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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

East Germany 1974.


The Deutschland Democratic Republic - East Germany national football team, existed from 1952 to 1990, playing as one of three post-war German teams, along with Saarland and West Germany.
East Germany was not as successful as its Western counterpart in World Cups or European Championships. It never qualified for the finals of the European Championship and only qualified for one World Cup, in 1974. However, they were always serious contenders in qualifying throughout their history.

Over the years of their separate existence, East and West played each other only a handful of times. The only notable meeting was at the 1974 World Cup in Germany.
Both German teams were drawn in the same group in the first round. With successful games against Chile and Australia, both had qualified early for the second round, with the inter-German game determining first and second in group. Despite this lack of pressure to succeed, the match in Hamburg was politically and emotionally charged. East Germany beat West Germany 1-0, thanks to a goal by Jürgen Sparwasser.

This was rather a pyhrric victory, as the East wound up in the possibly stronger second round Group A. The DDR lost to Brazil and the Netherlands, but secured 3rd place in a final game draw with Argentina. On the other hand, the West German team changed its line-up after the loss, and went on to win all games in the other second round group B, against Yugoslavia, Sweden, Poland, and the World title against the Netherlands.

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Sunday, 9 February 2014

AC Milan 2003 - No.9 Inzaghi.


One of the most prolific goalscorers of all time, Filippo 'Pippo' Inzaghi is the fifth highest goalscorer in Italian football, with 313 goals scored in official matches.
He is currently the second all time goal scorer in European club competitions with 70 goals, only beaten by Raúl's 77 goals. He is also Milan's top international goal scorer in the club's history with 43 goals. He also holds the record for most hat-tricks in Serie A.

After moving to Milan from Juventus in 2001, he was able to forge a strong goalscoring partnership with Andriy Shevchenko, and he soon racked up an impressive trophy count with the Rossoneri, among them the 2003 Champions League (in which Milan defeated his previous team in the final on penalties), along with the 2003 Coppa Italia and the 2004 Scudetto.

His greatness has divided opinion, but like Gerd Muller and Gary Lineker before him, he came alive in the box and was always in the right place at the right time. The penalty-area poacher supreme.

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Argentina 1994 - No.10 Maradona.


USA 1994 was the final straw for the mercurial Diego Armando Maradona. The image of his maniacal full-face goal celebration into a camera led to a charge of doping and retirement from International football. His downfall had been spectacular, painful and ugly, the sumptuous talents that arguably made him the world's greatest footballer ever came with a price tag on which he had failed to make the payments.

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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Los Angeles Aztecs 1976 - No.11 Best.


During an amazing career with Manchester United, George Best won the European Cup and was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1968. Such was his talent and charisma it is fair to say he was the first British football superstar.
Ultimately "the beautiful boy" with a "beautiful game" fell from grace and when off field activities and ill discipline got the better of him, he announced he was retiring from football in 1974, coincidentally the season United were relegated.

Best struggled without football in his life and was soon back playing again, drifting between several clubs and continents, including spells in South Africa, Ireland, the United States, Scotland, and Australia.
He had an interesting time in America, spending two brief spells with the Los Angeles Aztecs, (separated by two seasons back in England with Fulham) and a year playing for San Jose Earthquakes, both indoors and outdoors.

After Pele and Beckenbauer, Best was the next big name to bring attention and credibility to 'soccer' in America.
The NASL had been trying to persuade Best to come to America for quite a while and place him in a major media market, but once the New York Cosmos had signed Pele, Los Angeles was the logical placement for Best.


The 'fifth Beatle' revelled in the anonymity the United States afforded him after England and was a success on the field, scoring 15 goals in 24 games in his first season with the Aztecs and named as the NASL's best midfielder in his second. Best played for LA 55 times in total and scored 27 goals.
Best was traded to Fort Lauderdale in 1978, and in 1979 Los Angeles signed its next big star, Johann Cruyff.

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