The weekend before the World Cup starts is time for music, dancing girls, amazing facts, a referee who can't count, some Tottenham connections,the policeman who claimed an assist, own goals, sending offs, hat tricks and of course you will need to know how to banish evil spirits.
First we have some Red Indian squaw's, well it is the Italy 1990 opening ceremony so would you expect? So that's what a squaw would of looked like if she did her shopping in Milan.
Still think you might play at the World Cup? Is it too late? Well the oldest player to feature in any World Cup match was MacDonald Taylor who took part in a World Cup qualifier for the US Virgin Islands at the age of 46 in February 2004 against St. Kitts and Nevis. The oldest at a Finals tournament was Cameroon legend Roger Milla who was 42 in 1994. While the oldest player in The Final was Dino Zoff, for Italy in 1982 when he at 40.
Or maybe you just dream of that hat trick, well there has been 49 hat-tricks scored in the history of the FIFA World Cup finals. Four players have managed it twice, Hungary’s Sandor Kocsis (1954), Just Fontaine of France (1958), Germany legend Gerd Muller (1970) and Argentina’s Gabriel Batistuta who in 1994/1998 actually managed it thee times. Keep dreaming.
Maybe you see yourself as a referee...Graham Poll took charge of the 2006 group stage game Croatia vs Australia. He dismissed Dario Simic for a second yellowin the 85th minute and Brett Emerton went off two minutes later. Then Josip Simunic collected his second booking in the 90th minute. Poll however failed to send him off. Simunic then picked up a third yellow card.
Sweden's Tore Keller is the oldest player to have scored a World Cup hat-trick, having done so at the age of 33. The striker netted his record-breaking treble at France 1938, helping the Swedes clinch an emphatic 8-0 victory over Cuba in a match that also saw team-mate Gustav Wetterstrom also bag three. France proved to be a happy hunting ground for Keller, whose hat-trick heroics came a full 14 years after he had won bronze as a fresh-faced teenager at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
Although this series has concreted on the Final tournaments. A number of tales from the qualifiers are worthy of mention. One such game occurred in April 2001. Australia beat American Samoa 31-0. This is the biggest scoreline in any International game, not just the World Cup. Archie Thompson , not a name known to give defenders sleepless night scored 13 goals that day. A world record for an individual player in a single international match. The game and the aftermath became the subject of the film ‘Next goal wins’.
England's World Cup song from 1970 was 'Back Home', (see the clip above). This was their BBC TV appearance before the competition. At the time viewers saw some clips from the 1966 victory. Here these have been swapped for film from the 1970 competition. You do however get to see Alan Mullery's and Martin Peter's goals from Mexico.
Brazil were the first team to win the trophy outside their own continent when they won in Sweden in 1958. They won on a third continent in Mexico 1970 (Central America) and again in 1994 in the USA (North America) and in Asia's Korea / Japan (2002). The only other countries to win outside their own continent are Argentina (Mexico) in 1986 and Spain in South Africa (2010).
And Finally - In 2006- Before the finals Ecuador sent a priest to visit all the World Cup stadiums to banish evil spirits.
Images - Top - Corbis, 1& 4 - FIFA, 2- EA Sports, 6- The Daily Mail. Thanks also - FIFA, BBC, Planet World Cup, ESPN
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