Posts Tagged ‘World Cup’

Merseyside Parades the World Cup Trophy! Plus the League Championship and the FA Cup…

Roger Hunt of Liverpool and Ray Wilson of Everton show off the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966

Our latest Great Shot naturally had to have a World Cup theme, so we dug up this one from August 13th 1966. The Charity Shield saw Everton play Liverpool at Goodison Park. This Merseyside derby followed England’s World Cup success and was a pre-match silverware walk.

Liverpool walked the League Championship trophy around Goodison (which must have been quite weird), and then Everton walked the FA Cup around the ground before England heroes Roger Hunt of Liverpool and Ray Wilson of Everton carried the Jules Rimet trophy jointly – in what must be the most silverware-laiden lap of honour ever seen in British football.

Liverpool went on to win the match 1-0 with a goal from Hunt in front of 63,329.

Charity Shield, Goodison Park, Aug 13th 1966 – Teams;

Liverpool: T Lawrence, C Lawler, G Byrne, T Smith, R Yeats, W Stevenson, I Callaghan, R Hunt, I St John, G Strong, P Thompson.

Everton: G West, T Wright, R Wilson, J Gabriel, B Labone, G Glover, A Scott, A Young, M Trebilcock, J Harvey, D Temple.



Barkley Can Be England’s ‘Gazza’ of World Cup 2014
Hodgson Must Take Note!


Barkley provided England with the spark that has been missing

by Rob Shepherd.

There was more than one occasion watching England’s 2-2 draw against Ecuador on Wednesday night when I had to blink twice and make sure it was Ross Barkley not Paul Gascoigne who was pulling the strings for England.

Not since Gascoigne has an England midfield player performed with such panache, vision, subtle skill and bare faced cheek as Barkley showed in Miami.

There were dribbles, step-overs, nut-megs, probing passes and always a threat on goal. The things that not only take opponents out of the game and open them up but also put fear inside them.

Despite the demons that have invaded his life those were the attributes that still see Gazza revered by a generation, especially for how he transformed England at the 1990 World Cup finals.

But now at last there seems to be a genuine heir, in football terms at least, although I doubt a lad from Merseyside would take too kindly to the nickname of Rossa.

The manner in which Ross Barkley set up Rickie Lambert for England’s second goal in Miami was straight out of Gazza’s mercurial manual.


The big question is: will Roy Hodgson have the balls to unleash Barkley at Brasil ’14 as Bobby Robson did Gascoigne at Italia ’90..?

Judging by Hodgson’s comments in the wake of Wednesday’s game he is not ready to take the “gamble”. Yet in many ways Hodgson’s reluctant rhetoric echoed that of Robson ahead of Italia 90, so perhaps he is bluffing.

Hodgson has described the constant questions about Barkley as an obsession. Robson felt the same way when the press corps kept banging on about Gascoigne.

Of Barkley’s exciting display in Miami Hodgson said: “He lost the ball an awful lot of times as well. If he’s going to be the player we want him to be he has to make better decisions of when he turns with the ball.”

It is what Robson kept saying about Gazza in the build up to Italia ’90.

Indeed it should be remembered that Gascoigne, 21 by the start of that tournament, was as much an international rookie as 20 year-old Barkley is now.

Gascoigne had played bit parts in the qualifiers and it was only in a friendly match against Czechoslovakia in late April that he pushed himself into the frame when he scored one and made three in a 4-2 win at Wembley.


Even then Robson harboured doubts but when it came to the crunch he went with Gascoigne’s maverick style rather than the more “reliable” Neil Webb and Steve McMahon.

After a dour opening draw against Ireland, England came alive in another draw against Holland where Gascoigne’s lust for the game and penchant for the unexpected offered England a new dimension.

For once a Dutch team playing England looked scared of player who could out play them.

Galvanised by Gazza, England went on to produce some of their best ever football at a major tournament until losing to West Germany on penalties in the semi-final.

Given the system Hodgson plays there is actually more margin for “error” by putting Barkley in the team – especially if he replaces the jaded looking and over hyped Wayne Rooney. Also Barkley’s personality is less erratic than Gascoigne’s, so is his discipline.

