The all-time World Cup

December 14th 2004
Madrid, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
5-1 (1-0)

      GOALS                    3'  1-0  José Miguel Michel
                              49'  2-0  Raul Gonzalez Blanco
                              59'  3-0  Emilio Butragueno
                              65'  4-0  Jacinto de Quincoces
                              71'  4-1  Joe Gaetjens
                              84'  5-1  Emilio Butragueno

      REFEREE                 David Cesar Arnaldo Coelho (Brazil)

      ATTENDANCE              95,000

      YELLOW CARDS            Lalas (USA)

      SPAIN (Coach: Miguel Munoz, system 4-3-3)

       1 Ricardo Zamora
      20 Juan Segarra
      19 Jacinto de Quincoces
       6 Fernando Hierro
       2 José Antonio Camacho (captain)
       8 José Miguel Michel
      10 Luis Suarez                    (-68)
       3 Rafael Gordillo
      13 Estanislao Basora              (-46)
       9 Emilio Butragueno              (-88)
      11 Francisco Gento
       7 Raul Gonzalez Blanco           (+46)
       6 José Pirri                     (+68)
      15 Telmo Zarra                    (+88)

      UNITED STATES (Coach: Bruce Arena, system 4-3-3)
       1 Tony Meola (captain)
       5 Tom Dooley
      20 Alexi Lalas
      17 Marcelo Balboa
       3 Paul Caligiuri
       6 John Harkes                    (-52)
       8 James Brown
      12 Claudio Reyna                  (-75)
      16 Earnest Stewart                (-71)
       9 Joe Gaetjens
      11 Eric Wynalda
      13 Tab Ramos                      (+52)
      15 Clint Mathis                   (+71)
      14 Landon Donovan                 (+75)


    The opening match of a huge tournament, in a huge stadium and in a huge atmosphere: Spain opened the All Time World Cup on home soil in Madrid, against the United States. Everything pointed in the direction of the home team and that appeared to be how it all happened.

    Spain started the game overwhelming and the United States were the minnows right away. From the second corner, the ball fell for José Michel's feet who beat Tony Meola with a clean shot into the right corner: 1-0 after just 3 minutes. People in the stand started counting for ten goals and Spain was well on its way. The United States had no answer whatsoever on the wave of attacks that the Spaniards launched, and most of all outside midfielders Michel and Gordillo were outstanding. Time and again they ran past their opponents and fed their forwards with good crosses. Butragueno however saw Meola parry three attempts.

    After 20 minutes the USA could free themselves a bit and it became more of an even game. Ricardo Zamora in the Spanish goal had to wake up and made a great save on Joe Gaetjens' header. Before the break nothing special happened. The USA, from a quality point of view not even near Spain, couldn't really threaten the home team and Spain themselves tried to knock-out the Americans from a counter attack.

    That knock-out came immediately after the break. Raul Gonzalez Blanco, who had come into the game at half time in place of the slightly injured Basora, got a neat pass from Luis Suarez on the edge of the penalty area. He didn't hesitate and put the ball behind Meola. Two-nil, game over and the show could begin! Spain decided to treat their spectators and it wouldn't be long before the next goal was scored. The Real-"twins" Michel and Butragueno proved their quality once more. Michel powered past Caligiuri, who looked out of place on this level, delivered a half high cross and Butragueno did the rest: 3-0. Six minutes later defender Jacinto de Quincoces headed a new Michel cross behind Meola and it now started to become a drama for the USA. They tried to avoid a humiliation by making it a more physical game, it cost Alexi Lalas the only yellow card of the game. Given by the fine Brazilian referee Arnaldo Coelho, who also was the man in charge of the 1982 final.

    Then, all out of the blue, the goal for the USA. A long pass surprised the central defenders De Quincoces and Hierro – both not the quickest – and Gaetjens curled around Zamora: 4-1. However when Butragueno, in the 84th minute, put a 5th goal behind Meola – a fine shot from the turn – the difference was confirmed and clear enough. Coach Miguel Munoz substituted the Madrid-born Butragueno and El Buitre was given a standing ovation. Telmo Zarra was brought into the game but wasn't expected to make the first 11 soon with Butragueno in this form.

    Spain 5, United States 1. Naming Spain as a favourite for this tournament seemed to be too early. They had convinced but the USA had been weak. In the course of this tournament they could expect far stronger opposition. The USA were the Olympic participants, for whom being there would be more important than winning. Every goal welcome, every point a miracle.

    On Friday: in Group C Holland take on South Korea with Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, at the Wembley Stadium in London. Will Johan Cruijff and his men start as well as they did in 1974, or will Korea be able to continue its fine form from 2002? Georges Capdeville from France, who was the referee in the 1938 final, again blows the whistle.


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