Silver Road and Golden Stripes, Yet Another Football TL

1959-60 Round of 16
As usual the Round of 16 kicks off in the Americas, with four teams fighting for a spot in the semi-finals. The first match would be putting rivals Argentina and Uruguay against each other once more. As usual, Argentina started off very well in Buenos Aires, beating the Uruguayans rather convincingly, albeit by a single goal. However, things would turn sour very fast in the return leg. Indeed Argentina looked completely lost and Uruguay quickly took advantage of this, scoring two quick goals. From then on it was easy for Uruguay to resist and manage to get themselves into the Quarter-Finals. This loss would spark some controversy, as several sources denoted the Argentinians were suffering from food poisoning, or rather that most of them got seasick during the boat ride across the Rio de la Plata the day before and didn't recuperate fast enough. Anywhom this quick exit from the tournament would advantage Brazil, who found an easy matchup in both the Round of 16, where they blasted Mexico, and once again in the Quarter-Finals, against Uruguay.
In Europe, the first big news was the elimination of Yugoslavia. Pitted against Hungary, the Yugoslavs where so confident in their victory that they put their U21 team in Budapest. This would prove to be a fatal mistake as the Hungarians blasted through them in a one-sided match. With nothing left to lose, Yugoslavia went all-in in Sarajevo, only to lose once more, albeit not by a significant margin. On the other hand Sweden would not underestimate Austria and would move on to the Quarter-Finals.
Once more the USSR and Czechoslovakia would face each other, this time in the first round. It was an easy victory for the Soviets as the plowed through Czechoslovakia. However it was not an easy task in Prague as the Soviets faced staunch opposition and only managed to get a draw, albeit still advancing to the Quarter-Finals. There they would face off against England, who had an easy time at Wembley beating Scotland. After a well managed return leg at Hampden Park, England would advance to the Quarter-Finals, one more step towards reconstruction.
Finally, Spain had no problem demolishing North Korea, both times on neutral ground in Ankara and Tehran. The big game was between France and West Germany, finalists of two years prior. France would start strong in Paris, beating the Germans 2-0 thanks to a remarkable performance by Kopa. The return leg in Bonn would only confirm the result as France moved on to the Quarter-Finals to try and take revenge on Spain.



Brazil faces off against Mexico in their Round of 16 match.


Lev Yashin rises up to save a ball against Czechoslovakia in Moscow
Just caught up.

First great to see one great team (Hungary) and one under-appreciated team (France) win something major.

Did the Munich aircrash happen ITTL? Feeling was that the England team of 57/58 was not far short of peaking with Duncan Edwards a colossus, Byrne at left back and Tommy Taylor up front.
Just caught up.

First great to see one great team (Hungary) and one under-appreciated team (France) win something major.

Did the Munich aircrash happen ITTL? Feeling was that the England team of 57/58 was not far short of peaking with Duncan Edwards a colossus, Byrne at left back and Tommy Taylor up front.
Yes the Munich air crash unfortunately still happened ITTL.
Quarter-Finals 1959-60
Brazil was expecting an easy victory going against Uruguay. However, they were met with staunch resistance in the Estadio Centenario, being led twice, and having to rely on Pele to save them twice from defeat. Thankfully the return leg in Fortaleza was much easier for the Brazilians who easily beat the Uruguayans and made the semi-finals for the second year in a row. They would find their 1958 WC final rivals Sweden, who unlike Yugoslavia completely measured the level of threat the Hungarians posed, not leaving them a chance to come back.
England were on the road to reconstruction and it showed. However the Three Lions still showed a solid performance in Manchester, a week after getting slammed in Moscow 4-0. The English took the fight to the Soviets, beating Yashin twice to win the day 2-1. On the other hand, favorites Spain fell surprisingly to France, who after getting destroyed in Bilbao 3-1 with two goals from Gento and one from Di Stefano, decided to completely change their playstyle and rely on Fontaine to score as many goals on his lone strikes as possible. Lyon jubilated as the Moroccan-born striker scored 3, sending France to the semi-finals.



