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Everton History

John McFarlane [Senior]   29/06/2020 0comments  |  Jump to last

The summer of 1966 was a magical time for Merseyside followers of football: Liverpool were League Champions, Everton were FA Cup winners, and Goodison Park was chosen to host Group 3 matches, plus a quarter-final and a semi-final of the World Cup.

This article is in part a match description from a World Cup publication, and part personal experience.

I worked at that time for the Gas Board in a small unit in Bond Street, Vauxhall, and was able to get a lift from a workmate to Goodison Park, to purchase not only my own tickets but also tickets for my mates.

Group 3 consisted of Brazil, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Portugal, with Brazil the reigning World Champions after having

Brazil 2 - 0 Bulgaria

Tuesday 12 July 1966
Referee: Kurt Tschenscher (West Germany)
Attendance: 47,308

Scorers: Pele, Garrincha

Brazil: Gylmar, Santos, Henrique, Denilson, Lima, Bellini (C), Altair, Garrincha, Alcindo, Pele, Jairzinho.

Bulgaria: Naidenov, Shalamanov, Petev, Vutzov, Gaganelov (C), Kitov, Zechev, Dermendjiev, Asparoukav,Yakimov, Kolev.

With the reservations about Brazil's preparation, Pele set out to win the match on his own, and just about succeeded, even though Bulgaria man-marked him ruthlessly. With Pele saying afterwards, "My legs ached as a result of Zechev's constant kicking and tripping," in the end, the referee had to separate them and wag a finger, which was as tough as they ever got in those days.

In the debate about footballers from different eras, it's worth remembering the relative protection ball-players get nowadays; Zechev was booked but would have been sent off before half-time in today's game. Not that Pele was particularly intimidated, he was too well-built, a brick powerhouse with genius, how do you stop that? – except by fouling.

When Bulgaria did it yet again with only 13 minutes gone, the great man exacted appropriate revenge, with none of the bending and curling commonly associated with Brazilian free-kicks, this one (hit with anger?) blazed through the wall and beat Naidenov (the first goal of the tournament). Ironically, the free-kick had been given away by Yakimov, Bulgaria's most accomplished player.

If the talented Asparoukov had shaken off an ankle injury, who knows what tremors might have been caused in that creaking Brazilian defence? As it was, the 35-year-old Kolev, first capped in 1952, was a peripheral figure, until he committed a rather sheepish foul just outside the area.

Garrincha picked himself up and smashed the ball into the top near-side corner, with the outside of his right foot. Those deformed legs, bending at the knees from the side, looked almost made for scoring goals like this.

Brazil had played in fits and starts but looked like a one-man army. Late in the game, Pele put his head down and went on an angled run, reminiscent of a famous goal scored by George Best, ending in a shot which Naidenov did well to turn over the bar magnificently. But Pele's legs had taken so much stick and he was rested for the next match.

My abiding memories of that night are the enthusiasm of the Brazilian fans in the Park End stand above me, and the beating of their drums. Granted I can remember the Goodison Bugler in the late 40s and early 50s but this was something else. Also, Pele's free-kick, but only because it was scored at the Park End, my usual spec in those days.

Hungary 3 - 1 Brazil

Friday 15 July 1966
Referee: Ken Dagnall (England)
Attendance: 51,387

Scorers: Bene, Farkas, Meszoly (pen); Tostao

Hungary: Gelei, Kapozta, Meszoly, Sipos (C), Gusztav, Szepesi, Bene, Mathesz, Albert, Rakosi, Farkas.

Brazil: Gylmar, Santos, Henrique, Lima, Bellini (C), Altair, Garrincha, Gerson, Alcindo, Tostao, Jairzinho.

One of the most vivid matches of all time, and the subject of regular repeats. It would have been a classic if one side hadn't been so dominant, even though the scores had been level for almost an hour. Hungary lit the touchpaper early, Sipos pushed the ball out to Bene on the right wing. The winger stepped inside to stop Altair in his tracks, left him on his backside by beating him on the outside, cut inside Bellini, and scored with a left-footer inside the near post, a little jewel and just the start Hungary needed.

Brazil's two goals so far in the tournament had come from free-kicks, as did their third, the ball deflecting through to the 19-year-old Tostao, whose left foot struck it high to Gelei's left. Hungary didn't lose their nerve, and a superb sequence of play nearly put them back in front: Rikosi's cross-field pass was volleyed back by Mathesz to Meszoly, Bene then played a headed one-two with Albert only for Gylmer to make the save.

