The Beginning: Early History and the 1950 World Cup Qualification
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Written by QTXAdsy

The Beginning: Early History and the 1950 World Cup Qualification

Situated across a set of islands north of the European continent there lie a race of different nationalities known as either English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish though if you check their passports, most of them would say that they are British. That said many of them are loyal to their nation and each of these four lands are dub as the Home Nations and throughout history they have often had wars on each other; mostly with most of them turning their rivalry or even hatred to the English. It's hard to imagine that four different races of people could have one point helped create the world's largest empire at one point but strange things have always happened as they say.

While it's obviously they never agree on most things, there is one thing that that they all share a common love (or as Americans call it as 'soccer', much to many in the British Isles' dismay). Football is in the national mindset for the nation and it's origins start back from the Middle ages with first recorded moments of football beginning in England as far back as 1170 though it would only really step up to become part of the country's DNA when the nineteenth century emerged as many towns and cities would end having their own team to support with the Football Association (better known as the FA by many) would be formed in 1863, though it would be in 1870 that the idea of having a team that played for a country which featured the best talent each club had took hold and it was that year in which two teams representing England and Scotland would play each other in what few knew then the groundwork for international football.

Between 1870 and 1872, the two nations would play at the Oval in London with England often getting the better of the Scots with the latter only getting a draw at the best of times. However these games are not recognised by FIFA due to the fact that the Scotland team had a team of London based players and even in those years decades before FIFA would be formed, many north of the border felt some anger that a Scottish team failed to have any homegrown players and a call would go out for having a match to take place in Glasgow and for Scottish players to play for their country. It would be Queens Park that would answer the call and eleven of their players would play for Scotland and the game with England would take place at Hamilton Crescent. Though England might be football's 'home', this match would be the first international game to be played outside of England thus Scotland could be considered the home of international football as all know it today.


The very first intentional match recognised by FIFA
The 30th November 1872 would become the very first official recognised international football match played and though the game ended in a 0-0 draw, it would light a fire for football to become a sport for the working class and a year after that match, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) was created and the two sides would play each other only until 1876 when Wales became the third nation to have a football side with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) being created with their first match being against Scotland in which their more experienced opponents smashed them 4-0. Then in 1880, the Irish Football Association (IFA) would become the fourth national in the world to become a football nation though it wouldn't be two years later that Ireland would play in their first international match against England though they would end up being annihilated 13-0, a record to today is still the largest victory for England and loss for the Irish that is likely never to be topped one way or the other.

As the years went along, many other nations around Europe began to create their own football associations along with Argentina and Uruguay in South America, though it was in 1883 that the nations of England, Scotland Wales and Ireland would come together to create the world's first international football tournament known as the British Home Championship and the chance to become the best side in the United Kingdom caught the public's imagination and throughout the early years England and Scotland would always dominate the tournament with the match between the two sides often being not only the game that decided the championship but also became the biggest game in the British sporting calendar. For the Welsh and Irish, they wouldn't get the chance to win the tournament until decades later at the dawn of the twentieth century which just so happen to coincided with the formation of FIFA in 1904 with the four Home Nations becoming members of it.

The British Home Championship remained unafflicted for the years that followed with only the outbreak of the First World War halting the tournament between 1914 and 1918 with the Championship starting again in 1919, though soon it would not be the only football tournament for in 1930, FIFA would start a new tournament known as the World Cup with the plan to play it every four years with the first in Uruguay in 1930, Italy in 1934 and France in 1938. One might think that the British teams would have played a part in those early years however they refused to take part which considering the appeal of the World Cup today might seem like a ludicrous thing to do however it must to be said for the time the World Cup was looked upon as just a curious novelty in a far off country. This was also that after WWI, the four Home Nations had withdrawn from FIFA over the fact that former Central Powers nations would become part of the organisation though they would re-join in 1924 yet nonetheless refused to take part in the World Cup over the disagreement of the status of amateur players. To say the relationship between them and FIFA was rocky would be an understatement and many football fans across the British Isles do wonder what if they had played at those early World Cups in the 1930's and how well they might have done considering how good these teams were compared with many with the rest of the world.

The dream though of playing at a World Cup would happen following the end of the Second World War when they finally decided to join the party...


Following the end of the Second World War, the world could look forward to hopeful everlasting peace and for some, the return of football with 1950 being the year in which the FIFA World Cup would return being hosted in Brazil, only the second time at that time be hosted in South America. As a way of making the qualification more tempting for the British teams, the top two sides would be given an automatic place at that World Cup in which the 1949/50 British Home Championship would double up as a qualify group which in a modern mindsight might look strange but nonetheless quite a straight forward way to get to Brazil for two teams summer holidays with the teams only needing to play three games compared to more that other nations had to do. Not only that but it cut down on the games needed to play and in some ways made a already competitive tournament with more at stake here.

To the surprise of perhaps no one, England and Scotland would destroy the Irish and Welsh teams which made it more than clear that they were the ones that would be heading on the next flight to Brazil in the summer. However other than being either nation's first time taking part in qualification, it would be the last time there would be seen an all Irish side before they would be split in two sides, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland from 1953 onwards.

However for the Scots despite looking pretty much set for the World Cup they found themselves facing a really bizarre and some might say ludicrous and hubrious decision from the SFA Chairman, George Graham, saying that Scotland would only go to the World Cup if they won the British Championship in what set to be a winner takes all game at Hampden Park. It would seem that second place was no good for the Scots, even if they were on level points with England (goal difference had never been a thing for the Home Championship.)


Poster of the winner takes all decider

The English were planning to go even if they finished in second place so the pressure was all on the Scots to not only beat England, but secure their place at the World Cup. The build up to the game was quite infamous with Scotland captain George Young and his English counterpart Billy Wright along with players in both teams pleading to the SFA to go regardless though it despite what many will say was the SFA's utter hubris, a more rational point might have been that the SFA were wary of the huge costs of flying a Scotland team to South American and to finish in second might have been an excuse not to go, something in which other nations such as Turkey would highlight as to why they would not go to Brazil. Alas, the only way the Scots would be able to go to Brazil was to simply not to lose and little did anyone knew then was that this certain 'Auld Enemy' clash was to be perhaps one of the most important in the history of British football and in some ways more so for the nation as a whole.

With a huge crowd of over 130,000 at Hampden and cheering their team on to make it to Brazil, the game itself would be a tight affair with it looking to go either way but it would be in the 63rd minute when England would break the deadlock via Roy Bentley which as it stood looked like Scotland were going to miss out on a place in Brazil. However it would be in the 70th minute when Scotland responded when Willie Bauld's shot saw the ball nearly hit the bar but just managed to squeeze in to put Scotland level. It would seem however that might've been it, but with the mindset that they mad to win the group, the Scottish players decided to risk it and go for the jugular and win the game. Indeed the English looked rattled by that goal and it would be right with five minutes to go in which Willie Waddle volleyed in a wonderful shot below the bar which give Scotland the lead and thus in the victory that saw not only, Scotland triumph over the English at Hampden, but also saw them win the British Home Championship that season and secure their place in Brazil for that World Cup. Talk about killing three birds with one stone...


Photo of the match between Scotland and England at Hampden Park which would see Scotland win 2-1 after falling 1-0 earlier in the game
While the Scotland fans celebrated that their team had fulfilled what was needed to get to Brazil for the summer, the SFA were backed into a corner in which they couldn't back out on, their worlds at saying that they would only go if they won the tournament had come back to haunt them and now there was little they could do than otherwise get ready for something that no Scotland team up that point had ever done before.
While the English might've been hurt from their loss, they didn't really seem to mind that if it meant that their fellow rivals were to join them on the way to the World Cup then that was all good, though the travel arrangements were to be quite unusual by modern day standards. With many nations pulling out from qualifying either it being due to post war depression or other various factors, the FA and the SFA would see both sides share the same flight over to Brazil and agreed to cover the costs of the traveling needed in Brazil even though the hosts were willing to help with said costs.

In the end however despite many nations being invited to play at the first post war World Cup, only the two sole British sides taking part in the World Cup would be the only debut teams in that tournament and while they were about to experience a brave new world of football, them appearing in that tournament wouldn't be the only thing they would make their mark on which was to have an effect on the football world in this and the many years that were to follow...


Final results of the 1949/1950 British Home Championship

And finally here it is...the redux of what many of you were waiting for...ALL TO PLAY FOR! I know many of you know the POD for the TL which is the same here in which Scotland go on and win the game, though the TL will have many differences later on thanks to more information I found regarding the history of British football and given the amount of retcons I did previously, it seemed a better idea to reboot it all and improve on it in which as you've seen in the old TL.

I hope you will all enjoy this one who loved the original and for those new to this and maybe not care much about football (or soccer depending on where you come from) and that you might learn something about this. Next update will be all about the great Brazilian (mis)adventure and how will England and Scotland get on over there...Until next time!
Chapter 1: Brave New World - 1950 World Cup Brazil
Chapter 1
Brave New World


Upon Scotland's victory over England in that final game at Hampden from that moment onwards, Scotland along with the English were set to make their international debut at the World Cup in Brazil that next summer. For the chairmen of the FA and SFA respectably, Amos Brook Hirst and George Graham, they would head out to Brazil in May of 1950 to watch the draw along with the many other chairmen and local dignitaries of various other places there would see England grouped with Spain, United States and Chile while the Scots were placed along with France, Uruguay and Bolivia.

Even though by this point in Britain there had been much said about the great South American sides of Uruguay, Argentina and those up and coming upstarts known as Brazil, there was still a great deal of suspicious about South America in general. Rumours had swirled around that after the Second World War ended many Nazis and Fascists fled Europe and were hiding out in Brazil and Argentina to escape from justice with apparently Hitler being alive and well out there! However another thought which had made the English and Scottish contingents suspicious was that many players in the British leagues were being offered to play their club football in places like Brazil and Columbia with them being offered higher wages that would have been offered domestically. Few would know in those early days just how important money would become later on in football but that is another story...

As both England and Scotland had never been at a World Cup before, let along step foot in Brazil, the whole thing was something unlike they had seen before and each of their small 'British-only' bubble world would be pop at just the fact there was a world of football outside of the British Isles. However things proved to be something of a changeable situation as both France and India would pull out late on shortly after the draw with the former pulling out due to the costs of traveling around Brazil and the other, perhaps oddly, due to not be allowed to play barefooted. In the end of the sixteen teams that qualified to take part, only fourteen would end up making it for the trip to South America with the two debut teams being that of England and Scotland with the main reason for many to pull out was due to the high costs of getting to Brazil despite the hosts promising to split the costs of traveling.

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Final draw of the 1950 World Cup in Brazil
Along with sharing the costs of the transatlantic flight to South America, the SFA and FA along with the host nation had agreed to share the cost of flying for to the various stadiums around the large country. Prior before leaving London, the players from both teams were given a grand send off from their supporters to wish them well on their endeavour, but all those players as well as the small number of FA, and SFA staff and various journalists to accommodate the team out in Brazil were about to step into the unknown and it would prove to be long flight in which they would finally touch down on Brazilian soil in Recife for refuelling before heading on the last leg to Rio.

Another long set of hours later their plane began to descend into Rio, the players on both sides only felt something about this adventure to Brazil was really a watershed moment for England and Scotland. The players, staff of both football associations, journalists and various hangers on all looked down from their windows as the plane circled above the Brazilian capital Rio de Janeiro with Sugar Loaf Mountain jutting out and the world famous Copacabana beach seemingly stretching out for miles.

Eventually the plane finally lands at it's final destination of Rio and as soon as both teams get off the plane, pandemonium breaks out from the locals welcoming the teams, it seems the build and excitement for the World Cup has reached fever pitch when the British teams arrived as journalists accommodating the teams write this fact down for the various newspapers they are covering. As they enter the terminal building and are greeted by the excited and happy crowds, there is something special that England and Scotland have arrived to a country that really loves it's football with the fact that the Brazilians respect the fact that England is the motherland of the game while for the Scots, they can take pride in the fact that it was a fellow Scot named Thomas Donohoe who introduced football to Brazil in 1893 and considered to be the father of Brazilian football. In many ways it's more of a homecoming.

After arrival, there is a meeting at the British embassy in Rio in which the teams meet with Sir Nigel Ronald, British ambassador to Brazil, who gives the teams his best wishes and hopes that winning the World Cup here in Brazil would be a victory for all of Britain and a much needed lift for a country still getting over the traumas of the second World War. No Pressure indeed. It must be noted that up to this point it had been rare for both nations to have played anyone outside of the British Isles with England only starting to play foreign teams in 1908 onwards while the Scots, who's rather hopeless narrow minded view for all it's life and perhaps it's only purpose in life was to simply beat the English would only start playing foreign teams as late as 1929 and even then those sort of games were few and far between. If this lack of knowing about what teams were like outside of the UK carrying on from then, one can see were things start to go wrong...


