17/06/1958 Malmö Czechoslovakia 2-1 Peter McParland (2)
Norman Uprichard, Dick Keith, Alf McMichael, Danny Blanchflower, Willie Cunningham, Bertie Peacock, Billy Bingham, Wilbur Cush, Jackie Scott, Jimmy McIlroy, Peter McParland
BLANCHFLOWER GUIDES NORTHERN IRELAND HOME
The Times – Wednesday 18th June
MALMO, JUNE 17 – In a mounting tension and fading light, and with a meagre crowd cheering their every move towards the end, Northern Ireland beat Czechoslovakia in a play-off in group one of the World Cup and are in the quarter-final against France at Norkoepping. The winning goal was scored by McParland in the first half of extra time, and there were wild patriotic Irish scenes on the touch-line at the final whistle. Czechoslovakia, having been outplayed for most of the second half, never gave up, but they lacked a general, and the guiding influence of Blanchflower, receiving every ounce of support around him, helped Ireland towards a fine victory.
Not only by their excellent football but by their courage, Ireland deserved to fight again, on Thursday. Uprichard, early on, suffered the fate of Gregg with a badly sprained ankle, and later severely damaged his left hand. Peacock, in the second half, twisted a knee, and returned, still doggedly active, to the left wing with Cush at left half. This leaves Ireland with a tricky injury list, though Gregg may be fit in time.
Czechoslovakia, at the start, looked the better side. They were yards faster in defence, their physique was superior and their heading was at all times domineering. But the lightning dashes of Feureisl, Borovicka, and Molnar soon appeared mechanical. All the Czechs were forced into faulty passes, and their shooting was far from accurate. Against this Ireland, with their inherent indefatigable spirit, soon got the measure of things. Keith and McMichael once again were remarkably sure and calm at full-back, and Cunningham was seldom fooled by the wanderings of Feureisl.
Blanchflower, in the first half, could not have improved his performance by one jot. He seemed to be on both sides of the field at once on occasions, and the unerring path of his passes continued to draw admiration. Peacock, too, until his injury, had endless energy, and this, with the exuberance of McIlroy and Cush, turned the scale against the Czechs who could not find the same depth of reserve, in spite of a flawless performance by Masopust at left half…
After 14 minutes Czechoslovakia scored when Feureisl and Cunningham went for a high ball in the penalty area, missed, and Zikan nipped in to nod past the handicapped Uprichard…
McParland, who has scored all but one of Ireland’s goals, equalized almost on half-time after three furious shots by Cush had been blocked and the ball went loose…
So came extra time. After eight minutes Blanchflower took a free-kick which curled to the far post, watched by the Czechs, and McParland calmly did the rest. Bubernik was inexplicably sent off by the referee*, and any hope Czechoslovakia had was gone.
* (Czechoslovakia’s Titus Bubernik was sent off in the 102nd minute for spitting at the referee).
NORTHERN IRELAND QUALIFY FOR QUARTER-FINALS AS GROUP ONE RUNNERS-UP
The injured Harry Gregg was BBC Commentator Ronald Rosser’s summariser for this game who was on commentary duty. At full-time the teams could not be separated, with the winner advancing into the World Cup Quarter Finals, so extra-time was needed. Harry Gregg was so excited that he was sick three times, with some finding the shoulders of Ronald Rosser!
Danny Blanchflower recalled: “I remember the scene as we paused for extra time. Bertie Peacock had sustained a knee injury which put him out for three months. [Norman] Uprichard’s hand lay limp and useless. Peter [Doherty] and I tried to revive then with words of encouragement. ‘They are more tired than we are so keep plodding away,’ was our theme.”
“Uprichard suggested that he would be better playing out of goal but I urged him to stay. We moved [Wilbur] Cush back to left-half, Bingham to inside-forward and Peacock to the wing. It was now or never.”
“Extra time was gruelling. We got the goal in the 100th minute. [Peter] McParland hooking in a free-kick which was one of the most accurate I had placed. Now only 20 minutes remained, ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’ sang the fans. ‘Go on lads – keep at them’, shouted [Peter] Doherty. Their response was instant and they fought until almost overtaken by fatigue…”
In the dressing room after the game, manager Peter Doherty lifted a lemonade bottle, cracked it against the message table and, in an emotion-filled voice and with tears in his eyes, said: “Well done lads – you were magnificent.”
