Silver Road and Golden Stripes, Yet Another Football TL

Quarter-Finals 1964-65
With Argentina out of the picture, Pele's Brazil were expected to run over the Uruguayans. However, defeating the Celeste would prove to be much more of a hassle for Brazil than expected. In Fortaleza, Pele and Jairzinho were answered by one Uruguayan goal, which would come back to bite them in the return leg, as Uruguay opened up the scoreline in Montevideo. Brazil did not panic though, and came back, scoring two, while Uruguay only could hang onto a draw.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Spain would once more pass by the skin of their teeth, winning by the smallest of margins in Valencia against Hungary, before losing in Budapest. However, Suarez would save Spain by scoring the goal needed for La Rioja to advance to the Semi-Finals against Brazil. On the other side of the bracket, England and Scotland met again with the same animosity that defines their games. England were looking for a good performance in Old Trafford but it would be quite the opposite. Facing against a strong Scottish squad, they wouldn't be able to take home the win. Scotland chose their stadium well, facing England in Pittodrie, more to the north, where England had never yet played. Charlton's squad was expecting Hampden, but faced against Scotland in Aberdeen, they were caught off guard, allowing Scotland to take over with a 2-0 lead at half-time. England would never come back, and let victory slip away with Scotland moving on to the Semi-Finals. There, they would face Czechoslovakia, which easily defeated Tunisia, despite losing in Tunis, although the Cezchs fielded the reserve team there.


Scotland and England stop playing in Old Trafford after a collision between two players from each side.
Semi-Finals 1964-65
Brazil and Spain were both big question marks heading into the Semi-Finals. Brazil had had trouble against Uruguay, while Spain were less than convincing in both their games leading up to their confrontation with Brazil in Recife. Brazil were more than confident, but Spain were the first to strike, with Suarez scoring early on. Destabilized, Brazil were unable to catch up and left the field battered and beaten. With no options left, Brazil were overwhelmed in Sevilla, and couldn't break Spain, leaving the Spanish to go for their second final in a row.
It was an easier time for Scotland, but not the way people would have thought. After drawing in Hampden Park, bets were on Czechoslovakia to at least hold in Prague. It wouldn't be the case however, as Scotland went ballistic, scoring four before half-time, and bringing the final scoreline to 5-0.



Brazil fail to score yet again against Spain in their return leg in Sevilla
Final 1964-65
The two European squads would not have to travel far to dispute the final of the Nations League. The first ever edition final to be disputed in Africa, it would also put a record, the lowest ever attendance for a Nations League final. However, the stadium was packed to full capacity with fans from both sides. The first half saw little action, with both sides just feeling each other. No real action got going until the 30th minute, where the action kicked off as Suarez hit the post in his first shot of the game. However, despite Spain keeping possession of the ball, Scotland were the first to score, with an amazing display of talent by Denis Law, who dribbles two spanish defenders before scoring. Gento would try to even out the score before half-time, but once again his ball passes slightly left of the left goal post. Spain wouldn't let the pressure down after half-time though, and after close to 20 minutes trying to even it out, a lone shot by Marcelino Martinez would end up in the back of the Scottish net. Elation was short-lived for Scotland however, as they soon collapsed under the Scottish offense, which put two goals (one by Law and one by Henderson) past the Spanish defense in less than 10 minutes. Gento would score one but it is already too late, as Spain would never find their way back into the game or the Scottish net for that matter, as the Scots win their first ever international title.


Spain on the offensive against Scotland

Scottish players celebrate as the final whistle is blown
1964-65 Stats & 65-66 Intro

Winners: Scotland - 1st title
Top Scorers: Bobby Charlton (ENG) & Denis Law (SCO) - 6 goals

1965-66 Participants:
Europe: England (11), West Germany (11), Portugal (1), USSR (8), Hungary (11), Italy (10), Czechoslovakia (8), Spain (11), Romania (3), Scotland (11)
South America: Argentina (11), Brazil (11), Uruguay (11)
North America: Mexico (6)
Africa: Ghana (2)
Asia: North Korea (5)