The game breakers – the players who have the skill and bravery to take on opponents in the tightest positions – are liable to lose the ball as Barkley did against Equador. It sometimes even still happens to Messi and Ronaldo. But these are the players who raise teams to a different level and put a smile on the face of supporters.

Gascoigne did that for England in 1990 and Barkley can do that this summer.

So what if England can’t win the World Cup..? Hodgson, as Robson did, should at least give it a try.


Gazza attempted more dribbles than any other England player in World Cup finals history – and he only played in one tournament!



Cafu The Inspiration for Johnson
PLUS: England Full-Back Warns “Suarez Not The Only Threat!”

Cafu won 125 caps for Brazil

Cafu won 125 caps for Brazil

by Rob Shepherd.

Glen Johnson grew up wanting to be like Brazil World Cup legend Cafu.

Now the England star will get the chance to do just that when he goes to his hero’s homeland in search of World Cup glory.

Johnson is expected to be one of the first names on Roy Hodgson’s team-sheet when the Three Lions open their Group D campaign against Italy in the Amazonian city of Manaus on June 14.

The Liverpool defender has cemented his place as Hodgson’s first choice right-back following an impressive season in the Premier League. Now he has revealed his attacking game is modelled on Cafu and he is hoping Hodgson gives him the freedom to do his best impression of the man who won a staggering 145 caps and captained Brazil to World Cup triumph in 2002.

Johnson said: “They’ve had many attacking full-backs over the years in Brazil so I’m sure the fans would appreciate seeing other full-backs do similar stuff.

“You love to watch all the attacking players but Cafu, obviously, who played in the same position, was probably best right-back there has ever been.

“It was great to see players like that. It was just the way he carried himself, he was brilliant going forward, good on the ball and could defend very well.

“He had a bit of swagger and played in plenty of World Cups.

“It’s always been a big part of my game, to attack when I can, get forward and support the lads. I like to try and cause a few problems for the other side. I’ve always liked to get forward and hopefully that will continue in Brazil.”

“They are going to have good players and Luis won’t be the only one to worry about”

Get Forward

Johnson didn’t get much chance to express himself under Fabio Capello at the last World Cup in 2010 – but is hoping things will be different this time round.

Johnson, who has won 50 caps, said: “The coaches encourage you to get forward but obviously how and when is your decision because you’re playing the game.

“But sometimes when you end up on the other side of the field it’s because certain things have unfolded and you’ve seen more room and are trying to exploit that.

“Obviously the coaches wouldn’t be encouraging me to run across to the left wing too often, but once you cross that white line you’ve got to play that game and try and put into practice what you’ve been doing in training.

“I’ll probably get a bit more freedom, because Roy definitely encourages full-backs to get forward and join in.

“We’ve got to be as dangerous as we possibly can when we have the ball.”



Johnson won his 50th cap against Denmark

Despite being keen to showcase his attacking skills on the biggest stage of all, Johnson knows a major part of the challenge will also be to stop club team-mate Luis Suarez when England clash with Uruguay in Sao Paulo in the second group game on June 19.

Suarez is expected to be fit despite having knee surgery last week and Johnson knows better than most how dangerous the striker can be.

But he has warned the Three Lions not to become obsessed with Suarez and look at the bigger picture.

Johnson added: “I’ve not seen the papers for a while so I don’t know what people think the injury is, but he doesn’t seem to think it’s too bad. He thinks he’ll be fit.

“I certainly don’t want him to be injured. You don’t ever want to see your mates or team-mates injured.

“He’s one of the best strikers I’ve ever played with and I’ve played with a few good ones.

“He’s the sort of player who can create things out of nothing and causes everybody problems. You’ve seen it just as much as I have – he’s clearly not one of the players you want to play against in the World Cup.

“He’s just the same in training as in the games. He always wants to win and gets the hump if he doesn’t.

“But we’ve got some fantastic players ourselves who will cause them problems.”


Who Will Top Score at Brazil 2014..? PLUS: Be Sure To Read The Small Print When You Bet..


Lukaku is a 33/1 shot to be top scorer in Brazil

by Rob Shepherd.

Beware if you back the top goal scorer for the World Cup!

Make sure that the bookies you go with are offering you odds on that – and not who finishes with the Golden Boot.

