Mexico 70: Tuesday, 2nd June 1970 and two former World Cup winners get underway…

Mexico 70 1970 World Cup England Uruguay

Welcome back to our day-by-day account of Mexico 70, the 1970 World Cup. On Tuesday, we set the scene a little about what you can expect over the next couple of weeks. On Wednesday, we explained how the UEFA teams qualified for the Greatest Show on Earth. Thursday, we looked at everyone else’s qualification campaigns. Friday was the Mexico 70 Group Draw, Saturday saw the tournament kick-off and – that’s you up-to-date!

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Tuesday 2nd June 1970

After the ‘rest day’ things got underway with a bang. Aren’t we lucky these days that we don’t really have many clashes in matches at World Cups, so you can concentrate solely on each game at a time? Whereas back then they just shoved the games in without understanding the TV audience. Mind you, they were taking account of a European audience by scheduling the matches to kick-off at 16:00 local time or 23:00 in London and midnight in Paris. But three games kicked off at the same time with the World Champions in action. We also had our first glimpse of Israel at a World Cup, up against two-time winners, Uruguay.


Estadio Cuauhetémoc, Puebla, 20,654

URUGUAY (1) 2 (Maneiro 23, Mujica 50)

ISRAEL (0) 0

URUGUAY: Mazurkiewicz; Ubiña, Ancheta, Matosas, Mujica; Cubilla, Castillo; Maneiro Rocha (Cortés); Losada, Espárrago

ISRAEL: Vissoker; Schwager, Primo, Shmulevich-Rom (Vollach), Rosen; Rosenthal, Spiegel, Spiegler, Shum; Feigenbaum, Taibi (Bar)

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Uruguay, two times winners of the tournament, was the first team to really see the benefit of subs when their captain, Pedro Rocha, got injured after just 13 minutes and had to go off. Had this happened in any of the previous World Cups he would have to have stayed on for the rest of the game, or his team would’ve been down to 10 men for that time. He was an important part of the team. Not only was he the skipper but according to one of the players, Dagoberto Fontes, he was “the Uruguayan Pelé”. Fontes also explained how they’d been playing 4-2-4 but had to adjust to 4-4-2 after Rocha went off.

Ildo Maneiro said Rocha had picked up an injury in the warm-up matches and this was exacerbated early in the match. Maneiro had a good game himself, though, scoring the first and setting up the second for Mujica. Mujica actually provided the cross which Maneiro turned in at the far post for the first goal. The second goal, which killed off any threat from the Israelis, was after a shot from outside the area from Maneiro. The ball bounced around in the box and Mujica came in from the left to finish it.

Apparently, the Israeli coach, Emmanuel Scheffer, was denied the opportunity to go and watch Uruguay in action before the tournament and gain some intel on them. He maintains they wouldn’t have lost had the IFA left him go.

In the end, Uruguay won comfortably and but for Vissoker, the margin of victory could’ve been greater.


Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara, 50,560

ENGLAND (0) 1 (Hurst 65)


ENGLAND: Banks; Newton (Wright), Labone, Moore, Cooper; Ball, Mullery, Charlton, Peters; Hurst, Lee (Osgood)

ROMANIA: Adamache; Satmareanu, Lupescu, Dinu, Mocanu; Dumitru, Nunweiller; Tataru (Neagu), Dembrovschi, Dumitrache, Lucescu

These two had met twice in the previous 18 months, both home and away and both draws. The Romanians were fancied by some to do well in this tournament. They’d beaten Portugal to get this far. England had five changes from the side that lifted the trophy four years before, and many believed they were stronger for it.

When the two met at Wembley in January 1969, Jack Charlton scored England’s goal heading in a corner from his brother, Bobby. Jack was now only a squad player, in fact, it was probably a bit of a surprise he was in the squad, having not been selected by Ramsey for the previous six matches. Everton’s Brian Labone was partnering captain Bobby Moore at the back. League Champions that season, Everton were well represented with Labone, Keith Newton, Tommy Wright and Alan Ball, who’d moved from Blackpool between World Cups.

It was a hot day in Guadalajara. These were days way before knowledge of nutrition and hydration had become popular. Francis Lee said it took him a day or two just to recover. Allan Clarke said some players lost almost a stone in weight during the game.

