The World Is A Ball: A World Cup Timeline

But, shouldn't Corso play for Venice? He was from Verona AFAIR. And Zoff? How come is he an Italian citizen ITTL? He's from that part of Friuli which remained under Austria until the Great War.
But, shouldn't Corso play for Venice? He was from Verona AFAIR. And Zoff? How come is he an Italian citizen ITTL? He's from that part of Friuli which remained under Austria until the Great War.

For reference, this is Venetian territory ITTL, and Verona is not part of it:


As for Zoff, it's been established that the Italian league tends to attract players from neighbouring countries, and if they are good enough, the national teams will call them up if they can, and sometimes the players accept the call. In this case, he was playing in Italy, Venice made the mistake of not calling him up first and Italy took the chance.

Sometimes the opposite is true - players that can't find space in the Italian league go to the Roman, Venetian or Sicilian leagues and occasionally wind up getting into their national teams instead.
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Chapter LIII
Chapter LIII - Coffee, Cocoa and Cumbia

For 1970, the hosting duties had fallen to the New World again, and Peru, Louisiana and New Granada posted their bids. Peru withdrew before the voting, and in the end, New Granada won the hosting rights with a considerable advantage.

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New Granada has been home to many indigenous peoples and cultures since at least 12,000 BCE. The Spanish first landed in La Guajira in 1499, and in 1508, Vasco Núñez de Balboa accompanied an expedition to the territory through the region of Gulf of Urabá and they founded the town of Santa María la Antigua del Darién in 1510, the first stable settlement on the continent. Santa Marta was founded in 1525, and Cartagena in 1533. Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada led an expedition to the interior in April 1536, and christened the districts through which he passed "New Kingdom of Granada". In August 1538, he provisionally founded its capital near the Muisca cacicazgo of Muyquytá, and named it "Santa Fé". The name soon acquired a suffix and was called Santa Fé de Bogotá. Two other notable journeys by early conquistadors to the interior took place in the same period. Sebastián de Belalcázar, conqueror of Quito, traveled north and founded Cali, in 1536, and Popayán, in 1537; from 1536 to 1539, German conquistador Nikolaus Federmann crossed the Llanos Orientales and went over the Cordillera Oriental in a search for El Dorado, the "city of gold". The legend and the gold would play a pivotal role in luring the Spanish and other Europeans to New Granada during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The conquistadors made frequent alliances with the enemies of different indigenous communities. Indigenous allies were crucial to conquest, as well as to creating and maintaining empire. Indigenous peoples in New Granada experienced a decline in population due to conquest as well as Eurasian diseases, such as smallpox, to which they had no immunity. In 1542, the region of New Granada, along with all other Spanish possessions in South America, became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, with its capital in Lima. In 1547, New Granada became a separate captaincy-general within the viceroyalty, with its capital at Santa Fé de Bogotá. In 1549, the Royal Audiencia was created by a royal decree, and New Granada was ruled by the Royal Audience of Santa Fe de Bogotá, which at that time comprised the provinces of Santa Marta, Rio de San Juan, Popayán, Guayana and Cartagena. But important decisions were taken from the colony to Spain by the Council of the Indies.

In the 16th century, European slave traders had begun to bring enslaved Africans to the Americas. Spain was the only European power that did not establish factories in Africa to purchase slaves; the Spanish Empire instead relied on the asiento system, awarding merchants from other European nations the license to trade enslaved peoples to their overseas territories. This system brought Africans to New Granada, although many spoke out against the institution. The indigenous peoples could not be enslaved because they were legally subjects of the Spanish Crown. To protect the indigenous peoples, several forms of land ownership and regulation were established by the Spanish colonial authorities: resguardos, encomiendas and haciendas.

However, secret anti-Spanish discontentment was already brewing for Neogranadines since Spain prohibited direct trade between the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included New Granada, and the Viceroyalty of New Spain, which included the Alfonsines, the source of Asian products like silk and porcelain which was in demand in the Americas. Illegal trade between Peruvians, Alfonsinos, and Mexicans continued in secret, as smuggled Asian goods ended up in Córdoba, the Neogranadine distribution center for illegal Asian imports, due to the collusion between these peoples against the authorities in Spain. They settled and traded with each other while disobeying the forced Spanish monopoly.

The Viceroyalty of New Granada was officially established in 1717, then temporarily removed, and then re-established in 1739. Its capital was Santa Fé de Bogotá. This Viceroyalty included some other provinces of northwestern South America that had previously been under the jurisdiction of the Viceroyalties of New Spain or Peru and correspond mainly to today's Venezuela and Ecuador. Bogotá became one of the principal administrative centers of the Spanish possessions in the New World, along with Lima and Mexico City, though it remained less developed compared to those two cities in several economic and logistical ways.

The 18th-century priest, botanist, and mathematician José Celestino Mutis was delegated by Viceroy Antonio Caballero y Góngora to conduct an inventory of the nature of New Granada. Started in 1783, this became known as the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Granada. It classified plants and wildlife, and founded the first astronomical observatory in the city of Santa Fé de Bogotá. In 1810, the viceroyalty was elevated to a crown in union with Castille, although in the proccess, Venezuela was separated from it (Ecuador had already been lost during the Peruvian Revolution) and made into a separate kingdom.

New Granada was one of the largest producers in the world of coffee, avocado and palm oil, and one of the 10 largest producers in the world of sugarcane, banana, pineapple and cocoa. The country also has considerable production of rice, potato and cassava. Although it is not the largest coffee producer in the world (Brazil claims that title), it was sucha major part of Neogranadine economy and exports that the national team became known as the Cafeteros. In any case, the country had been urbanizing rapidly in the decades before 1970. In 1970, the country counted 17 million people, 1.2 million of them living in and around Bogotá.

In regards to football, historically, the nation was a relative latecomer. The first tournaments began only in 1918, and the national team was one of the continent's punching bags in the 30s and 40s. However, In 1948, a professional national league was created, known as División Mayor del Fútbol Neogranadino, formed largely from the efforts of administrator Alfonso Senior Quevedo. Outside the remit of FIFA due to contract problems, the league recruited a number of leading players, such as Alfredo Di Stéfano, José Héctor Rial, Heleno de Freitas and Neil Franklin, and gained the nickname "El Dorado". Although most of the star players had to be released after a agreement with the national federation and FIFA in 1954, the league had served to improve the level of the local players, and a slow improvement in the team's performances began, culminating on the team qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 1962, followed by missing out by only one point in 1966.

The original plan for hosting counted on the Cup having 20 teams, but FIFA's decision to expand the tournament to 24 teams in 1968 necessitated the inclusion of an extra group. New Granada managed to make it work, but had to marshal almost every stadium with a capacity above 15,000 it had in order to do so. While Cúcuta and Bucamaranga had a relatively balanced distribution of matches on their group, in every other group, the capacity disparity was so large that the larger stadia received every match in the group except for one of the final round's matches, that went to the smaller venue.


Stay tuned for the next part, with the qualifiers.
Chapter LIV
Chapter LIV - Changes (We Go Through)


The increase of berths decided in 1968 had its impacts on the organization of the qualifiers. North America, Asia and Africa had their representation expanded to two teams, and Europe got an extra berth to sweeten the deal, bringing up the amount of European groups to 12. In Europe, another change was made in the drawing of the groups. Where as previously the groups were drawn at random with some vague geographical considerations, now the drawing would be based on the standings of the teams in the previous qualifiers, with different pots for the first, second, third and fourth-placed teams.

In Group 1, the dispute began relatively balanced, with Bulgaria and Ruthenia tied in the lead, with four points, at the end of the first three rounds, followed by Livonia, with 3, and Candia, with 1. Bulgaria took the lead for itself in the next round, after being Livonia at Sredets and Ruthenia somehow only tying against Candia at Kiev. Livonia was subsequently eliminated after losing to Ruthenia at Riga in the fifth round, while Bulgaria retained their lead by beating the Candians away. That made the last match between Bulgaria and Ruthenia, at Kiev, as a virtual final, with Bulgaria having the advantage of the tie. And the Bulgarians managed to hold on to a 0x0 that sent them to their second Cup.

Meanwhile, in Group 2. Russia set out to redeem itself from its shameful performance in the qualifiers for the 1968 European championship, but ran intro trouble almost from the start. After the first three rounds, they were in third place with three points, having beaten Turkey at Saint Petersburg, lost to Provence at Marseille and somehow only tied against Albania at Tirana. Provence and Turkey stood above with four points each, and Albania had only the point from the Russian match. Things grew even more tangled in the next round, where Russia only tied against Provence at home, while Albania beat Turkey at home. In the fifth round, Russia beat Turkey away while Provence also won their away match against Albania. That left Provence leading the group with 7 points, with Russia right behind with 6, needing to beat Albania in the final round, hope that Turkey took at least one point of Provence, since the goal difference favoured the Russians in case of a tie. In their match, the Russians tried to work to increase their just in case, but against a motivated Albanian defense, only came out with a 2x0. Which proved to be a moot point, because the Provençals beat Turkey by 3x0 and went on to their debut, while the Russians, by now witnessing the twilight of their great 60s generation, missed out for the first time since 1950.

Group 3 was considered to have come out rather weak, and Poland seemed to be confirming its favouritism in the early rounds, leading with 5 points, followed by Estonia with 3 and Navarra, which had lost both of its home matches up to that point, and Lithuania with 2. However, Navarra began rallying in the following round, beating Lithuania at home while Poland beat Estonia at Kraków and increased its lead. However, in the next round, again playing at home, Poland lost to Navarra and even Lithuania kept its hopes alive after beating Estonia at home. Thus, in the last round, Navarra, Poland and Lithuania all needed to win their matches to qualify, but Poland was the only one that depended only in its own result. However, Poland struggled to tie at Kaunas, and to make it worse, Navarra beat Estonia by 3x0 at Tallinn and qualified by only one goal's difference.

In Group 4, the introduction of Malta didn't add much to the group. The newcomers soon became the group's resident punching bag, and with Wales on a weak moment, the dispute for the berth soon was down to Pomerania and Italy, both invigorated after the 1968 European Cup - Italy for winning, and Pomerania for just having qualified to begin with. Although Pomerania held the Italians to a tie in Königsberg, the Italians guaranteed their berth with a 3x0 win at Milan.

In Group 5, Wallachia shot off to a early lead, winning all its first three matches, followed by Swabia and the Papal States, with 3, and Pskov, with 0. However, Wallachia followed that up with a 3x0 loss to the Papal States at Rome, while Swabia conceded a away tie against Pskov. Wallachia recovered in the next round, by beating Swabia at home and burying its chances, while the tie against Swabia proved to be a fluke for Pskov, for the follow-up was a 6x2 loss to the Romans. Wallachia still had the lead, and only needed to beat Pskov away, which they did with ease, returning to the World Cup after 20 years.

In Group 6, Bohemia also established its own early lead, winning all its first three matches, with Denmark, Ireland and White Ruthenia all tied for second place with 2 points. Bohemia only cemented this lead in the fourth round, after beating Denmark at Copenhagen, while Ireland beat the Beloruthenians at Minsk. However, the Bohemians lost to Ireland at Dublin, while Denmark beat White Ruthenia at home. Thus, Bohemia had to at least tie against White Ruthenia to secure its berth, while Ireland had to beat Denmark by a alrge margin and hope for a Bohemian loss. The first match was a disaster for Bohemia, with the team losing to White Ruthenia by 1x0 at home. However, the berth still came because Ireland couldn't achieve more than a tie against Denmark at home, and Bohemia went to its fifth consecutive Cup.

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The goal drought that Burgundy had been undergoing since the European championship continued through the rest of the year, with the team losing by 4x0 to Serbia away and to Venice at home. The first signs of recovery came only in the first match of 1969, against Sicily. Then the team finally broke its spell and smashed Sicily by 6x1. In the moment, Serbia seemed to be the favourite to get the berth, leading with four points and a impressive goal difference, followed by Venice, also with four points, and Burgundy and Sicily tied with 2. However, the Burgundians kept the momentum and beat Serbia by 3x0 in the following round, while Venice beat Sicily by 6x3. While the Sicilians seemed basically helpless away, the team still had some strength at home, and tied against the Serbs in the fifth round. To make things worse for the Serbs, Burgundy beat Venice away and put Serbia in the situation of needing to beat Venice and hope that Burgundy lost to Sicily in the final round. The subsequent tie was good for neither team, and Burgundy ended up going to the Cup after beating Sicily at Naples.

Group 8 turned out rather imbalanced, with Germany, Austria competing against... Iceland and Cyprus. Needless to say, the later two were hardly any competition for Germany and Austria, to the point that besides Germany breaking the biggest win record on qualifiers after beating Cyprus by 12x0 at Essen, the Reichself didn't even concede any goals against the two. And although Austria was a bigger challenge, they kept their perfect record and were the first team to go ever through the qualifiers with 6 clean sheets. The only wins Iceland and Cyprus managed were against each other, although Iceland somehow held Austria to a tie at Reykjavík.

In Group 9, despite an initial defeat to Savoy, Scotland pulled through, winning its remaining three matches and counting with Savoy and Aragon ctumbling over each other to go to its fourth consecutive tournament.

Group 10 turned out a little more balanced than previously expected. Hungary began the procceedings by losing to Bosnia at Vrhbosna[1]. Although Bosnia was for once coming up with a decent generation while France had its weakest team in decades, France still managed to make use of the home factor to beat Bosnia at Paris, and then lost by 2x0 to Hungary at Budapest, in a match that could very well have ended 5x0 if not for some terrible accuracy in part of the Magyar attack. Hungary followed up with a 3x1 victory over Bosnia, and then tied against France at Paris. France still had chancesof qualifying, but a away tie against Bosnia killed their chances, and so Hungary went to the Cup again.

In Group 11, Portugal was by far the favourite for the berth, but after a initial win over Croatia, it lost to Morea by 4x2 and couldn't recover. The rematch against Morea was at home and the team still struggled to come off with a tie, in a result that qualified Morea to the Cup, the Greeks having already gotten three points off Croatia in addition to those won against Portugal. Portugal still won their last match, a desultory 1x0 against Croatia, but it was too late.

In Group 12, Sweden won both of its matches against Norway, but could only get one point in the two combined matches against Castille. However, the Castillians wasted their chances by losing to the Norwegians by 2x0 at Oslo and then only winning by 3x1 at Madrid, a result that saw them eliminated by only one goal's difference.

