Silver Road and Golden Stripes, Yet Another Football TL

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 Rioja would pass on away goals.
A minor nitpick, Wings. It's La Roja. La Rioja is an autonomous community and a province in Spain ;)

Talking about Spain. It's seems that the 60s are not going to starting too good for them...
Final 1961-62
Finally, it was time for the final. Brazil went into this match heavy favorites, despite Yugoslavia being titleholders, against a Chilean crowd composed mostly of Brazilian fans. However, the Brazilians soon found out that Yugoslavia was much tougher than any opponent they previously faced, and nearly took in an early goal as Galic's shot hits the post after only 17 minutes of play. Soon after, Jerkovic would find the bar, before shooting slightly to the left of the Brazilian goal. Pele and Garrincha tried to react, with little impact. Pele had his moments, but apart from an on target shot at the 38th minute, there would be nothing to give Brazil the advantage they need. Both teams went into the second half on a goaless draw, but Brazil would soon find an opening. At the 56th minute, Pele manages to get rid of three Yugoslavian defenders, finds Garrincha, who finds his shot deviated by a Yugoslav defender. On the following corner, Vava sends the ball right onto Nilton Santos' right foot, who blasts in the first for Brazil. However, it would also be the last for the Selecao, as they wouldn't come close to scoring another. Despite this, Brazil's defence held strong, with Jerkovic only landing two shots on target, including one harmlessly going into the Brazilian keeper's waiting hands. Brazil would therefore cruise towards a third title in the Nations League.

Garrincha in action against Yugoslavia


Nilton Santos takes the shot that would win Brazil their third title

Brazilian players celebrate their third title
1961-62 Stats & 62-63 Intro

Winners: Brazil - 3rd title
Top Scorer: Drazan Jerkovic (YUG) - 7 goals

1962-63 Participants:
Europe: USSR (5), Hungary (8), England (8), West Germany (8), Yugoslavia (8), Italy (7), Scotland (8), Sweden (8), Czechoslovakia (5), Spain (8)
South America: Brazil (8), Argentina (8), Uruguay (8), Chile (2)
North America: Mexico (4)
Africa: Ghana (1)

Final Location: Pacaembu, Sao Paulo
Bracket Order:
Brazil v Argentina
Uruguay v Chile
West Germany v Sweden
USSR v Czechoslovakia
England v Spain
Italy v Ghana
Hungary v Scotland
Yugoslavia v Mexico
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Round of 16 1962-63
Once again, this edition of the Nations League starts in South America. Like last time, Brazil would face Argentina. With another World Cup title in their pocket, Brazil were hyped up going into their matchup against Argentina. However, they would be very much brought back to earth during this initial confrontation, with Argentina scoring after only 17 minutes. It would take two individual performances by Pele to put Brazil back on track. With a 2-1 victory, Brazil were very stressed going into the return leg in Argentina, but this wouldn't prove to be much of a problem in the end, with Argentina not being able to crack Brazil's solid defense. Brazil would meet Uruguay once more, who had a harder time defeating Chile, still managing to beat the Chileans 2-0 before drawing in Santiago.
For West Germany, the light wouldn't come this year either, as they were simply outclassed by Sweden. Indeed, the Germans only held a draw in Hanover, while Sweden finished the job in Stockholm, beating the Mannschaft 3-1. Same easy game for the USSR, who beat Czechoslovakia twice without expending much energy. England on the other hand had a difficult matchup against Spain, however despite a brilliant win in London, the English would collapse in Madrid and be eliminated. On the other hand, Italy were given an easy matchup against the inexperienced Ghanean squad, and easily won in Palermo. However, under the striking heat of the return leg in Ghana, Italy failed to beat Ghana, who held on to a draw, which was celebrated with much pride in the country in the following days, despite the elimination.
For Hungary, the golden age seems to finally be over. Favorites in their matchup against Scotland, they only manage to hold a draw in Budapest, before collapsing at Hampden Park, with two goals from Denis Law to seal the deal. The Scots would move on once more to the Quarter-Finals, facing against a Yugoslavia in turmoil, who despite beating and eliminating Mexico, are suffering a crisis after their loss in Mexico City.