One happy England team not knowing what horrors await them...
The so called English arrogance that is looked on at the English which much negativity would be on full display here though given how odds were in their favour of being one of the favourites to win the cup and even being dubbed by the Brazilian press as the 'Kings of Football' it might have been no surprising though even that aside, the 1950 campaign would be one of so many things going horrible wrong for the England team in Brazil. Because the only competitive football they had ever played in had been the Home Championship, they would make the mistake of thinking that it would be easy to walk over them as Chile would prove in their first game to be a tough team to beat though England would win 2-0, also their first match at a World Cup played in June 25th and this would look like it would set them up with an expected victory over the USA in the next round being a foregone conclusion.

What followed next would go down as one of the greatest World Cup shocks and England's most humiliating defeat at the hands of the United States losing 1-0 and England had only themselves to blame though it must be noted that not getting use to the heat, as well as the football gear that was not suitable to the Brazilian hot climate and some dodgy accommodation and a lot a bad luck caused it to happen and it was said that much of the local Brazilian crowd were delighted at supporting the American underdog. Despite this though there was still a chance that England would have a chance to go through if they could beat Spain in their final group game.

That hope turned out to be false as England's hard luck story would carry on as they would lose 1-0 to Spain and that would be the end of England's World Cup hopes and they were left with bruised egos and a lot to think about if the so called 'Kings of Football' were to improve. When word got round back across England of what had happened in Brazil there was a great deal of shock and the bubble that the English mindset had been in for so long had been well and truly burst. Now it would be down to the Scots though would they have any more luck in their group...?

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Final results of England's 1950 Group stage results

On the same day as England defeated Chile, Scotland would also play in their first World Cup match against Bolivia in Recife were a crowd of just of over seven thousand curious locals to watch this match take place. While England's results were being more documented by the London based media, the Scottish coverage was rather small in comparison which wasn't really a bad thing in hindsight as a lot of the media coverage would not get in the way and this would come in handy as their first World Cup game on which had all the ingredients to be something of a banana skin for the Scots despite the Bolivians being regarded as the whipping boys of the group. The Scots would find the early goings of the game hard with Bolivia actually causing problems for the Scots thanks to the Scottish players being much like their English compatriots being uncomfortable playing in the hot, humid climate of Brazil with their heavy cotton kit being all nothing more than a bad mix. Before the end of the first half though the Scots would manage to break down the Bolivians to lead at 1-0. After that in the second half, the Scots do finally get the better of the South Americans to eventually run out as 3-0 victors in a game that by the end they might've gotten more...

Had the original schedule gone to plan, Scotland would've faced France four days later but with the French pulling out, Scotland had time to relax and learn more about the style of football in Brazil that they would take back with them that would have an affect on the National side in the years that followed. Scotland's final group game would be with former World Champions Uruguay and there would be a sense of dread facing them as they would soon hear the news that poor Bolivia would be thrashed 8-0 by them and there was more than a likely thought that the Scottish players would have been very wary going into that final group game with Uruguay to compete for winning the group and going through..

Uruguay would show their worth and perhaps to what everyone expected would pretty much dominate the game to defeat the Scots 3-1; Scotland's only goal in that game being something a fluke in a game in which the South Americans could have won by more. It would be wake up call for the Scottish players who could see Uruguay's kits being very different to their own. Their strips looked lightweight in contrast to the Scottish team’s heavy cotton tops and the South American players' boots are like carpet slippers while the Scots have ones which have stiff leather up the ankle, a steel plate in the sole and a bulbous toecap. Boots that quite honestly were never designed for comfort nor speed and as the players would leave the field after being taught a football lesson, one by one of the players and the small Scottish media team begin to think that maybe the British game, following England's equal dismay performances isn’t perhaps the greatest in the world and that it could be over taken in future. An unthinkable thought by anyone who follows and supports the British game. there would be no British side in the last four.

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Final results of Scotland's 1950 Group stage results
Both teams would stay behind until the end of the tournament were they would learn more about the styles in play of South American football and begin to debate how this can be put to good use back home. They would leave on the same flight home a day after the final game in which Brazil, the favourites, were left in deep shock and mourning after Uruguay stunned them to win the World Cup in their backyard and the dead atmosphere as they left the country was a far contrast to the joy when the first arrived. It was funny just how much football could play with one's emotions.

It was an hour during the flight back home in which the heads of the FA and SFA would come together in a impromptu meeting to discuss what had happened and what was to follow next for the game. Neither wanted to admit but it had become clear that British football was no longer king; it's crown had clearly been snatched by the rest of Europe and South America. The one good news that both finances for the two associations had made a healthy profit out in Brazil which would all no doubt be important for the future development and that qualification for the next World Cup in Switzerland in four years time was one of great importance.

Few would come to realise just how important that meeting on that flight would be as to laying the foundations for England, Scotland and soon Wales and Northern Ireland to follow in their rather stubborn quest to make sure that British football would regain it's crown and show why, at least to them, as to why they are the true masters of the game. A brave new world indeed...

And here we have the first chapter, how things will be is that group stage games will all be done in one chapter and given how England's OTL results remain the same with Scotland acting in probably how Scotland would act at a WC you'd believe, the 1950 World Cup isn't that long of a section though many more things will get better later on, everyone has to start from the bottom somewhere as we have seen with these two fools.

So yes, next up, onwards to Switzerland next!
Chapter 2: In The Foothills of Switzerland - 1954 World Cup
Chapter 2
In The Foothills of Switzerland


Following their return from Brazil four years ago, the FA and SFA had both seen their eyes made wide open at the world of football outside the British isles and it was said that the plane flight on the way home back the United Kingdom was said to be one of the most important hastily arranged meetings between the two organisations as what to do next. With both having failed to make an impact in Brazil, this would lead to an unlikely collaboration saw the two rivals brought together to prepare themselves for the next World Cup tournament, one that would be much closer to home in Switzerland. For some, Switzerland seemed like a strange choice given that unlike Brazil, it never never really had football in it's mindset and everyone knew the Swiss for being famously neutral, however 1954 would mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of FIFA and Switzerland just so happened to be the location of where FIFA is based so better way to celebrate this occasion than to have a World Cup here in the foothills of Switzerland.

In the time between England and Scotland's adventures in Brazil and now, both took note of the new techniques that were starting to appear in football and had began to adapt them for the British game in order so that they would be ready for whatever came their and one of the new things they had brought with them was the new lightweight shirts and comfortable boots the South America teams had worn and which had helped them along the way; the heavy cotton tops and heavy leather boots were never going to have a future in this new world of football and those instead would be forced into the history books.

As well as for taking part and feeling grateful for the British coming to Brazil, mainly after many nations dropped out, FIFA had once again allowed for the 1953-54 British Home Championship to act as a qualifying group for the World Cup. With their experience of Brazil, the new gear they had taken upon themselves to wear and wanting to get back the thrill and atmosphere of the World Cup, England and Scotland would run over their Welsh and Irish rivals and although England won the group and the Scots finished second place. That said both the Welsh and Irish would also get a hand in what their larger neighbours had to help them but that is another story.


Programme of the Scotland vs England match in 1954, a game doubling up as a qualification match in which Scotland lost 4-2 just months prior before the tournament kicked off

Much like how the 1950 World Cup had used a group format for all the games, the 1954 tournament would also employ a unique format. The sixteen qualifying teams would be divided into four groups of four teams each. Each group contained two seeded teams and two unseeded teams. Only four matches were scheduled for each group, each pitting a seeded team against an unseeded team. This contrasts with the usual round-robin in which every team plays every other team: six matches in each group. This meant to go through, any team would have to pretty much win those vital two matches if they wanted to go through.

Another oddity was that extra time, which in most tournaments is not employed at the group stage, was played in the group games if the score was level after 90 minutes, with the result being a draw if the scores were still level after 120 minutes. With qualification completed, the draw came and England would go in as one of the seeded teams going into Group Four alongside Italy, Belgium and hosts Switzerland while Scotland would be placed in Group Three along with Austria, Czechoslovakia and Uruguay, the latter being the team they had faced in Brazil and who would go on to win the World Cup back then.

With everything in place, it looks as this time both England and Scotland were going to give a good crack at the World Cup, though drama is never quite far away as for Scotland, the behind the scenes action would become infamous...


For the first time in the history of the Scotland team, the 1954 World Cup would see Scotland employ a manager by the name of Andy Beattie during February of that year, though it is fair to say that the SFA were somewhat behind with the times in that regard as many countries had a few years earlier had already been doing this, even England were ahead of Scotland in this field as they appointed their first manager, Walter Winterbottom, in 1946. Nonetheless Scotland were keen to catch up and Beattie would take the team on a brief Scandinavian tour to get prepared for the tournament ahead though if he thought he would have a free hand at picking the team he wanted, he was to be very much mistaken.

Scotland had a very troublesome preparation to put it bluntly; Rangers had been planning a tour of the United States and Canada during the Summer and wouldn't allow to let any of their players to go, thankfully after much protesting from George Young, Sammy Cox and several of their Rangers teammates who made the journey to Brazil last time pleaded with the board which caused Rangers to cancel their tour of North America and reluctantly allowed their players to go to Switzerland, much to relief of Beattie though it would be the least of his worries. It would turn out his worst enemies weren't the teams he was to face but rather the SFA themselves.

While football was changing and despite the SFA actually making some effort to move with the times, there were still some ancient problems with them and the worst of this was the SFA still selecting the players as they had done for many years now and never giving Beattie any real power to choose the players he wanted, though amazingly this was not even the worst of it. With rules regarding of squads, FIFA had stated that any country at the World Cup could take up to eighteen players and Beattie might have thought he would be able to at least have a choice, but he was in a rude awakening when he found out that on the flight over to Switzerland, only thirteen members of the Scotland team would be on that flight, which meant no back up goalkeeper for heaven's sake, and the rest of the seats were taken up by many members of the SFA along with their wives who must've thought they were on a vacation and not a football event.


View of the Scotland team for the tournament

After much angry words between Beattie and the SFA, the remaining players would turn up right before the tournament kicked off though didn't have the benefit of getting trained up with the rest of the team who had made it, though it did cost some money to ship over the remaining Scottish players and it would be a frustrating lack of common sense from the SFA who could have avoided this mishap had they simply included them on that flight over instead of bringing their wives over.

Even after a full squad was put in place and with the first group match with Austria about to take place, Beattie had been clashing heads with his superiors and it had come close at one point in the hotel lounge in Basel the night before that game in which it all nearly came to blows with Beattie and the SFA selectors over who was in charge of the team with only the Swiss staff, in their usual neutral fashion as one would expect from a stereotype Swiss, to watch the scene in bile fascination. It took Scotland captain George Young and several of the players to try and defuse the situation and hoping they wouldn't wreck the hotel and be forced out of their accommodation. A curious feature of the 1954 Scotland team was that unlike other nations who had all their players playing in their respected home country, the Scots were the only ones, and the first, to have some of their players coming from leagues outside of Scotland in which a handful of them played in the English top flight; something that rather unfortunately in the wake of the madness happening in the camp that no one really noticed.

With all this drama happening, it was the last thing that Scotland would have wanted before their opening match and Austria were not a team to be taken lightly and for good reason. The Austrians had a fine footballing tradition of International football much like the Scots and its 'wunderteam' had finished 4th in 1934 and despite withdrawing from the 1950 event Austria were a star studded and hugely experienced side. One had to wonder what if they had turned up in Brazil four years ago and see how well they might have done then.


Scotland vs Austria in their opening match
With all games at the World Cup all starting at six o'clock in the afternoon on June 16th, Scotland and Austria locked horns to see who would come out on top. To perhaps no one's surprise however, Austria looked more in control compared to the Scots and despite some good play from the Scots, it would be certain that Austria would score first and that would be the case in the thirty-third minute when Probst hammered in the opener and Scotland were now on the backfoot already though there was one small ray of hope. For all the problems the SFA had unintentional caused for this Scotland team, they had listened wisely to use the lightweight kits and shoes which not help increase the performance of the players but the game itself was being played in the middle of a heatwave and had the team been playing in the traditional heavy cotton kits then who knows how bad things might have gotten.

Scotland though had some players in that team who had experience out in Brazil and would help drive the team forward and shortly before the end of half time, Allan Brown would let fly a wicked volley in the forty second minute to cancel out Austria's lead and the small number of Scotland fans who had made the journey out to Switzerland celebrated while the largely Austrian crowd were left silent fearing that this Scotland team had awoken. Half time would come and go and the second half would see Scotland starting to assert more control on the game and they would be creating chances yet just could not find the back of the net.

