Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Soccer Memories-Part 30-Sepp Piontek’s Denmark: We Are Red, We Are White, We Are Danish Dynamite

When one evokes Denmark in Footballing terms, most people’s thoughts immediately turn to the early to mid 1980s when a West German Manager molded one of the most memorable teams in the history of the game.
Into the 1970s, Sweden was the only Scandinavian Nation that would qualify for the Finals of a Major Tournament on a semi-regular basis. Denmark (much like neighboring Norway) still did not have a fully professional League.
Periodically, a player would make enough of an impression that a Bundesliga club and/or a Dutch/Belgian club would take a gamble on.
However, the emergence of one player would further the cause of most Danish players hoping to make it in the Western Professional leagues.
Allan Simonsen would take the Bundesliga by storm and help Borussia Moenchengladabch win titles in domestic and European level. The continent would take notice and he would be rewarded with the Ballon d’Or in 1977. He was the rare exception of a Dane, who was viewed to be able to hold his own (and even surpass) with the best of the continent. He was the equivalent of a George Best or George Weah, a superstar who had the misfortune to be representing a Nation that could not qualify for the Finals of a Major Tournament.
While Simonsen was shining on the field, a more significant event took place off the field for Denmark. In the summer of 1979, former West German defender Josef ‘Sepp’ Piontek was appointed as the new Manager of the Danish National Team.

Photo From: Onze, Issue 102, June 1984
(Sepp Piontek)

He instilled discipline into the squad and demanded a more professional approach from his players. He displayed his authority by dropping the seemingly untouchable goalkeeper Birger Jensen of Club Brugge for missing an International match.
In time, he would also learn to ease up and adjust his methods to take into consideration the Danish players’ mentality.
He had been appointed well into the 1980 Euro qualifiers and could make no impact in a group that was eventually won by England.
The 1982 World Cup qualifiers were the first qualifiers that Denmark embarked on with Piontek.
His team already included a backbone of players that would serve him for the years to come.
In addition to Simonsen (now at Barcelona), Søren Busk, Jens Jørn Bertelsen, Klaus Berggreen, Morten Olsen, Søren Lerby, Frank Arnesen, and Preben Elkjaer-Larsen were already integral parts of the group and for the most part had experience playing in the Western Leagues.

Photo From: Onze, Issue 102, June 1984
(Allan Simonsen)

They were drawn in a qualifying with Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece and Luxembourg.
They started poorly and all hopes of qualification were lost as early as the Fall of 1980, when they lost their first three matches to Yugoslavia, Italy and Greece (at home).
All that remained was to salvage some pride and built up a team for the future in 1981.
The first notice that they showed that they were a team in the making was when they faced Italy at Copenhagen on June 3, 1981.  They outplayed and defeated the future World Cup Champions (3-1). Impressive victories in the month of June at Copenhagen would be the hallmark of this squad.
It was during the 1984 Euro qualifiers that this generation would come of age and really make its mark.
In a group that contained two recent World Cup participants England and Hungary (but also Greece and Luxembourg again), they were not favored.
The English, now managed by Bobby Robson, headed to Copenhagen for the first qualifier on September 22, 1982. They English led twice through Trevor Francis, but Denmark fought back each time and snatched an equalizer in the last minute. While, for the English, an away point seemed like a good result, the Danes had impressed and gained confidence.
For some time, into the Spring, English seemed set to qualify but Denmark kept pace by picking up wins vs. Greece and Luxembourg.
On June 1st, 1983, they defeated Hungary (3-1) at Copenhagen to set themselves up as England’s main rival for the group.
The rise of Danish football was further evidenced with two important transfers during that summer of 1983. Søren Lerby joined West German powerhouse Bayern Munich (from Ajax) to act as the midfield General as a replacement for the retiring Paul Breitner. In addition, the talented teenager Michael Laudrup joined Juventus (after turning down Liverpool), though he would be loaned to Lazio for two seasons.
Michael Laudrup underlined his rising star status by scoring twice in a friendly vs. France on September 7th, 1983 (3-1 win).
The stage was set for the key match in the Group between Denmark and England at Wembley on September 21st.
The Danes took the option on the Group by inflicting a rare defeat on England at Wembley with an Allan Simonsen penalty kick.

