The greatest World Cup match that never was?

Check out the array of European talent on display here – a best-of compilation that arguably equals any individual match in the World Cup history of the era. But these stars, collectively totalling over 1,000 caps, came together for a match that’s now completely forgotten… There’s loads more curious, beautiful, big-match and downright hilarious football programmes in the Got, Not Got Football Gift Book, forthcoming in 2019.

This curio features refugees from the game-changing Hungarian side of the mid ’50s, including the great Ferenc Puskas. France’s Just Fontaine, the all-time record goalscorer in a single World Cup. The Barcelona legend Ladislav Kubala,  who not only played for his native Hungary but also Czechoslovakia and Spain. Spanish giant Francisco Gento. Germany’s 1966 sweeper Willi Schulz. Austrian star and influential coach Ernst Happel… And they’re up against a Who’s Who of British talent from various ’50s and ’60s finals, including Finney, Charles, Wright, Haynes, Blanchflower, Armfield and Cohen. The best British team of the era ever assembled..?

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What’s strange about the match is that it wasn’t played not in the ’50s or ’60s but in 1972, in front of a tiny crowd of just 5,000, at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. With Brian Moore as live commentator!

Got anything weird or wonderful, worthy of inclusion in the programme section of the GNG Gift Book – the football fan’s catalogue of desires? Please do get in touch!

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