The all-time World Cup

February 8th 2005
Saint-Denis, Stade de France
1-3 (1-1)

      GOALS                   24'  0-1  Gary Lineker
                              37'  1-1  Bruno Pezzey
                              69'  1-2  Tom Lawton
                              84'  1-3  Steve Bloomer

      REFEREE                 Sergio Gonella (Italy)

      ATTENDANCE              75,000

      YELLOW CARDS            Krankl, Happel (AUT) - Robson, Crompton (ENG)

      RED CARDS               Sesta (AUT)

      AUSTRIA (Coach: Hugo Meisl, system 4-2-4)

       1 Rudi Hiden
       3 Karl Sesta
       5 Bruno Pezzey
       6 Ernst Happel
       4 Gerhard Hanappi
       8 Herbert Prohaska             (-73)
       7 Ernst Ocwirk (captain)
      11 Friedrich Gschweidl          (-53)
       9 Hans Krankl
      10 Matthias Sindelar
      14 Karl Koller                  (-65)

      13 Josef Bican                  (+53)
      20 Alfred Körner                (+65)
      16 Josef Smistik                (+73)

      ENGLAND (Coach: Alf Ramsey, system 4-4-2)
       1 Gordon Banks
       2 Bob Crompton
       5 Tony Adams
       6 Bobby Moore (captain)
       3 Roger Byrne
       7 Stanley Matthews             (-87)
       8 Duncan Edwards
      16 Bryan Robson
      10 Bobby Charlton
      14 Tom Lawton
       9 Gary Lineker                 (-77)

      20 Steve Bloomer                (+77)
      21 David Beckham                (+87)


    Hugo Meisl, the Austrian coach, had surprisingly left Josef Bican, one of his favourites in earlier days, out of his starting line-up and chose Rudi Hiden over Walter Zeman and Friedl Koncilia in goal. He decided to play with no less than 4 strikers. The English manager Alf Ramsey didn't take Jack Charlton as Bobby Moore's partner, but Tony Adams. From supertrio Lawton, Lineker and Bloomer the latter had to be satisfied with a place on the bench. Austria, who had proclaimed themselves as one of the favourites for the title, aimed at tripping the mighty English. But after 90 very interesting minutes they knew their limits.

    In the beautiful Stade de France a fascinating match unfolded with two teams willing to attack. For England, Duncan Edwards excelled in midfield and he succeeded in keeping Ernst "Clockwork" Ocwirk out of match for most of the time. Ocwirk had to defend and hardly found time to support his attack. The Austrian skipper wasn't exactly the person to have himself dominated and the match-up with Edwards was one of the brilliant ones in this match. The others were the battles between Pezzey and Lawton on one, and Adams and Sindelar on the other end. And above all, it was a hard fight. Sergio Gonella, once referee in the 1978 final, had to show yellow cards and booked Krankl, Happel and Robson already during the first stages. And Happel was lucky to escape with that. His challenge on Matthews, who was well away from him, could have caused him a harder punishment. In the second half Bob Crompton was cautioned too for a foul on Sindelar.

    England were the team with the better start and they took the lead in the 24th minute. Lawton broke through the defence, shot straight at Hiden. The ball trickled on the line and Lineker was there, earlier than Sesta, to tap it in. It was a well deserved lead for Ramsey's men, they had been close to scoring twice before. Bobby Charlton, who played on the left in midfield, had missed the goal just inches with a blasting shot and Lineker had gone close with a quick effort that saw Hiden saving well. The only time Austria had seriously threatened was when Krankl beat Byrne and fired towards Banks's domain. The goalkeeper held on.

    Austria was lured into a 1-on-1 game. Not their beloved style of play, especially Happel who was not so quick had a tough time against Lineker who dragged the man from Vienna all over the pitch. This caused space for English midfielders to take advantage of, very welcome to players like Robson and Charlton. Herbert Prohaska, the stylish midfielder with an open eye for the combination, was forced to defend and that was not his type of play. Chances came for Lawton (Hiden again made a fine save) and Edwards, who shot it just wide from the top of the box.

    The equalizer, in the 37th minute, came as a surprise. Koller took a free kick at the sideline, Pezzey arose above all English defenders and headed it past Gordon Banks. England had been the better until that moment, but the goal introduced the best period in the game for Austria. Banks had to show all his capabilities to keep Krankl from scoring and when Sindelar headed the ball to the far corner Banks came up with a save that recalled memories from his famous save on Pelé's header in 1970. When the teams headed for the dressing rooms at half-time the world had seen an interesting match and nobody who could foresee how this would end.

    Immediately after the break drama for Austria. Lineker, on the edge of off-side, broke through and Sesta saw no other possibility than pulling his jersey. Gonella quickly calculated 1 (Happel) + 1 (Sesta) and came up with the answer: red card for Sesta. With Sesta off Austria had to go back and defend, still Meisl persisted in playing with 4 up front. It didn't work. They were taught a lesson how to play positionally and how to do it with great suitability. With Edwards orchestrating everything, Matthews and Charlton kept the flanks and the chances just had to come. Robson steamed up through the middle time after time forcing Ocwirk to act as a defender and leaving Edwards to Sindelar. Austria, short of ballwinners, were chasing England but couldn´t find the ball. Lawton tested Hiden once more, the goalkeeper was up to it, Adams headed over the bar and Edwards rattled the post. But it was nothing more than stay off execution. Matthews for the first time tricked the versatile Hanappi, sent the ball sharp into the box and there was Lawton to finish it off: 2-1 to England. England even increased the speed and kept the pressure on Austria. Meisl had already taken Gschweidl and Koller off and had sent Bican and Körner into the match, now he replaced Prohaska with Smistik who was more of a defensive player. But it was of no avail. Bloomer, who had come on for Lineker with 15 minutes to go, decided the match. It was Bobby Charlton this time who supplied the cross, Bloomer arrived earlier than Pezzey and only had to touch the ball: 3-1. Minutes from time, England had secured their first 3 points.

    Austria had tried whatever they could, but in vain. England had been the better team. The sending-off of Sesta cost Austria dear. And furthermore, none of their defenders had really convinced, maybe apart from Hanappi who had kept Matthews at bay. Meisl had to come up with something new for the next match against Sweden to bring back the self-belief into his squad. England cherished their win, the tabloids had seen the future All Time World Champion. Ramsey however warned everyone that this was only just beginning, and that tough tasks were lying ahead for his team. Still, England had done a fine job and had to be considered a candidate for silverware.

    At the end of this week, Germany and Turkey step in for the last match of the first round. It will be a home match for Germany in München though many Turkish spectators are expected in the stadium as well. Still, Germany are the huge favourites for this match. Still Helmut Schön, who was preferred to Sepp Herberger only by a narrow margin for the manager's post at The Mannschaft, has to make a few hard decisions: will Sepp Maier play in goal or Oliver Kahn? Beckenbauer will captain the side, but will he play in midfield or in defence? And who will be the man of the left? Rahn or Klinsmann, or Uwe Seeler? At the same time, what to expect from Turkey? An underdog certainly, they will rely very much on the players who did so well in 2002: Rüstü, Alpay, Tugay and Hakan Sükür. Add dangerous strikers like Lefter and Metin and ... who knows? Experience this game next Friday on Planet World Cup.


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