Photo From: Sport Illuestrierte, Fussball 1984 Sonderheft
(Allan Simonsen’s penalty kick, September 21, 1983, EC Qualifier, England 0-Denmark 1)

Many observers view this match as the Reference point when this Generation was born.
They suffered a minor hiccup, the following month after losing to Hungary at Budapest. After the win at Wembley, their destiny was always in their hands and they qualified for the Finals after defeating Greece in Athens in November.
The Qualification had given rise to a sense of euphoria, as well as, praise from other Nations due to the positive and exciting brand of Football.
However, the Danes did not possess a deep reservoir of talent. This handicap was exemplified in their (0-6) defeat vs. Holland in a friendly in March 1984. The Danish were missing many first team regulars and it was clear that they could not afford to lose many key players, as they could not call upon adequate replacements from the local Danish league.
This friendly was a major wake-up call; nevertheless Piontek was confident in his team’s chances with everyone being fit and available.
In the lead up to the Euros, the Danes suffered further defeats vs. Spain and Czechoslovakia, but Piontek still maintained confidence in his squad.
In the Euros, they were to play vs. hosts France in the Tournament curtain raiser in Paris. In a hard fought match that they narrowly lost (0-1), Denmark showed it could compete and hold its own with the Competition’s favorites.
Unfortunately, Allan Simonsen was severely injured in the match in a collision. This injury blighted the rest of his career and he was no longer as effective as before (not to mention ageing).

Photo From: Onze, Hors serie 26, 1986
(Soren Lerby, November 13, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, Republic of Ireland 1-Denmark 4)

Denmark picked up the pieces and destroyed Yugoslavia (5-0) in their next match and dazzled the Global audience with their now customary attacking style of Football.
The third match in the Group was vs. Belgium, whom they had to defeat to advance. Denmark fell behind (0-2), but stormed back to win (3-2) with Preben Elkjaer scoring the winner near the end.
The Semifinal vs. Spain ended in disappointment as Denmark lost in penalty kick shoot-out with Elkjaer missing his decisive kick.
Spain would turn out to be Denmark’s bogey team for the years to come.
Despite the loss, Denmark had been one of the revelations of the Tournament. Players like Lerby, Arnesen, Morten Oslen, Elkjaer, Berggreen and Laudrup were now household names. Elkajer’s displays earned him a transfer to Italy’s  Serie A and he joined Verona.
They had also left a positive impression with their fans nicknamed ‘Roligans’, who always cheered their team on and were well behaved and never caused any trouble.
Denmark went into the 1986 World Cup qualifiers with confidence as one of Europe’s finest teams, in a Group with USSR, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland and Norway.

Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 53, August 1984
(Michal Laudrup)

They never seemed in danger and won the Group by scoring 17 goals in the process. The highlight of the Group was their win over the Soviet Union (4-2) at Copenhagen on June 5, 1985, that has been described as one of the finest matches in the History of the Game.  In a game where both sides attacked from start to the end, Laudrup and Elkjaer each scored twice.
They entered their first ever World Cup as one of the Tournament favorites. They once again dazzled the World audience in the first round, in the Group of Death with West Germany, Uruguay and Scotland. After defeating the Scots (1-0), they simply destroyed Uruguay (6-1) with an anthology goal from Laudrup.
They defeated their German rivals in the third match (2-0), where Allan Simonsen played his only World Cup match after coming on as a substitute.

Photo From: Onze, Issue 108, December 1984
(Preben Elkjaer)

In the knockout round, they faced Spain of Emilio Butragueno. The Danes went ahead from a Jesper Olsen penalty kick, however, the same player was guilty of an erroneous pass that allowed Butragueno to equalize. After that the Danish squad, uncharacteristically, capitulated and Spain defeated Denmark with a heavy score of (1-5, four goals by Butragueno).
Despite this defeat, they had left enough of a good impression in the first round, to be praised overall.
In some ways, perhaps this was the moment that Piontek’s great side started to decline (but more about that later).
With a more or less intact squad, the Danes entered the 1988 Euro qualifiers in a seemingly easy Group with Wales, Czechoslovakia and Finland.
Denmark naturally won this Group and qualified to the Finals in West Germany. Yet, there was a feeling that something was missing. Large and exciting wins were replaced with (1-0) wins and ties. The emergence of talent such as Peter Schmeichel, Flemming Povlsen, John Jensen, Jan Heintze and Lars Olsen was welcoming; however, regulars such as Morten Olsen, Lerby, Arnesen and Elkjaer were showing signs of age.

