Thursday, January 03, 2013

Football match to celebrate the expansion of the EEC in 1973

Forty years ago today there was a football match between teams drawn from the six original EEC members and the three nations (Britain, Ireland and Denmark) that had just joined the community.

The British, Irish and Danish XI was as follows:

Pat Jennings (Northern Ireland)
Peter Storey (England)
Bobby Moore (England)
Norman Hunter (England)
Emlyn Hughes (England)
Colin Bell (England)
Johnny Giles (Republic of Ireland)
Bobby Charlton (England)
Peter Lorimer (Scotland)
Colin Stein (Scotland)
Henning Jensen (Denmark)

Alan Ball (England) and Morten Olsen (Denmark) came on as substitutes.

You would not know it from this, er, colourful report on Big Soccer, but the Three beat the Six 2-0:
Without exaggerating one can claim that the first 45 minutes featured football in perfection. These minutes seemed like a dream, causing a state of inebriation. Such dazzling combinations were conjured onto the pitch by Beckenbauer and Netzer, van Hanegem and Neeskens, Trésor and Grabowski, Müller and Blankenburg, bordering on wizardry. The nobility of European football had immediately formed a team where everyone promptly responded to the ideas of the others, except maybe for Beretta, who did play like an old fashioned outside left and didn’t quite reach the level of the others. 
The British, Danish and Irish were in danger of perishing. But Hunter’s fighting spirit, Jenning’s daredevildry, the untiring commitment of Giles and the calm overview of the 35-year-old Bobby Charlton, who first seemed not to come to grips with the situation only to start serving his team crucially later on, saved the “EEC newcomers” from the danger of the first 45 minutes. 
At that time Müller, Grabowski, van Hanegem, Netzer and Beretta churned out many opportunities that all could have been converted if they had played with a little more speed and determination. With the substitutions at half time came the caesura, the new players couldn’t tie in with the swinging rhythm of the first half. Unfortunately the game didn’t have the same class in the second half as in the first. The game was decided by an opponent that contrary to Schön’s team wanted to win this match unconditionally.
Thanks to footysphere for the illustration.

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