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South America
By 1967, interest in the South American championship had been lagging. Ever since the Charcas tournament, the tournaments had been plagued with low attendance numbers in almost all matches save for the host matches and the final round, and the competiton of the Copa América, the new continental club competition, wasn't helping. Things were even worse in off-Cup years, where most of the final round matches were all but meaningless. In the 1967 tournament, hosted in Uruguay, for example, Charcas and Chile had played to a nearly empty Independencia in the last round, and it was felt that some change was needed to improve the situation. The key came in that same tournament, were for the last time, a playoff was needed to define the champion, after Argentina and Uruguay ended tied in points and goal difference.

The solution was to make the 1969 tournament, which would be hosted in New Granada in preparation for the Cup, into something more similar to the World Cup, with two groups of four, and the two first teams going into a knockout stage. However, such a format posed complications for the qualification to the World Cup, which was the main argument of those opposed to the format change. The result was a compromise - the qualification now would be both for the World Cup and the South American Championship. The 12 teams would play in a single round-robin, with all matches being played in each country, with the seven best teams plus the host qualifying to the continental championship and the four best of those seven going to the World Cup. Naturally, that lengthened the qualification period, with the first matches beginning in June 1968 and the last in September 1969. That posed its own problems in regards to off-Cup years, but the solution was to make shorter qualifiers for those, involving only the eliminated teams and those that fell in the group stage.

By the end of 1968, the first four rounds had already been played, and Chile led with 7 points, followed by Argentina and New Granada with 6, Uruguay and Paraguay with 5 (not coincidentally, due to the way the table was structured, all the four best teams had played three times at home so far), Brazil, Charcas and Venezuela with 4, Grão-Pará and Peru with 3, Ecuador with 1 and Araucania with 0. Still trying to find its way after the 1966 fiasco, Brazil wasn't convincing in the matches it had played so far and by March, Aymoré Moreira, who had returned to the helm in 1967, was fired, and one of his most acid critics, journalist João Saldanha, whose only managing experience had been ten years before, on Botafogo, was challenged to take his place, which he did. Saldanha's hiring marked an almost instant turnaround in the team's fortunes. His first match was against New Granada, still unbeaten, at home, and the match ended with a 6x2 win for Brazil.

By the eighth round, Brazil had shot off into first place with four consecutive wins, scoring 19 goals just in the previous four matches. Uruguay also had its less spectacular winning streak, that only came to an end against Grão-Pará and cost them the lead. Peru also had won all its last four matches and gone up to third place. In contrast, Argentina was not doing all that well - they had lost to Uruguay again in the fith round, and despite not being beaten since, still weren't convincing, beating only Grão-Pará and tying against Paraguay and Chile. Chile itself hadn't won in these last four matches and had slipped off the top four, tied with Paraguay and Charcas with nine points. Paraguay's problem so far were the excess ties - five so far, but then again, all these ties were away from home, and in the last three matches, they had the advantage of playing all their remaining matches at home. Charcas relied in its home matches and the altitude to keep their chances, and had two of them left. Meanwhile, tied with six points, were Ecuador, New Granada and Grão-Pará. Ecuador had been recovering in the last few rounds, while the loss to Brazil apparently had shocked the Neogranadines so bad they had gone into a downward spiral only mitigated by the fact their qualification was already guaranteed. Grão-Pará was in a similar situation to Paraguay, but with less success. and in the bottom, Venezuela, with five points, and Araucania, with 1.

New Granada began showing some signs of life in the ninth round, beating Venezuela, Peru had put one foot in the Cup after beating Paraguay at Asunción, Brazil and Uruguay had already secured their berths after beating Araucania and Chile, respectively, Charcas had made the most of its home advantage and beaten Argentina by 3x1, raising the spectrum of elimination in Argentina again. and the fight for the continental tournament remained hot, with only one point separating the ninth place, Grão-Pará, from the sixth, Chile. In the tenth round, Peru and Brazil retained their winning streaks against Araucania and Uruguay, respectively, Argentina remained alive by beating Venezuela, Charcas beat Ecuador at home, Paraguay beat New Granada, while Grão-Pará held Chile to a tie at Belém.

In the last round, Brazil and Peru kept going, beating Grão-Pará and Uruguay respectively, while New Granada beat Araucania, but there was still one berth to be defined. Argentina, needing to win at any cost and hope that Charcas couldn't beat Chile, managed to beat Ecuador at Quito. Said result eliminated Paraguay, that had beaten Venezuela at home but also had to hope Argentina didn't win. Meanwhile Chile, already eliminated from the World Cup, already qualified to the championship in December,and that hadn't won a match the entire year, picked the worst possible time to begin reacting (at least in Charcas' view), beat Charcas by 2x0 and secured Argentina's qualification.

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Fourteen coutries attempted to sign in for the dispute of the qualifiers, but French Guinea and Congo were excluded for submitting their applications after the end of the deadline. Thus, the remaining twelve teams were to dispute a knockout tournament until there were only three left, and these three would play in a double round-robin to define the two qualified teams. However, the rules for breaking ties were left up to the nations in each match to decide. In the first match, Lunda won the first match by 4x2, and Nubia won the return match by 3x1. both teams agreed to play extra time to define the winner, but the extra time ended tied by 1x1. Since nothing else had been agrred upon, they took the case to FIFA, and they decided to award Nubia the victory, for having scored more goals in the second match (???). Meanwhile, Morocco prevailed over Senegal only on a playoff, while Tunisia, Abyssinia, Boa Esperança and Nigeria advanced on their matches.

In the first match of the second round, Nubia, that had dominated the first match despite the tie, had no trouble beating Abyssinia at home to advance, while Nigeria also advanced over Boa Esperança. Meanwhile, Tunisia and Morocco not only tied their two matches, but tied in the replay and even in the extra time of the replay. Therefore, the berth in the final group had to be decided by coin toss. Tunisia won the coin toss, but immediately, the Moroccan officials began disputing the decision, claiming that according to the agreement drawn up with FIFA, the coin toss had to be done in the referee's dressing room, not in the center of the pitch. The referee nulled the throw made in the pitch and threw the coin again in the dressing room, and this time, Morocco advanced.

In the final group, Morocco, winning both home matches and taking one point off Nubia at Soba, qualified in first place, while Nubia advanced in second, beating Nigeria at home and holding the Nigerians to a tie at Lagos.

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This time, the qualifiers saw the debut of Hejaz and the Joanines, even though Bukhara and Mysore hadn't returned. Because of that, India and Iran got a bye directly into the quarterfinals, while the other eighteen teams played in three-team groups for the other six berths. Syria went through its group with an ease unmatched by the others. Most of the other groups had tight disputes for the berths and Australia and the Alfonsines only advanced thanks to goal difference. In the quarterfinals, the bye proved to be f no help to India, that lost both its matches against Georgia. In the other hand, Iran managed to prevail over the Alfonsines. Australia also went through Burma with a home win and a away tie, but Korea and Syria needed a play-off to decide the last final berth. In the final round, Georgia beat Australia by 1x0 at Tbilisi and held to a 0x0 at Port-de-Paix[2], while Iran beat Syria by 3x0 at home and only managed the result in the last match to qualify.

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North America

The preliminaries of the North American zone went on in much the same way as they had been in 1966, but with the entrance of Bermuda. That meant Mexico was relocated into the "southern" groups, which was bad news for Curaçao, that was quickly dispatched once it fell into their group. Guatemala, Cuba and Louisiana had little trouble qualifying, New Scotland went through Bermuda with ease, while New England managed to eliminate Canada. Once the final round got going, Mexico dominated the group entirely, but the dispute between Guatemala, Lousiana and Cuba for the second berth remained heated. The berth was only decided in the last round, when New England beat Louisiana and opened a clear path for Guatemala, that secured its berth by tying with Mexico.

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[1] - OTL Sarajevo.
[2] - OTL Melbourne.

To avoid this update getting too long, I've split this update in two. Stay tuned for the next part, with the 1969 South American Championship proper and the definition of the groups.
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Chapter LV
Chapter LV - The 1969 South American Championship

The new rules stipulated that the groups of the final tournament would be defined according to the final placing of the teams in the qualifiers, the first, fourth, fifth and eighth placers in one group, and the second, third, sixth and seventh in another. That was horrible news for New Granada, who fell into a group with Brazil and Argentina.

Brazil also came into the tournament with its own problems, mainly the fact that Tostão, who had been the top goalscorer in the qualifiers, with 16 goals, wasn't available - during one match of his team, Cruzeiro, against Corinthians, Corinthians defender Ditão tried to kick the ball away from the area and it accidentally hit Tostão full on the left eye. The result was a detached retina that required operation, and the convalescence period was long enough he wouldn't be in conditions of resuming training until February 1970, and so, Saldanha had to call up Flávio Minuano on Tostão's usual place as a centerforward for the continental tournament.

The opening match of the group would pit the hosts against Brazil. The last confrontation between the two had been a utter disaster for New Granada, and this one would be only slightly less so. Brazil played better all though the match, and was only hampered by Flávio being utterly ineffective in the attack. The goals came in the end of the second half, with Edu scoring both goals off Pelé's passes.

The next day, Paraguay and Argentina tied by 0x0 - before the championship, the near-disastrous performance in the qualifiers had cost Adolfo Pedernera his job, and he was replaced by Juan José Pizzuti, who had made a name for himself by leading Racing into a 39-match unbeaten streak in 1966, and following up with victories in the Copa América and the Intercontinental Cup in 1967. However, the new team set up by Pizzuti still was clearly struggling to gel together in that match.

In the second round, the Neogranadine fortunes did not improve, the team only holding together against Argentina for one hour then crumbling afterwards, conceding three goals in only twenty minutes. The next day, it was Brazil and Paraguay's turn to return to the field, and by that time, Saldanha had switched Flávio with Dirceu Lopes on the attack. The goals took longer to come this time, the score only being opened at 70 minutes, but when they came, they came at a quick pace, the match ending in a 3x0. That result was disastrous for Paraguay, that now not only had to win, but also overcome a difference of six goals to qualify. Paraguay didn't come even close, beating New Granada by only 1x0. But things were even worse for New Granada, that despite playing at home, had not only lost all three matches, but also failed to score a single goal, which did not bode well for their chances at the upcoming World Cup.

Meanwhile, Brazil and Argentina decided the first place at Bogotá. Jairzinho opened the score early, but Argentina tied midway through the first half, with Miguel Ángel Brindisi. Although Brazil generally played better, they wasted many good chances and couldn't decide the match until near the end, when Pelé scored the winning goal.

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Meanwhile, in Group 2, the group started with Chile facing Peru at Medellín. Chile turned out to be the better team all through the match, although it took almost one hour to open the score, when Adolfo Olivares headed in a cross from Fouillioux. Peru tied almost immediately on a defensive blunder as Chilean keeper Olivares dropped the ball after a save and the rest of the defense stood watching as Perico León rushed in to score. However, Peru wouldn't be able to create any more chances after that, and eventually, Chile scored the winning goal with Francisco Valdés and put a end to Peru's winning streak.

Meanwhile, Uruguay faced Charcas at Barranquilla. The match started rather balanced in the first half, and Charcas even had the most dangerous chances, but Uruguay's defense remained solid and kept them at bay. Eventually, Uruguay opened the score shortly after the half-hour mark with Rubén Bareño heading in a cross from Pedro Rocha, and about half an hour after that, Oscar Zubía headed in a corner to score the second.

Three days later, Charcas returned to the field against Chile. Although Charcas remained on the defensive all through the match, they were helped by a weak performance by the Chilean forwards, and scored the match's only goal in a counter-attack, on a crossed ball from Ramiro Blacut that was palmed away by Olivares, but fell right on José Farías' feet. The next day, Uruguay secured its qualification with another 2x0 win, this time over Peru, Luis Cubilla scoring both goals.

So, Peru now had the task of needing to win by a sufficiently large margin and hope that Uruguay beat Chile. Peru did their part well enough - with the Peruvians for once playing on the same level it had displayed during the qualifiers, Charcas was no match and lost by 3x0. That should have been enough to qualify on goal difference, but Uruguay didn't do theirs - the team seemed perfectly content with the tie, and while Chile would have preferred to win to avoid Brazil's path in the semifinals, the Uruguayan defense fought off the Chilean incursions well enough, and the 0x0 remained until the end.

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The first match of the semifinals pit Brazil against Chile. Chile had a slight predomiance in the first minutes, and even opened the score with a free kick by Osvaldo Castro, but at 32 minutes, after a attack foul by Jairzinho on Olivares, a large scuffle started, and the referee sent off Jairzinho and Piazza on the Brazilian side, and Arturo Laube and Moisés Silva on the Chilean side. The distribution of the Chilean defense after that eased the advances of Carlos Alberto on the right wing, and he equalized shortly before the break, after a pass from Pelé. After half-time, Chile substituted Caszely for Berly and got some defensive cohesiveness again, and around 60 minutes, Edu was substituted by Rivellino after a weak performance from Edu, and Rivellino scored the winning goal within five minutes, with a strong shot from outside the area.

Meanwhile, Uruguay and Argentina faced at Medellín. Argentina started the match on the offensive, but Uruguay opened the score on the first counter-attack it pulled, after Ildo Maneiro received a pass from Cubilla. The match grew a little more balanced after that, but eventually Argentina equalized, when Conigliaro headed in a cross from Brindisi. By the second half, Uruguay came back with a more offensive posture, and created more chances, but the victory would go to Argentina, with a goal from Oscar Más after a counter-attack.

The third-place playoff was scheduled to be the preliminary to the final and had Chile and Uruguay facing yet again. Uruguay opened the score at 33 minutes with Julio César Cortés, off a pass from Maneiro, but Chile came back better from half-time and tied after only three minutes - Reinoso tried to shoot towards the goal, Otero tried to kick it away, but the ball fell on Fouillioux, who shot from near the penaly spot to equalize. Ten minutes later, Olivares shot in Fouillioux's cross to give Chile the victory.

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In the final, with Jairzinho and Piazza suspended, their places in the team were taken by Paulo Borges and Clodoaldo, respectively, for the final, while Argentina repeated the same team that had beaten Uruguay, except for Raimondo, who was replaced by Pastoriza. But from the outset, things were not going Brazil's way. The central defenders were clearly indecisive and had to resort to consecutive fouls to stop the Argentine forwards, Clodoaldo and Gérson were nulled on the midfield, while the forward line had few elaborate plays, attacks almost always coming off individual plays that hardly imperiled Cejas' goal, with Paulo Borges clearly not up to the task of replacing Jairzinho and Edu still on the same low level of the Chile match.

