While not always the colourful, quinto-continental spectacle it is today, since its inception in 1963, the Bundesliga has always had its fair share of gifted foreign players.
Omar Larossa played over 400 times for Boca and Argentinos Juniors, Huracan and Independiente, winning four domestic titles and the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
Zé Carlos knew he didn't belong here. He stood out like a sore thumb.
He looked across the training field at his squad mates: the laughing and joking duo of Roberto Carlos and Denílson, the lantern jawed Claudio Taffarel and Dunga both brimming with experience, the mercurial Ronaldo with the world at his feet. And Cafu, the legendary full-back who he was assigned to replace; whatever planet this was it wasn't his.
The feeling wasn't helped by the 800 or so journalists and photographers who had assembled to watch Brazil train. They weren't looking at Ronaldo, nor Rivaldo or even wise old Bebeto – their eyes were trained on him. He was as foreign to them as they were to him.
In truth this was an alien situation. Brazil's previous game – the 1998 World Cup quarter final versus Denmark - hadn't gone entirely to plan. On a sticky night in Nantes the Danes had refused to lie down, taking the lead early and then equalising once Brazil had finally awoken. But eventually the win was Brazil's and Canarinho had made it through unscathed. Almost.
In the 80th minute Cafu had broken down the right and, using his own ingenuity, had won a free kick deep inside the opposition half, the perfect tonic to the pressure the Danes had been exerting. But, in his haste to preserve his team's lead, Cafu delayed taking the free kick, firstly by resetting the ball and then fiddling with some imaginary boot issue.
The referee's patience broke and as he strode towards the Brazilian, yellow card raised, Cafu turned away, barely hiding his self-loathing at such a nonsensical error. He knew that meant he would miss the semi-final.
"He wouldn't be here if he wasn't good enough," Mário Zagallo responded flatly. But the question was a legitimate one. Cafu – a man with 71 caps to his name – was to be replaced by a player with zero caps – nada, zilch, nada. Zé Carlos had first been drafted into a Seleção two months prior to the tournament.
Cafu had just completed his first season with AS Roma whereas just a year previously his replacement had been making such little money playing for Matonense in São Paulo’s second tier that he had to supplement his income by selling watermelons.
A move to the São Paulo FC reserve team meant financial security, something the 29-year-old journeyman had never enjoyed before. He bought a house and set a date for his wedding: June 1998. But Zagallo had made a mental note of the diligent right back after observing him in a league game.
Then came the news that midfielder Flávio Conceição, who had played in the country's Copa America victory the year before, was not fit. Zé Carlos' phone rang and the wedding day was postponed.
"I'm privileged," Zé Carlos said. "God accompanies me and illuminates my steps. I've nothing to complain about." He may have tried to put a brave face on it, but within the Brazil camp there were plenty of complaints.
In a training game prior to the semi-final the uncapped right back was singled out as at fault for all three goals as the first eleven drew with the reserves. A further tension in a squad already burdened with it. Roberto Carlos was feuding with Dunga over free kick taking responsibilities' Ronaldo and Bebeto barely spoke.
Feeling the strain of being the new guy perhaps mixed with a misplaced notion that it was he who must fit in, Zé Carlos felt he had to act. "Cluck, cluck, cluck..BUKARK!" All heads in the leisure room turned in unison to the right back and then broke out in raucous laughter. Next came the impression of a cat, dog and then parrot. The ice had been broken in the most surreal way.
At the pre-game press conference Zagallo fielded the same questions over Zé Carlos. This time the coach responded more whimsically. "I told Zé Carlos that since he can imitate dogs, parrots and owls, now he'll imitate Cafu."
Zé Carlos knew he would not participate in the final - he'd admitted as much to the press days earlier - but there was still the matter of overcoming a Dutch side riding high after Dennis Bergkamp's audacious genius had slain Argentina at the last in Marseille. As the Brazilians exited the tunnel, hand in hand, Zé Carlos' eyes were fixed on the ground, as if at any moment the ruse would be discovered.