Swedish players celebrate a goal scored against Hungary

Soviet players enter the pitch at Manchester's Old Trafford
Semi-Finals 1959-60
Once more Brazil were faced with an easy matchup, facing against the Swedes, who they already beat several years prior during the World Cup final. Indeed, the Brazilians would grind towards an easy victory in Brasilia. However, Brazil would fall hard in Solna. Indeed, Sweden did not go quietly, scoring two quick goals, leaving the Selecao stunned. Vava managed to save the Brazilians from total disaster as he scored two before Sweden's Hamrin squeezed one through right before the final whistle. Most of the debacle was blamed on the long journey to Sweden, a journey they wouldn't have to go through again as the Selecao would train in the Netherlands and France before the final in Paris.
There they would meet against the locals France. Although not favorites before the away leg in Moscow, France surged up, and despite conceding an early goal from Pondedelnik, went on to run over the USSR. The French would continue on their run in Paris, annihilating the Soviets 3-0, and forcing their way towards a final at home against a scary Brazilian squad.


Vava equalizes against Sweden, ending Sweden's hopes of a comeback in the semi-finals


Fontaine blasts through the Soviet defense in Paris' Parc des Princes
Final 1959-60
Only a few weeks before the European Championships, Paris' Parc des Princes would host the final of the Nations League. In this case the home town favorites were of course France, however Brazil were heavily favored in this matchup. And indeed, even under the whistles of the french crowd, Pele managed to pull off an incredible performance, scoring all three goals of the final. It started slowly for Brazil, who only scored after 25 minutes. France then tried to lock Pele down, which worked, however the sacrificed much of their offensive power by locking the midfield. But it worked, as Brazil was unable to push through the french defense. This all changed in the second half, as Vava found an opening to Pele. Jonquet, tasked with shielding the brazilian, was taken aback by Pele's reactivity and speed, and let the brazilian run behind his back and score Brazil's second. From then on, France's plan to contain Pele fell apart as even the most robust defending couldn't keep him in place, and Pele scored his third and last goal of the game, sending Brazil towards their second Nations League victory.

Pele attempts a shot at goal while left alone in the French defense


Brazilian players doing an honor roll after their victory in the final
1959-60 Stats and 1960-61 Intro

Winners: Brazil - 2nd title
Top Scorer: Pele (BRA) - 9 goals
Participants: Argentina (5), Brazil (5), Uruguay (5), Hungary (5), Yugoslavia (5), Sweden (5), Austria (5), Spain (5), West Germany (5), USSR (3), Czechoslovakia (3), North Korea (3), Mexico (1)

1960-61 Participants:
Europe: USSR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Spain, Hungary, England, Austria, West Germany, Sweden, France, Scotland, Italy
South America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay,
North America: Mexico

Final Location: Wembley, London
Bracket Order:
Brazil v Mexico
Argentina v Uruguay
Czechoslovakia v Scotland
England v Austria
USSR v France
Spain v Sweden
Yugoslavia v Italy
Hungary v West Germany
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Round of 16 1960-61
Things kicked off similarly to the previous year in 1960, with both South American confrontations being exactly identical, with Argentina tackling Uruguay while Brazil handled Mexico. Argentina sweated profusely after drawing in Buenos Aires 1-1 with Uruguay, but they would eventually show off a much better performance against the Celeste in Montevideo, leading Uruguay twice, and forcing them into a tie that would eliminate them on away goals. Brazil on the other hand had no problems whatsoever in eliminating Mexico, squashing them 6-0 in Manaus. The Selecao put forth the U23 team in Mexico City, which resulted in the Mexicans being able to put up more of a fight, and even eventually defeat the Selecao 2-1, a milestone in the history of Mexican football.
In Europe, Scotland faced off against Czechoslovakia, a difficult matchup they were expected to lose. However the Scots managed to surprise the Czechs by keeping them at bay in Prague, hanging on to a draw. The return leg in Hampden Park would prove to be as disputed as the away leg, with both teams struggling to score against one another. It is finally a late goal from Denis Law that would send Scotland through to the Quarter-Finals. There they would face off against big rivals England, who handily defeated Austria in both Newcastle and Vienna.
No luck for the USSR, as they would fall yet again to France. Indeed like last year, the Soviets would prove to be no match for France, despite holding a draw in Moscow. The return leg in Paris would prove fatal for the European champions, who fell 2-0. The other bracket game was supposed to be an easy victory for Spain, who grew overconfident and got surprised in Sevilla, as Sweden tore open the Spanish defense twice. The return leg would be apalling as well for Spain, who were eliminated from the tournament.
Yugoslavia would also have a hard time against Italy in a very close matchup. In Zagreb, Yugoslavia only managed to put forth one goal by Veselinovic into the Italian net. Backs against the wall in Milan, the Yugoslavs were led twice by the Italians but remained calm, scoring one back every time, and moving on to the Quarter-Finals, where they would face against West Germany, who destroyed Hungary in Munich after being defeated in their first leg in Hungary.