Final Location: Hampden Park, Glasgow
Bracket Order:
Brazil v Argentina
Uruguay v Mexico
West Germany v Spain
England v Romania
Portugal v North Korea
USSR v Czechoslovakia
Hungary v Ghana
Italy v Scotland
Round of 16 1965-66
As usual things kick off in South America, with giants Argentina and Brazil clashing yet again. However, this big confrontation wouldn't even be close. Decimated by injuries, Brazil wouldn't even be able to put on a fight, holding on in Rio but sinking 3-1 in Buenos Aires. It would be a much more fair fight between Mexico and Uruguay, with Mexico holding a draw in Montevideo to kick things off. However, Uruguay would prove to be much more resourceful, and managed to snatch a victory in Mexico without much difficulty, against a baffled Mexican squad.
Spain were once more put up to the test against West Germany. The Germans had been rising up and managed to beat Spain fair and square in Munich, but the Spanish had more tricks under their belt. With Gento and Suarez in full form, they managed to turn it around in Sevilla, managing to score two while the Germans couldn't get past the Spanish defense. Spain would face a much tougher opponent in England in the Quarter-Finals, who annihilated Romania in London, before putting the reserve team in Bucharest. With Hurst scoring two, England finally found a good composition and looked scary as the World Cup approaches.
On the other side of the bracket, there were few surprises. First timers Portugal were quick to annihilate any opposition the North Koreans put up, while the Soviets made quick work of the Czechoslovakians. Hungary likewise made quick work of the Ghaneans, while Scotland beat Italy once more.


Spanish players defend against a West German attack

Portuguese and North Korean players duke it out in Moscow.
Quarter-Finals 1965-66
With the Quarter-Finals underway, a new confrontation emerged in South America, between Argentina and Uruguay. Despite being favorites, Argentina didn't live up to expectations, faltering as they failed to beat Uruguay by a wide margin in Buenos Aires. Expectations were that Argentina at least hold a draw in Montevideo, but it was not to be, and the Albiceleste crumbled in front of Uruguay, who passed to the Semi-Finals for the first time ever.
On the other side of the ocean, last year's finalists Spain didn't manage to hold against England. Led by Charlton and Hurst, the English didn't deliver a solid performance in Spain, but completely annihilated the Spaniards in London, leading England towards the Semi-Finals. Portugal on the other hand once more stopped the Soviets in their tracks. Despite the Soviets being clear favorites, Eusebio's squad showed the USSR the exit after a masterful performance in Lisbon. Despite a setback in the return leg, the Selecao still qualified for the Semis, where they would meet Scotland, who are determined to make the final at home in Hampden Park.


Portugal take on the USSR in Lisbon (2-0)
I wonder if, when the network forms in 1979 IOTL and, presumably, ITTL, ESPN airs the tournament; they aired Australian rules football, etc., to fill time, and I could see that happening ITTL...
I wonder if, when the network forms in 1979 IOTL and, presumably, ITTL, ESPN airs the tournament; they aired Australian rules football, etc., to fill time, and I could see that happening ITTL...
ESPN will air the tournament as soon as they form indeed.
Semi-Finals 1965-66
England and Uruguay were the first to lock heads in the Semi-Finals. The Uruguayans wouldn't be able to break England at all at home, but the English showed little offensive talent either. Their performance in Uruguay was night and day compared to the performance the English put on at home in Birmingham. The English blasted Uruguay 2 to 0 at half-time, before scoring two more before the 60th minute, while Uruguay completely collapsed.
Scotland would see their dream of making the final at home shattered by Portugal. Often forgotten by the Scottish defense, Eusebio found his way into the box twice during the first leg, slamming the Scottish chances. The Scots were however still optimistic, a 2-0 victory could lead them to Hampden Park, but they wouldn't be the ones to score two goals. Despite losing Eusebio, who was forgotten by the team at the airport in Lisbon, Portugal still showed a strong performance, with goals from both Augusto and Torres scoring before half-time. Although Scotland did score one with Law, they wouldn't be able to come back, and found themselves eliminated right before the final.


