Tonight a legends/celebrity England side takes on the Rest of the World at Old Trafford to raise money for UNICEF Soccer Aid…
This carries on a fine football tradition as this extract from ‘Got, Not Got’ recalls:
Oh, the splendid arrogance of it all: Us vs. Every Bugger Else. Not evenBritain, but England alone against the Rest of the World, including Scotland.
When the ‘FIFA XI’ came to Wembley to help celebrate the FA’s Centenary in 1963 they had an eye-wateringly strong side, which was hardly surprising with three-and-a-half billion people to pick from. Lev Yashin (USSR), Djalma Santos (Brazil), Karl-Heinz Schnellinger (West Germany), Svatopluk Pluskal, Ján Popluhár and Josef Masopust (all Czechoslovakia), Raymond Kopa (France), Denis Law (Scotland), Alfredo di Stéfano (captain, Argentina), Eusébio (Portugal) and Francisco Gento (Spain) – plus bench-warmers including Jim Baxter (Scotland), Uwe Seeler (West Germany) and Ferenc Puskás (Hungary).
But were Alf Ramsey’s England team intimidated by Chilean coach Fernando Riera’s stellar line-up? No way, José.
There were only four players in Alf’s line-up who were to play in the World Cup-winning side three years later – Banks, Wilson, Moore and Bobby Charlton – but England still emerged victorious.
In front of a full house of 100,000, Southampton’s Terry Paine put England ahead in the 66th minute. Denis Law looked to have earned a draw for the Rest of the World with an equaliser eight minutes from time, but then Jimmy Greaves popped up characteristically to poach an 89th-minute winner.
England 2:1 Earth. Who could we play next?
DONATE TO SOCCER AID HERE…