Surely the two are the same..? Well, no – as I found out at the last World Cup.

In 2010 I backed Diego Forlan £25 E/W at 40 -1, and with five goals (yes, that few) he was top scorer along with Germany’s Thomas Muller, Holland’s Wesley Sneidjer and Spain’s David Villa.

But when I went to collect my £250 (on the basis of a quarter of the odds) I was initially told: ‘No’.

They (Stan James) were arguing that they would only pay out on the Golden Boot winner – which was Muller because according to FIFA he got the award on the basis of three “assists”.

After some calls to the company’s PR department they relented and accepted my point that the bet was purely on goals not the dubious notion of an assist.

So check the wording!

World Cup 2014 Top Scorer

Not surprisingly Lionel Messi is 7/1, Neymar 14/1 and Cristiano Ronaldo 14/1.

Luis Suarez is a generous 18/1, Robin Van Persie 25/1 but the E/W bet I like the look of is Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku at 33/1.

The Chelsea striker who was on loan to Everton last season hit a hat trick in Belgium’s recent 5-1 friendly win over Luxemburg. Wayne Rooney is 40/1 for the top prize ….Daniel Sturridge 66/1.

No chance..? Gary Lineker was top goal scorer in 1986 with six goals even though England only reached the quarter finals.

1986 World Cup Finals. Monterrey, Mexico. 11th June, 1986. England 3 v Poland 0. England's hat-trick hero Gary Lineker celebrates after scoring the first of his three goals.

Click on image to see Lineker’s hat-trick v Poland at Mexico ’86


Odds courtesy of William Hill

Admiral’s Finest Hour
The Birth of the Modern Kit PLUS: England’s 2014 World Cup Strip


Woodcock never looked cooler than when wearing this England shirt

Team:  England

Home or Away:  Home

Years Active:  1980-1983

As Worn By: Kevin Keegan, Trevor Francis, Glenn Hoddle, Trevor Brooking, Graham Rix, Bryan Robson, Tony Woodcock, Steve Coppell, Paul Mariner & Mick Mills.


Admiral took over the making of the England Kit in 1974 and it was the first time that a manufactures symbol was added to the kit worn by the players. It was also the first time a licensing deal was paid to the FA allowing Admiral to market replica kits and the era of the modern kit began. They believed that a market was there for teams to create strong identities for themselves with the advent of colour television, and they were proved right despite a lot of opposition in the game at the time.

This kit was Admirals second design for England and was first worn in the 3–1 win over Argentina at Wembley Stadium on 13 May 1980. This shirt added a new dimension to the national team’s look with its coloured panels and became very popular with fans when it was worn in the 1980 European Championships in Italy, England’s first major tournament for a decade.

Despite this success the 1980s marked a period of decline for the Admiral brand as it began to lose its contracts with the major clubs to domestic rival, Umbro, and new international entrant, Adidas.

Even though Admiral still held the England kit contract, one of the most valuable in the world, the company was declared bankrupt in 1982. The brand reappeared on the market for the 1983–84 season producing the same double pinstripe design for both Leicester City and Notts County.

Rate This Kit: 

World Cup 2014

EnglandTop-634x431Nike are set in the next few days to reveal England’s kit for the World Cup finals this summer.

A photo was leaked to the internet recently which shows it to be v-neck, minimalist and retro in it’s style.

It will be an white ensemble given FIFA’s bizarre preference that all countries shall be dressed top-to-toe in the same colour to make the most of HD TV coverage from Brazil.

So that should make the change strip all red.

Unless there is a diversion, like the decision at the the 1970 World Cup to go for all sky blue, as worn when England beat Czechoslovakia that summer in Mexico thanks to an Alan Clarke penalty.

Insiders suggest it is likely that there will be a retro feel about the kits.

For further info in the next few days, it might be worth checking back here at

Peter Osgood wears England's all sky-blue kit in 1970

Peter Osgood wears England’s all sky-blue kit in 1970


Alex Bellos;
Futebol: Soccer The Brazilian Way

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN-13: 978-0747561798


The English invented the game but soccer’s spiritual home is Brazil. That’s what make this summer’s World Cup finals so exciting.

And the countdown has really started in earnest.