Still from Brazil v Argentina (2-1) at Rio's Estadio Maracana

England under pressure as they face Spain in Madrid
Quarter-Finals 1962-63
Having already swept Argentina out of the way, Brazil were most definetly not expecting a challenge to come for Uruguay, and yet that is what came to them. Although Brazil easily handled Uruguay, this time winning only 3-1, rather than the 3-0 sweep. However spirits were high as Uruguay hadn't posed a challenge to Brazil in years. This overconfidence would cost Brazil dearly, as they would see Uruguay take over and score two goals before half-time. Devastated, Brazil would try to come back, with no real success. The light would have to come once more from their golden boy Pele, who went on to score the qualifying goal at the 86th minute. It was close for Brazil again, but they are indeed through.
In Europe, the Swedes continued to impress. After eliminating West Germany, Sweden went on to kick out the USSR as well, locking onto the Soviet squad in Leningrad, before a single goal would get them into the semi-finals.
For Spain, hope would come back again after two disappointing years. Their team's performance against Italy at home was very convincing, with Spain not letting Italy get a single shot on target. The return leg would be less entertaining, with Italy's last minute goal being the only thing stopping a goaless draw. The Spaniards would have to face Scotland in the semi-finals. Indeed, the Scots despite two draws, managed to slip through the Yugoslav defence twice in Zagreb, and advancing on away goals, Yugoslavia having only managed to score one in Glasgow.

Soviet and Swedish players duke it out in Gothenburg.
Semi-Finals 1962-63
Brazil wouldn't repeat the same mistakes as last time against Uruguay, with the Selecao destroying Sweden then and there. In Gothenburg, Sweden had no chance against the Brazilian squad, who looked like the '58 champions again, plus Garrincha wreaking havoc amongst the Swedish defense. For Sweden, it was a miracle that the scoreline at the end only read 1-0.
However, more to the south, things would not go as planned for the other favorites Spain. Held to a draw by Scotland in Madrid, Spain looked pale in comparaison to Denis Law's squad, which ran through the Spanish defense on several occasions. The return leg in Glasgow would only confirm the score, with Scotland taking an upset win and advancing to their first ever international final.



Pele in action against Sweden in Gothenburg.
Final 1962-63
After last year's final in Santiago do Chile, the final stayed in South America with a final on Brazilian soil, at Sao Paulo's Pacaembu Stadium. The stadium was packed to almost full capacity with Brazilian fans, although a group of 1,000 Scots made the trip all the way to Brazil regardless. And they wouldn't be disappointed during the first half. Indeed Scotland surprisingly took full control of the game, and the first goal came from the european side, with a pass by Henderson finding its way to Law, who converted the pass into his 7th goal of the tournament. This stunned the locals and silenced Sao Paulo. However, Brazil switched gears and quickly reacted, securing a goal right before half-time, as Pele put a direct free-kick into the Scottish net to equalize things. The second half was much more tense, with Brazil not wanting to underestimate Scotland again, and rather relying on Scottish mistakes to truly attack. Scotland on the other hand didn't know what to do with the ball, and were too scared of being rash or taking risks, therefore not converting much of their possession into shots on target. Things therefore went overtime, where Brazil grew more and more confident, as Denis Law's squad started to melt down. Finally, a long pass by Garrincha found Vava, who found the far post. Despite his ball hitting said post, the ball was deviated upon re-entering the playing field, into the waiting hands - or in this case, feet - of Pele, who liberated his team. From then on Scotland did try valiantly, but couldn't get past the Brazilian defense, and had to concede the loss, as Brazil headed towards their fourth win in the Nations League. But the Scottish squad proved something very important, Brazil wasn't invincible, and could crumble.


Denis Law opens up the scoreline in front of a stunned Brazilian crowd

Pele scores Brazil's second and winning goal in overtime

Scottish players being congratulated despite their loss against Brazil
1962-63 Stats & 63-64 Intro

Winners: Brazil - 4th title
Top Scorers: Pele (BRA), Vava (BRA) & Denis Law (SCO) - 7 goals

1963-64 Participants:
Europe: USSR (6), Hungary (9), Spain (9), England (9), Italy (8), Romania (1), Scotland (9), West Germany (9), Czechoslovakia (6), Sweden (9), Yugoslavia (9)
South America: Argentina (9), Brazil (9), Uruguay (9), Chile (3)
Africa: Egypt (1)