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The Romanians were a very physical side and certainly gave the world champions a good go. England dominated the first half without making a breakthrough. The game was decided midway through the second half. Ball crossed in from the right and Lee backheeled it for Hurst to fire a shot through the keeper’s legs.

Relief all round they were off and running, but Romania showed they would be tough to beat. The phrase “Group of Death” hadn’t been coined yet but if it had, it would’ve referred to this group with Brazil and Czechoslovakia making up the four.


Estadio Nou Camp, León, 13,765

PERU (0) 3 (Gallardo 50, Chumpitaz 55, Cubillas 73)

BULGARIA (1) 2 (Demendzhiev 13, Bonev 49)

PERU: Rubiños; Campos (González), de la Torre, Chumpitaz, Fuentes; Mifflin, Challe; Baylón (Sotil), León, Cubillas, Gallardo

BULGARIA: Simeonov; Shalamanov, Dimitrov, Davidov, Aladzhov; Bonev (Asparuhov), Penev, Yakimov; Popov (Marashliev), Zhekov, Dermendzhiev

The build-up to this match couldn’t be more contrasting for both teams. Bulgaria came into it as an Olympic Silver medallist in 1968 at a time when the competition really mattered. Peru, on the other hand, had, had to contend with unprecedented pressure. They had to contend with Argentina bribing a referee in qualifying, to favour Bolivia over them. Despite that, they still won their group at the expense of Argentina, who had to stay at home while a World Cup went on for the only time in their history. But worse was to follow. As the world was watching the opening ceremony from Mexico City, back in Peru the country suffered the most catastrophic natural disaster in its history. The Ancash Earthquake caused, what is considered to be “the world’s deadliest avalanche” resulting in an estimated 66,000-70,000 casualties.

Long before the days of the internet, 24-hour news and text messaging, news of the disaster would’ve been relayed via journalists, visiting supporters and rumour. Stopping players from speaking to their families on the eve of matches was commonplace, but this wouldn’t have stopped them from fretting about the fate of loved ones.

Captain, Hector Chumpitaz revealed how the players first heard about it when they arrived in Léon to look at the pitch the day before.

Against this backdrop it could be seen as understandable they were two goals down at one stage. But they bounced back almost immediately to record a famous win.

Bulgaria was under the grip of communism which held many nations from eastern Europe. This meant very little was known about them. Equally, they knew little about other teams.

The two sides met in two friendly matches in Lima back in February before the tournament. Bulgaria won the first 3-1 and led 3-2 in the second match, before losing 3-5.

That win in the first meeting was their only victory in seven during 1970, but a really well-worked free-kick routine saw Dinko Dermendzhiev give Bulgaria the lead inside 15 minutes. Dermendzhiev ran over the ball, a common tactic, but he kept going. Two passes found him clear in the area and he easily beat Rubinos who seemed as stunned as the rest of the Peruvians.

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They held the lead to the break and then four minutes after the re-start they scored from another free-kick. This time Bonev hit it from 25 yards out and Rubinos let it slip through his hands. That’ll teach him for not wearing gloves.

2-0 to Bulgaria but all was not well.

When they came in at half-time many of the Bulgarian players were struggling with the heat and lack of water. They felt dizzy due to the altitude too. The second goal just delayed the inevitable.

In the second half Peru, more accustomed to the conditions, outran their opponents. Their equaliser came straight after they went 0-2 down. They were able to move the ball unchallenged from just outside their area to the edge of the Bulgarians. León found Gallardo on the left edge of the area and he struck a fierce right-foot shot in off the underside of the bar.

Five minutes later Peru had a free-kick right on the edge of the Bulgarian penalty box. There was much confusion over who was going to take it, but this was just a ploy from Peru. With the Bulgarians expecting Léon to have a go, suddenly Chumpitaz ran up and, despite slipping, fired a shot through the wall and into the net. 2-2.

Peru’s winning goal was a real boost in FIFA’s decision to use television as a means to expand the tournament around the world. With the Bulgarians almost at a standstill, Cubillas tripped and danced his way through the defence, played a one-two before firing a shot low past Simeonov.

For the neutral who couldn’t understand how Peru were able to play under the cloud of what was happening back home, it was a magic moment. British TV fans were able to enjoy commentator, Gerald Sinstadt’s obvious enjoyment of what he was witnessing.

Football really was coming of age.