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A Brief Guide To Gothenburg – Sweden

Gothenburg (or Göteborg as the Swedish call the city), has undergone countless transformations from being an industrial coastal town into an alluring modern and global sports scene. Refurbishing several of Gothenburg’s museums and the construction of the Gothenburg Opera, gave the city’s traditional environment a well-deserved face lift.  With a Eurail pass, you can travel to Gothenburg to see the revamped look of the city, there are astonishing sites to see and dishes to taste that would pre-occupy your wandering feet and ravenous appetite.

History Of Gothenburg
Gothenburg was established by Sweden’s King Adolphus in 1621. During those times, the area’s west coast area operates as a military base to guard Sweden against the Danish invasions.  After thirty years, the Danes, along with the Norwegian regions, came to be a division of Sweden under the Treaty of Roskilde. With the military base gone, the city of Gothenburg experience several economic developments because of its well-placed location and soon developed into a thriving business seaport. During the 19th century Gothenburg flourished into a significant industrial center and port of the country, and handled half of Sweden’s international business.

Things To Do In Gothenburg
Gothenburg is a green oasis, so don’t miss out on the Botanical Garden. 500,000 visitors per year flock to see its herb and kitchen garden, the animated perennial beddings, and its rock garden which boast more than 6,000 distinct marshes and plants. Then there’s the Slottskogen Park, the city’s most famous recreational spot with its luscious greeneries. The area has countless restaurants and cafes, a theme park and zoo which will be a sure hit amongst children. Since Gothenburg is famous for its seaport, go on a cruise. Sail or rent a canoe and explore and discover the enthralling waters of the city. Museums are also abundant in Gothenburg. Visit the Gothenburg Art Museum with a vast collect of 19th century Scandinavian art and several masterpieces of Picasso, Monet and Rembrandt.  The Gunnebo Castle and Gardens is perfect for picnics during the summer months. Experience the Art of Gastronomy in Gothenburg in the restaurants around the city with highly-reputable international chefs serving mouth-watering courses, such as the Sjömagasinet, 28+ and Fond, as well as Hos Pelle, Caleo, Kock & Vin and Brasserie Lip. For shopping and souvenirs, go to Innderstaden, Nordstan and Avenyn, there are countless boutiques and shops along the areas.

Getting To Gothenburg
There are several ways to travel to Gothenburg. You can opt to go by plane which will either land in Landvetter or Säve. There are also ferries from UK, Germany, Norway and Denmark. If you have a Eurail Pass, then you can travel by train via the SJ or Swedish Railways, or several private railway companies such as the Veolia, MerResor, Arlanda Express and Tågkompaniet.

Travel to Gothenburg and destinations across Europe with a Eurail Pass at

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A Brief History Of The FIFA World Cups (Part Three)





A Brief History Of “Mexico 86″



Mexico 86 was unique as it was the first time that a country had organized the world cup for the second time and still is in the fact that only 16 years had gone by since the first world cup held in Mexico. The world cup in Mexico was also the first to use the system in which 16 out of the 24 teams from the first round went on to the second round which was one short of the quarterfinals.  It being in the second round that teams went in to direct elimination where the winners progressed to the quarterfinals.


As for myself personally, it was slightly disappointing to see Italy loose in the second round yet I could see this was a rebuilding year but if for one thing this world cup will be remembered for; it is how Maradona went from being thought of as the best player of his time to being considered arguably the greatest player of all time. The Mexico 86 World Cup being for Maradona what the battle of the Austerlitz was to Napoleon or the Battle of Cannae was to Hannibal; as it was these events that put these men in a position where they were hailed as being practically invincible.


Mexico 86 naturally like other world cups had features which made it different from all the rest and these are some of the moments which at least in my mind stand out from this world cup which in many ways was almost completely dominated by Maradona.


1. Soviet Union Vs Hungary (6-0) was a game in which the Soviet team set a record by taking the fastest two goal lead in the history of the world cups. This being the case since after the first four minutes of the game they were leading 2-0; thanks to goals, first by Yakovenko and then by Aleinikov.


2. Brazil Vs Spain (1-0) was a game in which Spain scored a goal when Michel’s shot hit off the crossbar and then crossed the goal line yet despite the ball clearly going in the referee failed to see it and the goal was not given. This more due to the speed of the ball which in fact required a television replay to verify that in fact Spain had been cheated out of a goal.


3. Argentina Vs England (2-1) is a game remembered mostly for the two goals scored by Maradona. The first one being with his hand though this very few saw at the time apart from the English players themselves. I even many years later hearing the English comments of the time concerning the match on youtube; the commentators thinking that the English protests were about a possible offside by Maradona. Maradona however would go on to score a second goal which so much has already been said about that I hardly believe that I can add to it other than declaring it was perhaps the greatest goal ever scored in a world cup.


4. France Vs Brazil (5-4, on penalties) was a game in which Zico missed a penalty for Brazil only a few minutes after coming on as a substitute yet managed to score in the penalty shoot out which followed the game. It was also in the penalty shoot out that Bellone scored the strangest of goals for France, by striking the ball which hit the post and bounced off it on to the back of Brazil’s goalkeeper and then in for a goal.


5. Germany Vs France (2-0) was the first time two teams not only met each other in a semifinal for the second time but in back to back world cups.


6. Argentina Vs Germany (3-2) was the final which proclaimed Argentina champion for the second time yet it also meant that Germany became the first team to loose three world cup finals.


Argentina would go on to win this world cup with Maradona turning in a performance of true brilliance yet others should be mentioned, such as Lineker who scored six goals in five games with none of them being from the penalty spot. Mexico 86 was also the first world cup where penalties became an important factor in games to be considered by both coaches and players as something which they also need to prepare for. This being the case since three out of the four quarterfinal matches were decided through penalties.