17/06/1982 Zaragoza Yugoslavia 0-0
Pat Jennings, Jimmy Nicholl, Mal Donaghy, Chris Nicholl, John McClelland, David McCreery, Norman Whiteside, Martin O’Neill, Billy Hamilton, Gerry Armstrong, Sammy McIlroy
Northern Ireland fielded the youngest player in World Cup history, Norman Whiteside was just 17 years and 41 days old when he lined up in the starting 11 in his country’s opening match – he received a yellow card in the 2nd half. The Yugoslav manager said afterwards; “This was the best play I have seen from Northern Ireland. Their strong defence made it difficult for us. They stopped us playing our normal game.”
Your Place and Mine Interview With Gerry Armstrong and Billy Hamilton
John English: Do you believe that Norman Whiteside was as inspirational as David Beckham is today ?
Gerry Armstrong: That’s a tough one I think basically that he’s young, 17 and about 50 odd days when you saw him he actually looked like a mature man. He defied his youth certainly his temperament as well and he had immense body strength for someone of 17 Technically he had a lot of skill and had a wonderful left foot I think the plus from my point of view was the fact that he could play up front and that allowed me to play on the right hand side in mid field and that gave us much better balance because he was the only natural left footed player in the squad.
John McBride: What was team spirit like in the camp?
Billy Hamilton: The team spirit was probably the best I had ever experienced we had 3 weeks in Brighton before we went to Spain and we had a great camaraderie we socialised together we trained together and we lived together and that brought us really together there was a really good friendships made and there was a brotherly bond between us and it meant on the pitch we fought very hard as a team and for each other I would put that down to one of the main reasons why we had our success in 1982.
Zoe Ball: Did you honestly expect to qualify for the world cup?
Billy Hamilton: Yes our hopes were high because we had won the British championship in 1978 and 1981 and our form at that time was very good. We were almost invincible at home and it meant we were confident about getting a result against anybody at Windsor park and that meant trying to nick a few results away from home would clinch our qualification. One very memorable night is Windsor park the last qualification series we had to beat Isreal and the atmosphere at that match I believe was something that will never be recreated at Windsor park ever again all in all we were very optimistic about qualification.
Peter Doherty: Do u think if Bestie had looked after himself he would have played in 82?
Billy Hamilton: Yes I do I think he was playing for HIbs at the time but he was definitely in Billy Bingham’s thoughts. And I think Billy Bingham went to check out his form and Bestie had one of those lost weekends. Sadly such a player of George’s skill should have graced the world cup finals and I would loved to have been a member of the team if George was fit and able but unfortunately that was not the case.
What is the story behind Billy Bingham asking you to play in the 1982 World Cup finals?
William Hoey, Belfast
I was really fit at the time, playing weekly for an American team while also playing racquet ball for up to three hours a day. The problem was my American team were really awful, and Billy Bingham came to watch me in a tour game at Hibs and we got slaughtered. He was under a bit of pressure to pick me and I suppose he could justify leaving me out as what he had seen wasn’t very impressive. I wouldn’t have expected to play every game, but I wished he had just taken me as a member of the squad and thrown me on for 15 minutes, only so I could have played in the World Cup.
Terry Cochrane was replaced by Norman Whiteside who still holds the distinction of being the youngest ever player to grace a World Cup.
“There’s no question that I would have gone but I picked up a hamstring injury playing against France in a friendly. Billy gave me an extra two weeks to try and get fit but it was not to be. But he did insist that I receive the same pay as the other lads and that happened. It was a fantastic gesture but I was gutted to miss out. But you just have to get on with it.”
“I decided when we were doing our build-up in Brighton that I would cap him [Norman Whiteside] in Spain, in practice games he was outstanding. I thought… ‘Now that is a great talent. From then I knew he would play in Spain.”
The British Conservative government considered pulling the home international teams out of the 1982 World Cup as war broke out with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, documents released in 2012 revealed.