Lehmann, Premier League 2007. Both these guys are a little bit crazy. Drogba is an exceptionally talented center forward with balance like Bambi on a glacier, and Lehmann could’ve been the new Khan was he not such a psychopath. So when someone challenged them to a ‘dive off’ the results were shockingly pathetic:

Crazy as a rhino made of Stella

Rodrigo Nunes de Sa vs Mirassol, Serie D. Let me lay some various knowledge on you here. Firstly, this is Brazillian fourth tier, so not the height of importance. Secondly, most players dive to gain an advantage; an opposition red card, free kick/penalty, or holding up play are all understandably desirable. I don’t condone diving on any level, but I do acknowledge the reasons for it.

Thirdly, Rodrigo Nunes de Sa is the referee.

What an earth kind of advantage is he trying to get by doing that? Maybe the Mirassol no.6 has a really bad virus and he is desperately trying to avoid the player’s ‘blow’ at him. Maybe he’s just a cock.

Keep your peepers peeled for more Halloween scares tomorrow!

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