Author: Ian

France 1938

France were chosen as the hosts of the 1938 World Cup, largely as a thanks to Jules Rimet, the Parisian who had set up the tournament in the first place. All of this caused much consternation in Argentina. The Argentines had expected to host the tournament, on the basis that the tournament would be rotated between Europe and South America. Such was their outrage when the competition was awarded to the French that they threw a hissy fit and refused to enter. Uruguay, ever close allies of the Argentine cause, followed suit. The 1938 World Cup is notable for the first sighting of what is now a staple of every World Cup: the Brazilian superstar. Leonidas was his name and, although his team would fall at the semi-final stage, he scored eight goals. There were again a couple of surprise entries. The Dutch East Indies made their first and only appearance, as did Cuba. First Round: The holders Italy continued their apparent tradition of making a mountain out of a molehill, by labouring to beat Norway 2-1. Elsewhere, the Dutch East Indies were thrashed 6-0 by Hungary, and Cuba nearly provided a surprise before being held 3-3 by Romania. Romantics didn’t have to wait too long, though. The Cubans won the replay 2-1. Elsewhere, Germany were surprised by four goals to two by the Swiss after a replay and,...

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Italy 1934

Say what you like about Mussolini, but at least he made the trains run on time”, they say. Well, he also knew the importance of football as propaganda, and Italy, having run Uruguay close in 1930, were elected to host the second World Cup finals. There were changes for this tournament. This time around, with it all being held in Europe, there were qualifiers. Italy, having not entered in 1930, had to qualify themselves, and this time the tournament was under-represented by South American teams – even the holders Uruguay didn’t show up, as a protest at the fact that so few European teams had made the trip there four years earlier. Only the USA, Brazil and Argentina made the trip, along with Egypt – the first African entrants. The other big difference was in the layout of the finals themselves, as a straight knock-out competition. The only second chance anyone would get would be if they managed a draw in the first match, in which case a replay would be required. As we’ll see, Italy would be grateful for this, especially considering their record in penalty shoot-outs since they were introduced. Qualifying Round: I won’t normally go into the details of the qualifying rounds, but this one does deserve a special mention. Italy qualified with a 4-0 defeat of Greece. Although there was due to be a second...

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Uruguay 1930

I’m hoping that, through the medium of staying up all night and sitting here smoking copious cigarettes and drinking industrial-strength coffee, to get through each World Cup before the tournament starts. If it almost certainly an effort that will end in tears, but I like to push myself every now and again. The success of the Olympic football was the major spur towards the formation of the tournament. Although FIFA had been formed in 1904, the prevailing belief of the game’s governing body was that they needed to wrest control of it from the IOC, and thus, in 1928, the decision was made to host a tournament in two years’ time. There were, perhaps surprisingly, no shortage of applicants to stage the first tournament, at least in the first place. Much as today, the varying competing interests into blocs, and pretty soon six applicants had been dwindled down to just two, Italy and Uruguay. The key reasons behind Uruguay getting the nod were two-fold. Firstly, the Europeans were split over whether to support them, whereas South America. Secondly, Uruguay had an were the reigning Olympic champions, and was also celebrating it’s centenary as a republic. Uruguay got the nod. Of course, in 1930, there were no planes. Anybody wishing to take part had to an endure a six week boat journey to get there. The home nations, even though...

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Can I Kick It?

Anybody reading this that knows me will be fully aware that I have a bit of a “thing” for television theme tunes. A quick check in my folder shows that I am currently the proud owner of 250 of the buggers. Quite how this came about, I’m not entirely certain, though I know that there were more repeats on in the olden days than there are now. Anyhow, TV World Cup music as become one of my specialities. So… I’ve uploaded all of the World Cup Music that I could find. I didn’t bother looking for ITV’s efforts after 1986, “Nessun Dorma” blew ITV so far out of the water, so far as I’m concerned, that they have largely been in irrelevance – to be watched only when necessity dictates it. Anyway – here we go. Right-click and save as, should you wish to keep them on your hard drive for future reference. 1966 (ITV) – “On The Ball”:Fanfares were very much the order of the day in the sixties and seventies. I don’t know much else about this, I’m afraid, apart from, of course that “On The Ball” the show became LWT’s long-running Saturday lunchtime ITV football preview show. 1970 (BBC) – “Mexico Grande”: As heard on the mp3 linked in the thread prior to this one, this is (it says here) The Syd Lawrence Orchestra (easy listening...

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Broadcast News

Less than a week to go, and the second most important debate of the World Cup has already started. Which side are you watching it on? In the early stages of the tournament, there’s no debate over this. We switch channels back and forth between the BBC and ITV depending on where the match is, but as the tournament goes on you’ll find them going in competition – particularly on the day of the final. And if England were to make it that far, we’d have all-out civil war on their hands. It’s an important decision. For most of us, it’ll decide what our experience of the 2006 World Cup is. Don’t believe me? Okay – try listening to “Nessun Dorma” and tell me that you’re not transported back to those balmy summer evenings when England almost chanced their way into the final. So, let’s have a quick look at what they’re offering up this summer: Commentators: The BBC, obviously have Motty. Good old Motty. The elder statesman of British sports broadcasting. For a while, John Motson sounded as if he was losing it. During the 2002 World Cup, he befuddled the entire nation with increasingly tenuous “breakfast” jokes, culminating with a moment that will mar all future TV World Cup Goals compilations – shouting “YOU CAN SMASH THEM NOW! HE’S SCORED!” as David Beckham cracked home the winning...

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