As the match wore on, Brazil began trying to step up their attacks, but left the defense too exposed in the process, and at the 68th minute, Más beat Djalma Dias and Carlos Alberto to open the score for Argentina. Four minutes later, Ado palmed away a free kick by Madurga and Conigliaro caught the rebound to double Argentina's lead. Only two minutes later, Edu set off on a dangerous rush through the left side and was only stopped by a reckless tackle from Malbernat, which resulted in his expulsion, just centimeters from the area. Both teams took the opportunity to do their own substitutions, Albrecht coming in to reconstitute the defense, while Edu and Paulo Borges were replaced by Rivellino and Paulo César Caju. The resulting free kick was saved by Cejas, and although Brazil improved offensively in these final 15 minutes, The Argentinian defense held together and secured its 13th title.

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And then, the month after that, the groups of the World Cup were drawn:

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Let me know your predictions and stay tuned for Part 56!
Last edited:
Chapter LVI
Chapter LVI - 70 Millions in Action

Group 1

For New Granada, the South American Championship had been a disaster, and had cost Francisco Zuluaga his job as the national team manager. He was replaced by the Paraguayan César López Fretes, who introduced a more defensive style - the team seemed to improve a bit, but the last pre-Cup friendly had been a 4x0 defeat to England. Thus, the Neogranadines came into the field for their debut on a even more defensive footing than usual, while their Hungarian opponents seemed intimidated by the altitude and the crowd and did the same thing. With so many precautions, the 0x0 remained until the end, although it featured Vladimír Hagara receiving the first yellow card, for a foul on Orlando Mesa, and the first substitution, when Alejandro Brand was replaced by Hermenegildo Segrera at half-time.

Two days later, Burgundy debuted against Iran. The match began well enough for the Burgundians, but then, at the 23rd minute, Homayoun Behzadi scored on a Iranian counter-attack, which seemed to throw the Burgundians off-balance. throughout the match, the Burgundians created more chances, but lost goals upon goals until they finally managed to equalize, with Wilfried Puis. The team gained momentum after that and managed to scored the winning goal, with Wilfried Van Moer, only six minutes later.

Thre days later, New Granada faced Iran. New Granada had a plan for the group stage now - the name of the game was to beat Iran, and then, run the same game of the first match against Burgundy, which would leave them with four points, just enough to qualify. So, New Granada began the match on the attack, and things looked like they were going well when Jorge Gallego opened the score at only four minutes. But Iran quickly shut itself in the defense and kept the scoreline at 1x0. In the second half, the Iranians began ever more daring counter-attacks, and equalized at seven minutes with Ali Jabbari. Conversely, New Granada began opening spaces and creating more chances, but Nasser Hejazi pulled a number of saves in these circumstances. It would be Iran who scored next, on a free kick by Hossein Kalani. The goal seemed to throw the Cafeteros into a panic, with the team rushing into the attack even more in the final minutes, not getting closer to equalizing, but almost conceding the third, on a shot by Asghar Sharafi that had to be saved by Quintana, and Iran celebrated its first World Cup win.

The next day, it was time for Burgundy and Hungary to play, and Hungary seemd to come off better after the previous match, and opened the score at only 9 minutes, when Bene hit the crossbar and Jokl headed in the rebound. However, the match grew more balanced from there, although the scoreline remained the same for almost one hour. At half-time, the Burgundian manager, Raymond Goethals, switched Devrindt, who had been producing little so far, for Cruyff, and the latter scored the equalizer on a free kick after only 21 minutes, but otherwise, neither team came close to scoring again after that.

Three days later, New Granada took the field again, this time needing to beat Burgundy by two goals' difference to advance. They did count with some help by the referee for that - 14 minutes in, Van Moer mistimed a clearance, Wim Jansen kicked it away, and Tamayo fell over his leg. Despite the Burgundian complaints, the penalty was still given, and Alfredo Arango converted it. However, New Granada would find it hard to do much more. Burgundy began attacking trying to equalize, but New Granada could do little when it tried counter-attacking in turn, and the match ended with the 1x0 still on the scorecard. Although New Granada had gotten its first World Cup win, that was not enough, and they became the first host to fall in the group stage.

Meanwhile, at Ibagué, Iran faced Hungary, and set out to play for a tie, since if both ended up tied, Iran had more goals scored, but after two largely unconvicing performances, Hungary finally seemed to bloom and got an early goal, when László Fazekas ran into the area and then cut back for Kuna to score. Hungary continued creating chances in the first half, the closest being when Bene's strong shot to the empty goal was cleared on the line by Monajati. In the second half, Hungary kept the same pace, and Lajos Kocsis scored the second within eight minutes, catching a rebound from another Bene shot. Hungary mostly managed the result through the next half-hour, but it had the time to scored the third four minutes from the end, with Kocsis scoring again after trading passes with Albert.

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Group 2

The first match of the group pit Italy against Sweden. Overall, the defenses nulled the attacks all through the match, and the only goal was a lucky one - Domenghini pushed a corner on the left to Facchetti, took the return, and shot from outside the area. Hellström, going down at his near post, tried to cup the ball to his chest but let it in under his body.

The next day, Nubia debuted against Uruguay. Despite coming in with their usual defensive scheme, they had no trouble taking out the Nubians, even though their most talented player, Pedro Rocha, injured himself only 13 minutes in - First, Mujica overlapped on the left and put in a basic cross which bounced in front of a hesitant Faranebgoiel for Maneiro to dart in and head home. Then, in the second half, Mujica scored the second himself, driving in the rebound when Faranebgoiel saved from Maneiro, and then, Espárrago caught the rebound of a shot by Cubilla that had gone against the bar.

Three days later, Italy faced Nubia. Nobody really expected the Nubians to put up much of a challenge, and the first half only seemed to confirm this impression as Italy dominated the match entirely, and were already up by 3x0 at half-time, all from Riva. First, with a shot from outside the area, then off a pass from Mazzola, then on a header from a cross by Boninsegna. Italy spent most of the second half mostly managing the lead and even scored the fourth after Furino intercepted a pass and fed Boninsegna, who cut inside Firr and Wijingar and scored with a screaming left-footed drive. But in the final minutes, Italy began slacking off and Nubia took advantage of that, first when Abianos Zakaringar headed in from a dinked cross by Joel Eskemariam, and then scored again in the last minute when Zakaringar hit a post and Hana Bashob caught the rebound.

The next day, Uruguay faced Sweden. Without Rocha and Cubilla, Uruguay came in even more defensive than usual and gave up the attack entirely about 60 minutes in, when Dagoberto Fontes came in for Espárrago. Unsurprisingly, Sweden had more chances, with Leif Eriksson hitting the post two minutes in, and Mazurkiewicz saving Kindvall's shot late in the first half, but the goal only came in the last minute, when Kindvall headed in Persson's cross.

Three days later, Uruguay and Italy played, with Uruguay needing to win to not to depend on Sweden's result. Meanwhile, after facing criticism from the press for refusing to put Rivera and Mazzola on the same team, the Italian manager did just that, and almost as if proving him right, both got mixed up on the left and produced very little, while Riva couldn't find spaces in the Uruguayan defense. But time passed and no goals came, and around the 70th minute, Uruguay had to bring Zubía in for Castillo to improve their attack. It worked, and five minutes from the end, Zubía went around Facchetti and crossed for Cubilla to score the winning goal.

Meanwhile, Nubia faced Sweden at Santa Marta, the Swedes also needing to win. But the match was unespectedly rough, with Kindvall receiving some savage treatment from Akitameril, among others. Meanwhile the Nubians complained to the referee when Bashob was flattened by a punch. Selander’s cross from the right was sidefooted in by Turesson, but Nubia's spirit compensated for their shortcomings, and they equalised when Larsson was shocked by Stefanos Bushara's explosive long-range shot, and Sweden couldn't react after that. The tie wound up eliminating both teams.

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Group 3

The first match of the group pit Bohemia against Guatemala. Before the Cup, the Guatemalan manager had praised the physical preparation of his team, but that was not enough to overcome the Bohemian technique. Petráš stood out, hammering the first goal from outside of the area and converting a cross from Ducke, who was fouled for the penalty. After the third goal, the Guatemalans began getting rough, and were soundly booed by the crowd.

The next day, England faced Navarra, and went off to a bad start when Ignacio Zoco headed in a corner from José Eulogio Gárate to open the score. Navarra quickly shut itself in the defense through the first half, but couldn't hold on to the result in the second. Five minutes, in, Edwards took advantage of dithering in the Navarrese defence to turn a half chance into a goal, getting a through-ball from Moore and dribbling past Antón Martínez to equalize. Only seven minutes later, Geoff Hurst headed in a cross from Keith Newton to put England in the lead, and nine minutes from the end, Emlyn Hughes tried to cross to the area. Iribar touched it with his fingertips, but Bobby Charlton slid in to score the third.

Three days later, Navarra faced Guatemala, and the latter seemed to be holding up well until the end of the first half, when the referee conceded a foul close to the side line. The Guatemalans though the free kick was in their favor, and as they prepared to take it, Navarra took the kick, Txetxu Rojo crossed, Uriarte missed an open goal but Arieta didn’t. Despite the Guatemalan protests, the referee confirmed the goal and gave out three yellow cards. In the second half, the Guatemalans did little except try and kick as many Navarrese as possible, conceding goals to Gárate (a cross shot after beating a man and a shot from outside of the area), and to Larrauri (a header from a Gárate corner).

The next day, England faced Bohemia, in a match not too dissimilar from their previous 1966 encounter - a stuttering performance by England, the only goal coming off a dubious penalty, combined with a highly defensive performance by Bohemia, whose only chance was when a speculative shot from twenty-five yards by right-back Dobiaš swerved in the thin air. Banks, at full stretch, managed to tip it on to the bar and as as he turned the ball rebounded into his arms.

Four days later, Bohemia and Navarra played to define the second qualifed team. Navarra got an early lead on a free kick from Fidel Uriarte, but spent most of the rest of the match on the defensive, only helped by another poor offensive performance from Bohemia. František Veselý equalized with a fierce left-footer from outside the area in the first half, but that was it, an Navarra advanced due to having scored six goals to Bohemia's four.

Meanwhile, at Bucaramanga, Guatemala played against the already-qualified England just looking not to do too badly. Meanwhile, Ramsey had given a few first-team players a break and done a few experiments on the attack. Guatemala did their best, but it still wasn't enough, and Allan Clarke put away a through-pass from Mullery and shot the second after Edwards had beaten three men.

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Group 4

The first match of the group featured Georgia's debut against Argentina. Somewhat intimidated by Argentina's reputation as the reigning South American champion, Georgia shut itself on the defense almost from the outset, and gave no spaces to the Albiceleste through most of the match, Dzodzuashvili throughly nulling Brindisi on the right, and Khurtsilava and Kavazashvili pulling superb performances on their own end. As the match wore on, the Argentines grew more frusrated and it seemed like the 0x0 would stay, until five minutes from the end, Fischer scored while offside. the goal was duly disallowed, but Kanteladze, who was tasked with delivering the resulting indirect free kick, shot the ball directly to Onega, who touched it for Más to score.

The next day, Scotland debuted against Wallachia, with a clear problem on the attack, the team having only scored three times in the past 6 matches. Surprisingly, they managed to get a goal in only five minutes in, with a sharp header by Bobby Lennox, but the attack had no luck on the rest of the first half and in the second, Wallachia improved its game, and turned the score around in less than 30 minutes - Neagu beat Greig before shooting the equaliser and was fouled by McKinnon for the penalty.

Three days later, Wallachia returned to play against Georgia. This time, Georgia went for a more offensive posture, but found that their usual play, through-balls to Metreveli or Nodia through the middle, were consistently broken up by Cornel Dinu. The first goal came through a defensive error in part of Georgia, when Khurtsilava's attempt at kicking away one ball came out weak and the ball instead went to Mircea Lucescu, who opened the score. In the second half, Wallachia scored another one, when Florea Dumitrache headed in a cross by Neagu.

The next day, it was Scotland and Argentina's turn. The match was rigorously balanced in the first half, but despite a great performance from the Argentinian defense, Scotland once again came into half-time with the lead - shortly before the break, David Hay hit a shot into the crossbar from far outside the area, catching the defense by surprise, and as the ball bounced back, Colin Stein dove in to score. But in the second half, Scotland didn't have the calm needed to guarantee their result and conceded the tie within eight minutes, when Pastoriza ran into the area and passed the ball to Veglio, who shot from near the edge of the area. After that, Argentina came the losest to score again, but the 1x1 remained.

Now, Scotland was in the situation of needing to win and hope that Argentina lost to Wallachia to qualify, and they set out to do exactly that in the final match, the only one played at Pereira. In the other hand, Georgia also went on the offensive, having nothing to lose, but wanting to get at least one goal in. hey got their wish in only four minutes, with Metreveli scoring on a counter-attack. Over the first half, Georgia kept betting on counter-attacks and exploiting openings left bt the Scottish defense and scored the second at the half-hour mark with Givi Nodia. However, Scotland decided to go for broke in the second half, replacing Willie Carr for John O'Hare to give extra power to their attack, and the team came back with greater incisiveness for the second half, and the goals finally started coming in, Lennox scoring twice, and O'Hare and Stein between them.

Meanwhile, Argentina and Wallachia played in the other match. Argentina needed a tie to advance without worrying about the result of the Scottish match, but found itself largely outplayed by the Vlachs in the first half. However, their defense was as solid as ever, and only conceded a goal through a penalty kick. Argentina spent most of the match betting on counter-attacks, and equalized shortly before the break, on a free kick by Brindisi. The match slowed down somewhat during the second half, but just when the result seemed settled, Fischer received a pass from Conigliaro and hit a shot from the half-moon to give Argentina the victory.

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Group 5

The first match of the group, played mostly in Panamá, pit Morocco and Germany. Better adapted to the 32-degree heat, the Moroccans opened the score when Houmane knocked in a bad defensive header by Hottges. The most Germany got in the first half was a ball in the post. As such, the German manager, Helmut Schön, switched Haller for Grabowski, turning the 4-3-3 that they had been using ito a 4-2-4. Eleven minutes into the first half, Seeler scored in a scramble to equalize. In the final 15 minutes, the Moroccans began tiring out. Schön then tried switching Höttges for the forward Lohr, and it worked. Three minutes later, the winning goal came when Gerd Müller put in the rebound when Seeler’s leaping header looped onto the bar.