Vava in action against Mexico in Manaus


Spanish players under pressure from Sweden in their return leg at Solna
Quarter-Finals 1960-61
It was then time for the Quarter-Finals in South America, and here came a massive upset. Brazil were expected to win and stroll on to their third consecutive tilte. However, this wouldn't start off well in Buenos Aires as Brazil struggled to get into the game, with Vava's injury around half-time not helping much either. Argentina therefore strolled on and scored two before Brazil could even react, ending the game on this scoreline. In Rio, Brazil did try to react, but by then it was too late and Argentina forced the Selecao to a draw, which knocked out the defending champions. In Europe, another big duel would emerge with Scotland vs England. The first time around, the Scots won, but this time they found themselves backs against the wall against a strong English squad led by Charlton. In Hampden Park, the Scots managed to hold the Three Lions to a draw, but in Wembley, Scotland sunk as fast as the Titanic, conceding 5 goals to the English who moved on to face Argentina.
On the other side of the bracket, things were straightforward for both France and Yugoslavia, who went on to advance without a hitch, beating Sweden and West Germany, respectively.


Argentina's Sanfilippo scores in Buenos Aires, putting Brazil two goals behind.

Radakovic scores Yugoslavia's equalizer against West Germany in Hamburg
Semi-Finals 1960-61
With the elimination of Brazil, the door is blown wide open for everyone to come and contest the title. Argentina were the first to jump on the occasion during their reception of England in Buenos Aires. Despite England's best efforts, their strikers couldn't even approach the Argentine goal. However, it would be the same for Argentina, who only pushed a goal into the net. This would clearly not be enough, as during England's home leg in Old Trafford, Argentina were completely run over by the English squad, with a hat-trick from Jonyy Hayes to top it all off, sending England to a final at home.
France were way past their prime going against Yugoslavia, and it showed. Kopa lacked the flame that once inhibited him, and would play his last international tournament with France here. Fontaine wasn't effective either, and Veselinovic, he too playing for the last time in an international tournament, ran amock in the French defense, in both Paris and Zagreb. Yugoslavia would therefore go towards the final in England with only one goal in mind, to take their first ever international title back home.



French players look distraught as the Yugoslavs secure a 1-0 victory in Paris thanks to a goal from Todor Veselinovic
Final 1960-61
With a final at home, great hopes were put onto the English squad, as they went on to face a Yugoslavia that was presumably in their prime. Therefore, Wembley Stadium was packed with fans coming from all corners of England. However, the game would not go according to plan for England. Although England set up a rough defense with defenders constantly on Veselinovic, they forgot about the other star striker of the Yugoslav squad, Jerkovic, who opened the score for the reds after 26 minutes of play. England didn't wait long to react, with Hayes hitting the post right before half-time, but each time the Yugoslavs perfectly played around the English, securing a 1-0 lead at half-time. The inexperienced English squads would have some bright spots however, with Charlton shooting twice on target before actually finally equalizing at the 79th minute, with a resounding cheer echoing around Wembley. Yugoslavia wouldn't stand idle but a star performance by Ron Springett stopped the Three Lions from conceding more before the end of regular time. It wouldn't be long for England to concede another however, with Sekularac's long pass being played by Radakovic who found Springett's bottom right corner right after the first half of extra time. Unfortuantely for England, their inexperience meant that they were exhausted, and only a weak attempt by Bryan Douglas would end up on target, while Springett stopped several attempts from Veselinovic and Jerkovic. The final whistle would finally blow as Yugoslavia win their first ever trophy. This final would also mark the end of Yugoslavian domination and the beginning of their fall, while England would slowly rise and conquer the echelons of international football.