Photo From: Onze, Issue 129, September 1986
(Frank Arnesen and Jesper Olsen, June 4, 1986, World Cup, Denmark 1-Scotland 0)

Denmark entered the 1988 Euros and lost all its three matches vs. Spain (again!), West Germany and Italy. Their displays were unimpressive and even Piontek at the time hinted that an era had ended.
Following the Euros, some of the old guard stepped aside (Jesper Olsen, Morten Olsen, Lerby, Busk, Ivan Nielsen and Elkjaer).
Piontek persevered with the national team to guide them through the 1990 World Cup qualifiers in a Group with Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.
Michael Laudrup’s younger brother Brian was now part of the National Team setup. Others such as Lars Olsen, Schmeichel, Jensen and Vilfort now had leading positions guided by veterans such as Michael Laudrup and John Sivebaek.
Denmark, still in a rebuilding phase, stuttered early on in the qualifiers and managed (1-1) ties in its first two matches in the Fall of 1988 vs. Greece and Bulgaria (at home).
Things started looking brighter in the Spring of 1989, an away win at Bulgaria (2-0) was followed by a (7-1) win vs. Greece at Copenhagen.
In June 1989, for a Triangular Tournament in celebrations of the Anniversary of the Danish Federation, heavy defeats were inflicted on Sweden (6-0) and an under strength Brazil (4-0).

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 21, October 1990
(Morten Olsen, June 17, 1988, European Championships, Italy 2-Denmark 0)

For an instant it seemed like ‘Danish Dynamite’ was back on track. When they defeated Romania (3-0) in October, they even looked odds on favorites to qualify for the World Cup.
However, their limitations were exposed in the return match in November vs. Romania at Bucharest (1-3). Romania clinched the Group and qualified for the World Cup. Denmark had failed to qualify for the Finals of a Tournament after three straight qualifications.
The Press declared this as the loss that ended an era begun at Wembley in September 1983. But perhaps the goal glut of 1989 was just a mirage. They had defeated a weakened Greece and a B-C level Brazil team on tour. With a closer look, it was clear that ever since the loss vs. Spain in Mexico in 1986, they had been stagnating and declining.
After initially appearing that he might stay on, Piontek bowed out after the Press criticized his contract and salary. He became the Manager of the Turkish National Team in the new year (1990).
In over a decade in charge, Sepp Piontek had molded one of the best sides in Europe. There are teams that owe their immortality through the number of titles won. Then there are teams that despite not winning trophies stay in our memories for the sheer joy that they gave the Audience.
Denmark of the 1980s is in this category along with the likes of the 1954 Hungarians, the Dutch of the 1970s and Brazil of 1982.

Richard Möller-Nielsen, Piontek’s successor, actually did clinch a title (the 1992 Euros). But chances are that it is the 1980s squad that the public actually remembers to this day.

Photo From: (Magazine Source unknown) / Contribution From a blog viewer
(Denmark squad, Top, left to right: Ole Qvist,  Soren Lerby, Michael Laudrup, Soren Busk,   Frank Arnesen,  Bottom, left to right: Preben Elkjaer, Jens Jorn Bertelesen,  Ivan Nielsen, Klaus Berggreen, Morten Olsen , Jesper Olsen ,  June 5, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, Denmark 4-USSR 2)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Beautiful Game on Celluloid, Part Three

Spoiler Alert: I assume most people have already seen these films, as a result I discuss the plot as much as I can. I will not try to go into every detail but generalize as much as possible.