Before the Cup, Peru had undergone a battery of friendlies between February and April. Overall, the team had won four times, tied three and lost six, the last against Porto Alegre's Internacional, and so the team went on to New Granada without the enthusiasm provoked by the qualification months before, but the worst was yet to come. The day before the debut, a severe earthquake happened close to Chimbote, devastating that city and some nearby towns, and also setting off an avalanche at Mount Huascarán, further inland, that buried the towns of the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca. Overall, about 60,000 people died.

In th day of the match, in sign of mourning, the players came into the field with a tobbaco leaf tied to their arms, and still in shock, conceded a goal at only 12 minutes. After a free kick, the Bulgarians, with three fast touches, scored while the Peruvian defense just stood staring. Worried, Didi, now Peru's manager, subbed Campos for Javier González in the first half. Peru missed chances through some wild shooting, and four minutes into the second half, Bulgaria scored again. Only then Peru finally woke up - three minutes later, one of Alberto Gallardo’s thunderbolts finally went in, crashing in off the bar. Héctor Chumpitaz scored on a free kick four minutes after that, and later, Teófilo Cubillas played a one-two with Ramón Mifflin before beating a man and shooting an excellent winner.

Three days later, Peru came back into the field again against Morocco. Once again, the Moroccans put up a feverish demonstration of speed in the first half, but Peru quickly began dominating the match once they tired out, and scored four times in only twelve minutes - Cubillas smashed a loose ball into an empty net from very close range, and Allal got a touch to his strong shot for the third, after Hugo Sotil had beaten assorted defenders. Roberto Challe ran into the penalty area before smashing the ball past the keeper and León scored with a strong shot from five meters out. And there was still time for Sotil to score his own near the end, even though the Moroccans complained about a supposed foul on Lamrani that should have made that goal invalid.

The next day, Germany went up against Bulgaria, in a match with a very similar script to the past ones - gain West Germany conceded an early goal, again Bulgaria scored from a free kick - again the match was quite balanced in the first half, and again one team dominated the second half entirely. That time Schön replaced Nöldner for Libuda, and he dominated the match, especially the Bulgarian captain, Boris Gaganelov, who wasn’t capped again. First he beat Gaganelov to Seeler’s throughpass and jabbed a low cross into the penalty box, where Simeonov let it slip under him and just over the line. Libuda’s credited with the goal, but it was clearly an own goal. Next he scuttled through a gap, slipped, got up and dribbled Nikodimov to make an easy volleyed goal for Müller. Then Gaganelov fouled him for the penalty. Seeler arrived at the far post to meet a low cross from Müller, who headed the fifth from a free kick, and only after that, Bulgaria managed to score the second.

Three days later, Bulgaria and Morocco, already eliminated, played their last match at the tiny Agustín Sánchez stadium, in La Chorrera, posting the worst attendance of any match of the Cup. The Bulgarians, looking for their first victory, went out to the attack all through the first half, and opened the score at 40 minutes, when Zhechev scored off a free kick by Mitkov, but in the second half, thinking the match was already decided, the manager switched Penev and Yakimov for Dimitrov and Bonev, draining much of the team's creativity on the midfield. Predictably, Morocco tied with Ghazouani at 60 minutes, and Bulgaria couldn't get the ball rolling to try a second goal anymore. Morocco had the distinction of being the only team to come out without any cards, yellow or red.

Meanwhile, Germany and Peru played for the first place at Panamá. Peru tried to impose their usual pace, but Germany was already prepared for that, and bet on with high crosses from the wings, and Müller scored thrice this way - first, one from Libuda, deep on the right, floated over a defender’s head for Müller to chest down and push home. Then Lohr beat González on the left and his low centre to the near post was knocked in by Müller’s left foot. Finally Seeler’s cross from the right was put in with a cleverly placed looping header. Cubillas scored with a deflected free kick late in the first half, but Peru still could celebrate getting through the group stage for the first time.

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Group 6

After the defeat in the South American Championship, the magic of the first matches in 1969 seemed to be gone, and Saldanha was losing most of his emotional stability. First, after Flamengo's manager, Yustrich, insulted him on a interview, he went to Flamengo's concentration [1] to confront Yustrich, with a gun in hand. Then he got into a fistfight with a particularly obnoxious journalist, then he startd making noises about cutting Pelé due to a supposed myopia. Meanwhile, the results weren't good - The team played three friendlies in March, first losing against Sweden, then beating Argentina and then only tying against Bangu, eighth place in the previous Rio de Janeiro city championship. That was the last straw, and Saldanha was fired and replaced with Zagallo, who had begun his managing career only three years before. Brazil under Zagallo played another seven friendlies - the team started well, with a 5x0 victory over Chile, but entered a string of unconvincing performances, including a 0x0 tie against a Bulgarian team almost entirely made up of AS-23 players.

And when Brazil debuted against Provence, it didn't seem like things had improved - only eleven minutes in, Brito had the ball, but missed a simple pass and led the ball into the feet of Combin, who dragged the ball past him and clipped it past Félix for a splendid individual goal. Brazil tied at 24 minutes, on a free kick by Rivellino. Then at 29 minutes, in a magical instant, Pelé shot from inside his own half and narrowly missed the goal. Then, in the second half, Brazil improved greatly, and went ahead with another marvellous goal - Gérson hit a perfect aerial ball which dropped just over Baeza for Pelé to chest down and push the volley across the keeper. Then another Gérson pass was in the air long enough for Jairzinho to look offside as he ran on. Flipping the ball over the onrushing Carnus, he slammed it into the empty net. In between these goals, Di Nallo missed Provence's one big chance -after Henri Michel's cross reached him five yards out, he blasted the ball over the bar. Jairzinho completed the scoring with a superb individual goal, resisting two sliding tackles in that inelegant but oddly skilful way of his before finishing with a low cross-shot.

The next day, Mexico faced Morea. Much like Scotland, Mexico also had been having problems with its attack lately - the joke going around then was that the team was divided into two sections: the defensive and the inoffensive. And much like Scotland, they managed to get an early goal - three minutes in, Padilla crossed towards the area. Borja tried to head it in, Oikonomopoulos palmed it away, but Javier Fragoso ran in to open the score. Mexico played better all through the match, occupying all the spaces in the field when it defended, and striking the Greeks with skill and energy, but the ball wouldn't go in, and this eventually came back to bite them, as three minutes from the end, Michalis Kritikopoulos ran in from the right and cut back for Mimis Papaioannou to shoot from just inside the area to equalize.

Three days later, Mexico returned to face Brazil. The firat few minutes started balanced enough, but only eight minutes in, Jairzinho was fouled inside the area by Mario Pérez and Pelé converted the penalty kick to open the score. Then, two minutes later, another magnificent goal, as Pelé took a pass from Clodoaldo, flicked a backheel pass to Rivellino, who passed it back for him to shoot from the edge of the area. But the defense still had it issues, as two minutes after that, Piazza tried to kick away a ball, but wound up giving the ball to Borja, who scored. The very next play after that, after wrestling the ball from two defenders, Pelé passed to Jairzinho, who lifted the ball just enough to head it in. Over the rest of the first half, Brazil dominated the match entirely, and Mexico struggled to not to concede any more goals. On the second half, the match slowed down even more, but Brazil got in the fourth within ten minutes, when Pelé passed to Tostão after running from his own half all the way to the half-moon with the ball, and Tostão dribbled past Peña to shoot from the penalty box. Brazil mostly managed the result from that point on, giving Mexico chances to try and score the second, and it came two minutes from the end, when Horacio López Salgado scored on a scramble in the area.

The next day, Morea faced Provence, the latter trying to erase the bad impression left after the last match. The match started well enough for them, when Loubet escaped from Giorgos Skrekis's marking and shot from the edge of the area. However, Morea reacted almost instantly, when Rostagni tried to head away a crossing by Papaioannou, but headed the ball on Mimis Domazos' direction instead. At the 22nd minute, Hervé Revelli put Provence in the lead again with a free kick, although that free kick itself was controversial because the fouled player, Bereta, was supposedly offside at the moment of the foul. Provence then managed to establish some control on the rest of the match, and even scored a third with Combin, but it was disallowed. However, Morea still attacked when it could, and five minutes from the end, equalized again with Nikos Gioutsos.

Three days later, Provence and Mexico played at Manizales, with both teams needing to win and hope that Morea lost against Brazil to advance. Provence seemed to have the greater offensive impetus, shooting at the goal 15 times during the match, but lacked the calm and the category necessary to get past the vigilance of the Mexicans. Michel played excellently in the midfield, but saw the chances he created being wasted by the forwards. In the other hand, Mexico's defense played superbly, and their attack proved more effective, and with goals from Borja and Valdivia, the team put itself in a good position to advance.

Meanwhile, Brazil faced Morea at Medellín. Needing a tie, Morea tried to put up a defensive game in the first minutes, but two defensive errors wrecked their plans. First, eleven minutes in, Pelé crossed from the right. Kamaras slipped and chested the ball straight to Tostão, who immediately pushed it to Rivellino, whose shot went in off the bottom of the far post. Next Tostão took a short corner on the left, ran round a defender to get to the goal line, and hit Rivelino’s return pass straight at Oikonomopoulos, who let it in at the near post. After that, Morea had no choice but to go out to the attack, and got their own goal at 28 minutes, when Papaioannou beat Carlos Alberto down the left and hit his shot at Félix, who was just a little out of position and let the ball go between him and the right post. After Oikonomopoulos had fumbled Pelé’s shot onto a post, Jairzinho put Pelé clear on the right, a defender deflected his gentle cross over the diving Oikonomopoulos into the path of Tostão, who knocked it in then put his hand over one ear to cut out the roar of the crowd. Eleftherakis met a clearance with a low volley from the edge of the area, but Jairzinho went past the hapless Oikonomopoulos to score the fourth. Both teams went out under applause, and Morea had put on a good impression despite the elimination.

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And thus, the groups of the second stage were defined:

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Let me know your predictions and stay tuned for Part 57!
Chapter LVII
Chapter LVII - All In One Heart

Group A

The first match of the group pit Navarra against Germany. The Navarrese's priority that day was not to lose, and their manager, Juan Arza, set up a special scheme just to null Müller, who had already scored seven times so far. It worked after a fashion - Müller didn't score that day, but this didn't stop him from participating in the only German goal - it was him who gave the pass for Overath to score.

Four days later, Navarra returned to play against Hungary. Navarra now needed a specific combination of results to advance, and beating Hungary by a large margin was the first step in such a combination. Therefore, the team went on the attack over most of the first half, but while succeeding in driving the Magyars into their own half, could hardly imperil Tamás' goal. The one chance that came the closest was close to the half-hour mark, when Tamás palmed away a shot by Arieta, the ball going right on Txetxu Rojo's feet. Rojo shot too high, the ball bounced off the crossbar and Mészöly cleared it before anyone else could try again. Even when Páncsics was sent off and Navarra got the numerical advantage, the situation didn't improve. And in the second half, Hungary began pulling some dangerous counter-attacks, and opened the score with Fazekas only 12 minutes in. Hungary would then score again ten minutes from the end with Bene.

Four days later, Germany played for the semifinal berth against Hungary. Hungary started the match dominating the midfield, threatening to score, but only eleven minutes in, Otto Fräßdorf opened the score by heading in a corner kick. Eleven minutes later, Germany got the second, when Müller, after receiving a through-ball from Beckenbauer, got through two defenders before scoring. Hungary's attacks eventually bore fruit ten minutes later, when Kocsis tried to pull an attack on the left and tried to cross to Bene. Fräßdorf tried to intercept it with a tackle, but the ball went high and wide to the right, where Albert headed the ball in before Maier could position himself. In the second half, the match grew slower, but Germany found the third early on, on a cross by Libuda that the defense failed to clear and Müller shot in. 3x1, and Germany was in the semifinals again.

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Group B

Mexico debuted in the second stage against Italy. Both teams had good defenses, and attacks that seemed to be missing something, and it was Mexico who opened the score at 13 minutes, with Fragoso coolly flicking the ball sideways to his right and González slicing the ball low past Albertosi, but Guzmán wasn't in a good day - at 26 minutes, he scored a own goal after trying to clear a weak kick by Domenghini. Returning from half-time, Mazzola had been substituted by Rivera, and the ball started getting to Riva's feet. His first came from his left foot, a low cross-shot that Calderón should have reached. His second was prodded in off Guzmán’s heel after his first shot had been saved. In between, Rivera had gone around the keeper and assorted shots had been blocked before Rivera regained possession and came inside a defender to shoot under Calderón at the near post.

Three days later, it was time for Mexico to face Argentina, and the Albiceleste got itself an early lead when Montes handled the ball inside the area and Fischer converted the penalty kick. However, most of the match would be rather lukewarm, both teams' attacks showing little imagination to get to the area and mostly struggling on the midfield. Still, each team had one goal disallowed (Borja for offside and Brindisi for handling the ball) before Madurga scored the second Argentinian goal on a free kick.

Now, Argentina needed to beat Italy to advance, since the goal difference was favoring Italy in case of a tie. Despite Italy playing for the tie, the most dangerous chances in that match came from them - Boninsegna had a goal disallowed, while the Verdi also complained of a supposed penalty on Riva near the beginning of the second half. Cejas made some important saves and Riva pulled a cross-shot horribly wide when clean through on the left. Meanwhile, the Albiceleste still showed the same difficulty to create dangerous chances that had been seen in the previous match, and with the 0x0 staying on until the end, Italy advanced by only one goal's difference.

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Group C

The first match of the group featured Peru going against Burgundy, and from the outset it was clear that the usual Burgundian scheme wasn't working. the Peruvians were all over the field and the few Burgundian attempts at creation were destroyed before they were even born. And by half-time, Peru was already up by 2x0. The first goal came courtesy of Dockx, who accidentally tackled the ball into his own net trying to clear a shot by Sotil. Then, after the Peruvians traded passes over the left wing, Cubillas tried to pass to Baylón, running in from the right. Baylón beat Piot to the ball and lobbed it over to score the second. On the second half, Goethals switched Semelling for van Hanegem and Puis for Rensenbrink trying to improve the Burgundian creation, and it worked. Over the second half, the Burgundians would have the most dangerous chances, but the Peruvian defense held together and the 2x0 remained on the score.