When the eighty third minute came around and the score still at 1-1, it looked a draw would be on the cards...that was until during that minute and from a corner kick, Willie Ormond would get his head onto the ball in the box and guided it into he bottom right of the net which would ultimately end up being the winning goal and not only had Scotland come back from a goal down to win a game for the first time, it had been against all the odds with all the drama behind the scenes. All Scotland now needed was a point and they would be through. Next up, Uruguay.


Scotland vs Uruguay during their match in 1954
Despite the victory, Beattie was still at odds with the SFA and had made no secret in which had they lost to Austria, he would have quit with his complaints being about the preparation and poor financial rewards for the players. All of this wasn't helpful as they prepared to face off the South Americans and World Champions. When the Uruguay players lined up against the Scots and noticed the suspiciously similar kit that was made much like their own and they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but even this was taking the biscuit. Both teams had players had played each other on that day in Brazil and the Scots felt that this was something of a revenge match after the South Americans had defeated them and surely now if a fair world allowed it, Scotland would claim victory.

Once again though the Uruguay were no push over and they were causing problems on the Scottish backline and surely a goal would happen, that is if Scotland didn't have John Anderson between the sticks. Anderson had been part of the few who who had been left behind and he was willing to show his worth and his appearance became hugely important for his team. Uruguay battered the Scots in the hunt for a goal and despite something like ten shots on target in that first half alone, Anderson stands firm as Scotland keep the score at 0-0 though they know how very lucky they've been being not able to attack. The second half begins with the Scots not attacking the Uruguayan defensive, but rather hold the ball and frustrate the South Americans as part of a new plan on how they've been unable to attack them. This plan seems to work as many noticed a growing frustrating with the Uruguayan players in seeing that they haven't had the chance to get a goal despite being by far the better team. Then a chance comes in which Doug Cowie passes the ball to Bobby Evans and then to Jimmy Davidson, the Scots start playing a passing game that was traditional to the Scottish game that many of their great-grandfathers would've adopted in their game's earliest days. This goes on for a while and the Swiss crowd get bored of this sort of play and so does the South Americans in which Julio Abbadie runs towards Jimmy Davidson, who has received the ball and tricks Abbadie by pulling a fake kick which makes the Uruguayan player to lose his footing and falling over.

He has taking the bait and the Scots start playing a more faster game which catches the South Americans off guard and after some quick passing further into the Uruguayan half, Willie Ormond low cross the ball over to Doug Cowie who takes his chance by taking a blunt volley shot to fly past Julio Maceniras' fingertips and into the back on the net. After sixty seven minutes of play, the Scots have gone 1-0 up and the small traveling Scottish support in the stand celebrate wildly. On the touch line, Beattie simply gives the player a thumbs up as Copland is immediately swamped by his teammates congratulating him. The Uruguayans start to get more frustrated at going a goal down and try everything to get back into the game with some vicious tackles on the Scottish players and the game is halted a few times because of this. Beattie checks his watch many times hoping the game will finish and is horrified when the Scottish defence is blown open and Óscar Míguez scores an equaliser in the eighty eight minute and the South Americans celebrate their comeback...only for the referee to rule it out as it was apparently offside. The angry Uruguayans surround the Italian referee complaining that it was a goal but it remains 1-0 and the Scots are lucky to get by the skin of their teeth there.

The final whistle blows and Scotland have finished the top of their group and into the Quarter-Final. The South Americans leave the pitch in disgust while the crowd applaud the Scottish players in their remarkable win over the World Champions. Later on to make matters worse for Uruguay, in the other group game with Austria and Czechoslovakia ended with the Austrians winning 5-0 and with them snatching the second spot in the group on goal difference and sending the World Champions out of the World Cup. Scotland would not only get their revenge but also top a World Cup group for the first time and little do they know who lies in wait in the knockout phase. Though trouble still lingers with Beattie and the SFA...

1954 ALT 1.png

Final results of Scotland's group at the 1954 World Cup

Away from Scotland, the English were gearing up for their games and while in contrast the rather chaotic drama that happened behind the scenes, the English preparation was far more ordinally with no real drama to speak of with all the expected players to be counted for though there was a lot of pressure on the team to do well. After the farce of losing the United States and failing to get out of the group in the first round in 1950, many expected England to do far better here an with all that had been learnt from that last adventure in a World Cup. Their secret weapon? The lightweight kits and boots.

First up for the English would be the Belgians and on paper one would think that it would be an easy one for England to win, that said in front of a crowd of over fourteen thousand on a hot sunny day in Basel, England got off to the worst possible start in when Anoul would score for Belgium after just five minutes of play at there might have been a sense England were about to face further embarrassment at the World Cup. It would be until the twenty-six minute when Broadis would score to get England back into the game before Lofthouse would add England's second just ten minutes later to complete the turn around and that score line would remain that way as half time appeared and surely England were on course to win.

In the sixty-third minute, Broadis would score his second and England's third and surely there was no way back for Belgium but Coppens would get a goal back in the sixty seventh minute which caused some doubt in the English minds and this would prove to be fatal as a few minutes after that, Anoul would pop up again to score Belgium's third and complete the turn around for them in a truly mad game which after ninety minutes would end at 3-3 and move into extra-time.


England vs Belgium in their opening match at the 1954 World Cup

Within just a minute of extra time, it wouldn't take long until England scored the fourth goal thanks to Lofthouse and there would be another goal scored by another English the wrong net. Dickinson would blow the chance for England to win the match as the game would ultimately end with the score level at 4-4 with a point shared between the two sides and for England, it wasn't the start they wanted.

Next up for England was the hosts Switzerland in Bern and a passionate crowd was there to cheer on the Swiss which also threaten to blow the myth of the Swiss being a gentle and neutral nation out of the water. The English were needing a win from the game to have any chance of going through and fortunately in a rather more comfortable game with the English, they would beat the hosts 2-0 thanks to goals from Mullen and Wilshaw to ultimately win the group and confine the hosts to a play-off with the Italians to fight it out to finish in second place though it would be a happier ending for the hosts as they smacked Italy into the ground 4-1.

Nonetheless for England, they had won the group to qualify for the last eight and that along showed everyone that this was a vastly improved England that hadn't made a fool of themselves in Brazil like last time, then again despite coming out on top in the group there were still not feeling easy about things if that Belgium game was anything to go by letting a lead slip like that.

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Final results of England's group at the 1954 World Cup
With both British sides having made it to the knockout stage for the first time in either of their history, there was a great deal of excitement of who might they both face though neither quite expected what the fixture was going to be that would have made much of the British public turn their heads when they heard the news...

And so here we are in Switzerland and results are similar in the old TL though a few changes here and there and more to follow! Now, on to the fixture list for the last eight as it stands:
West Germany vs Yugoslavia

Austria vs Switzerland

Hungary vs Brazil

Scotland vs England
Hmm, I wonder what game catches my eye... ;) Until then, please comment and see you later!
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Chapter 3: Bragging Rights
Chapter 3
Bragging Rights

A day after Scotland's victory over Uruguay in their final group game, June 20th, one would have thought that were would happy celebrations in Basel's Grand Hotel, where the Scotland team was based, over the fact that not only had they beaten the World Champions but also had made the second round for the first time. Things however were more lukewarm to say the least. Scotland manager Andy Beattie would hope that the victory would help improve his image with the SFA members in which it had been well documented both in the camp and the handful of journalists following the team that the relationship between Beattie and the SFA was a hostile one over Beattie complaining about the various foolish and naïve handling of Scotland's preparations during this World Cup that was a bad as something akin to a local pub team.

While in the wake of the victory things were indeed less hostile but nonetheless there was a sense of arrogance from the SFA committee in which whenever anything went right they took the credit and when it all went wrong, Beattie would end up being the scapegoat they could throw under the bus. It was starting to dawn on the poor manager as he sat in his hotel bedroom reading a newspaper that had been shipped over which mainly went into detail over their victory over the World Champions and also was talking about today's upcoming game with England and hosts Switzerland in which it stated a win for the Auld Enemy would see them also through to the last eight. Come to think of it as it was nearing into the evening, the game must have been played by now and with no knowledge of what was going on he did wonder how well England had done in their game.

As he thought about more, Beattie began to feel a sense of jealously for his English counterpart, Walter Winterbottom, and felt that the FA were likely not given him as such as a hard time as he was getting and the Scotland manager began to reflect over the last few days which for anyone might have been enough to put anyone off football in terms of how the game was run. Times were changing yet the governors of the Scottish game seemed blind to this change that was coming down at them like a speeding train.

Snapshot of Beattie in somewhat happier times prior to the World Cup

Beattie sighs sadly as he puts the newspaper to one side before reaching over to his bedside desk to grab his cup of tea and drink it. He starts to wonder that even if he does by some incredible good fortune win the World Cup, he has the sense of dread that that good for nothing SFA committee will brag on about that it had been all down to them when truth be told they had been the problem to give Scotland a nearly ropey preparation. Most of the anger had been directed at SFA chairman George Graham in which four years ago, his own hubris had it not been for Scotland's victory over England at Hampden Park would had prevented Scotland playing in Brazil and who knows how history would have gone now.

If the debacle of the SFA taking their wives over players needed to start at the World Cup, another argument was over the formation of how Scotland should line up to play and how the SFA were left unhappy at how Beattie had set them up to sit it out rather than attack despite Beattie's tactics helping Scotland to advance. The amount of meddling from that good for nothing select committee were enough to drive anyone mad and how Beattie had not lost his mind by now was a minor miracle.

As he looked out of his window which has a wonderful view overlooking the city and the river Rhine, he begins to wonder what will happen after the World Cup is over. Even if Scotland go on to win it which no doubt would help give Beattie an stay of extension on the job, does he want to put up with more tomfoolery from the SFA or grin and bear it? Just then an excited knock is heard at the door and Beattie gets up to answer it.

"Alright I'm coming," he groans as he opens the door, there he is greeted by Bobby Evans and George Young. The Celtic and Rangers defenders respectably are standing there in the doorway looking like kids at Christmas time yet Beattie seems unaware of what's happening. "What is it?"

"Have you heard the news?" Evans asks excitedly.

Beattie's eyebrows furrow in thought. "What news?"

George Young answers the question for his manager. "The England result, they won 2-0 against Switzerland!"

Beattie looked visibly confused; though he now knows the result of that match, he doesn't understand why his payers would be quite happy to see the English do well. "What's this got to do with us?"

"Everything!" Evans exclaims. "They are in the Quarter-final, to face us!"

"Also the game will be here in Basel!" Young adds, "we can beat them!"

Beattie then realises the gravity of the situation. For the first time ever, Scotland and England will face each other not on British soil but here on the continent and in a World Cup knockout match in which the winner will play the Semi-Finals and will claim bragging rights like no other. With that said though, Beattie leads the two players into the room and they sit down on two chairs nearby the bed while the manager sits himself down on the bed.

"Well, this is quite something," Beattie mutters as he nods his head, "what does everyone else think?"

"What'd you think? They're all buzzing down there," Young explains though pauses as another thoughts dawns on him. "Did...did no one tell you sooner?"

"The SFA you mean?" Beattie replied raising an eyebrow. "Nothing. Where are they anyway?"

A pause follows between the two players until Evans speaks up. "They're all downsides on the dancefloor with their wives enjoying the moment...Oh no, I'm sorry."


Evans (left) and Young (right) during some less troubled times with Scotland

That does it. Beattie shouldn't really be surprised of not hearing anything from his bosses yet the vision in his mind of those arrogant buffoons, especially that George Graham, having a party with their wives, the ones the SFA selectors wanted to take instead of players, was the final straw for Beattie. He was silent for a while just nodding and then said those fateful words.

"I quit. Can't stand those idiots, especially that George! I swear they're trying to ruin our chances in this World Cup, I've had it up to hear with them!"

The two players were stunned at his resignation, though truth be told after seeing how strained things were between Beattie and the SFA, they should have all seen this coming a mile off; it had only been a matter of time until the manager finally threw the towel in. That said, the two Scotland players weren't going to let him go so easily mainly of who they would be facing in the Quarter-finals.

"We understand sir," Young replied nodding sadly. "But you can't leave now, we've got a big game tomorrow against England. Can't leave now with that coming up so soon."

Evans chimes in with, "Can't blame though for wanting to go though. Why did they only want to bring thirteen players for this trip while everyone other team had like twenty two players?"

Beattie sighs. "They said it was 'money problems', all it was is that they thought it was the bright idea taking their wives, pet goldfish and mistresses with them thinking it'll be a wee summer jolly out in Switzerland, the dafties. Even after I convinced them to bring a full squad, they weren't happy at splashing out more money saying they have little money when you make a fair bit of bob from qualifying, so what are they playing at then? Oh God, you see why I don't want to deal with this."

