Day: June 24, 2011

The Twohundredpercent Vault: When The Two Germanies Collided, 1974

The Cold War spread insiduously into every aspect of life between the end of the second world war and the end of the 1980s, and sport was no exception to this rule, whether it was the Soviets and Americans boycotting each others’ Olympic Games or Bobby Fischer facing off against Boris Spassky at chess in Rekjavik in 1972. Football was no exception to this rule, and perhaps the definitive meeting of captialism and communism on the football pitch came at the 1974 World Cup finals, when West Germany played East Germany in the group stage of the competition. Although the match was played at a time of relative detente in the overall scheme of the war itself, it was played at a time of high tension. The 1972 Olympic Games had been the scene of the Munich hostage crisis, and the recent actions of the Red Army Faction further intensified the nervousness surround the competition. Security was tight to the extent that guards with dogs patrolled the entrance of the West German team’s training camp, and the sense of unease spread into the camp itself, where a dispute over pay that threatened the appearance of several of the squad’s key players. Even the weather seemed to descend into pathetic fallacy, with pouring rain marring much of he early stages of the tournament. The dispute was resolved, but West Germany’s...

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The Twohundredpercent Vault: The 10 Greatest Goal(posts) Of All Time

I am, some of you will doubtlessly be delighted to hear, taking a few days off to go abroad. Over the weekend, though, we’ll be keeping you on your toes with a mixture of old and new material, kicking off with this resumé of old goal-posts. One of the greatest blights of modern football is that it looks the same wherever in the world you go. Teams from Addis Ababa to Zurich play with equipment made by the same handful of manufacturers and, with this, we have lost something. The global game has become homogenised and stripped of a couple of the layers of its colour and panache, and perhaps the most visual aspect of this on the pitch are the goalposts and netting themselves. Almost all clubs and countries now avail themselves of the now ubiquitous free-standing box net style of goal, with two poles holding the nets up and out of harm’s way. As recently as twenty years ago, however, the posts and nets themselves came in almost as many varieties as it would be possible to imagine. Hooliganism meant that nets often came in a finer mesh so that pitch invaders couldn’t climb the goals, and such were the proportions of some of the constructions on offer that the joyous sight of a goalkeeper disconsolately pulling the ball from the netting and sullenly kicking it back...

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