We are now within the final 100 days on the road to Rio. Worryingly much of the stadia and infrastructure is behind schedule. There remain profound worries about security issues too.

FutbolBut the prospect of a soccer fest played to the rhythm and syncopation of the samba beat in the background is as intoxicating as several large Caipirinha’s.

For once England’s expectations are so low but that doesn’t seem to matter quite as much as it did.

The cosmopolitan nature of the Premier League means that as an audience there is a greater understanding and appreciation of the global game and it’s players in this country.

Even the most one eyed patriot will still be intrigued and probably enthralled with what Ronaldo or Lionel Messi get up to as much as whether Daniel Sturridge can gel with Wayne Rooney.

And of course how the Brazilians will cope with the pressure of winning on home soil, an achievement they failed to do in 1954 when they were defeated in the final by Uruguay, will be fascinating to watch.

Since then Brazil have become the undisputed masters of the Copa Mundial – The World Cup – having won the Jules Rimet trophy three times and the subsequent trophy twice .

The Brazilian skill and style known as the Jogo Bonito (The beautiful game) is revered.

To fully understand it and how it evolved from the days of Garrincha and Pele through to Zico and now Neymar then have a read of Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life by Alex Bellos.

It is a wise way to warm up for this summer’s finals.

As Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim says on the cover credits: “It vividly captures the romance and passion that we expect from the Brazilians, as well as entertaining us with tales of their occasional absurdity. Immensely enjoyable.”

He might have added: “Go read it; right now!”

BB Rating: 8.5/10

by Rob Shepherd.


World Cup: England Third Favourites!
To Win Their Group That is…

by Rob Shepherd.

At the draw for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa England looked a shoo-in to win their group at a canter and have a decent pathway to the semi finals or beyond.

Drawn against Slovenia, USA and Algeria it appeared a passport to top the group with ease and have a chance of going all the way.

The bookies thus installed England as third favourites at 6-1.

How over optimistic it proved. England staggered over the line to qualify but then hit the rocky road at the knockout stage and were eliminated with ease by Germany in a 4-1 drubbing.

The draw for Brazil has put England in a tough but by no means the toughest group.

But as soon as the draw was made SkyBet only had England third favourites at 18/5 to even emerge from Group D, with Italy 1-3 favs ahead of Luis Suarez’s Uruguay at 4/7, with Costa Rica (who shouldn’t be underestimated given they are on their own continent by the way) cast as also rans.

And as a consequence of the draw England’s price to win the World Cup drifted from 25-1 to 28-1.

But if England can draw with Italy in the opening game then another draw with Uruguay could then set England on their way if they beat Costa Rica well in the final game.

The pivotal match may well be against Uruguay. Intriguingly it is to be played at Belo Horizonte, famously the scene of one of England’s worst ever World Cup defeats where in 1950 England – who had gone into the tournament billed the “Kings of Football” with players such as Alf Ramsey, Billy Wright and Tom Finney and according to some predictions would win 10-1 – were beaten 1-0 by then no-hopers USA, whose goal was scored by a guy called Joe Gatejens (see below).

Even if England progress from the group it’s highly unlikely they can go on to win the whole thing but a shrewd bet on one of the exchanges could be to lump some money on England at 28-1 then sell the bet if they do progress to the qualifying stages as one of the top two, where they would then avoid the biggest teams and face one of Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast or Japan.

In that scenario England’s price would start to plummet and profit could be turned. It’s certainly worth having a decent punt at England getting out of the group at 18/5.

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle thinks the draw means England can reach the quarter finals at least.

“I think it’s better that it is a bit tough. Expectations won’t be too high and that can help. Yes, I think England can qualify from the group then get past the last 16. Then anything can happen…” said Hoddle after the draw.

It may also be the time to back Spain.

The World Cup holders no longer have an invincible air about them. But that could be to do with the lack of competitive games they have had since they qualified automatically as winners and injures.

Yes, they have a tough draw in a group with Holland, Chile and Australia. But Spain at 7/1 ? That is tempting…



Can Spain become the first European nation to lift the World Cup on a different continent…?

Brazil    100/30
Argentina  9/2
Germany   11-2
Spain     7-2
Belgium    14-1
Columbia    20-1
France    20-1
England    28-1

Odds courtesy of SKYBET.