Uruguayan players argue a decision against them during the return leg against England (1-4)
Final 1965-66
Hampden Park, despite the Scottish loss in the Semi-Finals, was packed for the final of the 1965-66 Nations League. The Scottish crowd had a tough decision to make that day though, rally behind their enemy England, or those who had shattered their dream in Portugal. Needless to say there were a lot of Portuguese flags that day at Hampden Park. And these flags started waving early on, as Portugal found two successive openings in the English defense, with both Torres and Eusebio scoring before the English could react. Nevertheless, two good saves by Gordon Banks on the star Portuguese striker saved England from trailing 4 to 0 before half-time. No one knows what Alf Ramsey told his players at half-time, but it sure worked. England came out a completely different team, and started pressing on. Soon, the Three Lions found their opening with Hurst putting England back in the race, while a corner kick deviated by Wilson would come back onto Jack Charlton who equalized. English joy was short-lived however, as Portugal soon collected themselves, and Jose Augusto served Torres who once more put Portugal in the lead. England found themselves trailing again, and never came back. Despite their best efforts, the Three Lions found themselves outclassed, and even conceded one last goal from Portugal, who would go on to win their first ever Nations League title.


England shoot for goal during the Final

Gordon Banks saves England from another Portuguese goal

Celebrations in the Scottish night as Portugal win the Nations League
1965-66 Stats & 66-67 Intro

Winners: Portugal - 1st title
Top Scorers: Geoff Hurst (ENG) & Eduard Malofeyev (SOV) - 6 goals

1966-67 Participants:
Europe: England (12), West Germany (12), USSR (9), Hungary (12), Italy (11), Portugal (2), Czechoslovakia (9), Spain (12), East Germany (1), Bulgaria (1), Yugoslavia (10), Scotland (12)
South America: Argentina (12), Brazil (12), Uruguay (12)
Asia: North Korea (6)

Final Location: Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
Bracket Order:
Argentina v Brazil
Uruguay v North Korea
Hungary v East Germany
England v Bulgaria
USSR v Yugoslavia
Portugal v Czechoslovakia
West Germany v Scotland
Italy v Spain
Round of 16 1966-67
Once more South America kicks off the Nations League season, with enemies Brazil and Argentina facing each other. This time Brazil came out much more convincing than before, holding a tie in Argentina, and finally showing some signs of life at home in Porto Alegre, as thousands of fans finally saw the resurgence of their team, who proceeded to go towards the Quarter-Finals thanks to a goal from Jair. There they would meet Uruguay, who easily defeated North Korea.
East Germany and Bulgaria would start off with no real glory for their first Nations League. The Germans would fall twice to Hungary, while Bulgaria would fall in England, but did manage to hold a draw against the Three Lions on the return leg in Sofia. The Soviets would advance once more to the Quarter-Finals, once again by beating Yugoslavia twice, although this confrontation was much closer this time around. They would then face titleholders Portugal in the Quarters, who had beaten Czechoslovakia without too much difficulty.
World Cup finalists West Germany would finally wake up from the slump they'd been in the past years, not making Quarter-Finals. This time they would finally have a chance to shine, beating Scotland in Munich, while drawing at Hampden. For the first time in what felt like forever, Germany were through. They would have to play against a reinvigorated Spanish squad, who just came out of defeating Italy, in a similar situation to Germany, except the Italians seemed unable to break the curse of the Round of 16 exit.


Brazil's Pele is back in action against Argentina (2-2)

Uwe Seeler keeps control of the ball during the return leg against Scotland (1-1)
Quarter-Finals 1966-67
Brazil had a tough time proving they were really back in the fight for the title, as Uruguay put up quite a fight in Sao Paulo. It took two goals from Jairzinho for the Selecao to come back from a 2-1 deficit at half-time and give them some air. In Montevideo, Brazil came back more organized and didn't let Uruguay back into the match, drawing 1-1. However, this match would be quite worrying, considering they'd have to face England in the Semi-Finals. However the Three Lions didn't shine either, losing during the first leg, and only barely managing to hang on to the victory in Old Trafford, as a big performance by Gordon Banks kept their hopes of a shot at glory alive.
Nothing changes for the USSR, once again knocked out by Portugal. And it started so well for Lev Yashin's squad, who put up a great performance in Kiev, scoring three while Aguas was the only scorer for Portugal. However, they would be thrashed in Portugal, courtesy of three goals from Eusebio, who seemed untouchable in the Soviet defense. The Portuguese would face off against West Germany in the Semi-Finals, who barely managed to squeeze past Spain on away goals.


