An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

July 4, 2010

World Cup Storytime

Filed under: funny,media and pop culture — Tags: , , — Ethan @ 11:17 pm

I love storytelling. I’m a connoisseur and shameless plagiarist of anecdotes, and lately, I’ve started writing them down here and there. This one comes from Len. I suspect the reporter bit is bullshit, but it was fun to listen to.

Sometime in the late 60′s, early 70′s,* West Germany and the UK were facing off at the World Cup final. The game teams were well matched, and the game was tied (2-2) and not going anywhere fast as they headed into extra time.

Until  the UK team kicked a goal. Almost. The ball hit the underside of the goalpost, bounced straight down to the ground, and ricocheted clear of the goal.  The ball hit hit West Germany’s goal, but it hadn’t exactly gone into the net. The British fans were alternately thrilled and crushed, and the Germans waited nervously for the ball to be officially called out.  The swiss ref was baffled, looking around to his linemen in the hopes someone had had a clear view.  Right away, a Soviet ref called it–in. Point to Brittan. The fans go insane, with the Germans trying to fight the call from the stands, and the English settling in for some preemptive celebrating. The clock ran down. England scored another point over the dejected Germans, and won what is still their only World Cup. The German team left, angry and dejected.

After the game, a reporter from the BBC managed to corner the ref. “That was certainly a controversial call. Many of the fans are questioning your judgment, saying it’s not possible the ball could have gone into the next before bouncing out. Tell me, what did you see from your place on the field that was different, that convinced you to make that call?”

The ref nodded along intensely with the reporter, watching his lips and trying to follow his English over the background roar. But when the correspondent finished his rambling question, the ref turned away from him, looked straight into the camera, and said



The national stadium of Azerbaijan is named after him. Purportedly, Queen Elizabeth later gave him a golden whistle for his “services to England.”

*It was 1966. Details of the game in question are entry #2 here.


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