Final Location: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Bracket Order:
Uruguay v Argentina
Brazil v Chile
England v Czechoslovakia
Spain v West Germany
Hungary v Scotland
Italy v Sweden
Romania v Egypt
USSR v Yugoslavia
Round of 16 1963-64
As usual, this new edition of the Nations League would start in South America, with Argentina not facing off directly against Brazil, and instead facing off against Uruguay. The Argentines seemed much stronger than the year before, drawing in Montevideo, but thrashing Uruguay back in Mendoza. They would therefore move on to face off against their rivals Brazil, who didn't have to force against Chile, winning both the home and away legs without too much difficulty.
England would face off Czechoslovakia in Old Trafford, in what would prove to be an epic game. After scoring three goals in a row and thrashing the Czechs, England started to waiver, and lost focus. The Czechs found their opening, quickly coming back to level the score. Charlton would save the day, scoring at the last minute, but England learnt their lesson. Their overconfidence wouldn't come back to the surface again, as they kept the 1-0 scoreline the whole game in Prague. On the other hand, Spain also had a rough time, but thanks to Martinez and Gento, managed to beat West Germany in Barcelona. The return leg was a struggle, but Gento saved Spain yet again, scoring the goal that would send Spain into the Quarter-Finals against England.
Like last year, Scotland would face off against Hungary, and like last year, they would hold a draw in Budapest. However, they would not draw again in Glasgow, and this time the ex-finalists would defeat Hungary, joining Italy, who had beaten Sweden, in the Quarter-Finals.
Eyes were then turned towards Romania, who participated for the first time, along with Egypt. Although Romania won the first leg, the Egyptians would hold a draw in Cairo, and be the second African nation to hold a draw after Ghana's performance against Italy last year in the Nations League. There were no surprises in the USSR however, who completely obliterated Yugoslavia during their first confrontation, leaving little hope afterwards for Yugoslavia to come back.


Brazil's Flavio scores against Chile in Brazil's return leg against the South American squad (2-1)

Spain's Luis Suarez takes a free kick against West Germany in Spain's home leg (2-0)
Quarter-Finals 1963-64
This time, Brazil's undefeated road would finally come at an end, once more against their nemesis Argentina. Indeed, Pele's squad was unable to do anything against the Albiceleste who dominated them in every compartment. In the end, Brazil would see their hopes dashed with a 3-0 defeat. Their sorrow wasn't over however, as the Maracana saw Argentina go on a rampage, scoring four goals, answered nearly each time by Brazil, who had to concede their defeat. Spain, on the other side of the Atlantic, would finally redeem themselves. After losing in Wembley, Spain would finally come to their senses, and thanks to Martinez and Suarez, would advance in Barcelona to the semi-finals against Argentina.
Scotland would continue on their victorious path. Despite not being favorites against Italy, the Scots led by Denis Law still beat the Squadra Azzura in Hampden Park, before drawing in front of a bewildered Italian crowd in Naples. Scotland would once more advance, this time against the USSR, who seemed to be unstoppable. After drawing in Bucharest, the Soviets put the Romanians through the Yugoslavia treatment in Kyiv, moving on towards the Semi-Finals in style.


Spanish players celebrate after eliminating England

Lev Yashin rises up to save a goal in Kyiv against Romania (4-0)
Semi-Finals 1963-64
Without Brazil in the semi-finals, the race for the title is blown right open. And with that, Argentina found themselves with a ton of pressure going up against Spain. The Argentinians would prove to be effective though, winning in Buenos Aires and letting only one Spanish goal go through. However that goal would come back to haunt them, as in Sevilla Argentina found themselves unable to score, while Gento would fire home Spain's only shot on target, leading them to the final.
Scotland on the other hand would prove to be completely overwhelmed by the Soviets. Despite high hopes for the Scottish squad, the USSR destroyed the Scots in Glasgow, despite only winning by a short margin, before dashing any hopes the Scots had at coming back by putting four nails in the scottish muscovite coffin.