During the opening passages of the game the Dutch had started their own investigation. Phillip Cocu, who was filling in at right back, sent probing passes down the wing toward a spritely Boudewijn Zenden. As an acid test the first ten minutes did not bode well for 'the peasant', as time after time he was second to the ball, relying on Aldair or even Dunga to cover.
The first thirty minutes of Zé Carlos' international debut were, somewhat understandably, a nervous affair. Not once did he look to either receive the ball from his teammates or venture beyond the confines of his half. But slowly, with each neatly timed interception, his confidence grew, although his forward runs still did not match the adventure of those of Roberto Carlos on the opposite side.
The second half began with all the decisiveness its recently expired predecessor lacked. 22 seconds after kick-off Ronaldo scored one of the great forgotten goals of career. As Il Fenomeno wheeled away, arms outstretched, it seemed on first viewing that it was a simple finish. Only on closer inspection did the movement, pace, strength and skill utilised become apparent. As Aldair, Roberto Carlos and Júnior Baiano all joined in the celebrations near the Dutch goal, Zé Carlos returned back to his position. If God has blessed you, do not mock him with arrogance.
The Dutch pressed, particularly on the left wing, believing that at some point industry would give way to experience and ability. But Zé Carlos stood firm, scrambling to his feet after every interception, reset and ready to go again.
In a twist the Netherlands equalised from the right hand side with Roberto Carlos tucked in far too deep, allowing Ronald de Boer time and space to deliver. Patrick Kluivert, who up to that point had found little reward for his efforts, rose above Brazilian heads and contorted himself in the air to drive the ball back down past Taffarel.
Extra time raced by in what seemed like a matter of seconds, both teams playing with the brakes off, showcasing differing ideas of how to win a football match. Brazil encouraged their number nine to attack the defence from deep while the Dutch pinged long balls into the opposition area in attempt to exploit the aerial threat.
Zé Carlos’ body, having never experienced such intensity for such an extended length of time, periodically broke down. Bouts of cramp forced him to sit even more deeply than before, lest he become stranded up-field. His mind stayed alert, almost nullifying the threat from the left flank. Zagallo's assertion that the debutant could perform in the same way as Cafu was misguided; he was never going to be Cafu, but he had done his job, his way.
Brazil scored four of their penalties and the Netherlands didn't. Taffarel was mobbed, Zagallo was in tears, the De Boer brothers fought and Dunga hugged Ronaldo. As Júnior Baiano jogged towards the Brazil supporters he turned and beckoned a teammate: number 13. The defender throws his arm around the debutant. Zé Carlos affords himself one moment of self-indulgence and smiles.
Zé Carlos never played for Brazil again and retired from football in 2005. Since then he has opened a school in Mato Grosso for under-privileged children and plans to open more. He still lives in São Paulo, where now only his close friends enjoy his farm yard impressions.
Charlie is on Twitter
Image by Katie Brady via Flickr
“Eversheds Saladžius, in cooperation with the Lithuania Football Federation, applied to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania in order to initiate the consideration of the issue of supplement of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania.”
"Dad, what is the Champions League?"
"Ask your uncle in Lodz"
Luis Suarez. Robin van Persie. Deon McCaulay. The three forwards each scored 11 goals during FIFA World Cup qualification, tying for the mythical qualification Golden Boot.
Last weekend, England faced Honduras in their final friendly match before the start of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
In many regards the 1954 World Cup can be looked back on as the greatest ever. It was the first time that matches were shown live on television, it boasted more goals per game than any other edition in history, and it had a final that was truly memorable with a late twist in the tale.
The south-west London district of Tooting sometimes seems to have a character all of its own. Often externally derided, this pulsating hub instills within its residents a disproportionate sense of pride that lingers in their being long after they're drawn away from its rough-hewn charm. It's a muddle of old and new, of lifelong locals, student nurses and affluent newcomers, but it's never anything more or anything less than Tooting.