In conclusion one could say that the world cup Mexico 86 will be mostly remembered for Maradona and his greatness as well as the wave which contrary to popular opinion is in fact American and not Mexican; after all wouldn’t it be more likely that those who watch a sport as boring as baseball would come up with something like this.


A Brief History Of “Italia 90″


The world cup of Italia 90 is the one which will perhaps be mostly remembered for very defensive play that produced the lowest goal scoring average per game of any previous tournament. This being to the extent that much would be changed for the next world cup as to not have a repeat of such defensive minded football. As for me personally, I suffered one of the biggest tragedies in my life on the day on which Italy lost to Argentina on penalties in what for to me was truly an agonizing defeat. Maradona would return to this world cup and though he would be as brilliant as he had been that season in which he led Napoli to their second Scudetto; he would also be limited not only by a team not as capable as the one he had in 86 but by all too defensive play. It being aimed at stopping not only him but offensive play yet like all other world cup this one also had it’s moments of interest which are the following.


1. Cameroon 1 Argentina 0 (First Round)

This was the first game in which an African team beat one from South America. It being Oman-Biyik of Cameroon who probably jumped as high as a meter or more off the ground to get to the header he put past Argentine goalkeeper Pumpido to give Cameroon not only the lead but a victory.


2. Ireland 1 The Netherlands 1 (First Round)

This was the first and so far the last time that two teams finished group play tied for second place with the same amount of points, goal difference, amount of goals and even in head to head games. This requiring FIFA to settle the issue with a coin toss which left Ireland second and the Netherlands third which in all reality did not matter so much as both progressed to the second round.


3. Uruguay 1 South Korea 0 (First Round)

This was a game in which Uruguay scored a very late goal which many would argue was in fact after time had run out and the referee should not have allowed.


4. Cameroon 2 Colombia 1 (Second Round)

This was the game which allowed Cameroon to qualify in to the quarterfinals which made them the first African team ever to get to this stage of the tournament.


5. Germany 2 The Netherlands 1 (Second Round)

This was a second round encounter which will be mostly be remembered for Frank Rikjard (Holland) spitting on Rudy Voeller three times. All of which were clearly seen on television even one after both had already been expelled from the match.


6. Italy 1 Ireland 0 (Quarterfinals)

A quarterfinal match in which Italy’s goalkeeper, Walter Zenga set a record for most consecutive games without allowing a goal. His record of five straight games still holding till this day.



7. Argentina 1 Italy 1 5-4 on penalties (Semifinal)

This was the semifinal encounter which was the saddest I ever saw yet it set a record. As Italy and Argentina became the first teams to meet each other in five consecutive world cups. Argentina at five also setting another record for the fewest goals scored by a team to reach the final. This game would also be remembered for Caniggia getting his second yellow card of the tournament which did not let him play in the final for Argentina yet thanks to this incident and that of Paul Gascoigne in the other semifinal; a rule was passed that cancelled all yellow cards received in the first round.


8. Germany 1 England 1 4-3 on penalties (Semifinal)

This is a semifinal which will be mostly remembered for Gascoigne’s tears after getting a yellow card which was rare as most only displayed such emotions after a match yet there were other factors in this game. England and Germany became the first two teams to face each other in four different phases of the world cup. It being in Italia 90 that they met in the semifinal, in Spain 82 that they met in the second round, in Mexico 70 that they met in the quarterfinals and in England 66 that they met in finals. This game also setting a record in being the fourth time these two teams finished tied at the end of the regular 90 minutes.


9. Germany 1 Argentina 0 (World Cup Final)

In this match Germany and Argentina became the first two teams to play each other in the final and so far only ones to do so in back to back finals. This game was also the first one in which the wining team only got one goal and the loosing team did not get at least one. Argentina also became the first team not only to have one player sent of the field but two, as Monzon and Dezzoti both received red cards. This while Maradona became the first player ever to receive two yellow cards in two different finals. Germany in this final not only became the first European team to beat a South American one but the first one to reach three consecutives finals. In this game it was also German player, Litbarski who became the first ever to play in three finals.


The World Cup Italia 90 was perhaps one of the most defensive minded ever yet it did have moments of greatness such as Maradona’s run and pass against Brazil or Schillaci’s six goals which made him top goal scorer. For my part this world cup was far from being one of joy as Italy not only did not win on home soil but did not even manage to make it to the final yet better times would come. Naturally in all this that was the world cup Italia 90, the wonderful concert given by Domingo, Carreras and Pavarotti; who later became “The Three Tenors” should never be forgotten.




A Brief History Of “USA 94″



USA 94 set a record for the highest attendance at a World Cup tournament which till this day stands despite three more tournaments being held with 64 matches as opposed to USA 94 which only held 52. This fact being more outstanding considering the fact that FIFA was fearful of holding a world cup in the USA, believing a tournament held in the States would not attract large crowds which in fact led to Mexico being made host nation over the USA in 1986. The USA was also the first none Spanish speaking nation to host the tournament since Germany back in 1974 yet this world cup held in the United States also included the following changes in the rules which were implanted for the first time.


1-     A player was only on off sides if he was in front of the defender, on the same line no longer meant he was on off sides, which would hopefully increase scoring.

2-     Almost any series foul earned the offending player a card regardless of weather or not there had been intensions to commit injure.

3-     Any intentional handball received a card.

4-     Deliberate back passes to the goalkeeper were no longer allowed and were punished by an indirect free kick, on the spot where the goal keeper had touched the ball.

5-     Any last player committing a foul to stop a player got an automatic red card.

6-     Yellow cards from the first round, were no longer counted in later stages of the tournament.

7-     Players had to wear their names on their shirts, along with their numbers. This even causing a comic situation with the players of Cameroon; who were forced to add their names on their shirts in magic marker.

8-     Three points were given for a victory; as opposed to what till then had only been two, however I for my part failed to see (and still do) how this makes such a big difference when teams are only playing three games.