"Look, please just stay on for at least after this World Cup has ended, please," Young pleads to the manager.

"Face it, we need you right now," Evans adds. "Like it or not, we need you for this game. If we lose wherever it's here, the Semi or even the final, then you can go. Just not now, we'll promise not to say anything to the rest of the team as if you went now they'd be chaos in the camp."

Beattie sighs and looks round at the pleading looks of his players, as much as he hates the head honchos in the SFA, both Young and Evans are correct as in that he can't walk now with a game within a few days and that he can't leave the players hanging like this when they need a leader. The manager sighs and rubs his forehead in thought.

"Alright, I'll stay for now," Beattie admits. "Just promise you won't tell anyone about this. For now, enjoy the evening."

The two players leave on good terms and keep the promise as to not let the word get out to the rest of the team and the SFA and wouldn't be a few decades later as what transpired in that hotel room in Basel. In the meantime though many Scot were licking their lips at the prospect of facing England in a World Cup, the only one who perhaps wasn't so celebratory was Beatie himself in which his mind was running off in many directions. But in that hotel room almost immediately, Beattie started planning his tactics and formation for the England game, even if his methods would anger the SFA.

June 26th 1954, a corridor of two teams line up as the prepare to head out to play a game of football. One team is dressed with white shirts, navy blue shorts and white socks, the other team is dressed in dark navy shirts with white shorts and socks; both types of kits and shoes just so happen to be different from what British sides would wear interestingly enough. They are England and Scotland respectably and are the oldest two footballing nations in the world. Although they have faced of each other many times before in the British Championship, this certain game isn't part of that and is in fact something of arguably greater importance.

Andy Beattie, Scotland's first full time manager casts a glancing eye over at his English counterpart, Walter Winterbottom and the two men give each other a knowing smile at how they managed to get this far and how a quirk of fate has brought the two teams together.

"Fancy seeing you here," Beattie says.

"You too," Winterbottom replies. "You have to say this isn't like back home, this whole thing is truly something else."

"Aye true," Beattie nods before going quiet again.

He won't lie, but there is tension in that corridor as they all wait to head out onto the pitch. Of course these England/Scotland games have always been about build up and bragging rights being at stake, but the game in question is a knock out game. No second chances, just a one off were only one team can go through to the last four of the World Cup.

The players especially know this, many of which are veterans of these sort of games, but know that at the end of the day, they'll either be heroes or villains by the time this game is over. Some of the players are jogging on the spot as they wait impatiently for Carl Erich Steiner, the Austria referee for this game, to lead the teams out. The nature of these games means that often players from the same club would be playing against each other and this game is no exception with Scottish Defender Tommy Docherty looking over at his Preston North End teammate Tom Finney and wonders to himself how'll they get on after this match is over when they return home to their club.

Finally after what seems like ages, the referee motions the teams to come forward and move out onto the stadium and awaiting crowd.

"Good luck," Tom Finney suddenly calls out to Docherty, who mutters his best wishes to his teammate as they walk out.

As the teams step out into the open, they are greeted by a crowd of thirty thousand souls. A small crowd than what both teams are use to when either playing at Wembley or Hampden Park, but the thing is, this isn't either of those stadiums. The game itself isn't even be played anywhere in the British Isles but rather in the unlikely surroundings of the St. Jakob Stadium in Basel, Switzerland where the crowd isn't all waving Union flags, Scottish Saltires or Lion Ramparts but is rather filled with curious locals with some smatterings of the occasional British supporter scattered around in the crowd.


Scotland and England players emerge from the tunnel to take on each other in Basel for their Quarter-final tie

The day itself saw not just this Quarter-final but another taking place of being two sets of close boarder rivalry countries. The first being Switzerland vs. Austria over in Lausanne and the other one here in Basel being Scotland vs. England, though the latter was the one many in Britain was wanting to watch. Not only would this be the first encounter between the two nations away from the British Isles, but also the first true competitive encounter between then that wasn't related to the British Home Championship and one that FIFA and UEFA recognised, the later part being something that annoyed both teams that after playing against each other so many times that only now they'd even notice.

That all said, the news of the encounter brought many folk to make the journey to Switzerland by either flying or driving the whole way and some even hitchhike their way across the continent to support their respected teams. However in the city of Basel, both sets of supporters have to quite literally support each other as they try to make their way through a strange land that is unknown to either supporter.

Nonetheless, a large crowd inside the St Jakob Stadium made up of mostly Swiss with motley groups of English and Scottish supporters scattered around the stadium, with millions more back home listening nervously to their radios at what might happen, leads to a strange atmosphere and setting that neither team are familiar with. Carl Erich Steiner, the Austrian referee for this game, blows his whistle and Scotland start the game with the first kick off and the two teams begin to battle over who not only gets bragging rights, but a place in the Semi-final.

The two teams have gotten use about wearing their lightweight kits and comfy footwear which not only leads to a very exciting opening few minutes in the game with the action going from end to end, but has proven to be useful as it is a balmy hot summer afternoon at temperatures in which the last thing you'd want to do is play football. But that's what you have to play through if you want to win the World Cup.

For the English, they know they have to be careful as the Scots will want to win this, especially as for the Scots, the memories of the 4-2 home defeat by England in the Home Championship is still fresh in their minds and they'll want revenge. After ten minutes, the game remains goalless and the British press sitting in the press box begin to wonder who will break the deadlock with many of them keeping one eye on the game and the other in their notebooks writing down moments in the game, though the latter part has very little to report on for a while until the sixteenth minute when Tommy Docherty brings down his Preston teammate Tom Finney and the referee calls for a free kick for England. The two men look at each other knowing that pride is at stake and that anything to do at Preston North End is out of the window for now. Jimmy Dickinson takes the free kick and despite Dennis Wilshaw's best efforts, the ball goes past the post and out for a goal kick.

The game carries on at a cautious pace with the Swiss crowd, after hearing from their British visitors of how special this game really is back home, are so far left unimpressed of how much of the game has started to lose it's spark from it's promising start. Both English and Scottish supporters start chanting to try and lift their players and get a goal and the mostly Swiss crowd are perhaps more interested in hearing the news as to what is going on with Switzerland's match with rivals Austria in which news filters through by the twenty first minute of the game that the Swiss have gone 3-0 up in that game and probably wished they'd gone to that game instead of this one.

Both managers are seen with their arms crossed while both thinking of a plan to get something out of this game, it hasn't been a difficult start for both managers. The twenty eighth minute then has Doug Cowie, the hero in Scotland's last game, attempts to back pass the ball to Allan Brown waiting to catch it, however Cowie's pass is too slow and it is quickly caught by Roger Byrne and runs with it to get it out off the English half and attempts to take a long kick, however he is quickly caught by Scotland captain George Young who takes him out in a well timed tackle and kicks it back to Brown and volleys into the top right corner of the net out of Gil Merrick's clutches and putting the Scots up 1-0 and breaking the deadlock.


Young as he helps give Scotland the lead

The small Scottish entourage in the crowd, dressed with their tartan scarfs and tammy hats, celebrate wildly at getting ahead of their English rivals. Walter Winterbottom yells at his players to get back into the game while Andy Beattie yells out to keep it together. Despite going a goal down, the English don't lose confidence and immediately start to fight back and the Scottish players still look like they are already thinking of the Semi-final much to Beattie's annoyance.

"Focus!" He cries out to them hoping they snap out of their trance.

England start to torment the Scottish defensive and seven minutes after that first goal, Finney misses a great chance to get England level, but instead it is caught by the hands of Scottish Goalkeeper Fred Martin. After his goal kick the game becomes a Midfield battle with both teams trying to get a hold of the ball, Sammy Cox attempts to pass the ball to George Young to get it to safety but he miscalculates his kick and it flies off to his left and right into the path of Dickenson who goes on the run with it before taking a long kick with the ball and finding the feet of Finney and this time getting it right by scoring a screamer that makes the game 1-1 in the thirty second minute.

The travelling English supporters are delighted with the response from their team and now the Swiss begin to see what their British visitors are on about with this certain game, though many Swiss are probably more interested in knowing what's going on in the other game with their team and Austria, that game by the fortieth minute as news gets round is that the Austrians are leading 5-4 in a crazy game.

This game though has now started to light up and the travelling supporters feel grateful that the trip feels like it has been worth it and those listening back home on Radio will have to wonder what's happening. The forty-third minute approaches and England are awarded a corner kick which they quickly take, many of the players jump up trying to direct the ball in and one player does get it in the direction he wants being Ivor Broadis, who scored at Hampden Park not long ago, headers in the ball to make the score 2-1 for England, a truly amazing comeback to say the least though perhaps nowhere near the performance in that other Quarter-final.

After some more pressing from the English forward line, the Austrian referee blows his whistle to end the first half as the players head off to the dressing rooms. Andy Beattie looks up at where the SFA selectors are and gives them a glare, they are like vultures waiting for an chance to pounce on him. He has to somehow turn this game around or else this'll be his last game as Scotland manager.

The second half kicks off and the crowd hope for another exciting half and that's what they get. The Scots surprise the English by taking the game to them and seem to play the game with more purpose with the English now looking uncomfortable as the second half goes on and the Scottish start to push the English back and suddenly they find themselves with their backs against the wall.

Scotland look like a team free from their shackles which is perhaps not a bad way of describing things as their lightweight boots are making the team play well and this would not have been possible if they they still had those heavy leather boots from years ago. An example of how many things were changing in the world of football if people liked it or not.

Despite this good work after nearly ten minutes of the second half gone, England have just about held firm and Scotland have been unable to break the deadlock despite their pressing play. Copland then attempts a dummy shot over Brown which confuses the English defensive and volleys a shot into the top left corner and putting the Scots back into the game at 2-2 in the fifty-ninth minute.

The Scottish supporters in the crowd celebrate though their cheers turn into cries of anguish when the goal is ruled offside by some Spanish linesman and boos ring out from them. The English know that they have been giving a let off and that moment for better or for worse depending on who you ask sparks England into attacking again and tables are soon turned with the Scots now finding themselves on the backfoot.


The all British encounter in Switzerland
The afternoon sun is now having an effect on both teams and many mistakes begin to happen with many bad touches happening and some truly woeful finishing from both teams to try and get a goal makes for a rather painful viewing experience for those in the crowd; probably a good example of why playing football in the middle of summer is not quite a good idea for the British sides in the World Cup.

While listening across Great Britain would be told on radio of how thrilling the game was by the commenter for the BBC, those in the stadium would tell a different story of two teams who by the seventy-ninth minute looked weary, tired and for from being the masters of the game as the Swiss had been told; like that scene of the film The Wizard of Oz in which the great and all knowing wizard is revealed to be anything but just that.

Scotland despite now facing a very likely elimination with now less than ten minutes to go from the World Cup at the hands of England, they are awarded a free kick just thirty yards outside the penalty box and a chance to get back on level terms. Allan Brown stands over the ball ready to take it and with a blast on the referee's whistle, he sends it over to Cowie before he decides to take it himself to blast it at full power upwards past Merrick's clutches. But this does not turn out to be Scotland's day at all as though the ball does look set to go in, it clatters on the crossbar and bounces out and over for England to take a goal kick.

This proves to be fatal for Scotland as before long and without getting another chance and with both teams now dead on their feet thanks to the blazing heat in Basel, the Austrian referee blows his whistle with the game ending in a 2-1 victory for England and it would be them to claim the bragging rights and move onwards to the last four. The small number of England fans in the stadium charge on to the pitch to celebrate with their heroes for reaching the Semi-finals for the first time as both players exchange pleasantries with good lucks and the hope to see each other soon at club level with both teams later standing to attention at the end of the game to hear God Save The Queen being played. The news though of the final score in the other Quarter-Final being a crazy 7-5 score for Austria over hosts Switzerland might have dampened the spirt of the Swiss crowd here though.

The end of the game also has another somewhat downbeat ending for one Andy Beattie; he would follow on his word that if he lost he would resign and shortly after the match, he would announce this to the SFA. To show how things had gotten so strained between them is that the SFA had absolutely no trouble about him going, almost if they had been wanting this all along, with the entire resignation all happening in less than a minute.

For being Scotland's first manager to take Scotland at a World Cup, he would though sadly be looked on as nothing more than mere footnote in Scottish football history though for Beattie he wouldn't mind this. Though his life wouldn't quite the same again after his Swiss adventure, he would later enjoying a more peaceful life in his semi-detached house in Huddersfield with no overbearing SFA breathing down his neck.