Deutsche Snazz!
The Kit That United a Nation


Handy Andy: Brehme scored the winner from the spot in the final


Team:  West Germany

Home or Away:  Home

Years Active:  1990-1992

As Worn By:  Jürgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus, Rudi Völler, Andreas Brehme, Pierre Littbarski, Olaf Thon, & Thomas Hässler



Organised. Efficient. Predictable; That’s the stereotypical view of the Germans.

So when they graced Italia ’90 with this rather fetching number the world gasped in collective surprise.

But this wasn’t the Germany of old. The Berlin wall came down just a few months before the 1990 World Cup, so there was an electric atmosphere all over Germany at the time, and Adidas delivered a kit for the the national side to wear in the tournament that matched the sense of history the soon to be officially unified nation was experiencing.

And so it came to pass, rather fittingly perhaps, that Germany (officially still West Germany due to the qualification process beginning two years before) lifted the 1990 World Cup – Albeit in a somewhat organised, efficient and predictable manner…

Rate this kit: Is it Wunderbar or just plain Scheiße…???




Classic TV sports themes from yesteryear available at your fingertips.


‘Goal Crazy’ by Rod Argent

‘The Match’ theme (ITV 1988-1992)

1989-05-26TheMatchNow Rod is an interesting fella. He has many credits, not least playing keyboards on The Who’s album ‘Who Are You’, and in 1972 formed a band called ‘Argent’ who recorded the original version of ‘God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You’ long before Petra and KISS made it famous.

Somehow he found himself writing football TV themes for ITV, and after successfully masterminding their World Cup theme for 1986 (under the guise ‘Silsoe’) he then came up with this for ITV’s new Sunday afternoon live coverage called ‘The Match’.

You only have to suffer 2 minutes of Adrian Chiles introducing ITV’s football coverage nowadays before you find yourself asking the question; ‘Whatever happened to Elton Welsby..???’


The Big Match – Theme from 1974 – 19801984-04-01TheBigMatch_zpse068db08

A true classic; Remember getting comfy in your seat as Brian Moore was about to share his tremendous enthusiasm for the game with you? Muddy pitches, bad haircuts, forthright opinion – it was all coming your way – and you loved it!



‘Aztec Gold’ by Silsoe1986-06-03ITVWCc (1)

ITV’s World Cup Mexico ’86 Theme Tune

This is one where ITV hit the spot, so popular was this tune that it was used for various other shows many years after Mexico ‘86, most notably ‘Saint and Greavsie.’

ITV went with the same Aztec-oriented style that the BBC embraced but with a modern twist, something they always tried to do. It was a brighter and more melodic number than it’s BBC rival could produce, so much so the song was eventually released as a single which reached number 48 in the UK charts.


‘Aztec Lightning’ by HeadsAztecLightning

BBC World Cup ’86 Theme Tune

The BBC are the Daddies when it comes to sporting themes, they’ve been kicking ITVs butt in this department for decades.

You can almost feel the uber-confidence exuding from their TV Theme Department (where else does the licence fee go..?) as you listen to this epic anthem. An extravagant, rousing piece with traditional Mexican instruments, this one by Paul Hart and Helmut Zacharias for the 1986 World Cup was a fine effort by anyone’s standards.

The problem was it wasn’t as good as ITV’s…


Sportsnight’ – by Tony Hatch

sportsnight_t1305b-smallSportsnight was the BBC’s midweek sports offering between 1968 and 1997. Presenters included legends such as David Coleman, Frank Bough and Des Lynam. The theme for the show was (rather imaginatively) called ‘Sportsnight’, and was composed by Tony Hatch, himself a legend of TV themes.

The piece is famous for its ‘morse code’ opening signature, giving the effect of speed. Hatch composed many other TV themes including Crossroads, Emmerdale and Neighbours. Hatch was no stranger to the pop charts either, being particularly well known for his collaborations with Petula Clark. The pair’s most famous song is the 1964 classic ‘Downtown’.


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England World Cup Italia ’90 sticker album

No swapsies needed this time! Here is the England team as depicted in the Panini World Cup Italia ’90 sticker album. Did you need any of these for your album…?