USA 94 holds great personal memories for me, not only because Italy got to the final which unfortunately they did not win but because I got to attend three out of Italy’s seven matches at Giant’s Stadium. It being in the semifinal where I saw one of the greatest live performances ever turned in by Roberto Baggio; who scored two goals.  USA 94 however would have many outstanding moments such as the ones mentioned below.


Germany 1 Bolivia 0 (Opening Game)

In this match Germany became the first ever defending champion to win the opening game.


USA 1 Switzerland 1 (First Round)

This match played in Detroit’s “Pontiac Silver Dome” was the first World Cup game ever to be played indoors.


USA 2 Colombia 1 (First Round)

Is a game which is remembered for the tragic death of Andres Escobar, who upon returning to his own country was killed for the own goal he scored against Colombia.


Romania 1 USA 0 (First Round)

This game meant the USA came in third in their group which made them the first host nation to ever finish lower than second in the opening round of qualification which in fact would have meant not moving on the second round had it not been for the fact that 16 out 24 teams qualified. It being a case that the USA had it not been for this system would have been the first host nation not to go beyond the first round.


1. Brazil 2 Russia 0 (First Round)

This was the first world cup game in which a nation who had been playing under one name was playing under another. This being the case since before this tournament Russia had played as the Soviet Union.


2. Russia 6 Cameroon 1 (First Round)

In this game two records were set. First of which being set by Russia’s Salenko, who became the first player ever to score five goals in a single world cup match. Second of which being set by Cameroon’s Roger Milla, who at 42 became the oldest player ever to score a goal in world cup competition.


3. Brazil 1 Sweden 1 (First Round)

This match was the sixth encounter between Brazil and Sweden in the history of the world cup which in and of itself set a record.


4. Italy 1 Norway 0 (First Round)

In this game, Italy’s Pagliuca became the first ever goalkeeper to be shown the red card in a world cup match.


5. Bolivia 0 South Korea 0 (First Round)

Was a match in which for some very strange reason the first half was made 10 minutes longer while the second half was made 15 minutes longer.


6. Germany 3 Belgium 2 (Second Round)

Was a game in which a clear penalty was not given for Belgium. As even the referee would later admit, after seeing the replay on TV that he made a mistake when he failed to call it in Belgium’s favor.


7. Brazil 3 The Netherlands 2 (Quarterfinals)

Is a game remembered mostly for not so much Bebeto’s goal which was Brazil’s second but the way in which he celebrated which was by waving his arms as if rocking a baby. This in honor of his son who had been born that very day and setting a trend that would be followed by all those who scored a goal on the same day a child of theirs was born.


Italy 2 Spain 1 (Quarterfinals)

Is a game in which video was used for the first time to suspend a player for an incident during the match. It being Tassoti who after the game was suspended for 8 matches for elbowing Spanish forward Luis Enrique.


Brazil 1 Sweden 0 (Semifinal)

Sweden became the first team to ever face another team seven times without ever having beaten them.


Brazil 0 Italy 0 (3-2 on penalties) Final

This was the first final to end goalless and the first one to be decided on penalties. Brazil also became the first team ever to win four world cups.


The USA 94 was a much greater tournament than most would have ever expected it from a commercial point of view yet to me it will always be the one in which Italy came ever so close to wining; only to loose in the final. As a footnote Italy qualified from a first round group in which all four teams (Mexico, Norway, Ireland and Italy) finished tied with four points as they all had one win, one loss and one draw as well as the same goal difference. This being another first in world cup history.



A Brief History Of “France 98″




France 98 was the last world cup played in the 20th century yet it was also the first one which 32 teams participated in as well as the first one to use the system of sudden death overtime or the “golden goal”. France 98 for me personally was the world cup in which Italy came so close to the final yet in a way was so far. As I believe that if Italy had beaten France in penalties or if Roberto Baggio’s overtime shot had gone in; then it would have been Italy to face Croatia. Naturally, I being of a mind that Italy would have beaten Croatia which would have set up not only a repeat of the previous final between Italy and Brazil but what would have been the third final between these two power houses of world football yet it was not to be. Croatia however for its part became the first nation ever to play a world cup which at one point had played as a part of another country yet more are the memories of France 98 which include the following.


1. Morocco 3 Scotland 0 (First Round)

This loss meant that Scotland would be going out in the first round which allowed them to set a record for being eliminated eight times in the first round of a world cup. This breaking the previous record of seven set by Mexico yet Scotland has yet to qualify past the first round in any world cup.


2. Italy 2 Austria 1 (First Round)

In this match Austria scored a last minute goal and in doing so became the first team to do so in three consecutive games.


3. France 1 Paraguay 0 (Round Of 16)

In this world cup game when Lauren Blanc scored for France, he became the first player ever to score a goal in sudden death overtime.


4. Croatia 3 Germany 0 (Quarterfinals)

In this match German midfielder Lothar Matthaus became the first player ever to play in 22 world cup matches and it was also in this world cup that he equaled Carbajal’s record of having appeared in five world cups.


5. France 3 Brazil 0 (Final)

France became only the seventh nation to win a world cup, thus joining Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, England, Germany and Italy as the only ones to accomplish the feat.


France 98 was a world cup which once again saw Italy loose out on penalties yet in a way it is a sort of comfort to know that we were the only team the eventual world champions needed penalties to beat. In conclusion however I believe this world cup though not grand by Italy’s standards did at least allow Roberto Baggio to prove his value; as it was he who not only scored goals against Chile and Austria but left the world cups with better memories than a missed penalty against Brazil. Baggio even converting his spot kick against France despite the fact that it would be them and not us to go on to the semifinal.