Now all that was left in the tournament, as far as the British public was concerned, was England and Beattie may had wonder how England were going to perform in the last four...

And that's that, England move onto the last four and here is the fixtures:
West Germany vs Austria

Hungary vs England
So what'd you think and what else would you like to see in this TL that the old one didn't have? Always love to hear what you all have to say! :) Until then, catch you all later.
Interesting to see if constant competition with a better Scotland could force England to tactically adapt, and the same for Scotland in reverse.

Perhaps England won't be so utterly embarrassed by Puskas in the future - then again, he was a generational talent.
Interesting to see if constant competition with a better Scotland could force England to tactically adapt, and the same for Scotland in reverse.

Perhaps England won't be so utterly embarrassed by Puskas in the future - then again, he was a generational talent.
I do feel that better competition against each other would make not only each other better but also it would spread into the rest of British football such as for Wales and Northern Ireland. The butterfly effect will happen more such as we get into the 1960's here.
I do feel that better competition against each other would make not only each other better but also it would spread into the rest of British football such as for Wales and Northern Ireland. The butterfly effect will happen more such as we get into the 1960's here.
Interesting to see if this spreads into club football, England also had a lot of good players in the late 50s... till the crash happened. Honestly one of the worst moments in English football history, alongside things like Hillsborough
Chapter 4: Another Rout
Chapter 4: Another Rout
Prior to the 1950 World Cup, England might have thought that they were rightly the masters of the beautiful game and that nothing could stop them...that though would be brought to a shuddering halt when the English suffered defeats to Chile and one now infamous result against the United States. Both of these games were 1-0 losses and as bad as they were, they would end up being nothing in comparison as what was to follow England in 1953 when they face a Hungary team was was considered by many as the greatest team in the world at Wembley. What followed was a nasty shock for the English as they lost 6-3 with not only the English tactics for the game being considered out of date but also that the Hungarians had decided to use lightweight boots that both the FA and SFA had considered adopting following their experience in Brazil and this result would ultimately force the FA to go for it.

To say England received a football teaching was pretty much an understatement, but they were wanting to lay down so easily after what happened and just a year later and prior to the start of this World Cup, England travelled to Hungary in the hope of avenging the defeat at Wembley. However with England still going with the same formation and with the FA foolishly thinking the heavy defeat was a one off, disaster was to follow England in Budapest in which they would suffer their heaviest defeat as they were destroyed 7-1 and in the wake of that defeat, it was finally accepted that English football was no more the best in the world and serious changes had to be made if they wanted to be on top again.

Much of this failure weighed heavily on England's manager Walter Winterbottom who had the misfortune of overseeing those two horrendous defeats though he had felt he had been hamstrung by the FA in which though he was the manager he was often finding himself not able to put out the team he wanted as often the FA select committee would more often than not would try to increase their influence and he would never put out the team he wanted. This wasn't help that though many saw him as some upper class arrogant person that could never inspire the more working class England players, he was though very much aware of how far football was being developed on the continent and in South America and that England were in danger of being left behind if they didn't adapt.

His warnings, as demonstrated in the two Hungarian defeats, were ignored and in some ways he felt vindicated of being of being proven right though it had come a rather humiliating cost. Nonetheless his main objective in this World Cup was to do better than what happened out in Brazil was a pretty low bar to begin with but so far it had been a successful run in Switzerland in which not only had they won the group they were in and had sent home the Scots in the Quarter-finals, a game in which the English would gain the bragging rights, to make it to the Semi-finals for the first time.


Winterbottom and the players

It was all looking good and Winterbottom might have suspected that many across England were delighted with the progress of how far they had come and now they were only one victory away from reaching the final which would be either Austria or West Germany; both teams that England felt they could defeat on paper. That was all well and good if not for one problem that would be standing in their way in Lausanne's Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, the problem was to to be that team again, Hungary. In day after England's victory over Scotland in the Quarter-Final, Winterbottom would find out the following day that Hungary would be their Semi-Final opponents following their defeat of Brazil in their respected Quarter-Final and it was fair to say that he, and perhaps millions more across the country, weren't looking forward to have to lock horns with Hungary once again with the trauma of that humiliating defeat in Budapest just over a month ago. Surely things could only get better?

The bus journey to the stadium was quite a strange one as it wasn't like a joyful experience as if they were all on some holiday and not for some game in which England were just a game away from reaching the final but rather they all knew what they were up against as there were several in that England team that had been on the receiving end of both defeats and suffering a third at the hands of the Hungarians was the last thing they would want. Glancing out of the window, Winterbottom could see various groups of English supporters walking to the stadium with their Union Jack flags and there was a sense that many were going into this game with hope rather than expectation.

It was fair to say that even the English press were not thinking that England could do it and for good reason not because of recent experience but that the Hungarians were clearly the favourites having gone through this World Cup so far unbeaten. With the likely thought that neither Austria or West Germany would be able to defeat either England or Hungary in the final whoever got there then is was considered that this game would be the real final. Who would win? All would be found out soon enough...

Compared to the Quarter-final and the hot sunshine that day, the heavens had opened up and it was pouring down and all around the stadium, the crowds were trying their best to keep shelter either from umbrellas, rain jackets or anything they could use to keep dry. It wouldn't far off the mark for the England team if the bad weather was very much like the summer back home and it felt like an occasion weather wise similar to the British Home Championship; maybe that could work in the team's favour?

From a blast from the referee's whistle, who just so happened to be a Welshman of all people, the game began and despite England now wearing the lightweight kits and boots worn by their Hungarian counterparts and having learnt much from the early encounters, the Hungarians are still the more powerful looking side who show no sign of letting England get any foothold in the match. It becomes clear from the start that England are hoping to try and nullify any Hungarian attack and soak up the pressure as the best they could do.

At first it seems to be working and the small number of English supporters in the stadium find their voice are enjoying themselves and don't seem to care about the pouring rain. But all things come to an end and any plan the English had to try and get the better of the opponents goes off the rails early on when Zoltán Czibor fires in the opening goal to give Hungary the lead after just a mere thirteen minutes. No the start England would have wanted.


Early encounters between England and Hungary in the Semi-Final
Despite being 1-0 down, England do not buckle and despite this early set back, they keep to their game plan and are doing what they can to keep the Hungarians out from scoring what would be a second goal which everyone knows should that happen, England would be on the edge of elimination. For the next ten minutes or so after that opening goal, England have been forced into their own half with no way out as Hungary are determined to find the second goal and from the England bench, Winterbottom watches on with more hope than expectation as it becomes clear just how relentless this Hungarian team is and seem to show no sign of letting off.

Towards the end of the first half, the game always becomes quite foul ridden in which one example happens in the thirty-third minute in which Hidegkuti has the ball and is rushing towards the box and is brought down by Billy Wright who stops yet another Hungarian attack yet at the cost of awarding Hungary a freekick. The following freekick is fired over the England wall but is saved by England keeper Gilbert Merrick quite easily and quickly lobs the ball up the field in which the ball is taken by Jimmy Dickinson and England are now on the counter and the English supporters start to make noise that they sense something is about to happen; it does.

The thirty-sixth minute would finally turn the game on it's head in which from that counter, Dickinson threads the ball over towards Lofthouse in the centre of the field and quickly before any Hungarian defender can stop him, he blasts home a thirty yard rocket towards the Hungarian goal and stuns the favourites by putting England back on level terms and that becomes the moment in which England show their opponents that they aren't going to let Hungary roll them over like before and from the bench, Winterbottom can't help but leap up from the bench and celebrate not at the fact they have scored but at the fact that his game plan is working and the first half would end at 1-1 with perhaps England leaving the field the more happier of the two but all could still change for the second half...

At the start of the second half, the weather has started to ease off but it is still not a nice day here in Lausanne and the wet pitch has made things quite eventful it must be said for both teams and it is unknown which side would like this weather more. The one thing that Winterbottom would remember from that had nothing to do with the game was something he saw up in the stands behind him in which was an FA committee member, a rather large fellow it must be said, who was tucking into a large slice of Victoria cake with a flask of tea along with it and, rather quite cruelly Winterbottom felt, some poor assistant was holding up up a black umbrella for the man as he gorged on his picnic.

Something about that seemed to express a sense of either arrogance, foolishness, out of touch or all the above about how the FA seemed to treat the whole thing as a jolly boy's outing when in truth here was the England football team trying to win the World Cup for Queen and country. That itself would end up being the least of Winterbottom's concerns and it became clear that Hungary had been given a strong team talk at half time and this time were looking more stronger in this second half as they zipped the ball around the field with hardly an English player getting a foot on the ball.

England try to sit back and defend as best they can but Hungary don't take long to cause England to go behind yet again in the forty-eighth minute comes around from a corner for Hungary and it seems to be a well trained move as Sándor Kocsis jumps higher than the other English players and headers it in to put them 2-1 lead. While to most neutrals, it seems that Hungary probably deserves the lead yet for the English contingent in that stadium, there are fears now this could get worse from losing a goal early on.


Hungary getting the better of England during the start of the second half

The poor English players can't seem to put their passing game into play as the Hungarians seem to stop any chance England seem to try out, they are looking like a team that is on the verge of collapse. This proves to be fatal as again, the men in maroon prove their dominance as after a brief strong defence from England trying to prevent a floor of goals from crashing into the Enlgish goals, Puskás attacks again in the fifty-seventh minute with the ball hitting the left hand goal post before it bounces into the back of the net and there is nothing that Merrick can do to keep it out.

To their dismay, England are down 3-1 with much of the second half still yet to play and the small number of English supporters in the crowd are so gutted they can't seem to find the voice to jeer their team's performance, though truth be told, there was a sense that this English team was always going to be up against it no matter how good England were going to be on their day. England by the seventy-third minute begin to realise that this game is now out of their reach and fouls begin to happen more out of frustration but neither seems to help them in trying to stop this rampant Hungary side.

Winterbottom from the bench can only sink back place his head in his hand at how everything has gone horribly wrong for his team and can only hope things don't get worse...they do though. The seventy-eighth minute would have Puskás strike home Hungary's fourth goal and that was surely the moment for any lingering hope England might had have for them to cause to shock to finally be snuffed out.


England getting battered by Hungary with the score at 4-1

Thankfully, there is some consolation for the English as Ivor Broadis would fire home a late goal in the eighty-first minute to make the score line look less embarrassing for England but it would prove to be the only good thing to come out for the English next to the final whistle which the final score ends with Hungary winning the game deservedly 4-2 and no one could argue that the better team won and will now move onwards to the final to face West Germany for a rematch of their Group stage match.

Once again it is a third straight defeat for England against Hungary and while credit had to be given for the English for putting on a more developed performance that was nowhere near a disaster like the other two, it was still a sore one to take and as the small number of disappointed English supporters left the stadium, some had to wonder with how well England were defeated like that if they would ever see nation that brought football to the world would ever claim it's crown again?

England though did have one contest to play in for this World Cup which was the Third-Place game with Austria, a game that several felt that England can surely at least end on a high with a victory there, especially after hearing that Austria were utterly destroyed by West Germany 6-1. That would end up being a big disappointment for all as from early on the first half, Austria took a shock lead and ended up playing for the most part of the defence as England tried and ultimately failed to find a goal and ended up losing 1-0 and if that wasn't kick in the teeth for the English then who knows what would be worse? The following day, England prepared to take a flight back home which curiously enough would be on the same day as the final.


The England team as they prepare to leave the country

The flight home however was delayed to leave and the England team would end up having to stay a few more hours which wasn't all that bad as in the airport they could listen on the many radios blaring around the place of the final taking place which would end up being a shocking result in which no expected at a plucky West Germany ended up defeating the much fancied Hungarians to lift the World Cup. There would be a sense among the players in which if they had defeated Hungary, would they had suffered the same humiliation as them in the final?

On the other hand, the England's main hope was to try and do better than the disaster of their Brazilian adventure and in many was by not only getting out of the group stage but with a victory over the Scots and making it to the last four, one would say that the team had done just that and in truth they could build on this to go on the better things with now the aim likely was to try and reach the final for the next World Cup in four years time.

It was also that day during their delayed departure in which Winterbottom would have a chance encounter with a Swiss businessman who was apparently going to be on the same flight back to London and much like everyone else had nothing else to do other than get to know each other until they would be able to board the flight. The Swiss man would end up saying that he felt some sympathy for the English team and the man would tell Winterbottom about flight safety being as he had a lot experience of being once involved in the aircraft industry. One crucial advice he'd give for any nervous flyer is to sit closer to the front rather than the back as the closer to the front you sat the better.