Four days later, it was time for Peru to face England. Despite facing the reigning champions, the Peruvians played fearlessly and opened the score at only 6 minutes, when Cubillas headed in a cross by Baylón. However, England didn't take long to begin reacting. Twenty minutes in, Edwards took a cross from Charlton and flipped the ball over Rubiños to equalize. Six minutes later, Ball crossed the ball to Francis Lee, who headed the ball backwards, but fortunately, into the path of Edwards, who managed to find enough space to shoot to score the second. Only eight minutes later, Peru tied again, when Gallardo caught the rebound of a shot by Cubillas. The second half remained as busy as the first, but with less goals. Ten minutes in, Hurst headed in a cross from Ball to put England in the front again. While Peru remained attacking as usual, Banks was in top form that day and saved a fair number of Peruvian shots. In contrast, Rubiños was nowhere was safe in the other end, and it was the rest of the defense that ensured England wouldn't score the fourth.

On the third match, Burgundy needed to win by at least three goals to qualify, but despite Van Himst's best attempts, the Burgundians struggled to contest the midfield, with Ball and Edwards pulling outstanding performances, Ball himself scoring twice, one off a failed clearance by Jansen, and another off a pass from Charlton. In between these goals, Hurst got his own off a cross by Edwards, and Burgundy got the honor goal on a free kick by Dockx.

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Group D

Brazil faced Wallachia in the first match of the group. The defense was still the weak spot it had been in the previous matches, with the Vlachs finding even more breaches than Morea had, but Brazil had on their side a marvellous performance from Pelé and the nervousness of Adamache, who failed to save the first goal, when Pelé slashed a free kick low around the wall. Three minutes later, Jairzinho scored at the near post after Paulo César beat Sătmăreanu. It seemed like it would be easy, but at 34 minutes, Everaldo failed a dribble and lost the ball to Lucescu, who shot towards the goal. Félix palmed it away and Dumitrache stabbed in the rebound. Brazil scored the third midway through the second half with Pelé, after a smart and acrobatic play from Tostão. Wallachia scored the third six minutes from the end, when Dembrovschi headed in Sătmăreanu's cross.

Three days later, it was Uruguay's turn to face Wallachia. Faithful to their style, they came in to avoid losing. Wallachia had most of the offensive initiative, but Uruguay stopped the Wallachian forwards by fair means and otherwise. The result was a dreary, rough match, with 70 fouls overall, and no goals.

Three days later, Brazil faced Uruguay, with the latter needing to win to advance. As usual, Uruguay planted itself in the defnse, only going to the attack sporadically. In one of these occasions, at 18 minutes, Brito missed a 3-meter pass to Carlos Alberto and gave the ball up to Julio Morales, whose chip found Cubilla running into the penalty area on the right. He controlled the ball on his thigh before lifting it across the six-yard box, where Félix let it bounce inside the far post then knelt in despair. Immediately, the Uruguayans clustered in their own half and spent the rest of the first half defending. Time passed and nothing happened, then, near the break, Clodoaldo knocked a short ball to Tostão on the left wing then sprinted for the return pass, which he thrashed first time past the keeper’s right hand. The second half was just like the first - Uruguay tried to delay and hold the ball, and Brazil couldn't find space.

Then, with 15 minutes to go, the result still not being good enough, Hohberg, now the Uruguayan manager, tried to reinforce the attack trading in Maneiro for Espárrago. It didn't work - without Maneiro, Brazil quickly began dominating the midfield. Only two minutes after that, Pelé’s touch to Tostão was followed by a pass out to Jairzinho, who cleverly beat Matosas before scoring with a low cross-shot. Now it was Uruguay's turn to get nervous. A few minutes later, Félix pulled a great save on a header from Cubilla, and one minute before the end, Brazil pulled an counter-attack and found the Uruguayan defense open. Pelé rolled the ball back for Rivelino’s left foot to do the rest, though Mazurkiewicz bravely got a touch. And just before the match ended, Pelé presented the crowd with another masterpiece, sprinting onto an angled through-ball from Tostão and dummying past Mazurkiewicz, beating him without even touching the ball. The shot rolled just past the far post.

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And thus, the semifinal matches were defined:

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Let me know your predictions and stay tuned for Part 58!
Chapter LVIII
Chapter LVIII - Pra Frente, Brasil!

In the first semifinal, Brazil faced Germany at Medellín, and almost as soon as the match began, Höttges went off to mark Jairzinho, on what would be the great individual duel of the match. Schön thought that if Jair was well marked, Brazil would lose their main attacking option besides Pelé, but that didn't stop Brazil opening the score, when from a throw-in on the left, Rivelino hooked over a volleyed cross, Pelé beat Schulz easily in the air and headed down and in at the far post. From that goal onward, Brazil had about 20 minutes of clear dominance, but Germany were allowed back in by yet another of the slapdash goals Brazil gave away in this tournament, Clodoaldo attempting a lazy backheel, Müller charging it down and holding off Félix and Brito to turn the ball into the empty goal. That goal clearly threw the Brazilians off, and Germany began dominating the second half, with Beckenbauer generally nulling Gérson and the Brazilian defense generally struggling to hold together. However, midway through the second half, Beckenbauer dislocated his shoulder after being checked in the Brazilian area and had to be subbed by Max Lorenz, and Germany began losing control of the midfield after that, and Brazil went back to the attack. At the 79th minute, Höttges tackled Jairzinho only for the ball to go straight to Gérson, who stepped away from a challenge and scored with a crisp cross-shot just before another tackle came in, the ball beating Maier to his left. Seven minutes later, Clodoaldo held off several German players deep in his half before feeding Jairzinho on the left. He rushed inside but again Höttges wouldn't let him pass, so the ball was transferred to Pelé, who repeated the simple square passes which had killed off Uruguay. This time Carlos Alberto came charging up on the right and the ball bobbled at the last second, sitting up for the shot which crashed low past Maier's right hand.

Meanwhile, at Cali, England faced Italy. Although Bertini and Furino stuck to Edwards and Charlton effectively, England had the more effective attack and scored twice on two crossings from Keith Newton, the first concluded by Alan Mullery and the other by Edwards. But soon after that, Valcareggi substituted Domenghini for Sergio Gori. Until then, as well as coming forward on the left, Cooper had done a complete job by shutting out Domenghini, but his substitute was fresh and dangerous, and Italy began going to the attack more often, eventually scoring at the 68th minute, when Boninsegna received a pass from Bertini on the right-hand corner of the England area and shot immediately; the ball seemed to surprise Banks for pace and went in under his body. Ramsey immediately replaced Charlton by Colin Bell, as England backed down trying to hold onto the result, which they did.

The third-place final was played at Bogotá. Italy, that hadn't been in the top 3 since 1942, opened the score early, when Boninsegna had despatched a rebound from the edge of the area, and set out their stall to hold out. Meanwhile, Germany, that had been third place four years before, seemed largely disinterested through most of the match. Then, in the final minute, when the match seemed won, Grabowski held off two tackles on the left and crossed for Schnellinger to arrive unmarked and leap at the ball with feet splayed, volleying in with his right. The match had to go to extra time, the first time this had happened since 1942. A Italian defensive blunder helped Germany take the lead, when Poletti ran back towards his own goal and chested the ball towards Albertosi, Müller getting in to touch the ball just over the line, but Italy soon took control of the match again, and equalized with Riva ten minutes later, when he beat Schnellinger with an exaggerated turn and scored with a confident low crossshot. Seen minutes later, Rivera scored to give Italy the victory, after Boninsegna beat Schulz on the left and Rivera met his low cross with excruciating calmness, sidefooting the ball into the middle of the goal as Maier was forced to dash to his left.

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The next day, Brazil and England played the final at Cali. Gérson had pulled a thigh muscle in the final minutes of the previous match and there was some doubt if he could play. Zagallo tried to play it safe, leaving Gérson in the bench, putting Rivellino on his place in the midfield, and bringing in Paulo César Caju on the left wing. Meanwhile, on the English side, Keith Newton, also injured, was replaced by Tommy Wright. England began the match with a impressive confidence, putting the team on the attack and pressuring with and without the ball, while Brazil was having a hard time going through the midfield. The first sign Brazil was in the match came at the 10th minute, when Carlos Alberto hit a brilliant pass that skidded low inside then outside Cooper into the path of the galloping Jairzinho, who stumbled to the England goal line and got in a cross just before the ball went out of play. At the far post, Pelé outjumped Wright to head down and surely in, only for Banks to dive to his right and fingertip the ball over the bar. Still, that play made the English back down a bit.

By this time, England was playing slightly better, but found little space to shoot, having to resort to crossings and long shots, but they opened the score soon after the half-hour mark, when Mullery chipped a pass out to the right-hand corner flag, where Wright put over an equally good cross. Hurst jumped and missed but barged his man, and Lee came in at speed. He intended a volley, caught his studs in the long grass, and connected with a flying header. All over the pitch, people were having excellent games, none more so than Moore. One copybook tackle took the ball off Jairzinho’s toes in the penalty area when the slightest mistiming would have brought a penalty. When Jairzinho repeated his trick of joining the wall at a Rivelino free kick, Moore solved the puzzle by standing behind him. The kick seared through, he stopped it and brought the ball upfield.

Returning from the break, England tried to keep its usual game but found itself against an electrified Brazil, that came close many times before it finally equalized at the 59th minute, when Tostão saw Roberto warming up in the side, preparing to replace him. Knowing this would be his last play (he'd still stick around for nine more minutes, though), he chased back ten meters to regather the ball after he had lost it, took a return pass from Paulo César, took a rebound from Moore’s shins, beat Wright, and finally crossed from the left in the general direction of the penalty spot. Unfortunately for England, Pelé was there to trap it and push it short to his right all in one movement, taking out two defenders. Jairzinho, unmarked because Cooper had come inside to see to Pelé, hammered the ball across Banks from six meters. Four minutes later, Paulo César took a pass from Everaldo on his own half, beat two defenders, and passed to Pelé, who passed to Jairzinho before receiving the ball back, then passed for Rivellino to score.

Right after that, Ramsey replaced Charlton, exhausted, and Lee, who had done nothing of note after the goal, by Bell and Jeff Astle, respectively. England continued trying to beat on crosses, but Félix and Brito were doing well in the air, and the English couldn't score in the few times they had some space. First, Moore's perfect tackle on Jairzinho led to Cooper’s long cross from the left, which was hilariously miskicked by Everaldo deep in his own area, the ball squirting straight to Astle, who hit the ball firmly but past the far post. Then Ball, picking his spot, was unlucky to clip the top of the bar. Meanwhile, Brazil made some dangerous counter-attacks and Banks seemed to be having more work than Félix, catching long shots by Rivellino and Roberto. Overall, Brazil mostly managed the result until the final whistle, and won their fourth title.

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159 goals were scored in 52 matches, for a average of 3,05 goals a match. Gerd Müller was the top goalscorer, with 11 goals, followed by Jairzinho, with 7, and Pelé and Riva, tied for third place with 6.


Yeah, I know this seems to happen all the time, and I do know the sorts of butterflies that may have avoided this, but that title is just too iconic for me to butterfly away.

Stay tuned for the next part, which will show the 1971 South American Championship and the 1972 European Championship qualifiers!
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Chapter LIX
Chapter LIX - 1971


The qualifiers were organized in the same way as in the previous edition, without any additions.

In Group 1, Bosnia saw itself falling into a particularly tricky group, and despite some good performances, was the first to be eliminated, leaving the dispute for the berth between Poland, Sweden and Bulgaria. Sweden's elimination would only be confirmed in the last round, when they only tied against Bulgaria at home. Meanwhile, Poland advanced directly.

In Group 2, Ruthenia and Provence had little difficulty monopolizing the top positions, and the Provençals missed the direct berth by only two goals' difference.

On Group 3, Germany also had little difficulty qualifying directly, but the playoff berth was fought fiercely by the Papal States and Ireland. In the end, it came down to their away results against White Ruthenia. Ireland tied, while the Romans lost. Group 4 had a similar dynamic, with Hungary qualifying with ease and Serbia overcoming France for the playoff berth with some effort.

In Group 5, Wallachia and Bohemia were separated only by goal difference, but even Bohemia's campaign was good enough that they qualified direct as one of the best second placers.

In Group 6, Sicily had been coming up with a decent generation, led by Antonio Juliano and Franco Causio, but much like Bosnia, found it hard to compete against Italy, Pomerania and Austria and finished last in their group. Still, the three points the Sicilians got were decisive, with the victory over Pomerania and the tie against Austria marking the difference between the latter two for the playoff berth.

On Group 7, Morea found itself unable to follow up their World Cup performance with another European qualification, losing the playoff berth to Savoy, while England qualified directly.

On Group 8, Venice qualified again, with Scotland taking second place and Russia going through its third elimination in a row.

On Group 9, Castille qualified with ease, and Wales and Swabia were left to dispute the playoff berth. Despite tying at Basel, the Welsh managed to lose at Cardiff and thus, the Swabians went to the playoffs.

On Group 10, Burgundy qualified directly, while Portugal took second place, and managed to qualify directly as well by only one goal's difference over Provence.

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In the playoffs themselves, Savoy secured its qualification after tying at home and winning away, Ireland only qualified thanks to the recent introduction of the away goals rule, Austria tied away and qualified after winning at home by 3x1, while Scotland qualified after beating Provence away by 3x0. Portugal was chosen to host.

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Thus, the groups were drawn:

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South American Championship

The qualifiers for the 1971 tournament began late in 1970, involving only eight teams, divided into two groups. In Group 1, despite not beating Ecuador in the matches between them, Grão-Pará qualified thanks to beating New Granada twice, and Ecuador losing to Araucania at Temuco. Meanwhile, in Group 2, Charcas, Peru and Paraguay, all participants in 1969, quickly took out Venezuela and struggled for the two berths, that was won by Peru and Paraguay. When the time came to choose the host, Grão-Pará won the rights, and used the tournament to showcase their new stadium at Belém, that had been built to house the national team a few years back - until then, the team played alternately on Remo and Paysandu's venues.

