Tag: Soviet Union

European Championship Stories: 1960 – Cold War Football

There are plenty of people, not least within the governing bodies of football itself, who would have it that football and politics don’t mix. This is, of course, bunkum, whether we like it or not. The game holds such influence over so many people that it sometimes seems impossible for politicians not to be able to link the two, from the relatively harmless, “You only win the World Cup under Labour” slogans of Harold Wilson’s British government of the late 1960s to the altogether more sinister machinations of the state organisations and their leaders that ran clubs in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. That the expansion of pan-European football should have come in the years following the second world war shouldn’t be surprising. One lasting legacy of the war was huge progress in the area of aeronautics, which led to the rapid popularisation of commercial air travel in the post-war years. European tours by some of the biggest club sides on the continent – in particular those from behind the newly-formed Iron Curtain, such as Honved of Hungary and Dynamo Moscow – became commonplace and led to the formation of UEFA in 1954. The first European Cup winners would be crowned two years later. What, though, of international football? By the mid-1950s it was more than apparent that the future of the international game would involve further expansion...

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New Zealand Revive Memories Of The Summer Of 1982

New Zealand have qualified for the 2010 World Cup finals by beating Bahrain in Wellington this morning, and this result may have stirred a few memories amongst men of a certain age that will remember their only other successful qualification attempt, from 1982.

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Canada & The 1986 World Cup

You wouldn’t know it from the absolute lack of media coverage in the UK, but the CONCACAF Gold Cup – North & Central America’s equivalent of the European Championships – is currently being played out in the USA, and one of the minor surprises of the competition so far has been the progress of the Canadian national team, who have comfortably qualified for the quarter-finals with two wins from their three group matches against Jamaica and El Salvador. In the next round, they take on Honduras next Saturday in Philadelphia. The Canadian men’s national team has, however, a somewhat less than glorious record in the international stage. They have already been eliminated from the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa, picking up just two points from their six matches in a group which also contained Honduras, Mexico and Jamaica. They did qualify for the World Cup Finals once, though, in 1986, and they did so against what should have been insurmountable odds. The story of Canada’s run to the 1986 World Cup Finals begins two years earlier at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. They qualified from their group, beating Cameroon 3-1 on the way, to make the quarter-finals of the competition, where they met Brazil at the Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto. What should have been a very one-sided match, however, didn’t go according to plan...

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