A Brief History Of “Japan/Korea 2002″



The world cup organized in Japan and South Korea in 2002 was not only the first one of the new century but also was the first to be organized on the Asian continent as well as the first one to take place in two separate nations. I, for my part however consider this world cup to have been arranged by FIFA so they might not only get to see Brazil and Germany play each other but so they might do so in a final. This being the case since these two greats of world football had never actually met in a World Cup despite their tremendous records which included four championships for Brazil and three for Germany, two second place finishes for Brazil and three for Germany, two third place finishes for both and also one fourth place finish for both. This was the encounter many around the world wanted to see, specially since these were the only great teams who had never met each other in a world cup. It is this which in my opinion motivated FIFA to do everything within their powers to try to eliminate all teams which might disturb this plan which included referees making errant decisions which unfairly helped both Germany and Brazil. There also being a campaign to aide Korea get to at least the semifinal in order to keep up interest amongst their fans to attend the matches. This in a tournament where attendances were for the most part very low.


Naturally, so Brazil might meet Germany in the final many teams had to be eliminated through careful unfair refereeing such as Italy, Spain and Argentina which was the case as they; thanks to errant calls were out of the world cup before they could play either Germany or Brazil. Japan/South Korea 2002 will be remembered by many as the one with the worst refereeing as it was not just a matter of a call or two being missed but of several which even over shadowed the whole tournament. As for my personal recollections and those of my friends, they are of seeing Italy being cheated out of two goals against both Croatia and Mexico; after which more of the same was repeated against South Korea. Regarding the moments to be remembered however I would say there were few yet these are those which I believe deserve to be mentioned.


1. Brazil 2 Turkey 1 (First Round)

This was a game in which Brazil got the game winner on a penalty called for a foul that was clearly outside the penalty box. It also being a game where Rivaldo faked being hit in the face by a ball kicked in his direction in order to have a Turkish player sent off; this in spite of Brazil already being ahead by 2-1 and with about a minute or two left in the match.


2. Croatia 2 Italy 1 (First Round)

This was a game in which Italy had two goals unfairly annulled. The first one by Vieri because of a nonexistent offside and the second one by Matterazzi because of an alleged foul by Inzagi though in reality it was he who was being illegally held.


3. Mexico 1 Italy 1 (First Round)

In this game again Italy had two goals ruled offside though instant replays of both goals show the opposite.


4. England 1 Argentina 0 (First Round)

In this game the winning goal came on a penalty which was given for a nonexistent foul.


5. Argentina 1 Sweden 1 (First Round)

Argentina did not qualify to the second round yet it was in this game that their player Caniggia was shown a red card while sitting on the bench and not having said as much as a word to the referee.


6. Denmark 2 France 0 (First Round)

This match eliminated France yet they also became the first champion to be eliminated without scoring as much as one goal.


7. USA 2 Mexico 0 (Round Of 16)

In this game Mexico should have been given a penalty when the ball hit an American defender in the penalty box but again like in many other games in this world cup; the referee did not see. This was also the first time two teams from North America met in a world cup.


8. Brazil 2 Belgium 0 (Round Of 16)

In this match Belgium had a perfectly legitimate goal taking away due to a nonexistent foul.


9. South Korea 2 Italy 1 (Round Of 16)

In this game during regulation time South Korea was given a very dubious penalty which they did not convert. Totti for Italy would also be shown a red card for allegedly faking a penalty yet the replay shows that though their had been no foul committed; their had also been no attempt to deceive anybody. In overtime Tomassi for Italy was also called for an offside which clearly did not exist when he had broken free and was all alone in front of the Korean goalkeeper.


10. Germany 1 USA 0 (Quarterfinals)

In this match a German player committed a clear hand ball in the penalty box to keep the ball from going in the net yet the referee from Scotland saw nothing. This despite the hand ball being much more obvious than that of Maradona against England in 86.


11. South Korea 0-5 Spain 0-4 on penalties (Quarterfinals)

South Korea by wining this match became the first Asian nation to qualify in to the semifinals yet Spain had two legitimate goals disallowed during the game. One due to a foul which did not exist and the other due to the line judge claiming a ball had gone it before it was centered though the replay clearly shows the ball had not gone out of play.


12. Germany 1 South Korea 0 (Semifinal)

Because of winning this match Germany became the first team to qualify to seven finals.


13. Brazil 1 Turkey 0 (Semifinal)

After this game Brazil became the first South American team to qualify to three straight finals while also setting a strange record by being the first team to have to play the same team twice in three different world cups. This being the case since in this world cup they had to play Turkey twice as in 62 they had to play Czechoslovakia twice as in 94 they had to play Sweden twice.


14. Turkey 3 South Korea 2 (For Third Place)

In this game Hakan Sukur of Turkey scored a goal 12 seconds in to the match and set the record for the fastest goal ever scored in a world cup match. This was also the first and last time that the host nation lost in a match for third place.


15. Brazil 2 Germany 0 (Final)

This was the first ever match played between Germany and Brazil in a world cup and also with this win Brazil became the first team to win five world cups while Germany became the first team to loose in four finals.


In conclusion the 2002 world cup will probably be remembered for some of the worst refereeing ever seen as well as having very low attendance at the games. This probably due to a combination of many strong teams being eliminated early along with the poor refereeing. I however in my opinion believe that the 2002 tournament should be used as an example of how it is necessary to utilize instant replays in order to get the right call; for when a player on the field makes a mistake it is just that but when a referee does the same then it is an injustice.



A Brief History Of “Germany 2006″



The world cup Germany 2006 was a great one for all fans of Italian football as it saw us claim our forth world cup to put us just one behind Brazil and second on the list of winners of the trophy. Germany 2006 was also the first world cup in which the previous winners (Brazil) were forced to play qualifying matches in order to enter the tournament; as it was not enough that they were defending champions. Germany, for its part was also organizing the event for the second time in their history yet on that occasion it was to be as a united nation; as opposed to being one divided in to east and west. Naturally as an Italian American and supporter of the “azurri” I could not have been more delighted at an Italian win yet other moments of interest were to be found in this tournament which were as follows.


