2nd Group Game
We were back at the stadium the next day to see Brazil easily beat Czechoslovakia 4-1.
We then witnessed Brazil’s 4-1 win against Czechoslovakia. The Czechs scored first and their scorer went down on his knees and blessed himself – ensuring he would never play for Glasgow Rangers! The England team had left early. I don’t think Alf Ramsey saw anything he didn’t already know about Brazil.
We had watched the Brazil v Czechoslovakia game on the television back at the motel. The Brazilians were a delight to watch, with the brilliant play of their forwards. They were so athletic. They had something in their genes… You had to be careful not to let them have the ball – and that was difficult. But the mid-field general-ship of Gerson remained stamped on my mind for a long time after.
Some experts reckoned that Brazilian team was the greatest of all winning teams. We probably didn’t see it that way at the time, and it was only some decades down the line that we truly appreciate how good a team it was.
The Brazilian and West German teams in particular, had wooed the locals in Guadalajara and Leon to an extent that was almost sickening. But certainly, when the chips were down, they enjoyed almost complete support from the home crowds.
When they (Brazil) came out, no matter who they played, they brought bunches of flowers and threw them to the crowd – so they had them on their side straight away.
We knew that the winning team of this game (England v Brazil) – as probable group winners – would stay in Guadalajara for the quarter-final. So the other team would, in effect, be playing their Quarter-Final game ‘away’.
Everyone thought that whoever won this one would probably win the cup.
I wasn’t worried. We had won our first game so we could afford to lose this one provided we beat Czechoslovakia in the third game.
We had been to the stadium to see Rumania beat the Czechs 2-1. There was nothing really to worry about there… (with the Czechs). But the next day was the Big One… England v Brazil…
There was a lot of bad feeling towards the England team… The night before the game, Brazilian and Mexican fans got together to make sure we didn’t get a wink of sleep. There were Mexican bands playing outside the hotel. Samba rhythms filled the night. Hundreds of cars drove up and down the street, sounding their horns for hours on end. People were shouting and screaming. Fireworks were going off… But the Mexican police did nothing to stop it… We had to move rooms at about 3am, going to the back of the hotel.
Sunday June 7th 1970 – Kick-Off: Midday
On the day of the game I got the flu… I think it was flu. Could have been something to do with the mosquito bites. The motel arranged for the house doctor to see me. They were very good. But I was so ill I could hardly think about the game. I couldn’t go… The motel was so quiet around kick-off time because pretty well everyone had gone to see the game. I mustered myself to watch it on television in the motel lounge.
For this one, the 12 o’clock kick-off, we was sitting in the sun… But the sun gradually moved round and I suppose it eventually went off you. But early on, yes, it was hot.
I was satisfied with the team selection for the game but – if anything – I had doubts about Francis Lee.
I was all by myself at the motel… It was a bit like the Gordon Banks situation in Leon – I’m sure if I had been there, at the game, we wouldn’t have lost 1-0!
It lived up to the expectancy. A great game…. Probably the best game of the lot really. England gave as good as they got. We were sitting high-up behind the goal where Gordon Banks made that incredible save from a Pele header. We didn’t probably appreciate what a brilliant save it was until later when we saw it on the television. It’s only then you think “Gord, how did he keep that out?”
It was probably the best technical game I have ever seen.
We could have won it. We were never out-classed at all. Pele was up against Mullery. I think he [Pele] might have been fading a bit by then to be honest. I thought we deserved a draw. We should really have got one. Peters and Astle had very good chances.
England had their chances to win the game, none more so than the Jeff Astle miss. Oh dear, oh dear… That was the end we were at. So, in the end, we missed our chance and they took theirs.
The only person who let us down that day was Astle. He missed that gold-plated chance.
Everyone came back to the motel disappointed… Somebody asked me “who do you think’ll win it?” I said “I don’t think – I know it’ll be Brazil!” They were just in another class.
Obviously you want to win all your games. But I don’t remember being too disappointed because we were probably going on at any rate.
People didn’t really drown their sorrows too much. I don’t think in our wildest dreams we expected to go out and murder them anyway. It was always going to be a tough one. Generally, at least amongst our party at the motel, we weren’t people who thought we were going to win by ten or lose by ten.
As for qualification for the quarter finals? Well, the result was academic in the end – as long as we beat the Czechs.
I was bitterly disappointed to have missed it. One of the greatest games…
We went to all the group games in Guadalajara but I can’t really remember them – apart from this one – the Brazil game…
It should have been the final…
Extracts from Alan Mullery – The Autobiography by Alan Mullery and Tony Norman. Published by Headline.
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