Argentina vs France, World Cup 78 First Round

Football is a simple game: one ball, two goals, 22 players, in the end ze Germans win. And, ever since 1930, 16 teams from around the world compete every four years to determine their champion. On three occasions that contingent of 16 teams was not even fully exhausted, but that magic number should become obsolete. For 24 teams would be there in Spain 1982.

Qualification is very much automatic for most of the big sides these days. The doldrums of international weekends will only increase as the World Cup is expanded even further. One can’t help but think that even just qualifying and competing in the tournament just used to mean so much more.

In 1978 hosts Argentina and holders West Germany were already qualified, which meant only 14 spots were up for grabs. Just shy of 100 countries competed in qualifying. And so here the coming expansion very much does make sense. No wonder the list of teams missing out in ‘78 included illustrious sides such as the European Champions Czechoslovakia, Argentina’s arch-rivals Uruguay, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and, for the second time running, England.

On the other hand Austria were back first time since ‘58. France, Hungary and Spain hadn’t made it through since ‘66. Hungary even had to beat Bolivia in a two-legged Intercontinental Play-off for the final spot, but did so convincingly with a 9:2 aggregate win. They were rewarded with a place in Group 1, which today would carry the moniker “Group Of Death”. It featured the hosts, France and Italy – the latter having bested England in qualifying by way of superior goal difference.

France had booked their passage picking up five points in four matches against Bulgaria and the Republic of Ireland. On the second matchday in Argentina they met the hosts at El Monumental. And already had their backs to the wall.

France feel the pressure, open strong

Having gone up within the first minute, France had nevertheless lost their first match against Italy, 1:2. The same scoreline saw Argentina winning their opener against Hungary. Italy set the tone for the second matchday as the trounced Hungary in the early afternoon kick-off: Gli Azzurri were 3:0 up after an hour, with 3:1 the final score. Thus a second loss for France would ensure an early exit. Continue reading

AS Nancy vs OGC Nice, Coupe de France Final 1978

Before kick-off a group of dignitaries including President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing are introduced pitchside to the players. The digital copy of an old janky VHS starts just as Nice’s captain Jean-Marc Guillou has gone through his rank and file. Waiting, somewhat impatiently, to take over is Nancy’s 22-year old sensation Michel Platini.

Despite his young age, Platini was not short on experience. Having come through the youth ranks at Nancy, he had been a mainstay in the adult side for more than four seasons by this point. The XI he led out to his first major final was altogether very young: Jean-Claude Cloët was the oldest at just 26, the average age in the side was 22.8.

For contrast, Nice fielded six players 29 or older. And, for the first part of the match, experience seemed to be the deciding factor on the day. Continue reading

Remix: Incomplete History of Juventus & Borussia Dortmund

Much like the rest of the footballing world, we are gearing up for next season. Production on fresh episodes is underway, but in the meantime we thought it wise to remix parts of our more recent shows. People might have missed it and it really stands on it’s own as well. Also its a bit shorter, so easier to get into than maybe the three hour behemoths.

With this episode you’ll first get our Incomplete history of Juventus, then Borussia Dortmund.

As always you’ll find the mp3 available for download on Soundcloud, and a list of all the other channels here.

Some minutes:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 02:00 Juventus foundation, first national titles, World Cup winners
  • 09:30 Giampiero Boniperti, 70s dominance
  • 14:00 Heysel disaster, Platini, resurgence under Lippi
  • 21:30 Dortmund foundation, pre WWII history
  • 32:30 Oberliga Westfalen, regional & national championships, Cup Winner’s Cup Winners 1966
  • 39:30 Relegation, financial troubles in the 70s & 80s, resurgence under Hitzfeld

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