This might all seem like a strange footnote in small tales evolving the England team but with hindsight proved to be utterly crucial in what would happen next a few years later. Winterbottom wouldn't exactly know how important the advice he learnt was to be but that is another story. England and Scotland would both play a part in the 1958 World Cup, but this time they wouldn't be the only British teams at that tournament...

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Final results of the Knockout stage of the 1954 World Cup

There we are, final update for 1954. Not the best update I've done but I wanted to get this up and things will get more exciting for 1958 as this is where the butterflies will really kick in. How'd you think the Home Nations will get on in 1958? Will they do better or worse than OTL and how different will results be here? Find out next time as we head to Sweden in 1958!
Chapter 5: Out Of The Ashes - 1958 World Cup
Chapter 5
Out Of The Ashes


Four years after Switzerland hosted the tournament, the 1958 edition would take place in Sweden and once again there would be a British presence there. However, it wouldn't be restricted to just England and Scotland being the British representatives this time; as a matter of fact the British Championship for the 1957-58 season would not be used as a qualifying group and thus all four British teams would have to qualify via playing teams on the continent to book their place in Sweden. This was a sign to the rest of the world that the British teams had well and truly ended their isolation from the rest of the world as it were.

Along with England and Scotland who qualified with ease, Northern Ireland and Wales would make their debut for the tournament with the Irish memorably defeated the Italians in qualification in Belfast to deny them a place in Sweden and they would become the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup. Wales at first weren't so lucky as they ended up finishing second in their group behind Czechoslovakia and would have been made the only British team not to qualify if it weren't from an unlikely source in the form of Israel.

Israel had something of a rough period to try and qualify in which at first they were drawn to play Turkey but the latter refused for political reasons and so they were drawn to play Sudan but they too refused for political reasons; the Suez crises still lingered in the minds of many, especially in those Arab countries. Israel would be thrown around to play either Uruguay or Italy and then finally Belgium, all of which refused to play them. So who would? FIFA would finally ask the Welsh if they were interested and with them desperate to qualify, they didn't need asking twice and over a two legged play off, Wales would beat Israel 4-0 on aggerate and would book their place to confirm for the first time all four British home nations to take part in a tournament.


Programme of the second leg of the Play-Off between Wales and Israel

With this exciting fact and with all teams considered to be decent to have a shot of glory, the British press machine would've been surely having a field day on proudly predicting that the World Cup would be heading back to the United Kingdom and show the world that Britain was king of football once again. Alas as the old saying goes, things can be all too good to be true and this would become apparent in the most tragic circumstances. On February 6th, tragedy struck the England team in Munich where the Manchester United team were on their way home from a European Cup tie when their plane crashed shortly after take off due to slush on the runway. Of the forty four that were there on that flight, twenty two would lose their lives either players, crew members and journalists. Matt Busby's team, a team that he had built raised to become a powerful football force over several years, was practically destroyed.

For England, the consequences were devastating. They were weakened by the loss of two international players, Tommy Taylor and Roger Byrne, both of whom would have likely played a part in the 1958 World Cup had they lived. From this horror, there was one ray of hope from those who survived and who many hoped would play a part for England; Duncan Edwards. Although he was injured in the crash, he managed to survive his ordeal and was shaken by the ordeal and took the death of those, mainly his teammates, who died greatly. That said, his injuries would mean that he would end up missing the rest of the season for Manchester United, though would end taking part with the England team in Sweden despite many saying that he wasn't fully fit to play in the World Cup.

His survival was by pure chance thanks to some words of advice from England manager Walter Winterbottom in which the England manager had mentioned to him that when the England team were about to leave Switzerland at the last World Cup, some of the players, as well as Winterbottom, weren't confident flyers but a Swiss businessman had mentioned that sitting at the front of the plane would be more safer than sitting at the back. Wherever or not this certain person knew how much this advice would proved to be crucial with hindsight, Edwards would take this advice whenever he flew and for that certain flight he would sit near the front while many of his teammates went to the back, a choice that was to have fatal consequences for them as several of those players would die. Edwards made it out but it was a terrible loss for him to deal with for many years to come.


Edwards (on the ball) during less horrifying times in 1955 against Scotland

But it wasn't England were affected by this; as a matter of fact the other Home Nations were affected by the crash. Scotland were rocked by it too as prior to the World Cup, Manchester United's manager Matt Busby had been appointed as the new Scotland head coach on a part time basis and was indeed the right man to guide Scotland to take part in the World Cup. The crash however had injured him and it was a worry that his injuries were that bad that Dawson Walker, the trainer for Scotland, would have to manage the team in Sweden. But spurred on by the determination by Edwards, Busby made a recovery with just days before the tournament would start, but like Edwards and the rest of the Manchester United players, he was shaken by the disaster.

Northern Ireland's connection to the disaster was by Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg who would be one of the lucky survivors from the crash. It would be well documented that Gregg would end up becoming a hero ('The hero of Munich' he would be called by some) that day as despite having injuries of his own, he would escape from where he was trapped in the cabin and would end up saving many from the wreckage which included several of his teammates. His goalkeeping efforts had been crucial in getting his country to qualify for their first tournament and few Northern Irish fans dread to think what might have been had things been different...

Wales' connection to all of this may had not anyone of Welsh connection there for the disaster yet there was a cruel twist in which Wales' victory over Israel in the second leg would happen just a day before the disaster took place and this would affect their manager Jimmy Murphy who not was the Welsh manager but was also the assistant manager for Manchester United and with Busby being unable to manage due to his injuries, he would end up having to manage the team in his absence. There was a feeling Murphy would feel later on that things happen for a reason for had not Wales been made to play in that play-off which made him unable to join the United team for that flight then it was likely that Murphy would had suffered a terrible fate.

The Welsh team on their arrival in Sweden prior to the start of the World Cup
Regardless of who they were, all four home nations would end up being linked to the tragedy in a way that many never thought was possible and in some ways the timing of the World Cup couldn't have come at a better time for the country was still reeling from what had happened, what better way for a country to celebrate than to see these teams playing at a World Cup. Hopes had, much like a phoenix, had rose up from out of the ashes.

Even before a ball had been kicked, there was to be some controversary over the seeding in which instead being sorted out by strength would instead be sorted out by geographic locations which the four pots would be divided with four teams each from Western Europe, Eastern Europe, United Kingdom and the Americas. This format was criticised by many, mostly by the Austrians who would end up being drawn with the strongest teams from the other pots. With that though, the 1958 World Cup would begin...

Northern Ireland were drawn into a group that featured the world champions West Germany, a much fancied Argentina team who some felt had a chance to go all the way and a Czechoslovakian team who were always thought to be a difficult team to beat...that was until they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland in their opening match. Northern Ireland were on a high from that victory in which a result against Argentina would be more than enough to get them through who in turn had suffered a terrible 3-1 loss to the Germans in their opening match.

Harry Gregg wouldn't be enough to keep his country safe from a battering from an angry Argentina team who spanked the plucky Irish 3-1 which meant now for them it was win or bust, Northern Ireland now had to simply defeat the World Champions in their final group game if they had any chance to go through. It would be a game in which Peter McParland would stun the Germans by scoring the opening goal after just eighteen minutes but the champions would end up getting a goal just minutes later though a McParland double would help the Northern Irish get in front once again and now all they had to do was hold on. Up step Harry Gregg.

Gregg's heroics, with the memories of his fallen Manchester United teammates in his mind, spur him on to stop waves of attacks from the Germans and this is proven in the seventy-eighth minute when Uwe Seeler charged in with an almighty volley that looked so powerful it could've ripped the ball to shreds or send it into orbit. Gregg had noticed this and ran back to the goal line to try and stop the ball. Taking a chance, he decides to lunge forward and use his whole body as ballast to try and stop it from coming, many people in the stands, especially the traveling German support think it is a sure fire equaliser. The Northern Irish goalkeeper scrunches his fists up to punch the ball up and it hits his gloves (with the force of the impact running up through his arms) but the ball goes flying into the air resulting in a mad rush in the penalty box from Helmut Rahn and Seeler as they try to position themselves into place to take a header, but Gregg knows he can't let them ruin their moment of glory like this and jumps up high as he can to catch it, it feels like everything is going in slow motion...


Northern Ireland vs West Germany in their final group match prior to kick off

The two Germans also try to get in the way to try and stop him, but Gregg keeps his eye firmly on the ball not letting it out of his sight for one minute. It comes down and Gregg's fingertips gets a hold of it, but he loses his touch as he glances down seeing that the two German players have accidently ran into the side of him as the three men all take a tumble. Gregg now tries to get himself away from them as he see's that the ball is about to land past the goal line and makes quite literally a leap of faith as he makes a desperate attempt to grab the ball from getting anywhere, this time he does get his gloves on it and to make sure it won't slip, he tries to curl up when he lands. He makes though a brief glance to see how close he is to the goal line and see's he is only about three feet away, all he can do is close his eyes and pray...

He didn't know how long he'd shut his eyes for, but when he came back to his senses he heard a cheer around the stadium and he was convinced that he and the ball had landed over the goal line and that he had ruined it. But when he opened his eyes, he saw that he was holding the ball just no more than a few feet away and the cheering was from the small Irish crowd and Swedish locals who were applauding his wonderful save. The game would become a battle in midfield with both teams trying to show their strength. The German supporters were booing angrily at their team and Gregg had to wonder if being World Champions was curse if it meant you would be lumbered with pressure for the rest of the game and the final minute was going at a snails pace and small bunch of Irish supporters who had made the journey over could barely watch as the tension was growing, Gregg would call over towards the bench asking at times how long had they got.

He fears that he can't keep this up forever and fears that the Germans will get a goal back, but they don't. The referee blows his shrill whistle and the Swedish neutrals and Irish supporters celebrate Northern Ireland's outstanding 2-1 victory over West Germany which not only wins them the group and force the Germans into a play-off with the Czechs, but also book their place in the next round and Gregg walks slowly over to his celebrating teammates who quite can't honestly believe their luck. It proves that their victory over Italy in the qualifying rounds was no fluke. A crowd invade the pitch to surround him and lift him on their shoulders like a conquering hero, a young Swedish boy would then take a photo of that very moment of Gregg on the shoulders of his teammates that would become one of the most famous photos in Northern Ireland's football history. Question now was how far could this team go now?

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Final results of Northern Ireland's group at the 1958 World Cup

After two appearances at the World Cup, it was fair to say that there had been a lot of experience for the Scotland players who all knew what to expect and with this combined with a mastermind of a manager such as Matt Busby taking charge of the team, one had to think that Scotland surely had what it took to try and win the World Cup. That said Busby's injuries had made things all touch and go if he would make it or not and though he would, it was all just a little bit too close for comfort and preparations were quite hampered some felt. They would be handed a group with Yugoslavia, France and Paraguay and Busby knew that a lot was expected from his team. However he would raise a few eyebrows when picking the squad for the World Cup in which Busby would include a young eighteen year player named Denis Law, who was playing for Huddersfield Town.

It was more of a surprise when the young player would be in the team in Scotland's first group match against Yugoslavia and some wonder what made Busby think he was the player needed, however the Scotland manager felt there was good potential in the lad despite many fearing he would be thrown into the deep end. For this opening group game, the Scots would be playing in their away kit of white shirts, blue shorts and red socks and they would be playing in the Arosvallen stadium in Vasteras in front of a crowd of about 9,500. Scotland would end up going behind after five minutes and it wouldn't be until the second half in which Scotland would strike back to come back to win the game with that young Denis Law getting the winning goal and thus vindicating his position as being part of the team.

Scotland's second match with Paraguay would end up being a madcap affair with Paraguay in which once again the Scots would lose a goal after less that five minutes though would come back with an equaliser which looked like they were one course to win, only for the South Americans to get back into the lead again right on the death of the first half and it looked like a defeat was on the cards. Scotland though fight back and score two goals without reply to snatch victory and surely book their place in the last eight.


Scotland vs Yugoslavia in their opening match

Scotland's final group match would end up being against the French who had managed a victory yet suffered a defeat and another of the latter would send Scotland to the top of the group but nonetheless as it stood both sides were going through, just a question as to who would finish where. In the end it would be a match in which Scotland were too tired to finish and ended up going 2-0 down in the first half alone and pretty much the match's fate seemed set.

Scotland would come back with a goal shortly into the second half but even with the flair of Denis Law in the middle there, the game proved to be one step too far for all concern and France would come out as deserved victors to win the group while Scotland sneaked through right behind them on level points though the French would finish ahead on goal average; France's 7-3 thumping of Paraguay from before helping them out.

Once more, Scotland were about to play knockout football once again and after their Quarter-Final disappointment from before, could they go one step better here? Busby would now have to try and work out to see what was possible and who they would be facing...