Jairzinho in action against Uruguay (3-2).
Semi-Finals 1966-67
Both Brazil and England came into these Semi-Finals with questionnable performances, therefore big question marks were put on both teams heading into the opening leg of the semi-final in Fortaleza. However, all question marks were removed once the game started. Brazil completely choked England out of their own half of the pitch. With two goals, Brazil set themselves up for a clean game. However, in the last minutes, Hurst managed to pull off a goal owing to the Brazilian defense already thinking they'd secured the win. England had reason to hope for a win in Wembley, but it wasn't to be. Brazil didn't let them exist on the return leg, winning by scoring three goals to England's only one.
Brazil would head into a lusophone confrontation for the Final, with Portugal absolutely demolishing West Germany in their opening leg, thanks to a stellar Eusebio once more. The Germans did not go down without a fight, managing to make the Portuguese fight for their qualification in Frankfurt, but the difference was too great for the World Cup finalists, who had to concede the qualification to Portugal in the end.


The Brazilian players salute fans at Fortaleza after their win over England
Final 1966-67
The Final of the 1966-67 edition kicked off in Montevideo, for South America's first final in 4 years. The Lusophone final was hyped up, as Brazil finally seemed to have regained form, while Portugal looked invulnerable despite some difficulties during their away games. And indeed Brazil owned the first half, putting a lot of pressure onto the Portuguese defense who only managed to defend against the onslaught. However, the light for Portugal came from their star player Eusebio. After suffering for 28 minutes, Portugal finally got a counter-attack going, with Aguas managing to find Eusebio on the spot. However, Eusebio was brought down by a Brazilian defender, to the shock of the Selecao. Eusebio did himself justice, and without a single shot on target, Portugal took the lead. Despite Brazilian attempts from Pele, Jair or Jairzinho, it was no use, Brazil conceded a one goal deficit at half-time. During the second half, Portugal finally came alive, with the Brazilians not being able to put enough pressure in front of the Portuguese goal. Finally, Simoes scored the goal that would sink Brazilian morale after 60 minutes of play time. Twenty minutes later, Coluna scored the final goal, which would be the final nail in the coffin for Brazil, who despite putting up a great fight, with 16 shots on target to Portugal's 5, could only look on as Portugal won their second Nations League in a row.


Eusebio scores the first goal of the game on penalty

Brazil's attempts to get a goal back are unsuccessful

Brazilian players being frustrated after Portugal's third goal
1966-67 Stats & 67-68 Intro

Winners: Portugal - 2nd Title
Top Scorer: Eusebio (POR) - 6 goals

1967-68 Participants:
Europe: England (13), West Germany (13), Italy (12), Hungary (13), USSR (10), Czechoslovakia (10), Portugal (3), Bulgaria (2), Spain (13), East Germany (2), Scotland (13)
South America: Brazil (13), Argentina (13), Uruguay (13)
North America: Mexico (7)
Asia: North Korea (7)

Final Location: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Bracket Order:
Argentina v Uruguay
Brazil v Mexico
Italy v Bulgaria
Hungary v Spain
England v East Germany
USSR v Portugal
West Germany v Scotland
Czechoslovakia v North Korea
Round of 16 1967-68
The Nations League starts once again in the Autumn of 1967 in South America. The Argentina-Uruguay confrontation would prove to be a first in the history of the competition, with both teams matching each other at home, Argentina beating Uruguay 3-1 while the Celeste would win on the same exact scoreline a week later. The game went into extra time, and Argentina managed to pull off a goal, becoming the first ever nation to qualify after extra time. They would go on to face Brazil who easily disposed of Mexico in their own Round of 16 match.
For Italy, the tides finally seemed to have turned as the reinvigorated team struck down Bulgaria twice, convincingly. However their first real test would come as soon as the Quarter-Finals, as they would have to face off against Spain, their dreaded rival. They wouldn't be the only ones facing against an old rival, as the English easily beat East Germany, to find themselves against Portugal, who once more eliminated the Soviet Union.
The closest confrontation of this first round was definetly West Germany v Scotland. The Germans started off strong in their home leg in Hamburg scoring three goals before half-time. However, Scotland would not go down, and led by their veteran Law, would go on to score two before the end of the game. The return leg in Hampden would prove to be very contested, but it wouldn't be enough for Scotland who couldn't score the last final goal to go to extra time after answering Germany's goals twice. Germany would go on to face Czechoslovakia in the Quarter-Finals, who easily beat North Korea.


Soviet players in action against Portugal