Notes on Wisemen Playing Fool’s Ball – II

By Donn Morgan Kipgen

Since not every supremely gifted players are Johann Cruyff, Kaiser Beckenbeaur, Maradona, George Best, Platini, Jairjinho and Garrincha and Vava, any tactical switch or change of role for all-round player (s) before or during the course of play by Manager-coach would more often than not distabilise or visibly upset the sound rhythm of the teamwork. Ironically, Beckenbeaur’s W Germany lifted the first FIFA WC Trophy in 1974 with total Football against the Dutch inventing team captained by the original “libero” Johann Cruyff !!! More ironically, “Kaisar” Beckenbeaur, his dislocated arm strapped to his chest, outrageously lost to Sir Alfred Ramsey’s “Wingless Wonders” (without any winger in 4-4-2 formation) with “the Goal that never was” in 1966 WC Final. Geoff Hurst’s most controversial Hattrik winning goal (3+2), with just 5 minutes left to go, did beat the German’s Keeper only to smash the underside of the bear which landed down right onto the goalline and rebound off into the play but one unEnglished centre-forward made a claim, not Hurst the English gentleman. Much to the horror of the Germans, the Russian linesman emphatically nobbed his head twice and pointed his flag towards the centre-half when the Swiss Referee consulted him in unknown “dialect”, a physical gesture, which forced the more confused refree to outrageously gifted the most decisive ever goal in WC Final match. The Swiss Refree was using French whereas the asst refree answered in Russian since both of them just could not converse in English, in England of all places, with 11 Englishmen on the field and 11 Germans who naturally knew the English language!!! This most controversial “goal, apart from Maradona’s Hand of God (most ironically against England in Maxico ‘86 Qtr Fnl), actually led to the creation of new FIFA rules which stipulated that an International refree should know or have working knowledge on atleast 2 foreign languages.

But outrageously, the Swiss referee Golfried Dienst was once again used to referee in the coming up Euro-1968 final match in which another controversial “goal” was gifted to Italy against Yugoslavia (2-1).

Football is not only a crazy game, it’s also a funny game jargons and confusing field-positional terms ever the first set of rules and regulations was introduced in 1925 in England. Even today’s footballing world still is laced with orthodox terms or phrases which are not only used with good authority and in proper sense by great football writers who correctly used universally known terms or jargons for readers’ benefit. However, the generally known football terms and phrases are vague and thus unable or could not be used to describe the exact positions and their in-field roles, nor could the player’s field of expertise be described with, as it ought to be shown. Since 1950s 1-3-4-3 and 1-4-3-4 formations started by Ferenc Puskas’ Hungary “the Magic Magyars,” refined by the ever compact Italians’ in 1960s called “Centannacio” and perfected as 1-4-2-4, 1-3-4-3 with two exceptional wingers operating in the flanks by the Brazilians in 1960 and 70s (Winning 1958, 62 and 1970 WCs), things radically changed in terms of specialised roles and on-field positional switches with remarkable success as a result of having highly talented footballers in all roles.

Then came the so-called “Total Football” with an all-rounder dubbed “Libro” and defenders operating at will as “Sweepers” with highly skilful midfielders switched their roles as accomplished wingers as and when required during the match. Perfected the Dutchmen under the most versatile half-back Johan Cruyff, who learnt from Ajax Amsterdam FC, the Germans under Franz Beckenbauer beat them 2-1 on their own “all=players’ game in the memorable World Cup Final match in 1974. Without the service of Cruyff, Holland painfully lost to host Argentina in the extra time of the 1978 WC Final (3 -1). Had the left-winger Rossenbrink’s superb shot in the 90th minute hit the inside of the right hand goal post after dodzing off two Argentine defenders and the goal-keeper, instead of the middle spot, Holland would have deservedly won the 1978 World Cup. With that glorious end of original total Football, a well-set game of football with new footballing terms came to the fore. The midfield system was the creation of artistic Brazilians whereas the Italians perfected the 4-man defence system with a mid-fielder operating deep within his own half. So, where do we put the defenders, midfielders, strikers, sweepers, etc, at their on field regular positions?

Football is a game of 11 players aside with one tending the goal. The most regular formation are 1-4-4-2, 1-4-3-3 and 1-4-2-4. There are 2 full-backs as the central defenders, 1 left back and 1 right back operating as sweepers (like Reberto Carlos). In front of these full-backs, 2 or 3 centre-halves operate as central mid-fielders whereas the half-backs wing halves, patrol the left right flanks as wingers. Player who operates in central midfield as ball-winner and ball-passer is commonly known as centre-half in the good old days whereas players who operate on either side of the central medfield were designated as “Half-back”, especially in the 1-3-5-2 system or the famous WM formations. In 1958, the Brazilians, as gifted as they were in their individual roles, like Puskas’s “magic Magyars” Hungarian team of 1954 WC and EURO-’52, officially introduced the attacking centre-half to assist the 2 centre forwards and using the orthodox half-backs as goal scoring wingers.

Actually, British pulled back 2 or 3 forwards out of 4 or 5 forwards to assist the 2 “midfielders” to exploit the vast open opposition flanks since there were just 2 full-backs and a half-back in 1-2-4-4 or 1-2-3-5 system. Sir Alf Ramsey’s English team won the 1966 World Cup without having a regular winger in a 1-4-4-2 longball tactic, still dubbed sarcastically as “Wingless Wonders” for their astounding match winning displays against the mighty Germans, Argentina and outstanding back-to-back World Cup winners Brazil. As a host nation, sir Ramsey had over 50,000 to 80,000 ‘royal fans”, self-belief, Brazil without Garrincha, Didi, Vava, etc, and of course, the neutral Swiss refree Gottfried Dienst and the Russian Linesman to earn the “Goal that never was”, the most controversial in World Cup history, the most decisive goal in WC Final match. Instead of being “Darell Haired or Steve Bucknored” in test cricket, the Swiss Referee Dienst once again “gave” a goal, a match winner, to Italy in the Euro-’68 Final match against Yugoslavia. Well in 2006 WC, the English referee, Graham Poll presented as many as three yellow cards to one single player before producing the Red Card!!!



About Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi Delhi

Zou Students' Association Delhi Branch
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