The day Lineker defecated on the grass (and other unusual World Cup stories)

Nobody knows where the shirt that the player who scored is wearing is the first goal in a soccer World Cup nor what happened to the gold that gave shine and sustenance to the cup that the champions raised in the first editions of the tournament. During the Nazi occupation, the garment disappeared from the storage room where it was kept Lucien LaurentFrance striker in Uruguay in 1930, and the trophy was stolen from the windows of the Brazilian Football Confederation in 1970. When the police found the robbers, the cup was running through the underworld of Rio de Janeiro converted into ingots.

21 World Cups give to count thousands of minor anecdotes and feats that normally escape the glittering story of the matches. Argentine journalist and writer Luciano Wernicke has collected quite a few ‘Unusual stories from the World Cups’ (Altamarea), where it invites you to tour the 92 years memory of the largest popular event on the planet on the more pedestrian side and away from the big sports headlines.

2,548 goals

That of the World Cups is a story full of illusions, disappointments and goals -2,548 were accounted for until the Ecuadorian Enner Valencia opened the scoring at the opening of the Qatar tournament-, but also of peculiar situations.

like the one who suffered Gary Lineker in England’s debut in Mexico ’86: an unexpected cramp forced him to defecate in the middle of the game on the pitch, which incidentally served as toilet paper. Or the Uruguayan striker John Hohbergwho continued to play in the semifinal of Suiza’54 after suffering a heart attack when celebrating a goal. Or the Valencian Antonio Puchades, who put only one condition to go to Brasil’50: that they let him travel with a box of cans of paella, food that he needed to eat daily.

The Valencian player Antonio Puchades put only one condition to attend the 1950 World Cup in Brazil: that they let him travel with a box of paella cans. Every day he had to eat a plate

The wild story that Wernicke composes brings together his most shocking passages from the first World Cups, which today They look like they’re from another sport, and even from another planet. 14 days of sea route had to endure the players of France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia to reach the debut of the World Cup in Uruguay, in 1930, and many others had to face the American squads to travel to France four years later.

rough times

At that time, the comforts that current international football contemplates did not exist and even the ball itself, made of stitched leather, was so hard that some footballers They played with a beret to avoid opening their heads in the auctions They were rude and difficult times, typical for ductile men and without fuss like the Belgian referee Jan Langenus who, apart from being a judge, worked as a journalist in the tournament in Uruguay: at the end of each game, without changing his clothes, he would rush out to dictate the chronicle to the German newspaper by phone kicker. The clothing thing was less serious: in those years, the referees were dressed in a shirt, jacket and tie.

The World Cups have been marked by the historical evolution of twentieth century, which has been generous in script twists. Today 23 tournaments should have been held, but the two that played in the 40s were not organized due to the Second World War. Despite having qualified, Austria was unable to participate in the 1938 Italy because Hitler annexed it to Germany days before the start of the competition. Spain, in full civil war, He did not participate either, but he sent two official delegations to Rome, one for each side in contention, who were able to observe how all the teams, before starting each match, had to parade doing the fascist salute with arm raised.

The World Cup in Qatar is not the first to be involved in boycott rumors. In fact, England was reluctant to compete until brazil’50 because he did not recognize the authority of the FIFA and the team of Indiawho qualified to play that tournament, did not show up because his players were not allowed compete barefootwhich was how they used to play at home.

The Indian team, which qualified to play in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, did not show up because their players were not allowed to compete barefoot, which was how they used to play at home.

play on sunday

In Switzerland’54six Catholic players from North Ireland They refused to go to the World Cup because the calendar forced them to play on a Sunday, holy day for them. But the tournament that accumulated the most threats was Argentina’78. From the Labor Party dutch to french socialist leader Lionel Jospin, there were many who officially requested that their squads did not go to Buenos Aires to protest the military dictatorship.

Cruiff did not travel to the southern country, although not for political reasons, but because he wanted to be close to his family after the assault she had suffered weeks before. But he also starred in his particular boycott: in the final of Germany’74 he refused to jump onto the field with a shirt designed by adidassince he had an exclusive with Cougar. The solution they found was for him to wear a blouse without a commercial logo, and he himself was in charge of tearing off the side stripes that identify the German brand.

the maracanazo

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In World Cup memory, two games stand out among all the others: the final of Brazil’50 -the ‘maracanazo‘, the name given to Brazil’s unexpected defeat against Uruguay, bequeathed a plague of suicides in the country-, and the mythical Argentina-England of Mexico’86in which Maradona scored his famous goal with the help of “the hand of God & rdquor;. The defeat felt so bad to the English that several bookmakers returned the money to those who had lost it after betting on the British victory.

Next to ‘Fluff‘, the other great figure in the history of the World Cups was the Brazilian Pele. He took the laurels, but the memorable anecdotes were carried out by his playing partner Garrincha, who was about to miss out on going to Suecia’58 because the coach from Rio hired a psychologist and, after submitting the player to various tests, discovered that I had an IQ typical of a mentally disabled person. His colleagues knew him well and were not surprised to see him destroying the radio he had bought in Stockholm, shouting: “They have deceived me, they have sold me a device that only speaks Swedish!”. They were other times, other footballers and other World Cups.

Source: Elperiodico

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