If Tooting's chief icon is a fictional revolutionary played by a man now in his mid-60s, its hidden gem is very much a work of the real world, albeit a part of the real world that isn't exactly in Tooting. Tooting & Mitcham United Football Club, now based a short bus ride from Tooting Broadway in the less lively environs of Morden's Bishopsford Road, was formed by a merger of clubs in 1932 and has rarely achieved anything beyond local renown.
But when Welsh striker Craig Bellamy found the net against Senegal at Old Trafford during the 2012 London Olympic Games, it was Great Britain's first Olympics goal since a Tooting & Mitcham man scored against Taiwan at the Stadio Olimpico Comunale in Grosseto in 1960. Paddy Hasty's eventual winner came with five minutes to go but it wasn't enough to keep his team in Italy into the latter stages of the competition.
Terrors striker Hasty had already scored in the Games, equalising against Italy in Great Britain's second outing, and also played in their opening match in Livorno against Brazil, a 4-3 loss that proved too much to overcome in the remaining matches. Jim Lewis, a serial Olympics goalscorer, also scored twice in 1960, and Barnet's Bobby Brown scored four.
The British team in 1960 was, like those before it, built around the English amateur football team, but Hasty was one of the representatives from Britain's other constituent parts. Born in Belfast less than two years after the formation of the club where he would make his name, he moved with his family to Hampshire at a young age and went on to become a highly regarded contributor to the amateur game.
Due to their failure to qualify for several tournaments consecutively after 1960, and with English football's professional/amateur distinction soon removed, Great Britain's participation in the final tournaments of Olympic Games football ended with Hasty's goal in Grosseto, returning only when London hosted the event in 2012 and provided the incentive to overcome the reluctance of at least some of the respective Football Associations to throw in their lot under a British banner.
Hasty also won five amateur caps for Northern Ireland and had played a vital role in the British team's 3-2 qualifying victory over the Republic of Ireland in November 1959, scoring all three goals at the Goldstone Ground.
He was the only Northern Irishman on the pitch against the south, starring in a team that featured eight colleagues from England, but it was one of the last times such a team would be assembled. Ian King of twohundredpercent wrote in 2009 that the end of amateurism's golden age coincided with the height of Tooting & Mitcham's powers, and Hasty was the inspiration for that side as well as a reliable goalscorer at amateur international level.
Diminutive but good in the air, slight but lethal, Hasty is said to be the Terrors' greatest ever player. Bedecked in their famous black and white stripes at the Sandy Lane ground that they departed in 2002 - a move that plunged the club into a complicated ownership arrangement that arguably still holds it back to this day - Hasty's Tooting soon got used to winning, thanks in no small part to his 113 goals in 142 matches.
He joined the club in 1954 and became an Athenian League champion in 1955. Although he also played as an amateur for Leyton Orient and Queens Park Rangers towards the end of the 1950s, he was part of the Tooting team that went one better and won the Isthmian League in 1958. The London Senior Cup followed in 1959 and then, to cap off the proudest run in the history of the club, they won both in 1960.
In amongst it all the club's most famous achievement brought with it no trophy. While Wimbledon succeeded in splitting Tooting's pair of titles by winning the Isthmian League in 1959, the Terrors were otherwise engaged by a headline-grabbing FA Cup campaign.
They beat Bromley 5-1 at the second time of asking in the First Qualifying Round before defeating Redhill (7-1), Sutton United (8-1) and Horsham (4-0) on their way to the First Round Proper. There, a 3-1 win over Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic - now better known as AFC Bournemouth - set up a Second Round tie against Northampton Town. Tooting won 2-1 on December 6th 1958 thanks to a Hasty winner and Nottingham Forest were waiting for them in the Third Round.