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Final results of Scotland's group at the 1958 World Cup

Group 3 was considered to be the easiest group which may have been good for the host nation but so too for the Welsh on paper. However things would be problematic for the team even before they stepped foot on the plane to Sweden thanks to no small part to the antics of the FAW. In many ways which reflected the antics of the SFA prior to the 1954 World Cup, preparations for the tournament were laughably amateur in which some in the team and the many supporters for the national side felt could cost Wales dearly on the pitch and there had been many well documented stories during the qualification that had plagued the Welsh team throughout. Wales had no dull training base to call their own so instead the players would end up training at Hyde Park in London of all places and would often get chased off by the local park keepers, not knowing that these guys were trying to train to play a part in the upcoming World Cup.

Hardly inspirational, but that wasn't all for during that certain training exercises, the FAW committee members had forgotten to bring a football to train with and the team hadn't even made it to Sweden yet! When the team did make it to Scandinavia, things didn't get any better in which two members of the team forgot their passports, some forgot their training gear and the FAW had forget to bring out their training tops and had to borrow some from England and Scotland and finally although they were allowed to bring twenty-two players out for the World Cup as part with FIFA rules, but instead only eighteen players would be taken as the FAW wanted to save money but rather stupidly wanted to save space on the plane for the wives of of the FAW councillors.

If this all sounded absurd and something from a Laurel and Hardy film then one would be forgiven to think that, but that was the case with those with FAW who treated the whole trip as some kind of a jolly and the poor Welsh players and their long suffering manager, Jimmy Murphy, had to wonder if his superiors were trying to deliberately make things difficult for him. Question was would this all affect the team going into their first match with the runners up of the last World Cup.


John Charles during Wales' opening match with Hungary
Despite all these problems, Wales would end up putting up a fairly decent showing by getting a draw with Hungary though it had to be said this was nothing like the Hungary team of the previous tournament and would end up finishing in third place. Wales would more or less book their place into the next round with a victory over Mexico though it was very nearly a draw in the eighty-ninth minute had the Mexicans scored. Nonetheless, Wales had recorded their first win of the World Cup.

Wales' final group match would be with the host nation who had already booked their place with back-to-back wins over the two teams in the group and the game would be a question of who finished where in the knockout rounds. The game itself would end up being a dull 0-0 draw which while it pretty much sent both sides through to the next round.

Wales were something of an oddball team to the rest of the world as not only did no one expect much from them, most possibly couldn't find out where Wales was on a map and if that wasn't annoying enough, rumours began to be heard among the squad that their exploits in Sweden weren't being reported much in the media back home. It that was true then one could only wonder how the Welsh players must have felt thinking about that, especially as they were about to play Brazil...

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Final results of Wales' group stage results at the 1958 World Cup

The final group was pretty much without question the strongest group on the list as it would feature England, Brazil and the Soviet Union with the poor Austrians being the odd one out and ended up finishing bottom of the group. While Brazil were said to be the favourites, there was much to be expected from England though that was all before the horrible tragedy in Munich had ripped out much of England's future talent who would have been a shoe-in for the World Cup.

Even for those who did get to go like Duncan Edwards, he would end up finding it frustrating that he would not play a part in England's first two group games and to add to this, both games with the Soviet Union and Brazil would end up being draws though the latter would become a little piece of history for the World Cup in which England vs Brazil would end up being the first 0-0 draw in a a World Cup. Edwards would have little to do other than to train hard to show that he was worthy of being part of the squad.

To go through, England needed a win and a draw was not an attractive prospect as it would mean to play a gruelling play-off if that match ended with a draw. Standing in their way would be Austria and for this match, Walter Winterbottom would bite the bullet and finally play Edwards in the game and all hopes were pinned on that man to give England victory.


England during their 2-2 draw with the USSR
The match with Austria would not start off well for England as they would be left stunned when Austria scored first and despite England's best efforts, the Austrians would hold onto a 1-0 lead going into the break and much was noted of how unfit Edwards looked. Thankfully for the English a dramatic comeback would be on the cards in which England got a goal back thanks to Haynes before Austria scored again only for that lead to be cancelled out a few minutes later from Kevan in which in the end, Edwards would lit rip a rocket of a shot to give England's third and thus secured England a place in the last eight.

It was not the comfortable victory England would have wanted and they had made it difficult for themselves though that didn't matter as Edwards had manage to turn it around and put England into the last eight and now all hopes looked good for England to make a good run at it as long as Edwards would not injury himself should they progress further in this tournament.

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Final results of England's group stage results at the 1958 World Cup
For the first time ever, all four of the Home Nations had all made it through and the British press would lap it all saying that surely there was a high chance that one of them would surely win the World Cup. That said there were another four teams left who all felt that they could have something to say about those British hopes of glory. Who would end going the furthest and maybe all the way...?

And there we are with the latest chapters, a few butterflies have happened as you can see with one certain person coming out of the Munich air disaster and will play a part in this TL, plus some results have change which comes down to how British football is starting to adapt thanks to the skills from England and Scotland starting to trickle down. So here are the fixtures...
Brazil vs Wales

France vs West Germany

Sweden vs England

Northern Ireland vs Scotland
So who will win? Plus I need some advice from some of you going into this TL later on which I didn't do before which I need to hear you out on these ideas...
I have been thinking of including an all Irish team like that with the rugby team though if I do go down that path what year should it happen and what flag should they play under? Also anything else you like to see added that was never seen in the old TL? Just throwing ideas out there if you want something to say
So then until then, catch you all later!
Not sure about the year, but the gold harp on a blue background with Ireland's Call as the anthem?

Brazil 3-0 Wales

France 5-2 West Germany

Sweden 2-1 England

Northern Ireland 3-1 Scotland
Not sure about the year, but the gold harp on a blue background with Ireland's Call as the anthem?

Brazil 3-0 Wales

France 5-2 West Germany

Sweden 2-1 England

Northern Ireland 3-1 Scotland
For the IFA, not a chance of that, hell Ireland's call is only about 30 odd years old.
Chapter 6: Unfair Numbers
Chapter 6
Unfair Numbers

One of the biggest criticism levelled at the existence of the Home Nations is that the United Kingdom has an unfair advantage of having four teams playing in a tournament instead of playing as one UK team. This is a thing due to the fact that the Home Nations have 'grandfather' rights of being founders of the game being recognised by FIFA and UEFA though the latter two have made no secret of seeing a UK team, this fact to this day is still brought up time and time again of unfair numbers and the idea of nations from inside a country playing in a tournament might give other unofficial football associations ideas of playing in a major tournament such as Catalonia in Spain in which the latter is dead set against. So when for the first time all four of them reached the last eight one can imagine the reaction from outside the UK might have been one of lukewarm feelings.

In contrast, the British press on June 19th, the day of the Quarter-finals, were having a field day. On nearly every newspaper you could find (except for Wales oddly enough who were more interest in rugby news), all they could talk about was football, mostly about those four teams. With the fact that all four made it this far (the only Quarter-final not to see any British involvement would be between France and West Germany), many were proudly saying this was greatest moment in British football and showing that the United Kingdom was still a strong nation despite many on the outside saying that they were living in a bubble. If these things weren't enough, some papers and pundits back home proudly claimed that this time ten days from now, a British team will win the World Cup. It was probably a small mercy neither of the teams heard that last phase as the boastful claim did sound eerily familiar for what the Brazilian press had proudly stated in 1950 thinking that their team were already World Champions and the rest they say is history...

That all be said, it was an achievement for them to all get this far, but each had a tough game to play. Wales would end up getting the favourites Brazil in a true 'David vs Goliath' clash though they were boosted with the fact that they had a certain John Charles fit and ready to take on the Brazilians. Scotland and Northern Ireland would both have the unique quirk of fate to being drawn together which regarded who won would in sure that at least one British team would be in the last four. Last but not least, England arguable had the easier tie with Sweden and while on paper some felt that England had this game in the bag, the Swedes were the hosts and had an entire nation behind them and that would probably make things difficult for the English.

Indeed, one brave soul could think otherwise of their chances and could make a bold claim that neither British team would be in the semi-finals, let alone winning the final. But for most, the 19th June was to be a busy day from North to South in the country and across the Irish sea, many would find any television set they could find and an even larger number would listen to their radios in the hope that their teams would aim for glory.

In the Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg, the Welsh team walked out alongside the Brazil as they prepared to lock horns. For those who had followed the Welsh team over the years, the only 'big' team they could ever hope to face, never mind try to beat, were England, so to see them walking out along the yellow shirt clad Brazilians who looked liked a team that came from another planet, it was a bizarre sight to say the least of how much the Welsh felt like they were a fish out of water.


Brazil captain Bellini (left) and Welsh captain Bowen (right) before the game

It wasn't much help for the lack of the few Welsh supporters in the ground who had made the trip to Gothenburg though the Welsh team would thank the Swedish locals supporting them as their brand of football did hearts of many. That said, there was a feeling that they would be up against it playing Brazil but with John Charles in their ranks, they might have a chance.

The Austrian referee would blow his whistle to begin and the two teams began to play and almost from the get go, Brazil were clearly bossing the Welsh around and they find themselves camped inside their own box and it doesn't help that their defensive style of play is not helping matters as they can't quite deliver the ball up towards John Charles who is constantly being marked out by the Brazilian players. Clearly they had done their homework. After ten minutes of an early Brazilian storm, the Welsh slowly start to put their foot down and start to play a bit of football and it does look as though as there might be a game on here. They are of course not only British team on show that day...

At the same time just south of that in Malmo was the all British affair of Scotland vs Northern Ireland. Unlike their Northern Irish counterparts, Scotland had the bad luck of having several of their players injured or at best, weakened following their game against the French in which the aftermath proved to be a nightmare scenario for manager Matt Busby. Some of these cases were of John Hewie and Jimmy Murray suffering from problems with their knees with Bobby Evans suffering from a groin strain, however the bitter blow for Busby was that in the France game, Denis Law suffered a bad injury on his leg and had to be taken off with ten minutes to go and in the days before subsitutes, Scotland were forced to play the rest of the game with ten men.

The extent of Law's injury was discovered to be so bad that it meant even if Scotland were to get to the final, it was found out he'd be unable to play for the rest of the tournament and thus his World Cup came to an end which really stabbed a dagger through Busby's heart who had hopes that this young lad could go a long way. Busby would have to changed his line up to have Rangers forward Alex Scott to take Law's place though it does mean much chopping and changing of who is fit to play and with so many injuries to the squad, he wonders if lady luck is trying to play a cruel game with them.


Scotland and Northern Ireland come out of the tunnel, note the pipe band which had been invited to take part in Sweden for pre-match entertainment

In contrast to Busby, his Northern Irish counterpart Peter Docherty had very little to worry about in terms of injuries and had gone into this game quietly confident that they could do something in this game and give the Scots a bloody nose though history didn't seem to be on his plucky side however. For as long as Northern Ireland (or Ireland before the split) their record against the Scots had been poor with their last victory over them happening in 1955 and for many of his fellow countrymen, a win was long overdue which not only would get them one over the Scots, but prize of this tie would be a place in the last four.

There was good reason for thinking this as if they could beat the World Champions, West Germany, then surely they could take care of the Scots with ease? The match opened in quite a flurry of end-to-end action in which as quickly in the sixth minute of the game, a linkup play from Cowie manages to escape through a back line of Northern Irish players in which he links up with Alex Scott up front who from ten yards outside the box ends up thumping the ball into the top left corner of the next and despite Harry Gregg's brave attempt at trying to keep it out and even getting a touch on it, it's not enough as the first goal of the day is scored by the Scots.

At 1-0 up, it looks as though that it might once again one of those days but in a World Cup and in any game of football, it's never over until it's over...

Meanwhile at the same time just over a hundred miles north at the moment Scotland had taken the lead, England were taking on hosts Sweden in Solna. While England were expected to win this game (at least according to a somewhat bias British press pack), the Swedes were giving the English a game by playing in what could be described as workman like football. It wasn't the prettiest type of football that anyone would've liked, but it had helped the host nation get this far in the World Cup though must be noted that the Swedes had gotten a fairly easy group that featured Wales, Mexico and Hungary, the latter team being no where near as good as the team that came close to winning the World Cup just four years ago; a dramatic fall from grace in every sense of the word.

Still, with a nation behind them, the English would have to play the pantomime villains in this game and many of the players knew this, they also were aware that Sweden had many years of experience playing in the World Cup much more than either of the Home Nations had ever had dating back from the early days of the World Cup so just writing them off so dismishly would be utterly foolish to do so. That said England had to prove themselves that they could play and in the sixteenth minute of the game, Edwards went on the break with several Swedish players chasing him and knowing he was about to be caught out with them about to surround them, he crosses the ball over to Haynes and as soon as he can get the ball under control, he takes a shot to try and blast it into the roof of the net up it is in punched over the bar by Swedish keeper, Kalle Svensson, who helps keep the score at 0-0.