1. Germany 4 Costa Rica 2 (Opening Game)

It was in this tournament that the host nation went back to playing in the opening match. This being something which had not been done since Mexico did it in 1970. This opening match also had more goals than any other opening match in world cup history. As for an interesting factor concerning the German team. They fielded three Polish born players (Podolski, Borowski and Klose) in this tournament.


2. Ukraine 0-3 Switzerland 0-0 In Penalties (Round Of 16)

This game qualified Ukraine to the quarterfinals which made them the first ex republic of the Soviet Union to ever get to this stage of the tournament.


3. Brazil 3 Ghana 0 (Round Of 16)

In this game Brazil’s Ronaldo scored a goal at the five minute mark which made him the highest goal scorer in world cup history as it put his grand total at 15; surpassing Gerd Muller’s 14.


4. Italy 1-5 France 1-3 (Final)

With this win Italy became the first European nation to win four world cups.


Germany 2006 was a great world cup for Italy as it lifted the prestige of its football which had lost some of its glory in 2002 yet it was against, first Germany and then France that Italy proved they could win when it counted and even in penalties. Italy has qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and though perhaps two titles back to back would be overly optimistic; it is still in my hopes that it might be yet if it is not than at least let our participation be one of dignity.


As a footnote, I can add two things about Italy winning the world cup. Number one being that they are the first team to become champions with a top goal scorer who only scored two goals. Number two being that Italy continued a pattern which started back in 70 which was to loose in the final then come back 12 years later to win the final (in Spain 82) to come back 12 years later to once again loose in the final (in USA 94) to come back 12 years later to win it (in Germany 2006) again. This meaning Italy should be back in the final in 2018 yet they will have to wait till 2030 to win it for the fifth time.


My name is Gianni Truvianni, I am an author who writes with the simple aim of sharing his ideas, thoughts and so much more of what I am with those who are interested in perhaps reading something new. I also am the author of the book entitled “New York’s Opera Society” which is now available on Amazon.

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A Brief History Of The FIFA World Cups (Part One)

A Brief History Of “Uruguay 30″



The world cup “Uruguay 30″ was the first ever organized with only 13 teams participating in a tournament which was by invitation. This in contrast to today’s world cups which are by qualification. As for the 13 teams which participated, two were from North America (USA and Mexico), seven were from South America (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Paraguay) while only four were from Europe; given the fact that costs of traveling in those days were very costly.


Uruguay was chosen as the host for the first world cup given that they were the defending Olympic champions at time. As for the tournament itself it was held exclusively in Montevideo and in three stadiums though most of the games were played in the “Centenario”. This stadium being constructed specially for this world cup and named “Centario” (meaning one hundred years) in honor of Uruguay’s 100 years of independence.


The world cup in Uruguay was organized by putting the 13 teams in to four groups with the winners of each group going in to the semifinals and eventually in to the final and unlike today there was no match played for third place. Of course due to the odd number of teams one group had four countries while the other three had only three.


Italy was among one of the countries that did not participate in this world cup despite having a strong team at the time which left Uruguay and Argentina, as the ones who would be most likely to win the tournament which started it all with moments such as these.


1. France 4 Mexico 1 (First Round)

In this game France’s L. Laurent scored the first ever goal in world cup history yet France was not really the first team to win a game, given that that at the same time the USA was playing Belgium in a match which was won by the team from North America by 3-0.


2. Argentina 1 France (First Round)

In this game France’s goalkeeper was the first to leave a match injured (20 minutes in to the game) yet given the rules of the day France could not enter a substitute player in his place. This meaning France found itself in a difficult situation which was made more so when Argentina’s Monti injured Laurent, who stayed on the field but did little other than limp through out the match. This game will also be remembered for the referee ending the match 6 minutes early and just as France had a man in a clear position to score a goal. As for the game, it would be restarted. France for its part had been forced to play two games in a period of 48 hours.


3. Argentina 6 Mexico 3 (First Round)

This game was the first one to feature a penalty as well as being the highest scoring match of the tournament. Argentina’s Stabile also became the first South American player to score three goals in a final though not the first to do so, as was originally thought.


4. USA 3 Paraguay 0 (First Round)

In this game the USA’s Patenaude became the first player to score three goals in a world cup match while the USA became the first and so far only team from North America to qualify as far as the semifinal.

4. Romania 3 Peru 1 (First Round)

In this game Peru’s Galindo became the first player ever sent off the field while the crowd in attendance is said to have been the smallest ever at a world cup match. It officially being 2,459 though the generally accepted figure is said to have been 300.


5. Argentina 6 USA 1 (Semifinal)

This was the first ever semifinal encounter. The United States for its part was declared as having come in third in this world cup though the reasons were never made clear as to why; given that a match for third place was not played.


6. Uruguay 4 Argentina 2 (Final)

This was the first ever final with Dorado for Uruguay scoring the first goal. As for a curious note regarding this first final. The first half was played with a ball from Argentina which ended 2-1 in favor of Argentina while the second half was played with a Uruguayan ball which ended in a 4-2 victory for Uruguay.


The first world cup was held in the winter which led to some of the games being played in the snow yet despite these factors; it can honestly be said that Argentina and Uruguay were the best teams in not only this world cup but of the time. As would be proven in this first tournament. It being Uruguay to claim the title while Argentina’s Stabile was top goal scorer with eight goals to his credit. In conclusion one can say though the first world cup lacked in organization and other aspects, it was the first world cup ever to be played as well as being the one that started it all so many years ago.



A Brief History Of “Italy 34″



Italy 34 was the second world cup to be played as well as the first one to be hosted by a European country. It being Italy who won their first championship in a tournament which they also had to qualify for along with 15 other teams. This factor making Italy the first and last nation to have to qualify for a world cup which they, themselves organized. Uruguay however in this second world cup refused to participate, feeling the need to get even with Italy and other European nations who did not participate in Uruguay 30. It being this factor which makes Uruguay the first and so far last nation not to participate in a world cup when they were defending champions. South America however despite Uruguay’s absence would not go unrepresented in Italy 34 as Brazil and Argentina did not fail to make their presence along with 14 other teams in what would be the first world cup with 16 nations.