By now, Albert was running the match, socks around his ankles, ball tied to his feet. In the second half, he played Bene in behind the full-back, Farkas volleying the low cross wide of the near post. Bene put his head in his hands, Raskosi remonstrated with all his heart, Farkas snapped back. It looks comical now, but the last thing Hungary needed was another missed chance; as things stood, they were out.

But the same three players produced an almost exact replay for one of the great World Cup goals: Albert clipped a first-time pass up the right wing; instead of beating his man, Bene looked up and hit a cross which dropped just above the penalty spot. Farkas, running full pelt, caught it with his instep just above the ground and a fraction behind him – the shot almost burst the net behind a motionless Gylmar.

Brazil were broken then, missing Pele like a lost limb. The killer third goal began with a firm but fair tackle by Szepsi that left Garrincha limping. An inside pass reached Albert who accelerated between two players in midfield and sent the ball to Bene yet again. He beat Altair and was brought down by Paulo Henrique for the penalty. It was Brazil's first World Cup defeat since 1954, and by the same country.

If Albert was the conductor, Bene was the wonderful second string. Like Albert, he began as a centre-forward, first capped as a 17-year-old, soon scoring all the goals in a 6-0 win over Morocco in the 1964 Olympics. His size and close control made him perfectly suited to life out on the wing. He scored in every match in these finals and played a part in all the other goals; he was still playing for Hungary in 1979.

A memorable 28th birthday for me, a tremendous goal from Farkas, and a magnificent performance from Albert, with the crowd were roaring his name, pronouncing it 'Al-bit'. It was much later that I learned the correct pronunciation was 'Al-ber'.

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Full game, with Kenneth Wolstenholme commentating

Portugal 3 - 1 BrazilTuesday 19 July 1966
Referee:George McCabe (England)
Attendance:58,479.

Scorers: Simoes, Eusebio 2; Rildo.

Portugal. Periera, Morais, Baptista, Vincente, Hilario, Graca, Coluna (C), Augusto, Torres, Eusebio, Simoes.

Brazil: Manga, Fidelis, DeBrito, Denilson, Orlando (Capt), Rildo, Jairzinho, Lima, DaSilva, Pele, Parana.

Pele had to be brought back, but the contest with Eusebio was horribly unequal. Pele hadn't fully recovered, and the Portuguese defenders made sure he didn't get a chance to, a wild tackle cutting his knees from under him without so much as a booking. Before long, Morais finished the demolition job with a murderous double foul on the edge of the penalty area. Either tackle was worth a sending off, but again there was no booking; spineless refereeing from McCabe.

Pele was carried off by team doctor and masseur, taking Brazil's chances with him. In truth, their chances hadn't been much from the moment their team sheet showed nine changes, including the return of Orlando to mark Eusebio. Pele himself thought, "It would have been ridiculous in a Junior League; in the World Cup against one of the strongest of the tournament, it was suicidal."

Manga and the tiny Fidelis, had a particularly unhappy time: the goalkeeper whose pockmarked face earned him the nickname of 'Frankenstein' from kindly peers, looked nervous from the start, and Eusebio gave him reason to be, beating his man on the left and putting over a near-post cross which Manga was a little unlucky to parry straight onto the head of Samoes. The second goal was utterly predictable: Coluna took a free-kick deep on the right, Torres soared to head it back from the far post, Eusebio headed almost through Manga, flattening Orlando in the process.

Rildo pulled a goal back with a stern ground shot, but Brazil needed to win and Eusebio extinguished their chances with one of the great power goals of the World Cup. After Manga had saved his shot, Eusebio touched the ball to Simoes, whose cross was aimed to Torres as usual. The ball bounced back towards the right where Eusebio met it with a terrifying shin-high volley that left Manga on his knees, with David Coleman exclaiming, "Oh my word! have you ever seen anything like that?" Orlando, who pulled out of the tackle, never played for Brazil again.

That goal was an abiding memory of the tournament, but no more than the sight of Pele walking off with a coat draped around his shoulders and his knee heavily bandaged, vowing never to play in the World Cup again. The whole Brazilian approach had been a monument to complacency, Pele saying "I suppose our Directors put their faith in the old dictum, 'God is a Brazilian' – forgetting that 'God also helps those who help themselves'."

I'm afraid that the Eusebio goal escapes my memory, but the treatment that Pele was subjected to, and the sight of him walking off the pitch draped in a top coat, must be one of the most poignant images of any World Cup tournament.

Full Game from BBCtv, with David Coleman commentating

The Group 3 attendances of 58,479, 51,387, and 47,738 at Goodison, were the highest outside of Wembley. The other Group 3 attendances at Old Trafford, were 29,886 25,438 and 34,129.

Acknowledgement:

The Complete Book of the World Cup 1930 to 1994 – Cris Freddi.

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