Image of the Swedish team for the 1958 World Cup
That save there is the first sign of the day that shows England that this match will not be a walkover as some claim it would be and that now that they have a game on their hands...

After just over twenty minutes of the first half one, nothing really has happened in the game between Wales and Brazil in which nothing really had happened though the Welsh were more than happy to hold their own though it was in this game that the Welsh players saw a player that couldn't been much older than any teenager yet despite this the young player, whoever he was, was causing an awful lot of problems for Wales' defence and at times each of the players had to wonder who this kid was.

The confusion and often struggles the team seem to suffer would though all be forgotten into the twenty-seventh minute and from what can be only described as against the run of play, David Bowen manages to outwit De Sordi before setting up a delicious cross towards John Charles who finds himself in the unlikely scene of good fortune in which the Brazilian defence is caught napping and after some further twists later, he lets fly a rocket of a volley into the back of the net to leave the South Americans stunned and even some of the crowd cheer for seeing the underdog go in front.

The importance of Charles is there for all to see but instead of kicking on to try and look for a second goal, Brazil come at them like an angry beast and there is a sense among the Welsh players as they start to get pulled apart by the Brazilians that things might not end up the way they are hoping for, that said though throughout this first half, many eyes are all aimed at that young dark skinned teenager over who he is and if he has something to say in this game...

Unaware of the turn of events that have taking place with the Brazilians, Northern Ireland have managed to Scots in making sure a second which they know if they did score now would leave Northern Ireland with a mountain to climb. Key to this is one Harry Gregg who is playing in the game of his life though he isn't the only one who is fighting for his country. The likes of Dick Keith, Willie Cunningham and Alf McMichael have been doing most of the lion's share of defender the goal and Greg has so far only done about two saves with most of the shots by the Scots crossing past the goal.


Gregg keeping up his efforts in the game with the Scots

In the thirty-fifth minute with a sense that the Scots might be looking rather frustrated of not adding to their lead, Wilbur Cush manages to deceive the Scots and strike home a goal in the bottom corner of the net. The mostly Swedish crowd who had taken the Irish to heart thanks to their plucky nature, celebrate the goal with the small number of Northern Irish supporters in the ground and the players surround Cush congratulating him, Gregg on his end of the pitch celebrates too and glances behind his goal seeing the tartan clad Scottish supporters looking unhappy at what's just happened.

Gregg then looks over at the following scene in which several angry Scottish players are complaining to the Swiss referee trying to point out that the goal was offside though the referee is having none of it and is pointing back towards the centre of the pitch to begin play again in which after what feels like a few minutes, the Scottish players reluctantly accept and run back to begin play again..

"It was clearly onside!" Gregg mutters in annoyance at this hold up and feels probably the same as many of his fellow countrymen, the referee blows his whistle and the men in green have to scramble to get back in position as the Scots start to invade the Irish half with Keith making a perfect tackle on Cowie and passing it up to Danny Blanchflower to try and make something out of it. It would seem that the tides were turning maybe...?


Away from that match, England had been performing well right into the final few minutes of the first half yet despite all this and how Sweden look rather uncomfortable with the English showing their strength, they can't seem to find a breakthrough. It is a frustrating affair for England who feel that with how well they've played. Edwards knew he had to get something before half time as if it remained like this, it could give the Swedes a chance they could get something in the second half.

"Come on lads we can't lose this!" Edwards cries out to the players and get's a bemused look from Billy Wright, who feels like the younger man is acting more like a captain than he is, no doubt he could see why many are saying he could be captain for England someday and with how much he is yelling at his teammates to get the ball up to him, something suddenly appears in Wright's mind that knowing that Edwards is still not fully fit, he has to make sure he doesn't injure himself...


Edwards during the game with Sweden

Nonetheless after more huffing and puffing, nothing happens in the first half which ends 0-0 and the Swedish supporters in the ground are delighted of how their team has held their own and it is a frustrated England team that walk off the field wondering how on earth their luck might change soon if they fail to get a goal. For the other Home Nations at the end of their respected first halves, Scotland and Northern Ireland are tied at 1-1 while perhaps the biggest shock so far is that Wales are still leading Brazil 1-0. What was to happen next now?

From the start in their match with Scotland, Northern Ireland start the second half looking quite promising and the Scots by the fifty-fifth minute become more and more frustrated of not scoring to retake the lead and Matt Busby looks from the bench having a horrible feeling creeping up on him. A minute later, Jackie Scott is brought down on the very edge of the penalty box by Dave Mackay and the Irish players cry for a penalty, instead the Swiss referee points for a free kick to be taken right on the edge. Now was the moment. Tommy Casey will take this kick and he gives McParland a knowing nod at their plan they worked on in training. The whistle is blown to take the free kick and rather try and get over the defensive Scottish wall, Casey passes the ball over to McParland and catching the Scots off guard before McParland hammers home the goal that puts the Irish into a shock lead.

Cue massive celebrations from the players and the Swedes in the crowd who are clearly far from being neutral here. On his end of the pitch, Gregg can't but jump up hanging onto the crossbar and punching his fist into the air in triumph.

"Get in there!" He cries out, but it is unlikely anyone heard him as the cheering drowns out any sound. The small number of Scottish supporters, as well as the players, can only look dumbfounded at what has just happened and don't seem to have the voice to express their feelings at this point.

Seeing what looks like their confidence being shattered, the Irish attack the Scottish defence and looks like it will shatter at times from the Scots lack of confidence. Casey attempts to get a shot on target but the keeper get's his hands on it and the ball goes out for a corner kick but alas it all counts for nothing. What more drama might follow next with much of the second half yet to play?

Over in Gothenburg with Wales and Brazil, there had been a growing feeling that sooner or later that Brazil would finally break the stubborn Welsh defence sooner or later, and it finally give way into the 66th minute when that certain young teenager than had caught many admire glances would slot in a shot into the bottom left to bring Brazil level and curiously enough was the young man's first goal for his country. Now Wales had a game on their hands and the question was could they find a way to get back into the lead before Brazil could lay into them.


The certain young Brazilian turning the Welsh defence inside out
Amazingly enough just a few minutes later, Wales nearly make a response from Charles at the other end when in the sixty-ninth minute, he blasts home a rocket of a shot into the top left of the goal which is barely saved by Gilmar between the sticks. At this point Brazil are now flooding men forward and after that one great chance from Charles, Wales are on the backfoot again as Brazil go looking for the goal that would win the game for them. Surely it can't get any worse...?

In the final minutes of England's game with Sweden with now just fifteen minutes to go, Sweden are now starting to see more of the ball and the crowd can sense that there is a chance for Sweden to win the game and disaster strikes when they start to attack the English defensive line and the tables seem turned with England manger, Winterbottom, shouting from the touchline to his players to get back in it when Edwards attempts to take the ball off Axbom in which he skids in to get the ball, but instead feels the full force of the Swede falling on top of him. While Axbom gets up, Edwards does not, Instead, he is clutching his leg in pain and the England doctor rushes on to see what can be done. The fear of his injuries from Munich have come back to haunt him.

The moment they see a stretcher coming on and thus taking the injured Edwards away, England are now down to ten men and unlike future days of brining on a sub, that rule is never in place and England are forced to play with a man down. After that, England became a shadow of the team that they once were as the ten man team become weak against a resurging Sweden who now into the final ten minutes with the score at 0-0 decide to go for the kill and do so in the eighty-second minute when Agne Simonsson does an old one-two trick after running with the ball before volleying the goal into the back of the net to finally break the deadlock and ultimately dump England out of the World Cup.

Cue massive celebrations from the Swedish supporters and looks of despair from the small number of England fans who have all made the journey to Sweden and can only feel glum about their bad luck. Though many would point out that Edwards' injury was a real turning point, truth be told, England were poor on the day and didn't do much to try and win the game and there would be a lot to think about until the next tournament would happen. With that, England's World Cup adventure was over, but they wouldn't be the only one leaving today...

At the same time in which Sweden dumped England out of the World Cup, the game between Scotland and Northern Ireland had ended with the Irish recording a shock 2-1 victory over Scotland which dumped the much fancied Scots out of the tournament. Truth be told after that shock second goal from the Irish, Scotland's moral seemed to fall apart and while Northern Ireland struggled to find the back of the net, neither too did Scotland who in many ways just lost their bottle and thus their World Cup hopes ended on a downer.

For Northern Ireland though, the celebrations are almost deafening as Cush, filled with adrenalin, runs like a mad man over to Tommy Docherty and the those on the bench to celebrate, with many of his teammates running towards him to celebrate. Gregg is filled with a delighted feeling that he has never felt before, not even with winning games with Manchester United. He looks over briefly to see a dishearten and broken Scottish team with some lying on their back and others sitting down all looking shocked at the situation with their captain trying to pull each of the players up to try and save their World Cup.


Not quite the reaction you'd after you reach the last four of the World Cup...

He also in that moment feels sorry for his Manchester United manager, Matt Busby, who he knows after the horrors of Munich wanted to do something special for his country but alas it all ended once again at the Quarter-Final stage. Some will say that's football but others might say that's just life, nonetheless unknown in that moment for the players, it turns out that upon reaching the last four of the World Cup for the first time, Northern Ireland become the smallest nation, with Uruguay a close second, to reach the Semi-Finals of the World Cup. The moment of victory becomes a bit crazier after the final whistle in which members of the crowd come running onto the pitch to congratulate the players, one photo taken would be of a young Swedish man running over to McParland and shaking his hand before raising it in the air like a winning boxer.

While that Quarter-Final would see one British team through at least, albeit perhaps the last one anyone expected, not all the Quarter-Finals are over (France would lose to the Germans 3-2 in the other game) with one more game now heading into extra-time...

Despite their brutal assault on the Welsh goal, Brazil can't find a winner in the regulated ninety minutes and now the game will be going into extra-time and while the Welsh players are all starting to look dead on their feet, their yellow shirted appointments are more than ready to get going and when the referee blows for extra-time, Brazil get off from where they started and Wales just look like a tired team in which John Charles has been isolated at the front in which neither of his teammates can get to him and he ends up making a cameo role in the period.

That all said, there is one unlikely moment from Wales in which in one final burst of energy from Ivor Allchurch, who at this point has been invisible all this game due to not having much of a chance, finally has a moment of glory in which during the ninety-fifth minute he goes galloping through the Brazilian back line and lets rip a shot that has the ball curling towards the roof of the net some fifteen yards out and even the goalkeeper fails to get a hold of it and it is an open goal...until the ball clatters on the crossbar with such force that it causes it to rattle furiously and a glorious chance for Wales goes begging. Another inch lower and not only would that had gone in but maybe could have seen the Welsh win the game.

Then if that's not bad enough, it all gets worse as perhaps to the surprise of no one who has watched the game unfold until now, Brazil would end getting the better of a now exhausted Welsh team in which that young lad comes back to haunt Wales in the ninety-ninth minute of extra-time in which a cheeky lob over Jack Kelsey, the Welsh keeper, finds the ball bobbling into the goal and thus giving Brazil a much deserved lead and much heartbreak for the Welsh which they cannot find a response for that goal and thus, Brazil come out on top to progress to the last four and dump the plucky Welsh out of the World Cup.


That young man being embraced by his teammates in the net after netting the winner for Brazil
The young Brazilian that had one his own knocked out the Welsh was a young seventeen year old by the name of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, however he would go on to have quite a big career after that in which the rest of the world would all know him by one name...Pelé. If getting knocked out a World Cup was not bad enough, when the Welsh team returned home, they would find out that despite much coverage in England and Scotland on the World Cup, hardly anyone knew about Wales' Scandinavian adventure in which many asked the team in they had been on a holiday.

One could only imagine the reaction the stunned players had when they had been asked that question and had to wonder that if they had gone on to win the World Cup, would Wales be the only nation on Earth that would have no knowledge if their team had won the damn thing? It was of course only something that showed everyone of how much Wales was very much a rugby nation in all this time and seemed to care little for football.

All in all, with three British teams dumped out of the tournament, it had proved to be something of a disappointing day for the UK as now all hopes were pinned on plucky little Northern Ireland to try and reach the final. Some say it was karma for the British having an unfair number of teams taking part and now they were down to just one team. No pressure indeed for the poor Irish...

Finally back with an update this time we cover Wales in this and the great WI question if John Charles had been fit to play against Brazil for that game. Anyway here is the last four line up as it stands:
Brazil vs West Germany

Sweden vs Northern Ireland
So for all you lovely people out there, what would like to see in this redux that old TL never had before? Until then, see you all next time!