Italy 34 was also organized in a different fashion than Uruguay 30 as it was in this tournament where teams were made to play each other in 8 games with the winners going on to the next round which was the quarterfinals. It being there where once more teams played each other in direct matches with winners going on to the semifinals where they again played one another; with the winning teams going on to the final while the loosing teams played for third place. It in fact being a system like the one which is used now a days, only that they started from what today is the round of 16. As a curious note regarding the games of Italy 34, they were all played simultaneously; in the sense that all first round matches were played on the same date and time. This also the case with quarterfinal matches as well as those in the semifinal.


For Italy this was the first world cup which they won as well as the one which established them as one of the dominating teams in world football. It being till this day that Italy is amongst the top four nations in the sport. As for Italy 34, it had many a fine moment such as.


1. Hungary 4 Egypt 2 (First Round)

Egypt was in fact not only the first African team to qualify for a world cup but was also the first one to do so which was neither from Europe or the Americas.


2. Austria 3 France 2 (First Round)

This game ended 1-1 after the regular 90 minutes which made it the first one in world cup history to go in to overtime.


3. Italy 1 Spain 1 (Quarterfinals)

This was the first ever game to end in a draw which required these two teams to replay the match. This was also one of the first quarterfinal games ever played in a world cup though it would be hard to say it was the first due to the fact that all four quarterfinal matches were played simultaneously.


4. Italy 1 Spain 0 (Quarterfinals)

Because the first encounter finished in a 1-1 draw, Italy and Spain had to replay their match which made this the first one ever to have to be replayed.


Germany 3 Austria 2 (For Third Place)

This was the first game ever to take place for third place.


Italy 2 Czechoslovakia 1 (Final)

This was the first final in which the loosing team scored the first goal as well as being the first one to go in to overtime. As for Italy, they became the first European team to win a world cup. Czechoslovakia for their part despite coming in second did have Nejedly on their team; who because of his five goals was top goal scorer of the tournament. This being similar to Argentina in 30 who also lost in the final but had the top goal scorer.


As a footnote regarding Italy, they had a player on their team by the name of Monti; who not only was born in Argentina but even played for them in the previous world cup. Monti becoming the first player ever to not only play in two world cups for two different teams but to reach two finals with different teams. Monti regarding his having played for two different teams is not alone however in having done so in two finals for two different teams is, as no other player in history has accomplished this feat and no other ever will; as this is now strictly forbidden by FIFA.


Italy won the second world cup in a tournament noted for brutality that would see many an injury, specially in both its matches against Spain yet in spite of it all; Italy did prevail at end. Italy also became the first world champion to have to play two games that went in to overtime as well as a replay. In conclusion one could say that Italy 34 was a tournament that included many a foul and kick as such was the game back then in a time before it was known for the finesse and skill most people now associate it with.



A Brief History Of “France 38″



France 38 was the third world cup ever to be played and though it was organized in the exact same manner in which Italy 34 was, it did have factors which made it unique yet some being as a result of the politics of the time which was soon to lead the world in to another world war. Austria in fact did qualify to this world cup and would have played in the first round against Sweden had it not been for the fact that Nazi Germany annexed it to form part of the third Reich. This meaning that Austria was unable to present a team to play against Sweden who received a walkover in their first match.



Italy for its part won their second world cup and became the first nation to claim this title for the second time. This being the case while France became both the first host nation to not only not win the world cup but be eliminated in quarterfinals in a tournament that included the following highlights.


1. Sweden Vs Austria (First Round)

This match was never played given that Austria no longer existed as an independent nation which meant that they were forced to forfeit. Sweden received a walkover which was the first and so far last time this has ever occurred in a world cup.


2. Brazil 6 Poland 5 (First Round)

This match which after regulation time ended at four goals a piece, set a record for most goals scored in a game yet it did not beat the Italy Vs USA of the previous world cup for goals scored during regulation time. In this game Poland’s Wilimowski also became the first player ever to score four goals in a world cup match though one was in overtime and so far he is the only player to do so in a loosing effort. Brazil became the first South American team to play in three world cups as well as having the first South American player (Leonidas) to score in two world cups.


3. Switzerland 4 Germany 2 (Replay In The First Round)

In this match Switzerland’s Lörtscher became the first player to score an own goal in a world cup.


4. Italy 3 France 1 (Quarterfinal)

When France lost this match it became the first host nation ever to loose in a world cup.


5. Brazil 4 Sweden 2 (Match For Third)

Brazil became the first South American team to come in third in a world cup.


6. Italy 4 Hungary 2

Italy became the first team to repeat as champions as well as the first to have two players (Colaussi and Piola) score two goals a piece in a final.


In France 38, Italy won the world cup for the second time yet events were leading the world to war and it would not be till 1950 that another world cup was held. It being a whole generation of players that was lost to the game yet return football would with not only more world cups but great games.



A Brief History Of “Brazil 50″



Brazil 50 was an important tournament in many regards. One of them being that it was the first world cup to be held after world war II which brought back the interest of many nations. Italy being one of them, who not only was recovering from World War II but in fact had little if any desire to participate in the world cup, this perhaps due to how most of the players on their national team also played for the club “Torino” who suffered a plane crash that killed all the members of their team. Italy however were the defending world champions at the time and though it has not been proven, it is believed that one of the arguments FIFA used to convince Italy; was the offer of paying for all their traveling expenses.


To a certain extent Brazil 50 will be largely remembered for the teams that did not play. Germany being amongst them since they had been suspended because of the war. Argentina for its part had a great team at that time which had won several South American champions yet it was because of problems with Brazil that they chose to not even participate in the eliminations leading up to the world cup.