Law sees his shot saved by Yashin as Scotland sink in Moscow (4-1)
Final 1963-64
Fans in Spain were ecstatic with the thought of their home team winning it all in Madrid, therefore an attendance was set that day at Santiago Bernabu in Madrid. Indeed the game would attract 91,333 fans, a number that would only be beaten in 1986, more than twenty years later, and remains the second-largest attendance record for a Nations League final to this day. Unbeknownst to both teams, they would find themselves facing each other off in the same stadium just two months later for the European Cup final. Spain took on the early pressure, but failed to score despite two attempts on target. The Soviets wouldn't need that many attempts though, and with their first shot, silenced the Santiago Bernabeu as Khusianov fired into Vicente's net. The Spaniards wouldn't take long to react though, and 5 minutes later, Santiago Bernabeu would finally erupt as Martinez hammers in the equalizer. However, despite Spain forcing towards the Soviet net, the score would remain level at half-time. Gento would nearly give Spain the advantage at the 50th minute, but a heroic save by Yashin would prevent it, while ten minutes later, Soviet defender Anichkin would save a shot by Suarez that went passed Yashin right on the line. Spain would have to wait the 79th minute, with a corner kick finding its way onto Martinez's left foot after being pushed back by the Soviet defense. From then on, the Soviets were on the back foot, and Suarez hammered in the final goal at the last minute, giving Spain their first - and not last - victory in the Nations League.


Alexey Voronin saves a Spanish attempt at goal early on in the match

Martinez scores the second goal for Spain.

Spanish players raise the trophy over Santiago Bernabeu
1963-64 Stats & 64-65 Intro

Winners: Spain - 1st Title
Top Scorers: Marcelino Martinez (ESP), Viktor Ponedelnik (SOV) & Jimmy Greaves (ENG) - 5 goals

1964-65 Participants:
Europe: Hungary (10), Soviet Union (7), England (10), Italy (9), West Germany (10), Czechoslovakia (7), Spain (10), Romania (2), Scotland (10)
South America: Brazil (10), Argentina (10), Uruguay (10)
North America: Mexico (5)
Africa: Tunisia (1), Egypt (2)
Asia: North Korea (4)

Final Location: Stade Chedli Zouiten, Tunis
Bracket Order
Brazil v Mexico
Argentina v Uruguay
Soviet Union v Spain
Hungary v Romania
England v North Korea
West Germany v Scotland
Italy v Czechoslovakia
Tunisia v Egypt

Location of Finals up to 1970:
1966 - Glasgow
1967 - Montevideo
1968 - Rome
1969 - London
1970 - Mexico City
Surely a Scottish victory at Hampden in 1966...that is if they qualified for that WC and won? Maybe the stars are lining up...!
Round of 16 1964-65
As usual, the competition would start in the Americas, with the return of Mexico, who had been absent for three years from the competition. However, their return wouldn't last long as they faced Brazil in Manaus, and got beaten to the ground. With no chance of qualifying, Mexico left it all on the pitch in Mexico City, to no avail as the Brazilians still snagged the victory. Argentina on the other hand entered a difficult phase, as their brilliant elimination of Brazil last year made way for a much more scared team. And it showed against Uruguay, as Argentina were unable to find the win at home, and quickly fell to Uruguay in the return game.
The Soviets and Spanish would have the opportunity to go at each other once more, and in Moscow, the Soviets took revenge for both 1964 finals by beating Spain 3-1. However, last year's hero Martinez would once more step up, putting two past Yashin in Barcelona and qualifying Spain for the Quarter-Finals. There they would meet Hungary, who easily beat Romania at home, before holding their 3-0 lead in Bucharest afterwards.
For England, the first round was a piece of cake, with two large wins over North Korea to go on to the next round. Scotland were eager to measure themselves once more against their rivals England, and dove straight in against West Germany, getting an upset win over the Germans in West Berlin thanks to two goals by star player Denis Law. All the Scots had to do from then on was defend in Edinburgh, and that they did, holding to their 1-1 draw.
For Italy, the disappointements would continue. After failing to do well last year, they would end up being crushed by Czechoslovakia here, despite a good draw in Milan. But the focus was switched towards Africa, as with the first final in an African country, FIFA had insisted to get a home/away game between two african nations: final hosts Tunisia, and widely regarded best African team Egypt. Tunisia were not favorites at all, but they still managed to sting Egypt, catching them unaware, and in front of a jubilant crowd, scored four against the Egyptians. Egypt unfortunately wouldn't be able to recover from that and despite winning in Cairo, still let Tunisia advance to the Quarter-Finals.


Argentine players contest a referee decision to give Uruguay a free kick during the home leg of Argentina - Uruguay (1-1)

Still from Scotland v West Germany (1-1)