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Grão-Pará's debut would be against Brazil, still riding high after the 1970 world title. That tournament would also be significant for Brazil, since Pelé had announced he'd retire from the national team after the tournament. Out of the players who had started the final against England, the only two not present were Paulo César Caju, who had gone back to the reserve, and Carlos Alberto, injured. But the team didn't get off to a good start - Robilotta scored at the 14th minute and then Grão-Pará proceeded to shut itself on the defense trying to hold their lead. Although the defense was by no means Grão-Pará's forte the way it was with Uruguay, the hosts managed to hold on almost until the end, only conceding the tie eight minutes before the end.

The next day, Peru faced Chile again. The match was relatively balanced, with each team dominating on one half, but the Chilean dominance on the first half was sterile, with the Chilean forwards having difficulties to conclude and missing when they did, while Peru managed to convert theirs into a goal late in the game, when the Chileans were already exhausted.

Three days later, Chile faced the hosts. needing to win to avoid a early elimination, Chile went to the attack and had some command of the midfield, but Grão-Pará opened the score, with João da Costa. Chile managed to equalize with Araya at the half-hour mark, but on the second half Grão- Pará was precise in the counter-attacks, with Ércio and Bené scoring before the first ten minutes were through. Chile tried to react, and Sergio Messen scored the second at the 75th minute, but Bené scored his second on a penalty kick and secured the Paraese victory.

Two days later, Brazil faced Peru. Once again, the first half was not good for Brazil, that saw Peru having more dangerous chances, and lost Félix after a collision with Baylón. However, Brazil began improving in the second half, and began dominating midway through the second half, with Pelé scoring the first two goals and Zequinha the third.

Three days later, Brazil faced Chile. Although the possibility of putting the match as the preliminary of the Grão-Pará match the same day, it was decided the matches would be held at the same time, with the Brazil match being held at Remo's Evandro Almeida stadium. Despite being already eliminated, Chile pulled its best performance in the tournament, with the defense displaying a impressive solidity, but Brazil responded with a equally skilled performance, especially on the midfield, and got the winning goal just before the 70-minute mark, with Tostão.

Meanwhile, Grão-Pará faced Peru, the visitors needing to win to advance. Both teams played fearlessly, and with the main strength of both teams lying on their forwards, the match was just as busy as the last one, but Peru, despite being almost always trailing on the scoreline, proved to be a more able opponent than Chile, pressuring Grão-Pará through most of the match, especially the last 20 minutes, but Grão-Pará managed to hold on to the tie and advance to the semifinals for the first time, while Peru disappointed once again.

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For the first match of Group 2, Paraguay and Uruguay played the preliminary of Chile x Peru. Although Uruguay seemed to be the favourites and their defense was as solid as ever, they were hampered by the absence of Cubilla, injured, which took away a major part of Uruguay's offensive power. Meanwhile, Paraguay had few outstanding names, but were a well-organized side, and managed to win the match, not without some difficulty, with a goal from Carlos Diarte.

The next day, Argentina faced New Granada. Despite a relatively calm qualification, the Neogranadine form hadn't improved all that much, and the Cafeteros were thoroughly outplayed by the Albiceleste. The latter won by 4x1, but if not for some sloppy finishing in part of the forwards, could have gotten a even larger score.

Three days later, New Granada returned to play against Uruguay, and didn't see much improvement even from the previous match, the scoreline only remaining low thanks to the Uruguayan offensive debilities. In the second half, Hugo Bagnulo, the Uruguayan manager, put in Fernando Morena and Roberto Repetto in the places of Zubía and Cortés, and this seemed to improve the team's creativity somewhat, but even then, the second goal only came two minutes from the end.

The next day, Paraguay and Argentina did the preliminaries for Brazil x Peru. Paraguay had a slight predominance in the first half, but the goal didn't come until the second, when after receiving a through-ball from Américo Godoy, Cristóbal Maldonado was taken down in the area and Saturnino Arrúa converted the penalty. Argentina began stepping up the pressure, and even equalized a few minutes later with Fischer, but the goal was disallowed. The equalizer would eventually come, with Ángel Marcos, only four minutes from the end.

Four days later, Paraguay played at Paysandu's Curuzu stadium against New Granada, and established its dominance quickly, opening the score at only two minutes. After only 15 minutes, Paraguay was already up by 3x0, and mostly managed the result until the 70th minute, when a scuffle started between two players that escalated to include all the 22 players and the reserves from both teams. The referee did nothing, and the police had to break up the fight. Incredibly, despite the brawl, no one was sent off when the match was resumed.

Meanwhile, Argentina and Uruguay played for the other berth in the semifinals. Although the Albiceleste began dominating, the Uruguayans opened the score on an aerial play concluded by Ricardo Pavoni. Argentina equalized still in the first half, with a beautiful shot from Oscar Más. The rest of the match had chances from both teams, but the 1x1 remained and Argentina advanced.

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Both semifinal matches were played in the same day, with Brazil x Argentina, incredibly, serving as the preliminary to the other match. Even then, the match had the biggest attendance of a preliminary match that tournament, and the 34,000 spectators got their money's worth, with a beautiful match all around. Fischer opened the score for Argentina early on, and although not for lack of trying, Brazil equalized at the 82nd minute with Tostão, and if not for Osvaldo Piazza's incredible precision on marking Pelé, could have done that sooner. Argentina had a fair number of chances of their own, but Émerson Leão was proving to be a safer pair of hands than Félix, while Marinho Peres, who had replaced Brito (who had injured himself in the previous match) on the defense, was doing a good job as well. The match went into extra time, and almost immediately after the kick-off, Fischer put Argentina on the lead again. On the extra time's second half, the Albiceleste retracted more to the defense, trying to keep their lead, but conceded the equalizer with five minutes to go, on a great individual play from Pelé.

With the extra time also ending in a tie, it was time to test the new tiebreaking method that had been agreed upon before the tournament, the penalty shootout. FIFA also was interested in implementing the same tiebreaking method in the World Cup. However, the organization of such shootouts varied at the time, and the specific version used in the 1971 tournament had all of a team's shots being performed by the same player. Pelé was Brazil's obvious choice, while Argentina chose Fischer. Fischer wound up missing half of his shots, one hitting the bar and Leão saving the other, while Pelé hit four of his five and put Brazil in the final.

Paraguay and Grão Pará did the main event right after that, although the start time had been pushed back considerably after the unexpected penalty shootout. Paraguay had the momentum and a better organized team on its side, and scored early with Maldonado, but Grão Pará equalized with Quarentinha II and resisted well until the early part of the second half. By then the Paraese defense had been resorting to repeated fouls on the wings to stop the Paraguayan attackers, and in a harsher one inside the area, Aluísio got the second yellow card and was sent off. Arrúa converted the penalty, and despite recomposing itself quickly by bringing in Paulo Tavares for João da Costa, the Paraese defense crumbled, and Arrúa and Maldonado would score another three goals between them over the next 20 minutes. In the end, when the Paraguayan win was already guaranteed, Alcino scored the second Paraese goal, but that would be all.

Three days later, Argentina and Grão-Pará played for the third place. Fischer opened the score for the Albiceleste late in the first half, and two minutes later, Carlos Bianchi doubled the lead, dribbling past his marker and lobbing the ball over François. Then, aroud the 68th minute, Roque Avallay and João Tavares began trading punches, and soon enough, most of the players had gotten involved. The fight lasted about seven minutes and ended with Avallay and Pastoriza sent off on the Argentine side and João Tavares and Tito sent off for Grão-Pará.

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The next day, Brazil and Paraguay played the final, on a tense match decided only near the end. Only 15 minutes in, Tostão pulled a muscle and had to be replaced by Claudiomiro. Although most of the offensive initiative was with Brazil, the Paraguayan defense was well put-together, and the forwards could be dangerous on counter-attacks, at one point, hitting the post with Maldonado. When the Paraguayans had begun to waste time waiting for extra time, Jairzinho intercepted a ball cleared by Aquino, came up on the right and was fouled by Enciso apparently inside the area, but the referee just gave a regular free kick. Claudiomiro took the free kick and Jairzinho headed the ball in to give Brazil its seventh title.

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Let me know your predictions for the European Championship and stay tuned for Part 60!
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Chapter LX
Chapter LX - The 1972 European Championship

Group 1

The first match of the group pit the hosts against Burgundy, and in a match where the defenses prevailed, Portugal came off with the win thanks to two penalties in quick succession late in the match, both converted by Eusébio. The next day, the other match was also decided on a penalty, with Robert Gadocha scoring the winning goal for Poland against Wallachia.

In the following round, Wallachia recovered, beating the hosts by 2x1 after going into half-time losing by 1x0, while in a seeming repeat from their 1968 match, Burgundy and Poland tied by 0x0 again. In the last round, Burgundy faced Wallachia needing to win to advance, and although they played better in the first half, the second half would be dominated by Wallachia, and with goals from Dumitrache and Lucescu, the Vlachs advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time.

Meanwhile, Portugal didn't get off to a good start against Poland, and after a sterile first half, saw the Poles opening the score thanks to a own goal by Adolfo Calisto. With the team now facing the prospect of being eliminated at home and the attack barely working, José Augusto, now the manager, switched Joaquim Dinis for Nené, Eusébio's attack partner at Benfica, and that turned Portugal's game around quickly, with Nené equalizing on a penalty kick only three minutes after entering, and scoring twice more in the following ten minutes to secure Portugal's qualification.

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Group 2

In the first match of the Group, Scotland beat Austria by 2x0, apparently cured of the offensive problems that had plagued it intermittently since 1966, while in the other match of the round, England beat Savoy by 2x0, in a match that could have been won by a larger margin if not for some great performances from Dominique Baratell ion the goal and Roberto Rosato on the defense.

In the following round, Austria held England to a 0x0 tie, while Savoy lost by 2x0 again, this time to Scotland. In the last round, Austria faced Savoy, needing to win and hope for a English defeat to advance, and despite holding the offensive impetus for most of the match and counting with some good performances from Branko Oblak and Kurt Jara, came into half-time losing by 1x0, goal from Roberto Bettega. Jara equalized 14 minutes into the second half, but Austria couldn't do anymore than that, and both teams were eliminated. Meanwhile, in the other match of the group, England beat Scotland with a goal from Alan Ball to advance in first place.

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Group 3

In the first round, Ireland played against Germany again, and with George Best on a even better form than in the 1968 tournament, proved to be just as much of a challenge to Germany as last time, taking the lead twice and forcing Germany to run after the tie for most of the match. Germany eventually ended the match in a better footing, but the result was the same - 2x2. In the other match, Ruthenia beat Italy by 1x0, the winning goal being scored by Vladimir Veremeyev. In the second round, Italy recovered, beating Germany by 1x0, while in the other match, after trailing by 2x0, Ireland rallied to snatch a tie against Ruthenia that kept their chances alive for the last round.

A 0x0 would do against Italy, given they had scored more goals, but the Irish decided to go to the attack from the beginning, and that seemed to have paid off, as they lead by 2x0 after only five minutes. Italy only began recovering late in the first half, and reached the equalizer after two goals from Riva. Then it was Italy 's turn to attack, but not only Ireland held on for the better part of the half, but with five minutes to go, Eamonn Rogers scored on a counter-attack and dispatched the reigning champions. In the other match, needing to win to advance, Germany, counting with Gerd Müller on a excellent day, was utterly merciless, opening a 4x0 lead, all goals from Müller, in only 20 minutes. Viktor Kolotov scored the honor goal for Ruthenia after that, but Germany advanced just the same.

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Group 4

In Group 4, Venice debuted against Castille. Despite, on paper, having a team as good as the one from 1968, and facing a rather questionable Castillian side, Venice was hampered by a overly defensive style, partly brought about by its goal problems. After the team had made the mistake of letting Dino Zoff become eligible to play for Italy, and their absolute starter, Fabio Cudicini, had retired from the national team in 1969, nobody had managed to establish himself on Venice's goal, with the position, by 1971, usually rotating between Aldo Nardin and Nevio Favaro. neither of the two seemed all that safe on that level, so the team had to emphasize its defense to compensate. The reault was that despite dominating the match, Venice created realtively few chances to score against Castille, and although they opened the score with Jurica Jercovich, they conceded the equalizer soon after and couldn't regain the lead. Meanwhile, at Guimarães, Hungary beat Bohemia by 3x1.

In the second round, Castille improved its chances by beating Bohemia by 2x1. Meanwhile, Venice held Hungary to a tie for most of the match, and only a outside of the area shot by Bene gave the Hungarians the victory. So, in the last round, Venice needed to win in order to advance, and for once, it took on the offensive, but Bohemia was well prepared, and won the match with a goal scored on a counter-attack. Meanwhile, Hungary beat Castille by 1x0 and became the only team to get out of the group stage with three victories.

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Knockout stage

In the first match of the quarterfinals, Portugal faced Scotland, and counted with some luck to open the score, with Pat Stanton accidentally heading a relatively harmless cross by Fernando Peres into his own goal. Scotland had some periods of dominance after that, but was unable to convert them into goals, and eight minutes before the end, Eusébio scored the second and put Portugal in the semifinals. Meanwhile, at Oeiras, England faced Wallachia in a truncated match, which went to extra time after the regular time had ended on 0x0. Then the match changed on extra time, especially once the English scored with Hurst at the first minute. Both teams had some good chances after that, but the 1x0 remained and England advanced.

The next day, Ireland and Castille faced at Coimbra. Castille was the better team in the first half, and came into the break leading by 1x0, and although Ireland was not exactly dominant in the second, they still managed to equalize midway through the second half, sending the match into extra time, where Ireland scored the winning goal early into the second half, with Don Givens, and went into the semifinals. Meanwhile, at Porto, Hungary faced Germany, and with a generally good defensive performance, held out against Germany until the later part of the second half, when Paul Breitner and Uli Hoeneß scored for Germany and secured its qualification to the semifinals.

Three days later, Portugal faced Ireland in the first match of the semifinals. Played in warm and sunny conditions, Ireland had the first chance to score but George Best's cross failed to be converted by any of his three teammates in the Portuguese penalty area. After missing numerous opportunities to take the lead, Portugal scored late in the first half when Fernando Peres took the ball past two defenders and struck the ball under Pat Jennings. Nené doubled his side's advantage two minutes later with a shot from inside the box, and the very next minute, Ireland scored, with Mick Leech heading into an empty net after José Henrique had left his goal unattended. While Portugal dominated the actions in the second half, Ireland still occasionally made some dangerous counter-attacks, and Portugal only felt some relief in the final minutes, when Joaquim Dinis scored the third on a free kick.