Brazil 50 was also a strange world cup from another aspect and that being the unique way it was organized. It being a tournament in which 16 teams were originally supposed to play in yet India, Scotland and Turkey withdrew before competition even started. This even leading to FIFA installing a rule that forced teams to participate in a world cup, if they had qualified or face sanctions; naturally FIFA making exceptions if a country for financial or political reasons or a natural disaster is unable to participate.


As for Brazil 50 itself, it was staged in the following manner, teams were placed in to four groups of four teams each with the winner of each group going on to not even the semifinals like had been the case in Uruguay 30 but another round robin group to determine the first four places in the tournament. This in fact meaning that Brazil 50 not only did not have quarterfinals but not even semifinals or a final for that matter or not one in the way which was played in every single world cup before or since. As for matches of interest, I would say the following are the ones which should be looked at.


1. Brazil 2 Switzerland 2 (First Round)

This was the first time a host nation drew in a match.


2. USA 1 England 0 (First Round)

This match was compared to the “shot heard round the world” of the American war of independence. It allowing the English to see that their football was not as great as they had believed, it being to the extent that when many in England read about this match in the paper; they thought the headline “USA 1 England 0″ had been a misprint.


3. Italy 3 Sweden 2 (First Round)

This was the first match in which a defending champion lost yet for Italy it also meant elimination in the first round though if they had at least drawn; it would have been them who would have gone on to the next round. Italy’s group was one of only three teams as India withdrew from the competition when they were told they could not play barefoot.


4. Uruguay 8 Bolivia 0 (First Round)

This match in fact was the smallest group in world cup history. As it was the one that decided which team from this group of two would end up among the top four teams of the tournament.  This being the situation since Scotland and Turkey were originally supposed to be in this group but both withdrew before the world cup started. Scotland not wanting to participate since they would not represent the UK as the first team. Of course for my part, I wonder why didn’t they just put other teams from the tournament in to this group.


5. Sweden 3 Spain 1 (Second Round)

This match settled which one of these two teams would come in third place though it would be unfair to say this was a third place encounter, due to the fact that if it had finished in a draw it would have been Spain to claim this position. This match as a curious point was played at the exact same time and day as the one which decided between Uruguay and Brazil who would win the Jules Rimet trophy which before this tournament was not officially referred to as such.


6. Uruguay 2 Brazil 1 (Second Round)

This match was hailed as the final of the tournament though in reality it was not. As it would be fairer to say it was the last game in a league played amongst only four teams. Uruguay for its part however thanks to their win became champion for the second and so far last time in their history while Brazil in all honesty, one could say finished second; this as opposed to merely being a looser of the final. Of course this game was particularly painful for Brazilians given the facts that they were playing at home and that all they needed to be declared champions was a draw. Another strange factor about this so called final was that to get to it Uruguay only had to play three games while Brazil had to play five games.


In conclusion it would be fair to say that Uruguay deserved their championship as they did defeat Brazil on their home soil to take it yet they did play two matches less. As for Italy they lost great players because of the war yet in spite it all were able to get together a wonderful team which would have been able perform well yet it was not to be. This being the case as most of their players died in the plane crash suffered by Torino. All in an accident which brought more tragedy on to Italian football and it would not be till many years that Italy was able to get a team to compete at the top again.


As a footnote, we might say that this world cup had two defending champions. As Uruguay had not really lost its title since they won it in 1930 because they had not defended it in either Italy 30 or France 38 while Italy had won the previous edition of this tournament.


A Brief History Of “Switzerland 54″




The world cup in Switzerland was probably one of the greatest ever played if statistics are anything to go by and though there is a no footage (or at least none that I know of) of any matches in their entirety but only of a few highlights, most of which are unclear; I believe it must have been something truly worth watching. As how else can a semifinal match like Hungary Vs Uruguay be described when a team that is twice world champion and undefeated in the world cup meets the one that was innovating football at the time. It being this game which ended 4-2 in favor of the Hungarians, who needed overtime to go on to the final yet to a certain extent matches like these were the norm in this world cup. This being the case in Switzerland 54 where three records for scoring were set with the first being the highest number of goals ever scored in a world cup (140) along with the highest number of goals ever scored in a world cup match (12) as well as the highest goal scoring average per game which was what today would be an unthinkable 5.38. Switzerland’s record of 140 goals was eventually surpassed in Spain 82 where 142 goals were scored yet I believe that the goal per game average established in Switzerland 54 will probably never be broken.


Organization wise Switzerland 54 was strange in being a world cup where 16 teams were put in to four groups with four teams each yet for some reason not all the teams in the groups actually played against each other. It being a case where England and Italy were in the same first round group yet did not play against one another while Italy was made to play Switzerland twice. The system basically being one in which a team faced two of the other teams in the group and if they won they went straight to the next round. This being the case with Hungary, who in their first two matches defeated both South Korea and Germany and therefore did not have to play against Turkey; who was also in their group. Of course if a team lost their first two games like South Korea did against both Hungary and Turkey, then they were eliminated and were not required to play against the fourth team in their group. This the case for those that won or lost their first two games yet for those that finished tied on points; it was a third game that awaited them in order to progress to the quarterfinals. It being this which was required of Germany and Switzerland to get through the first round, as Germany beat Turkey for the second time in the tournament while Switzerland did like wise with Italy. After the first round it was as it would be today from the stage of the quarterfinals where teams face each other until there are two to play for third place and another two to play the final.


Italy in this world cup had not yet fully recovered from having lost most of their great team of the late 40’s in a plane crash. This leading to their early exist from the world cup at the hands of Switzerland yet teams like Hungary, Uruguay and Germany made for a great spectacle that included truly outstanding matches such as these.


1. Brazil 1 Yugoslavia 1 (First Round)

For some very strange reason this game had overtime added to it despite the fact that a draw was sufficient for both teams to qualify while the other two teams (France and Mexico) had already been eliminated.


