The all-time World Cup

April 26th 2005
Rome, Stadio Olimpico

      GOALS                   -

      REFEREE                 Sergio Gonella (Italy)

      ATTENDANCE              82,000

      YELLOW CARDS            Pesek-Kada, Popluhar, Adamec, Burgr (CZE)
                              Horvat, Gudelj, Ivkovic (YUG)

      CZECHOSLOVAKIA (Coach: Rudolf Vytlacil, system 4-3-3)

      12 Ivo Viktor
      18 Jaroslav Burgr
       5 Jan Popluhar
       4 Anton Ondrus
      17 Koloman Gögh
       7 Antonin Panenka              (-67)
       6 Karel Pesek-Kada (captain)
      10 Josef Masopust
      16 Josef Adamec                 (-72)
      20 Oldrich Nejedly
      11 Antonin Puc                  (-85)

      14 Andrej Kvasnak               (+67)
      19 Svatopluk Pluskal            (+72)
      15 Karel Poborsky               (+85)

      YUGOSLAVIA (Coach: Miljan Miljanic, system 4-3-3)
       1 Vladimir Beara
      16 Milutin Ivkovic
      21 Ivan Horvat
       4 Velimir Zajec
       3 Robert Jarni
       7 Vladimir Petrovic
      18 Jovan Acimovic
      17 Ivan Gudelj
       9 Stjepan Bobek
      19 Ivica Surjak                 (-54)
      11 Dragan Dzajic

      15 Branko Oblak                 (+54)


    Yugoslavia entered the game knowing that a draw would be sufficient to reach the second round. But they had to do without the services of central defender Josip Katalinski and creative midfielder Dragan Stojkovic, who both carried suspensions from the clash with Bulgaria into this encounter. Ivan Horvat stood in as stopper, in Stojkovic' place Jovan Acimovic came into the team. Ivica Surjak was preferred this time in a central role in attack, though he was expected to play more as a deep lying forward. Czechoslovakia had their problems too. Karol Dobias and Pavel Nedved were cautioned twice in earlier matches and therefore not allowed to play this time. Jaroslav Burgr played right back and Josef Adamec was brought in to play on the wing. Czechoslovakia's coach Vytlacil changed to a 3-striker system. Because Zdenek Nehoda had not convinced and therefore Vytlacil at last put Nejedly in his starting line-up.

    Pundits thought in advance that it would be a tight and maybe nervous match. It would be difficult for both teams to take the initiative, Yugoslavia didn't need to and Czechoslovakia had not been the team so far to take too many risks. It would all depend on the score in Stockholm at the Bulgaria-Scotland match how Czechoslovakia would act. The game was played for a great deal in midfield. Petrovic had a fine shot after 7 minutes but Viktor was in the right place to tip it over the cross-bar. After 15 minutes Czechoslovakia tried a little more and Masopust fought himself into the match. Ondrus now supported his midfield a little more and Yugoslavia had to go back. It didn't lead to big chances, however. Pesek-Kada tried from a distance but Beara had no troubles. Masopust stormed into the box a couple of times but missed crosses from Puc and Panenka only just. Yugoslavia were lucky when Nejedly scored from close range, but Gonella disallowed the goal due to off-side. Nobody was convinced about the decision.

    Gonella had difficulties keeping things decent. Just like most matches in this group it was a hard-fought match. Gonella had to show no less than seven yellow cards. Karel Pesek-Kada got one for a foul on Dzajic, his second of the competition and it resulted in a suspension for a possible next match. But it remained to be seen whether there would be a second round for the Czechs at all. At half-time Bulgaria were in the lead in the other match and Czechoslovakia at that moment needed more than a draw.

    After the break Yugoslavia chose to try to keep the score level. It would be like a win for them and the substitution Oblak in place of Surjak showed their intentions more than enough. Oblak would play from midfield and Yugoslavia relied on the speed of Bobek and Dzajic as well as the passing abilities of Acimovic and Petrovic to create a few chances, but Ivo Viktor didn't have much to do this evening. Czechoslovakia had to come but were cautious, afraid of the counterattack that would throw them out. The inclusion of Pluskal instead of striker Adamec, who had been a total drop out, was more than a sign. And when time went by and messages came in from Stockholm that Scotland had equalized they could hope for things to stay that way. The first scoreless match of the All Time World Cup was near. Substitute Kvasnak went close when his shot hit the outside of the post but it was the only time Czechoslovakia really threatened. Yugoslavia hardly crossed the midfield line and the only time they could have scored was through a fine solo effort from Bobek whose shot was blocked by Ondrus.

    Czechoslovakia - Yugoslavia ended the way it had started: 0-0. And when the result from the other match arrived, both teams had qualified for the next round. Yugoslavia ended up as first in the group and went to Stockholm for a meeting with the runner-up from group D, most likely the winner of the Hungary-Romania match. Czechoslovakia would travel to Santiago, a place they knew well from the World Cup 1962 final. The opponent would most likely be Italy, a rematch of the World Cup 1934 final.

    Next Friday group D comes to a decision. Hungary and Romania are both on 3 points and face each other in Madrid. Hungary need a point to qualify, they have the far better goal difference, but their spirit is not like playing for a draw. Hungary's front line have impressed very much so far and it remains to be seen what Romania can do against it. Italy have qualified for the second round but are not sure of first place yet. They meet Paraguay in Santiago. Paraguay are without points and are out of the tournament, they play for their pride. A point earns Italy first place.


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