Meanwhile, at Porto, Germany faced England. In rainy conditions, Germany dominated the game while England defended deeply and committed numerous fouls. In the 27th minute, Bobby Moore lost possession of the ball, allowing Uli Hoeneß to shoot from around 18 meters, his strike taking a deflection off Norman Hunter and beating Gordon Banks in the England goal. Emlyn Hughes saw his half-volley strike the top of the German crossbar before Francis Lee equalised for England in the 76th minute; a shot from Martin Peters was kept out by Sepp Maier but Lee converted the rebound from close range. Germany regained the lead seven minutes later. Moore fouled Jürgen Sparwasser and although Banks got a hand to the resulting penalty from Netzer, the ball spun into the net. With two minutes remaining, Sparwasser won the ball from Hughes, passed to Hoeneß who then gave it to Müller whose low shot beat Banks to give Germany a 3x1 victory.

Three days later, England and Ireland played the third-place final. Without anything to lose, England fielded a side mostly made up of reserves, but Ireland, who had never gone that far, was determined to win the third place, and won by 1x0, with a goal from Terry Neill, scoring from close range following a corner kick by Mick Martin.

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The next day, Portugal and Germany played the final. Both teams mostly played with the same teams that had played the semifinals, but with one change each - Nenê had to be replaced by Rui Jordão on the Portuguese side due to injury, while Berti Vogts was overlooked in favor of Höttges for the Germans. With the crowd on its side, Portugal had several early chances to score, but only did so at the 15th minute - Rui Jordão saw his shot blocked by the German defence before the ball fell to Eusébio, who opened the score. In the 27th minute, Portugal scored the second - Adolfo ran past two German defenders with the ball before passing to Jaime Graça, whose dipping shot rebounded off the cross-bar. Schwarzenbeck's attempted headed clearance fell to Eusébio who half-volleyed the ball back into the box. It was pushed out by Maier but Rui Jordão scored from the rebound to open the score. João Henrique then tipped a 27 meter strike from Sparwasser over the Portuguese crossbar in a rare opportunity for Germany, but Maier then saved a header from Dinis before keeping out a Eusébio free kick.

Although no changes were made at half-time, Germany came back from the break with a new disposition, and began dominating the actions - then, at the 52nd minute, Timula lost possession of the ball to Wimmer who, after numerous West Germany passes, struck a left-footed shot past José Henrique. Six minutes later, Schwarzenbeck ran into the Portuguese penalty area with the ball before being tackled by Humberto Coelho, but the ball fell to Müller who scored to equalize for Germany. Although Portugal had other chances to score after that, seven minutes from the end, on a counter-attack, Netzer crossed the ball to Müller, who headed the ball past José Henrique, and gave Germany its first European title, while Portugal once again stopped at a hair's breadth from a major title.

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Stay tuned for the next part, which will show the prelude to the 1974 FIFA World Cup!
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Chapter LXI
Chapter LXI - Frauen, Treue, Wein und Sang

For 1974, the hosting duties had come to Europe again, and Germany, Scotland, France and Hungary put their own bids forward, with Germany beating Hungary in the third ballot to win the rights to host the 1974 World Cup. Lafarge died later in the year, shortly before the 1971 election. The chairmanship of FIFA fell to his general secretary, the Roman Andrea Ercoli, who ran unopposed in the following year, mostly because nobody else had time to put their names forward.


The Germanic peoples are thought to date from the Nordic Bronze Age or the early Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, they expanded south, east, and west, coming into contact with the Celtic, Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes. Under Augustus, the Roman Empire began to invade lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes, creating a short-lived Roman province of Germania between the Rhine and Elbe rivers. In 9 AD, three Roman legions were defeated by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. The outcome of this battle dissuaded the Romans from their ambition of conquering Germania, and is thus considered one of the most important events in European history. By 100 AD, when Tacitus wrote Germania, Germanic tribes had settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus), occupying most of modern Germany. However, Upper Swabia, southern Bavaria, southern Hesse and the western Rhineland had been incorporated into Roman provinces.

Around 260, Germanic peoples broke into Roman-controlled lands. After the invasion of the Huns in 375, and with the decline of Rome from 395, Germanic tribes moved farther southwest: the Franks established the Frankish Kingdom and pushed east to subjugate Saxony and Bavaria, and areas of what is today eastern Germany were inhabited by Western Slavic tribes. Charlemagne founded the Carolingian Empire in 800; it was divided between his three grandsons in 843. The eastern successor kingdom of East Francia stretched from the Rhine in the west to the Elbe river in the east and from the North Sea to the Alps. Subsequently, the Holy Roman Empire emerged from it. The Ottonian rulers (919–1024) consolidated several major duchies. In 996, Gregory V became the first German Pope, appointed by his cousin Otto III, whom he shortly after crowned Holy Roman Emperor. The Holy Roman Empire absorbed Italy and Burgundy under the Salian emperors (1024–1125), although the emperors lost power through the Investiture controversy.

Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254), German princes encouraged German settlement to the south and east, nd this period also saw the systematic founding of new cities by both the emperor and the princes. However, despite the Investiture controversy having already been solved, the later Hohenstaufen emperors came into conflict with the Popes, leading to the downfall of the dynasty. After the death of Frederick II in 1250, the German kingdom was divided between his son Conrad IV and the anti-king, William of Holland. Conrad's death was followed by the Interregnum, during which no king could achieve universal recognition, allowing the princes to consolidate their holdings and become even more independent as rulers. After 1257, the crown was contested between Richard of Cornwall, who was supported by the Guelph party, and Alfonso X of Castile, who was recognized by the Hohenstaufen party but never set foot on German soil.

After Richard's death in 1273, Rudolf III of Habsburg, a minor pro-Hohenstaufen count, was elected. After Rudolf's death in 1291, Adolf VIII of Berg was elected king. Despite their weak initial positions, both of them took advantage of their time in the throne to establish independent bases of power, Rudolf laying claim to Austria, the succession of which had been disputed since the extinction of the native Babenberg dynasty, and Adolf taking Meissen on the same pretext. However, Adolf sided with the Bohemian king when the latter claimed Austria, leading the Habsburgs to lose Austria. In compensation, the Habsburgs were given the ducal title of Swabia, unoccupied since the extinction of the Hohenstaufens, and over the following decades set out to consolidate their hold over the Upper Swabian lands. Adolf of Berg was succeeded by his nephew, also named Adolf, who added Bohemia and Brandenburg into his house's possessions, but died without heirs and was in turn succeeded by his nephew, Charles of Luxembourg, while the holdings of the house of Berg were split up.

Meanwhile, members of the Hanseatic League, mostly north German towns, prospered in the expansion of trade. The population declined starting with the Great Famine in 1315, followed by the Black Death of 1348–1350. The Golden Bull issued in 1356 provided the constitutional structure of the Empire and codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors. After the Luxembourgs themselves died out, the throne came to be disputed mainly by the Habsburgs and the House of Jülich, that had inherited the County of Berg after the extinction of the house of Berg, and during the 15th century, added the adjacent lands of Guelders, Cleves and Mark, establishing a large, compact and wealthy principality in the lower Rhineland.

A process of Imperial Reform in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries transformed the empire, creating a set of institutions of which many parts survive into the present day. Meanwhile, Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable-type printing to Europe, laying the basis for the democratization of knowledge. In 1517, Martin Luther incited the Protestant Reformation and his translation of the Bible began the standardization of the language. Despite many princes having adhered to the Reformation initially, after a series of wars in the 16th century and the Counter-Reformation, Protestantism came to be restriced mostly to the northern principalities of Holstein, Saxe-Lauenburg, Mecklenburg and Pomerania-Prussia. From the 17th century, the Jülichs, now firmly established in the Imperial throne undertook a slow, intermittent and limited proccess of centralization of the Catholic principalities.

During the 18th century, the Empire developed a classical culture that found its greatest expression in world class leaders such as philosophers Leibniz and Kant, writers such as Goethe and Schiller, and musicians suchas Bach, Handel, Mozart and Beethoven. Further efforts to improve the Empire began in 1824 with the establishment of a customs union, the Zollverein. By 1842, it included most Catholic principalities, and even a few of the Protestant ones, with only Swabia, Austria and Pomerania-Prussia remaining outside of the union. The Zollverein was a move toward economic integration, modern industrial capitalism, and the victory of centralism over localism, quickly bringing to an end the era of guilds in the small German princely states.

Before 1850, the Empire lagged behind the leaders in industrial development, England, Scotland, France and Burgundy. However, the country had considerable assets: a highly skilled labor force, a good educational system, a strong work ethic, good standards of living and a sound protectionist strategy based on the Zollverein. By mid-century, the German states were catching up, and by 1900 the Empire was a world leader in industrialization. By 1974, the Empire had roughly 75 million inhabitants, 60 million within the areas included in the Zollverein, and 600,000 of them living in Frankfurt, the closest thing the Empire had to a capital.

In regards to football, the German team was a traditional one, but found little success on competitions until the 1972 European championship. Club football was still mostly local and amateur until the 1950s, with the first edition of the Reichsliga being held in 1960. Despite its ambition of being a pan-Imperial league, the principalities that had stood outside the Zollverein had long established their own leagues and "national" federations and refused to join the league, joining only the Reichspokal as guests.

When the time came to organize the tournament, the organizing committee found itself swamped with possible host cities, with seemingly every prince wanting a host city to call his own, which led to a unprecedented number of 18 host cities, breaking Castille's previous record, to acommodate the largest practical number of host cities, and even then, some regions still came out empty-handed, such as Thuringia, in which Jena was cut in favor of Bremen. As usual, the 18 cities were grouped by regional basis in six groups, with most stadiums getting two matches each. That also mandated a change in the format of the second stage, with the second group stage being replaced by a knockout stage with 16 teams, which had the same number of matches, but more opportunities to spread the matches around.


Thank you all for 15,000 views and stay tuned for the next part, with the qualifiers.
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Chapter LXII
Chapter LXII - Putting The Block On the Street


In Group 1, Portugal set out to follow up on its 1972 European Cup performance with a return to the World Cup, but things definitely weren't going as expected after the first three rounds - Portugal had only beaten Cyprus and lost both to Croatia and Bulgaria, and sat in third place, three points behind the leader, Bulgaria, which had won all their first three matches. Things got worse in the fourth round, where they struggled to tie at home against Bulgaria, while Croatia beat Cyprus at home, reaching five points. In the fifth round, Bulgaria managed to tie against Cyprus at Nicosia, but qualified anyway thanks to Portugal's home victory over Croatia, which only served to eliminate both sides.

In Group 2, Iceland spun out quickly, and the berth soon came to be disputed between Aragon, Sicily and Burgundy, but it was clear from the first match the Burgundians were the favourites. After kicking off their performance by crushing Iceland by 9x0, the Burgundians went on to spend their next three matches without conceding any goals and also secured their berth one round in advance, after a victory on a direct match against Sicily, then trailing one point behind. Then Sicily lost even the second place to Aragon in the last round.

In Group 3, by the fourth round, Provence led with 6 points, followed by Venice and Livonia with 4 and Estonia with 2. Provence seemed set to qualify, given their next two matches were against Estonia and Livonia, but in the fith round, Estonia, that had already surprisingly beat the Venetians away, beat Provence at Marseille too and tangled up the group entirely, while Venice beat Livonia at home and caught up with Provence. By then, even the Balts had slim chances to qualify, even though the goal difference wasn't on their side. Venice beat Estonia by 3x0 at Tallinn, and while Provence also beat Livonia at Riga, it ended up behind Venice by only one goal's difference.

In Group 4, After the first three rounds, Morea and Ruthenia were tied with 4 points, followed by Swabia with 3 and White Ruthenia with 1. While the Swabian defense was still as respectable as ever, its attack left a lot to desire, the team only having scored one goal in three matches, against White Ruthenia. In the fourth round, the Ruthenians took the lead after beating the Beloruthenians at Smolensk, while Morea tied against Swabia, 0x0. In the fifth, the Ruthenians all but guaranteed their qualification, taking out the Greeks with a 3x0 victory at Kiev. Swabia still had chances and was their next opponent, but the Swabians would have to somehow win by 3 goals' difference, something that hadn't happened ever since their 4x0 victory over Turkey in 1971, for the 1972 European qualifiers. They didn't come even close, losing by 2x0 at Kiev.

In Group 5, the group was predicted to having Austria and Sweden battling for the top spot, and after Austria beat Sweden in the second round, the favouritism fell to them, but in the following round, they lost to Lithuania by 1x0, with a late goal from Vytautas Dirmeikis. This tangled up the group, with all three now having four points. Meanwhile, Malta remained as a punching bag, having lost to everyone so far. This didn't seem likely to change as the rounds went on. Now at home, Austria managed to lose to Lithuania again, while Sweden beat Malta by 7x0. In the fifth round, Malta lost again, to Lithuania, while Austria seemed to be doing its best to qualify Lithuania, now tying away against Sweden. All this left the berth decision for the final round match between Lithuania and Sweden, at Vilnius, and the Swedes needed to win. Fortunately for them, they managed it, and the 2x0 win sent them to another World Cup, while Lithuania lost the chance of a lifetime.

In Group 6, Italy faced Ireland again after being eliminated by them in the 1972 European championship, and after three rounds, the prospect of being eliminated by them again was looming larger. Italy had conceded no goals so far, but, having tied twice, it was one point behind Ireland. Manwhile, Turkey, had three points and Candia had lost all its matches so far. In the fourth round, both Ireland and Italy won, effectively eliminating Turkey, and making their fifth round match as a possible decision. If the Irish won, their berth on the Cup was secured, but Italy had the home advantage and came off with a 2x1 victory. Meanwhile, Candia beat the already-eliminated Turks, and after eight years trying, celebrated their first victory in a competitive match. Ireland still had chances, but had to win and hope that Italy somehow lost to Candia. They didn't even do their part, losing to Turkey by 2x1, while the Italians beat Candia to stamp their passports again.

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In Group 7, Albania was knocked out early on, losing their first three matches. Meanwhile, Wallachia led with five points, followed by Pomerania with 4 and Savoy with 3. In the fourth round, in a particularly busy match, Wallachia beat Savoy by 6x3, while Pomerania beat Albania by 4x1. Wallachia secured its qualification in the fifth round, after beating Albania again, and counting with Pomerania losing to Savoy at Turin.