2. Hungary 9 South Korea 0 (First Round)

This match set the record for most goals scored by one team and for the biggest margin of victory by one team over another. South Korea lost both its games in this world cup by a combined 16-0 yet in spite of this; as the first Asian team to participate in the world cup made a favorable impression on the local fans who received their efforts with both friendship and respect.


3. Hungary 8 Germany 3 (First Round)

This match with 11 goals set a record for most goals scored in a single match. It also being in this game that Germany fielded mostly a team of substitutes while Puskas was injured and did not return to action till the final.


4. Germany 7 Turkey 2 (First Round)

This was the first time two teams played each other in the same tournament in a game that was not a replay but a play off encounter.


5. Switzerland 4 Italy 1  (First Round)

This game was played at the exact same time and date as the other play off match between Germany and Turkey. It also being the first and last time Italy lost two games in the same world cup to the same team.


6. Austria 7 Switzerland 5 (Quarterfinals)

With 12 goals this was and still is the highest scoring match of all time yet even more goals could have been scored as Austria missed a penalty.


7. Hungary 4 Brazil 2 (Quarterfinals)

In this game Hungary’s Kocsis scored his 8th and 9th goal of the tournament which both tied and set the record for most goals scored in a single world cup.


8. Hungary 4 Uruguay 2 (Semifinal)

In this game Hungary’s Kocsis scored his 10th and 11th goal of the tournament which both reset the record for most goals scored in a tournament and made him the top scorer in world cup history at the time. Kocsis also becoming the first player ever to score 10 goals or more in a single world cup. This a feat which till this day has only been accomplished by two other players; Fontaine (13 goals) of France in 58 and Muller (10) of Germany in 70. Kocsis however did not score in the final which left his tally at 11 for the tournament.


9. Germany 3 Hungary 2 (Final)

In this final Hungary became the first and so far last team to loose a final despite having led at one point of the game by two goals. This being the case as Hungary scored the first two goals of the game. Germany for its part became the first team to come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a final. This match was also the first time, two teams met each other twice in the same world cup and in two different stages of the tournament. As an extra comment to this final, it continued a pattern which had been set in the first world cup; that the high scorer of the tournament did not play for the team which won the tournament. This in fact being a trend which was broken in Chile 62 when Brazil had two players (Vava and Garrincha) who were tied with 4 other players for top goal scorer of the tournament.


In conclusion, one could say that the world cup in Switzerland was truly exceptional in many ways which not only included the highest goal scoring average per game but all those wonderful plays that had little if anything to do with defense; in a time which is most likely never to return.



A Brief History Of “Sweden 58″




The world cup in Sweden was the first and last one to which Italy did not qualify to. This perhaps making it unique in this aspect yet also in the fact that it was the first world cup in which every group had four teams with each one of these teams having to play one another regardless of weather they were already quailed to the next round or eliminated. Sweden 58 was also the last world cup in which play off games were needed to decide who would advance in to the quarterfinals between teams which finished level on points. It being in this world cup where three out of the four second place teams got through to the quarterfinals due to these games. This system would be replaced by goal difference which is the one being used today to decide who qualifies when two teams or more end up tied on points. Sweden 58 was also the first world cup ever televised though in black and white and without the benefit of instant replays.


Naturally, as with all other world cups; Sweden 58 also had its outstanding moments which are as follows.


1. Northern Ireland 2 Czechoslovakia 1 (First Round Play Off)

This was an extra game which even required overtime to decide which one of these two teams would qualify in to the quarterfinals. In today’s system Czechoslovakia would have qualified due to goal difference.


2. Brazil 2 USSR 0 (First Round)

In this game Brazil’s Pele at 17 became the youngest player ever to play in a world cup.


3. Brazil 1 Wales 0 (Quarterfinals)

In this game Brazil’s Pele became the youngest player to ever score a goal in a world cup.


4. Brazil 5 France 2 (Semifinal)

In this game Brazil’s Pele became the youngest player ever to score 3 goals not only in a semifinal but in a world cup game.


5. France 6 Germany 3 (Match For Third Place)

This was and still is the highest scoring match for third place ever played in a world cup. It also being in this match that France’s Fontaine scored four goals which raised his total to 13 for the tournament. This total not only being to this day the highest ever scored in a world cup but also making Fontaine the highest goal scorer in world cup history. Sweden 58 however would be Fontaine’s first and last world cup yet his 13 goals were enough to keep him as the highest goal scorer in the world cup till 74; when Germany’s Muller broke his record. As an added note, in Sweden 58; Fontaine became the first player to score in six games.


6. Brazil 5 Sweden 2 (Final)

This was the first ever final played between a South American and European team with Brazil becoming the first and so far only South American team to win a world cup in Europe. This was and still remains as the highest scoring final ever played in the history of the world cups. In this final Brazil also became the first South American team to have two players (Pele and Vava) score two goals each. Pele became the youngest player not only to win a world cup but to score in a final. Sweden for its part became the first team to ever loose a final while playing in their own country. This the case since the world cup in 1950 did not really have a final in the formal sense of the word.


Sweden 58 was a world cup noted for not only Fontaine’s 13 goals but for Brazil, who fielded such greats as Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Pele, Santos and Zagalo on a team which was unquestionable one of the greatest of all time. They even going to win the next world cup with basically the same team minus Pele, who due to injury in Brazil’s second game was replaced by Amarildo for the rest of the tournament.  As a footnote Sweden 58 was also the first world cup in which all teams that finished in the top four were required to play at least six games. This being a change from Switzerland 54 where Hungary only played five games; including the final.

My name is Gianni Truvianni, I am an author who writes with the simple aim of sharing his ideas, thoughts and so much more of what I am with those who are interested in perhaps reading something new. I also am the author of the book entitled “New York’s Opera Society” which is now available on Amazon.

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