Ruud Doevendans

Ruud Doevendans has been an official columnist for a Dutch club and owns one of the largest collections of soccer videos containing hundreds of World Cup matches. We at PWC are proud to have him as a columnist. He will share his views about the past, present and future of the World Cup.

Mail Ruud

Read earlier columns

The Vulture strikes at midnight

    Once every eight years, the World Cup is being held in a part of the world outside Europe. That means that in Europe, we have to sit up all night to watch the games. That was the case in 1978, in 1986 and 1994. So it will be next year, although I heard that a lot of games will be played early in the morning (European time), so it will probably not be “stay up late”, but “get up early”. No problem, during all those years I only missed one World Cup game that was live on tv, Bolivia-South Korea in 1994. A meaningless game, that wasn’t interesting enough for me to withstand the torture of sleeping just three hours a night, and that for four weeks in a row. I saw the game later that day, on video. In all other cases, I was there in front of the tv.

    I certainly was in 1986, when Spain met Denmark in Queretaro, in the Estadio La Corregidora. Although the problem was, that I had just started my first job, working in shifts. And yes, I had to start the next morning at 5.15, and this game began at 0.00. What a disaster. Still, it never crossed my mind to forget Spain-Denmark, rather I would sleep just a couple of hours and feel miserable all day. Wanting to see this game has been one of the best decisions I have taken, as it turned out to be an evergeen. An unforgettable match, played by two magnificent teams, in a beautiful atmosphere. With a Dutch referee who caught the eye, and a young striker who put himself into the historybooks by scoring four goals: Emilio Butragueno, nicknamed El Buitre, The Vulture.

    I knew it, this had to be a great game. Spain had lost in the first round against Brazil, but deserved better after Michel’s cracker hit the bar to bounce clearly over the line. Australian referee Bambridge looked the other way and decided to let the play go on. After that, Spain beat Northern Ireland in a close fight, and swept aside Algeria rather easily. Denmark, on the other hand, had beaten the Scots by a narrow margin, but crushed Uruguay 6-1 and had no problems with West-Germany, although Beckenbauer’s men seemed very happy finishing second in the group, which enabled them to face Morocco instead of the strong Spaniards.

    Germany gave 80% in that match, still the Danes had impressed. As well as Spain. Denmark-Spain, two classy “playing” liberos in Gallego and Olsen, two superstrikers Elkjaer-Larsen and young emerging Michael Laudrup against the master-defender Camacho and the butcher Goikoetxea, two very dynamic midfields, a game to look forward to. And a game you wouldn’t like to miss. Even at the expense of too little sleep.

    And even when the Spanish midfielders did very well, Denmark overwhelmed them in the first half. Elkjaer and Laudrup were at their very best, and Zubizarreta needed six arms to keep all shots out. He succeeded until the 33rd minute, when referee Jan Keizer gave his first penalty of the night, which Jesper Olsen converted quietly: 1-0 to Denmark. But after that, Spain slowly but surely came back into the match and had their first, though little, chances. And more important, it seemed that Michel, Victor, Calderé and Julio Alberto had more stamina than Jesper Olsen, Bertelsen, Berggreen and Lerby.

    Nevertheless, Denmark looked to be the team to carry the one-goalmargin into half-time, before goalkeeper Lars Högh played a goalkick to Jesper Olsen. He played it back poorly, Emilio Butragueno came between and scored easily. An unbelievable mistake by the Danish winger, who with this action enriched the Danish language, since every big mistake from then on was called a “jesper”.

    After the break, Spain took control, even when Laudrup and most of all Elkjaer-Larsen were threatening all of the time. In the 57th minute, Camacho lengthened a corner for Butragueno to score. Number two for The Vulture on the night, his third of the tournament. Denmark brought striker John Eriksen in place of full back Henrik Andersen, and opened their defence. Spain took profit of it, and Andoni Goikoetxea hammered home spotkick number two, given by Keizer. Ten minutes later Butragueno, who else, was put clear by substitute Eloy to score 1-4 and the game was over. But not before The Vulture had taken his tally to four, converting penalty number three, and leaving the Danes shattered.

    Apart from Andersen, Laudrup and Jesper Olsen, Denmark only had oldtimers in the team, not in the position to give it another chance at another World Cup. But Denmark had a team built up out of players, and the Spaniards had players built up out of a team. The teamspirit made the players better, and that’s why Spain didn’t fall apart after the first half hour, when they were outclassed and fell behind in the score. Denmark did fall apart when Spain took control. When I switched off the tv, the clock had just turned 2.00. I had not felt any sleep, and decided to stay up to go to work at 4.45. With this great game in mind, I had enough to think about.



Info on how the World Cup was founded and about the trophy as well.
Detailed info on every match in every tournament.
Interesting columns about the past, present and future of the World Cup.
Every nation with appearances in the World Cup. Detailed info on every country.
Player profiles of many of the most influential players in history.
An A-Z collection of strange and different stories in World Cup history.
A big collection of various statistics and records.
Every mascot since it was introduced in 1966.
Test your knowledge about the WC. Three different levels. No prizes, just for fun.
Rankings of lots of stuff. For instance Best Goals, Best Players and Best Matches.
Our collection of links to other soccer sites with World Cup connection.
Some banners and buttons for you to link to us if you want.
A little information on who keeps this site available.
| '30 | '34 | '38 | '50 | '54 | '58 | '62 | '66 | '70 | '74 | '78 | '82 | '86 | '90 | '94 | '98 | '02 | '06 | '10 | '14 |
Copyrights © 1998- - This website is created and maintained by Jan Alsos. It is an unofficial website not affiliated or connected in any way to FIFA. All rights reserved.