In Group 8, after the first four rounds, Navarra stood in first place with six points, followed by Serbia and Russia with five, and Pskov with zero. althpugh the Pskovian defense wasn't as porous as those of other punching bags, that was little consolation. In the fifth round, while Navarra beat Pskov by 2x0, Serbia beat Russia in the direct match between the two. Now, the berth would be decided in the direct match between Navarra and Serbia. Navarra had the home and the tie advantages, and also had conceded no goals in all previous five matchs, but in a hard-fought match, Serbia won by 1x0 and returned to the World Cup.

In Group 9, Bosnia began the proceedings beating Bohemia by 2x1, and then held Castille to a tie at Madrid. Bohemia then beat Castille at Prague. in the fourth match, Castille tied against Bosnia again and wad virtually eliminated by that point, save for a very specific combination of results, starting with a large victory over Bohemia. Castille tried to set that in motion, but only won by 1x0, leaving the definition of the berth to the direct match between Bohemia and Bosnia, and the Bosnians managed to hold to the tie at Prague to go to their first World Cup.

In Group 10, Denmark was effectively eliminated after the second match, losing both to France and Scotland. France then beat Scotland at Glasgow and seemed to have it made, even after losing to the Scots at Paris. Now they both would face Denmark, and the decision might come down to goal difference, of which France had a slight advantage, but it didn't come to that because France only tied against the Danes at Copenhagen and the subsequent Scottish victory sent the Tartan Army into their fifth consecutive World Cup.

In Group 11, the first match pit the two teams considered most likely to win the group, the Papal States and Hungary. It ended on a 0x0. in the following matches, the Romans complicated themselves after only tying with Norway at Oslo, while the Hungarians breezed through the same Norwegians at home. Norway proceeded to lose both of their following matches, leaving the definition of the berth to the direct match at Budapest. the Romans needed to win to qualify, but only managed a tie, and Hungary went to the World Cup once again.

In Group 12, England went off to a terrible start, first by only tying at home against Wales then went on to a disastrous 2x0 loss against Poland, only mitigated by the fact that the Welsh beat Poland in turn, keeping Poland from opening too large of a lead. England recovered somewhat by beating Wales by 1x0, but then Poland beat the Welsh by 3x0, forcing England to win their direct match at Wembley to qualify. They tried. the English had 35 goal shots through the match to only two from Poland, but Poland was vastly more effective with theirs, opening the score early in the second half. England tied right after with a Allan Clarke penalty kick, but couldn't find any more goals and failed to qualify to the World Cup for the first time since they had rejoined FIFA.

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South America

With the success of the past two South American Championships, there was no reason to rock the boat, so the round-robin double qualifier format was kept for 1973. By the end of 1972, the big three predictably led the qualifiers, all with seven points, followed by Chile and Peru, tied with 5, New Granada and Paraguay, with 4, Grão-Pará and Charcas with 3, Ecuador with 2, Araucania with 1 and Venezuela with 0. The big three were partially helped by the table, with Brazil and Argentina playing three out of their four matches at home. Meanwhile, Grão Pará retained its strong attack, which sort of made up for their defensive weakness and made for some entertaining matches, such as the 5x5 tie against Peru.

Meanwhile, Venezuela had lost all its matches, conceded 16 goals and failed to even score, and with a 13-game losing streak on its back, fired its manager, the Argentine Gregorio Gómez and signed the German Rudolf Gutendorf, even then a verifiable gypsy of the ball, already having managed teams in four different continents so far. The manager change seemed to have had some effect, for Venezuela got its first point on Gutendorf's first match, against Charcas. Still, by the seventh round, they were still in last, with only that point. But the top of the table had gotten a bit more tangled, with Argentina leading with 12 points, followed by Brazil with 11, while Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay were all tied with 10, followed by Peru with 9, Charcas with 6, Grão Pará and New Granada with 5, Ecuador with 3 and Araucania with 2.

But in the round after that, Venezuela finally won for the first time, beating Araucania by 5x1. Meanwhile, all of the three teams that had been tied with 10 points lost - Paraguay against Peru, Uruguay at home against New Granada and Chile against Argentina on a hallucinating 5x4. Meanwhile, Brazil continued chasing after Argentina on the top, beating Grão Pará by 3x0, and Ecuador tied against Charcas. In the next round, Araucania lost to Chile, this time by 6x2, Ecuador lost at home to Brazil, New Granada beat Charcas and kept their slim chances alive, Paraguay and Argentina tied by 1x1, same result as Venezuela x Grão-Pará, while Uruguay beat Peru by 1x0 and knocked them back to sixth place.

By this points, there were two rounds left to go, Argentina and Brazil were already qualified, but there were other five teams fighting for the remaining three World Cup berths, besides the fight for the South American Championship berths, in which only Araucania was eliminated. In the tenth round, Charcas lost at home to Argentina, but remained in eighth place thanks to Grão-Pará's loss at home against Ecuador. Peru also lost at home, to Brazil and got itself into a difficult situation, which was only stopped from getting worse because Paraguay managed to only tie at home against Araucania. Meanwhile, Venezuela managed to beat New Granada, keeping its chances to qualify to the continental tournament alive, while simultaneously eliminating New Granada from the World Cup.

By the last round, Venezuela was on a roll and won again, 3x0 against Ecuador, and while helped by Charcas' loss to Peru, Grão-Pará's away victory over Araucania made their victory moot, the Venezuelans missing out on eight goals' difference, their horrid start having caught up to them. Meanwhile, Brazil took the lead after beating New Granada by 3x1, while Argentina tied against Uruguay. But the decisive match of the round was Chile x Paraguay. Chile was already qualified, but besides beating Charcas, Peru need a Chilean victory, or else Paraguay would get the berth. Chile came close to winning, but in the end, the 2x2 eliminated Peru by one goal's difference.

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In Africa, the number of entrants had doubled since 1970, but the format remained the same - a knockout funneling into a triangular group. Some teams signed in only to not to turn up at all, like Madagascar and Gabon, but the great surprise of the knockout stage was Nubia, eliminated by debutants Kenya in the first stage. Helped by a relatively easy draw, Kenya came close to the final triangular before being eliminated by Lunda, while Morocco and Congo took up the other spots.

Losing 4x0 away against Lunda, the Moroccans bounced back in the second game, defeating the same opponent 2x0 at home. Meanwhile, Congo beat Lunda at home and away. They then went to Congo for their third game but lost 3x0, conceding all three goals in the second half, in a match with very questionable refereeing. Morocco filed an appeal, trying to get the match to be replayed; it was dismissed by FIFA. Morocco considered withdrawing in protest, but gave up that idea when they realized that a tie at home would be enough to qualify, so they went to their final match, and after a 1x0 victory helped by a disinterested performance from the Congolese, qualified along with Congo.

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The return of some of the teams that had withdrawn in 1970 led to a return of the 1966 format, with eight regionalized subgroups and a knockout stage among their winners. Most of the winners were the same, save for Armenia, that had prevailed over Georgia in its group, and Arabia, which had surprisingly eliminated Syria. However, the Arabs were knocked out in the semifinals by Iran. Meanwhile, the Alfonsines improved their previous performance and after beating Korea in the semifinals, reached the final round, along with Australia and Armenia. However, the Alfonsines lost the first final match at Van by 4x2 and then only could achieve a goalless draw at Manila, a result that sent the Armenians to their first World Cup. Meanwhile, Australia beat Iran at home by 3x0 and at Isfahan, lost by only 2x0, also going to their World Cup debut.

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North America

The format of the previous Cup was kept, but the final round for once saw a tight dispute. Mexico lost their first match to New Burgundy and had to work hard to secure its qualification, in the end only prevailing over New Burgundy on goal difference. Even then, it might not have been enough if Cuba hadn't found a late winning goal in their last-round match against Guatemala. Meanwhile, Louisiana led the group and returned to the World Cup after 40 years.

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Stay tuned for the next part, which will show the 1973 South American Championship and the definition of the World Cup groups!
Chapter LXIII New
Chapter LXIII - The 1973 South American Championship

Brazil was chosen to host the South American Championship that year having only Argentina as competition in the draw. Paraguay and Peru were available too, having not hosted the tournament in the last ten years, but both were angling to host the World Cup in 1978, and knew that if either of them won, they'd host the 1977 South American Championship, so both declined to host in 1973. By then, it had been 22 years since the last time Brazil had hosted, and this time, they decided to change things, putting all their host cities in the North, taking advantage of the relatively new stadia at Maceió and Aracaju, and the recent reforms at the Fonte Nova. By this point, the Brazilian team was also undergoing tests on its attack and midfield - since 1971, Tostão's eye problem had flared up again and he had retired from football altogether a few months before, while Gérson had been falling off since 1972 and hadn't even been called up. The final list also included a couple of players from Bahian and Pernambucan teams, meant to serve mostly as reserves.

The opening match of the championship would be a reprise of the last one's final, but Brazil found that match much easier, opening a 2x0 advantage over Paraguay within 20 minutes and mostly managing the result after that. The next day, Grão-Pará debuted against Uruguay at Aracaju. Grão-Pará started the match looking like it could surprise again, with Alcino opening the score within four minutes, but Uruguay reasserted itself quickly, and eventually took the lead shortly after the break.

Three days later, Brazil faced Uruguay. The match was as difficult as it was expected, with both teams very solid on the defense, but Brazil prevailed, thanks to a lucky goal by Jairzinho two minutes in. The next day, Paraguay met Grão-Pará again, but the team's offensive power had dropped considerably since 1971, with the Albiroja struggling to score one goal against a defense that wasn't much better than before, and eventually conceding the equalizer right before the break.

Four days later, Brazil faced Grão-Pará and much as expected, dominated the match, the final 3x0 coming up quite cheap for all the created chances. Meanwhile, at Aracaju, Paraguay, met Uruguay, needing to win, but with their attack still on a bad run. Against the Uruguayan defense, there wasn't much chance for the match to get out of the 0x0, and Uruguay advanced into the semifinals.

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Peru might have hoped to make up for the elimination with a good performanceat the South American Championship, but saw these hopes disintegrate after a terrible first half against New Granada. The Blanquirroja went into the break losing by 2x0, and couldn't recover in the second half, putting itself in the situation of needing to seek results against Chile and Argentina to have any hope to advance. The next day, Chile and Argentina played, in a match mostly dominated by Chile. The team had most of the offensive initiative, but was mostly unable to get through the Argentine defense, while Argentina managed to equalize shortly before the break with a penalty kick by Rubén Ayala.

Three days later, Argentina and New Granada played at Maceió. Buoyed after their previous victory, New Granada stepped up to the attack, but Argentina was able to exploit the resulting gaps in their defense and came out with a 4x0 victory. Meanwhile, Peru faced Chile needing to win. They did play better in the first half, even opening the score late in the half, but conceded the equalizer shortly before half-time, and the second half instead saw the Chileans dominate, and come out with the victory.

Three days later, Chile faced New Granada. This time, the Cafeteros had wised up after the previous defeat, improved their tactics, and put Chile through as much of a challenge as the previous match had been, but Chile still came out on top, thanks to a goal by Ahumada late in the first half. Meanwhile, Argentina, already qualified, came up with a mixed team to face Peru, trying to rest some key players for the semifinals, and even opened the score early in the first half, but were faced with a Peru that was determined to not to lose this match as well. By the second half, the Albiceleste had lost control of the match, had seen Peru take the lead with two goals from Sotil and struggled to keep the scoreline at that level.

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Once again, Brazil and Argentina met in the semifinals, in a match that turned out to be no less balanced. Leivinha opened the score at the 25th minute, on a rebound from a free kick by Rivellino, but while dominating the first half, Brazil was unable to convert the other chances it had. Then Argentina improved in the second half, and eventually equalized when Carlos Babington shot from outside the area following a throw-in close to the area. The match then went into extra time, and just when it seemed that that match would go to the penalties just like in 1971, Ramon, who usually wasn't even regarded as a third option for centerforward despite having been the top scorer of that year's national championship, and had come in to substitute Jairzinho some minutes earlier, headed in a corner from Ademir da Guia to put Brazil in the final.

Meanwhile, at Salvador, Chile faced Uruguay, and both teams began on a defensive footing, the Chileans doing so on in the hope of drawing the Uruguayans out and exploit any gaps. After half an hour, seeing this hadn't worked, Chile began going out, but conceded a goal a few minutes after, when Víctor Espárrago hit a low cross-shot from the right. However, Chile equalized before the break, on a free kick by Leonardo Véliz. Both teams were unable to go further in the second half, and after the extra time also ended without goals, the match went to the penalties. This time, the rules for penalty kicks had changed again, with the now usual form of one kick per player in place. Both teams were rather unlucky in their first shots, with Chile only hitting one of the first two and Uruguay missing both. After that, neither team would miss, but the bad Uruguayan start cost them dearly, and Carlos Caszely hit the last shot to put Chile in the final.

Three days later, Argentina faced Uruguay in the third-place final. Uruguay opened the score late in the first half and held out through most of the second half, until Brindisi equalized for Argentina three minutes before the end. The match also went to extra time, and Argentina kept up the momentum to score twice within ten minutes. Uruguay tried to react in the final minutes, but could only score once, and once again Argentina took third place.

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The next day, Brazil faced Chile in the final. The first half was quite busy, but Brazil held most of the offensive initiative, while Chile bet on counter-attacks. However, those could be quite dangerous, with Véliz and Caszely both hitting the bar before Brazil opened the score, when Rivellino hit a strong shot from outside the area. Eleven minutes later, Brazil doubled its lead when Carpegiani was tackled inside the area and Jairzinho convered the penalty kick. But Chile's persistence paid off late in the first half, when Francisco Valdés headed in a corner from Véliz. Early in the second, Chile equalized, after Caszely was taken down inside the area and converted the penalty. The match grew more balanced after that, and like all the others, went into extra time. In extra time, Brazil had control of the actions, but some superb performances from Figueroa and Vallejos kept the winning goal from coming, and the match went to the penalties. Things didn'start too well for Brazil, with Leivinha missing the first kick, while Chile hit its first two. However, the Chilean advantage didn't last, for Leão saved Ahumada's shot in the third round. Ademir and Lara hit theirs in the fourth, and Jairzinho hit the fifth. Now Valdés needed to hit it to lead it into the alternates, but Leão saved it again, giving Brazil the title again.

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Then, the World Cup groups were drawn:
1974 GS 0.png


Let me know your predictions and stay tuned for Part 64!
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