What followed was remarkable. On January 10th 1959, Tooting took a 2-0 lead at a frozen Sandy Lane only to be pegged back by an own goal and then find themselves on the end of the highly contentious penalty that is still referred to at their new digs as the robbery of 1959. Forest scored, eased past Tooting in the replay and went on to win the competition. Nevertheless, Hasty and his colleagues have gone down in history for their incredible FA Cup success.
Having declined several opportunities to turn professional before the Olympics, Hasty finally did so when he joined Aldershot soon after Jimmy Hill and the players' union had brought about the abolition the maximum wage, which for many made turning professional a costly choice, early in 1961. He died the all-time Tooting & Mitcham hero, and still Great Britain's last Olympics goalscorer, in the summer of 2000.
Tooting have rarely come close to matching what they did in 1958/59. They reached the FA Cup Fourth Round in 1976, the best in a run of consecutive seasons in which the Terrors made it to the First Round, and one of the defenders in that side was Billy Smith. He fired in a screamer against Northampton in the First Round the following season, the last player to score for the club in the competition proper despite his own efforts as a manager.
In 2009 his Tooting team reached the First Round the hard way, dealing with replays, late goals and sensational comebacks - both in their favour and against them - to set up a trip to Stockport County. They were beaten 5-0 and Smith left the club at the end of the season, but he, like Hasty, is a genuine Terrors legend.
The Irishman's legacy has now stretched over more than half a century but supporters still consider his name to be synonymous with the club's peak. References to 1959 are unavoidable of a matchday and barely a Saturday afternoon goes by without mention of Hasty, by memory or reputation, by the club's older supporters.
They haven't had much to cheer about lately and the high points of the last decade were provided by Smith's fondly remembered team. The club's young manager, Craig Tanner, looks to have steadied a ship dangerously listing in the wake of Smith's departure, but he'll do well to match what he achieved. Hasty's legend, meanwhile, is a relic. What he did for club and country in 1959 and 1960 will remain untouched, his shadow looming large over a club whose history he shaped like nobody before or since.
Chris Nee is an IBWM content editor and hosts the Aston Villa Review podcast. He is also a former editor of the Tooting & Mitcham United matchday programme.
Stadium image by James Boyes via Flickr.
Bank Robber. Asassin. War Criminal. Football club owner.
First of all, my sincerest congratulations are in order.
In 2012, U.S. sportswriter Wright Thompson travelled to Rosario, Lionel Messi’s hometown, to learn more about the city’s most famous son since Che Guevara.
If you were asked to name football’s first world champions, what would be your response? Uruguay? You would not be mistaken, of course, if you held that view; they won the first FIFA-organised tournament of nations in 1930 after all.
Born in Itubano on 12th July 1953, the Baiano Perivaldo played for Itubano, Bahia and Botafogo.
A man kneels by a gravestone, hands clasped together he implores the heavens. Tears roll down his face and into the Austrian soil where his great mentor now rests. But this visit is not a chance to pay respects to an old friend; it is a heartfelt plea for mercy.
Josip Skoblar, often remembered by Olympique Marseille fans simply as Monsieur Goal, played for L'OM in the 1960's and 70's.
Hovering just above, using satellite view, on Google maps there appears to be little remarkable about the modest football ground on the Southern edge of Caen: a small clubhouse, a white rail around the perimeter and two dugouts.
Nezahualcóyotl was the monarch of Tetzcuco before the Spanish conquest in 1492. Poet, architect, warrior and philosopher, he is one of the most notable rulers of Mexican history.
Nezahualcóyotl was the monarch of Tetzcuco before the Spanish conquest in 1492. Poet, architect, warrior and philosopher, he is one of the most notable rulers of Mexican history. His face can even be found on 100 pesos bills, alongside one of his poems.
The municipality of Neza, or City of Neza, as its name states, was born in the 1960’s as part of the independence of some of the districts around the Lake of Texcoco. It took years of discussions and compromises, but as of 1963, the City of Nezahualcóyotl got its recognition and started to grow. Hospitals, parks, schools, and houses were built and the population increased.