What do Bamber Bridge, Thierry Henry and Fernandinho all have in common?
Give up? Fine.
They all appear on this edition of On This Day in Footballing History – though not all together, we hasten to add. Strap yourselves in for another dose of sporting nostalgia!
1978 – West Germany Batter Mexico
World Cup ’78: West Germany’s Sepp Maier and Gauchito during a promotional photocall in Bavaria, 5 May 1978. (Photo: imago/WEREK) pic.twitter.com/klu9ciRHH3
— A Football Archive* (@FootballArchive) April 14, 2020
West Germany went into the 1978 World Cup as reigning champions, having lifted the trophy on home soil four years prior.
They kicked off their defence with a disappointing 0-0 draw with neighbours Poland but made up for this slow start in their second fixture against Mexico.
Die Mannschaft romped to a 6-0 goal win over a side including legendary Real Madrid striker Hugo Sánchez. Dieter Muller gave Germany a 1-0 goal lead before his namesake Hansi added a second. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Heinz Flohe also netted to give Helmut Schon’s team a 4-0 lead at half time.
Strikes from Rummenigge and Flohe after the break completed a famous rout.
1986 – England Are Really Boring
England’s 0-0 draw against Algeria in 2010 has to be a contender for the worst game of football ever, and it wasn’t even the first time the national side played out a terrible World Cup game with north African opponents.
On this day 34 years ago, the Three Lions endured a frustrating stalemate with Morocco during their second group game at the 1986 World Cup.
To be fair, at least Ray Wilkins got sent off for throwing the ball at referee Gabriel Gonzalez – which provided the tiniest molecule of intrigue in an otherwise bland contest. It was the first time an Englishman had been dismissed in the World Cup finals game.
1996 – Czech Republic Kick Off Euro 96 Preparations in Strange Location…
Most modern players are used to be whisked away to exotic locations like Dubai, China or the United States when they prepare for an international tournament.
The Czech Republic, however, had to settle for a training camp in Lancashire when they were gearing up for Euro 1996.
The Czechs capped off their preparations by taking on Northern Premier League side Bamber Bridge FC. They won the game 9-1 and despite being relative underdogs, would go on to reach the final where they were eventually beaten by Germany.
There must have been something special in the Lancashire water.
2002 – France Falter Against Uruguay
France were tipped as favourites for the 2002 World Cup. Boasting a squad bursting with talent and pace, Les Bleus were reigning champions and had also won the European Championship two years prior, beating Italy in a tense final.
Despite the hype, their campaign got off to a disastrous start when they lost their Group A opener against Senegal 1-0.
Things didn’t go much better in their second fixture, which took place 18 years ago today. France played out a goalless draw with Uruguay; Thierry Henry receiving an early red card for a dangerous tackle.
Roger Lemerre’s side’s humiliation was complete after their final game against Denmark, where a 2-0 defeat condemned them to finish bottom of the group.
2013 – Manchester City Sign Fernandinho
Though it may have lacked the hype and glamour of some of their other signings around the time, Manchester City did not recruit a more important player than Fernandinho during the 2010s.
Brought in from Shakhtar Donetsk for £34m in 2013, the Brazilian has more than lived up to his sizeable price tag since.
The now 35-year-old has made over 300 appearances for the club and won every trophy under the sun…except the Champions League, of course.
2015 – Barcelona Crowned Kings of Europe
Ivan Rakitic gave Barça the perfect start when he swept home Andrés Iniesta’s cut-back inside five minutes – the only goal of the first half.
The game sprang into life after the break, Alvaro Morata equalising before Luiz Suarez restored his side’s advantage with 20 minutes left to play. Despite Juventus’ best efforts, they could not draw level – and Neymar put the gloss on Barcelona’s win with an emphatic finish deep into injury time.
Xavi lifted the trophy after full time, his last action of his 767-game stay at Camp Nou.