Day: May 9, 2010

World Cup Tales: The Shame Of Gijon, 1982

Algeria make their first appearance in the World Cup finals since 1986 this year, and if they are looking for any more encouragement to perform than the prospect of playing on the world’s biggest stage, then the sense of injustice at their previous treatment by the competition could be enough to spur them on that little bit more. Algeria have previously qualified for two World Cup tournaments, but in one of those circumstances conspired against them to the extent that they may have been excused wondering whether they weren’t even wanted in the tournament in the first place. Was Algeria’s elimination from the 1982 World Cup down to “cheating” by their group rivals West Germany and Austria, though, or was the fundamental flaw in the timing of the final group matches? Group 2, the group that contained Algeria, West Germany, Austria and Chile, was held in the Spanish cities of Gijon and Oviedo and, as was the convention at the time, the Germans, as the seeded team, played all three of their matches at the same venue, Estadio El Molinón in Gijon, while the other three nations played their matches against each other at the smaller Estadio Carlos Tartiere in Oviedo. West Germany were the second favourites to win the tournament behind Brazil and it was the first time that Algeria had qualified for the finals. There had been...

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Planning For Future, The Palace & Wednesday Way

Of the two teams involved in the unreasonably tense relegation “showdown” at Hillsborough last weekend, Sheffield Wednesday look the best, and possibly the only club capable of dealing with life in League One next season. On the brink of a takeover since Christopher Ecclestone was “The Doctor”, Wednesday will have been delighted with potential owner number 94’s pre-match assurances that they, Club 9 Sports from Chicago, would be as interested in a Wednesday team playing Rochdale for league points as one playing Reading. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, are reliant for survival on a mostly anonymous group of supposedly reluctant investors with a 1970’s Radio One disc jockey as its public voice, thankful for the twin mercies of Championship survival and the disc jockey not being Dave Lee Travis. Palace were worthy survivors on the pitch. Without the ten-point deduction for entering administration they’d have finished alongside Neil Warnock’s QPR in mid-table, possibly higher if Warnock had stayed. And at Hillsborough, they played that way, offering what understandably little composure was on offer and having the best player on the pitch by a country AND a city mile in Darren Ambrose. Wednesday, however, huffed and puffed and missed a load of chances, which, according to a Wednesday-ite acquaintance of mine, rather encapsulated their season. As a result of the result of the match, though, at least both sides now have a...

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