Bobby Robson fights for control of the pitch

Radakovic scores the winning goal for Yugoslavia as Armfield is unable to stop the ball from reaching the net.
1960-61 Stats & 61-62 Intro
Nations League 1961-62

Winners: Yugoslavia - 1st title

Top Scorer: Johnny Hayes (ENG) - 10 goals
Participants: Argentina (6), Brazil (6), Uruguay (6), Austria (6), Scotland (6), Spain (6), France (6), Hungary (6), Sweden (6), Yugoslavia (6), West Germany (6), England (6), Italy (5), USSR (3), Czechoslovakia (3), Mexico (2)

1961-62 Participants:
Europe: USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, England, West Germany, Yugoslavia, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Austria
South America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile
North America: Mexico

Final Location: Santiago do Chile, Chile
Bracket Order
Brazil v Argentina
Uruguay v Chile
USSR v Scotland
Czechoslovakia v Sweden
Hungary v Spain
England v Austria
West Germany v Italy
Yugoslavia v Mexico
Round of 16 1961-62
Sorry for the wait, here's to another edition !
This edition of the Nations League would start as usual with South America. This time Brazil face off against Argentina in the first time in a while at the Round of 16 stage. Brazil would start strong, not wanting to replicate the errors of last year, and led by Pele and Garrincha, would score three goals, with Argentina unable to respond. However, Brazil would have a scare in Buenos Aires. Indeed Argentina would not go down without a fight, showing a strong performance, beating Brazil 2-0. However, this wouldn't be enough, and Brazil would go through. Further south, everybody expected Chile, hosts of the final and the WC later this year, to do well. However it would not be, as Uruguay decimated Chile both in Montevideo and Santiago in order to go through into the Quarter-Finals.
For Scotland, there would be no Quarter-Finals this time. Denis Law's squad was completely outclassed and outmatched by the Soviet Union both during the home and away legs. They would meet Sweden in the Quarter-Finals, despite Czechoslovakia beating Sweden in Prague, the Swedes fought back in Stockholm and beat the Czechs, passing on away goals.
Away goals would also qualify Spain, as they fall 4-2 in Budapest, yet manage to come back in Barcelona with a shocking 3-1 victory over the Hungarians. England on the other hand would completely sink in Liverpool against Austria, losing by a goal, while the Austrians would stop England from any chance at a comeback by striking them down in Vienna and heading towards a historic Quarter-Final.
Meanwhile, Yugoslavia headed into a confrontation with Mexico. The Yugoslavs were confident, but they nearly fell to Mexico, as they only managed to beat them 1-0 in Zagreb, while their stunt in Mexico City would only yield a draw. On the other hand, things looked good for West Germany when they defeated Italy in Munich. However, this would not last long as Altafini's Italy absolutely ran over West Germany in Milan.



Still of Chile v Uruguay (0-3) in Santiago do Chile


Italian and German captains before their confrontation in Milan
Quarter-Finals 1961-62
Without Argentina in their way, Brazil are unstoppable versus Uruguay, destroying the Celeste in Brasilia 5-0. Although the Uruguayans would beat Brazil in Montevideo right afterwards, this would prove to be anecdotical, as Brazil, even with their B squad, head straight towards the Quarter-Finals.
In Europe, the Soviets would start strong in Leningrad, beating Sweden 3-0 on the opening leg. However, the return wouldn't be as easy, as Sweden fought like lions, forcing the Soviets back every time. The Soviets would score five goals, mainly thanks to Valentin Ivanov and Viktor Ponedelnik. Sweden would score four, but won't be able to move on, despite a strong showing.
On the other side of the bracket, Spain would pass once again with difficulty against an Austrian squad that would surprise them in Vienna, beating the Spaniards 2-1. However, La Roja would pass on away goals. For Yugoslavia, the titleholders, the Italians would prove to be a tough nut to crack. Despite relentless assaults onto their defense, it didn't break in Naples. They would have to wait the return leg in Belgrade to qualify by four goals.


Vava scores Brazil's fourth against Uruguay

Still from Yugoslavia v Italy (4-0)
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Semi-Finals 1961-62
With their win acquired against Uruguay, Brazil continued on to win against the USSR in Fortaleza. With a 3-1 in hand, they headed confident into their match in Moscow. However, Ponedelnik would bring them back to reality by scoring a goal early on. From then Brazil got the message, and went on the offensive. Despite Yashin being huge for the Soviet Union, Brazil's Garrincha would score three, putting Brazil safely ahead. Despite a goal by the USSR's Chislenko, the Soviets would exit the tournament here.
Spain, after several falters, would finally be brought down by Yugoslavia. Despite drawing in Madrid, Jerkovic and Galic would dash the Spanish hopes in Belgrade, the first scoring three, while Galic would score one, sealing the Spanish fate and heading towards a third final in four years.


Garrincha scores his third against Lev Yashin, sending Brazil towards the final