- Hardik Dhawan
Football, it is a phenomenon uniting people across continents. It is an emotion touching millions of hearts. It is a feeling, that surpasses all others. Thrilling, nail-biting and intense, football is the most followed sport in the world. The beauty of the game lies in its simplicity. Despite being constructed based on a plethora of principles and ideas, the objective of a football match is fairly simple compared to many other games. It drives players to play as a team, instils a feeling of togetherness. When a football match is being played, it’s not just the player playing. But, thousands of supporters and the team management playing as well. At the end of the day, football is a sentiment, closest to many.
Though, the modern game as we see it today, wouldn’t be the same had we not witnessed a few revolutionary moments. The game has seen a gradual evolution, be it in terms of tactics, transfers or popularity. There are certain specific events, which changed the course of the game for the better, or not. Here, we will walk you through some spectacular football moments.
Football was introduced to the Brazilians by Charles Miller, the father of Brazilian football. Having completed his education in England, Miller brought the idea to the Brazilians. Given the geopolitical and social situations prevalent at that point of time, barely anyone could guess how important the game would soon become.
The entire nation places Football over everything and it has been a constant bone of contention even politically. When the Brazilians lost to Uruguay in the 50 World Cup, the nation mourned for days. They even named it as we name disasters, they called it “the Maracanazo.” What ensued thereafter was sheer brilliance and dominance.
At the 1958 World Cup, Brazil recorded their first FIFA World Cup win. Making his debut in this World Cup was the best player ever, Pele. At 17, he was already breaking down defenses with his dribbling and finishing prowess. The ball playing abilities of the Brazilians inspired the entire South American continent. The Europeans preferred a much more direct and calculated pass based approach while the South Americans skilfully weaved around opposition defenses. With the likes of Pele, Jairzinho and Rivelino in the attack, the Brazilians changed the way we looked at the beautiful game. In the modern day game, the likes of Neymar and Coutinho are continuing the tradition they have inherited.
This particular match is probably the best David vs Goliath example in the world of football. The Hungarians were one of the most technically and tactically sound footballers. With the likes of Puskas excelling at their positions, the Hungarians were expected to win the 54 World Cup final.
In an earlier stage of the tournament, Hungary had beaten the Germans 8-3 in the tournament. So, their victory was anticipated. Ten minutes into the game, the score was as predicted. The Hungarians led by 2-0. That moment onwards, the West Germans produced one of the most resolute and determined performances by a football team ever. Marred by the division of the country and other domestic problems, they played their hearts out. They went on to win the match 3-2 after three beautiful goals.
Thus, they set a precedent for all the other smaller teams to challenge the veterans fearlessly. This set the tone for heroic comebacks and nail-biting finishes, hence changing the game forever.
Total football is one of the most renowned tactical concepts to have ever originated in the world of football. Established in the early 70s, the Dutch set out on a path of domination in the global footballing scenario due to Total football. To put it very simply, total football entails the deployment of players who can play with ease in any of the outfield positions. Another significant characteristic of the system was continuous passing and pressing up the field. The first impressive implementation of the Dutch philosophy can be traced to the 1974 World Cup.
The Dutch were playing the stronger and physically imposing West Germans. As they walked down the tunnel, the Germans looked them in the eye to intimidate them. The Dutch wanted to make it a point to humiliate the Germans. Post kick-off, they executed 17 passes and worked their way into the German box. The Germans made the mistake and gave away a penalty. The Dutch scored and kept frustrating the Germans during the entire game. They went on to win the game 1-0.
This particular match set the benchmark for total football. There were many other formations and tactics that were derived from the concept of total football, hence changing the tactical dynamics of the game.
Another David vs Goliath match, but the contrasts not as stark as Hungary vs West Germany. In the Italy vs Brazil game of the 82 World Cup, the Brazilians looked like running away with an easy win. Brazil had assembled one of the best squads of all time, each player with his own individual ability. Italian striker Rossi, who was subject to a lot of controversy with regards to betting scandals had come back after serving a ban. There was a lot of pressure riding on the Italians for the game was a must win. On the other hand, a draw would have sufficed for the Brazilians.
The Italians scored within the opening minutes of the game, while the Brazilians equalized in a span of 10 minutes. The score was tied at 2-2 at the end of 70 minutes. The most notable feature of this game was the time spent in the Italian half. The Italians stood like a shield, defending every Brazilian move. They only went ahead for the intelligent counters. At the stroke of the 74th minute, Rossi scored again thereby completing his hat-trick. They won the game 3-2. The game symbolized the age old classic debate of system vs individuals. The Brazilians no doubt had one of the best squads of all time, but the Italians had the resolve to work as a single unit, as a single system. Therefore, this particular game dictated the need for cohesive team structures to beat mighty opponents. The Italians have been major contributors to the game ever since.
Florentino Perez, during his first stint at Real Madrid, had inherited a club close to financial breakdown. The club was not making enough profits and therefore was about to lose the “members owned club” status. In those difficult times, Real Madrid implemented a transfer policy that has disrupted the transfer markets ever since. In what is considered as one of the most controversial transfers ever, they signed Figo from Barcelona for a world record transfer fee. They continued with their economic model, signing a major superstar every year. They signed Zidane and Ronaldo(Brazilian) next.
This particular model brought them both footballing and economic success. They went to win the subsequent La Liga and the Champions League. This particular transfer policy was radical on its own and inflated the price of footballers. After Real, we have had clubs like Manchester City, PSG, Monaco spend big on players and recently Manchester United seem to have joined in too. The Los Blancos revolutionized the approach to transfer markets.
Hence, we see how these certain events and ideas changed the world of football.
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