Film:   When Saturday Comes (1996)
The opening credits of the film ‘When Saturday Comes’ (not to be confused with the popular Magazine) show the bleak and desolate Sheffield landscape comprising of factories and pollution.
In the latter stages of these opening credits we see a young boy juggling a football in this environment.
As the film starts, we see the same young boy with a Guidance counselor of sorts at his school. The young boy has dreams of becoming a footballer, but the school official immediately quashes his dreams by informing him that if he had the talent he would have been picked up at schoolboy level years before. The official then bluntly tells him that his only choices are either working in the mines or in a factory.
Years pass and now we see our protagonist as an adult. Sean Bean (real life Sheffield United fan), who has been in a myriad of Hollywood movies playing anything from a James Bond Villain to more sympathetic characters, plays the central character. Jimmy Muir, a local lad, with dreams of football glory.

Photo From: Goal, Issue 6, March 1996

The adult Jimmy Muir is still living in the same neighborhood with his family, His biggest supporter is his younger brother Russell, who is an avid Match programmes collector and works in the mines just like their father. Jimmy and Russell’s father is the clichéd bitter and miserable old man. He is a hard drinker, gambles and makes Jimmy’s kind mother suffer with his behavior and demeanor. He also takes every opportunity to belittle Jimmy for his football dreams, although that does not stop him from asking money from his sons (it is implied that he needs the money to pay off bookies for his gambling habit).
As expected Jimmy works in a brewing factory, where he gets along well with his buddies, who are also his teammates in the local team. Of course, their supervisor at work (as film cliché would have it) is another bitter man on a power trip, who is the bane of Jimmy and his friends’ existence.
Jimmy and his friends from the Brewery, usually play in front of a handful of supporters standing on the touchlines in a field near a cemetery.
Jimmy is the star of the team and their main goalscorer.
Jimmy’s life changes when Annie Doherty (played by Emily Lloyd) joins the Brewery as part of the clerical staff. Emily Lloyd shot to fame as a teenager for her breakthrough role in ‘Wish You Were Here’ in 1988. American audiences might remember her from Robert Redford’s ‘A River Runs Through It.’
Naturally, she catches Jimmy’s eye and they go on a date.
Since this is a film and we are pressed for time, one date is sufficient for the pair to fall in love.
Afterwards at one of Jimmy’s matches, we are introduced to the character of Ken Jackson (played by the late great Pete Postlethwaite). He is the Manager of Non-League side Hallam. He is impressed by Jimmy’s talent and offers him a place on his team. It turns out that Ken Jackson is also Annie’s uncle. He does well in his new team, and Ken, who has connections with the local giants Sheffield United, arranges a trial for Jimmy with them.
Former professional player, Tony Currie plays himself as the Sheffield United’s Chief Scout.
Jimmy impresses enough in the trial to earn a second trial under the presence of the head Manager for a final decision.
It is at this point where things are seemingly going well for Jimmy that his problems start.
He is fired from his work at the Brewery after he punches his supervisor, after continuous verbal abuse.
Things at home are just as complicated, as his father’s gambling and boozing has made life at home unbearable especially for Jimmy’s mother.
His father even resorts to selling Russell’s prized Football Match Programnes without his knowledge.
The relationship with Annie has also entered a new phase. She suggests that they should look for an apartment to live together. Jimmy deduces that she is pregnant, but he tells her that he does not want a child and is not ready for a family.
On the eve of his crucial trial, he is out with his friends for one of their birthdays. Despite initial refusal to drink alcohol, he is roped into it through peer pressure (or perhaps still depressed after the earlier incident with Annie).
Needless to say, he drinks all night and even sleeps with a stripper. He arrives at the trial under the watchful eye of First team Manager George McCabe (played by James McKenna), along with Tony Currie and Ken Jackson.
He is completely out of sorts and makes a mess of his trial. Once the Manager smells Alcohol on him, he dismisses him on the spot.
To compound on his misery Annie also breaks off with him, after being informed of his infidelity with the stripper.
As if these troubles were not sufficient, events turn significantly more tragic after his younger brother Russell is killed after an accident at work in the mines.
It is at this point (as seen in countless other films) that our hero decides to clean up his act and redeem himself.
He gives up alcohol and asks Ken Jackson for a second chance.
He starts training individually (reminiscent of Rocky). We see him doing sit-ups, running, etc. He also tries to win Annie back by persistently writing her letters. Ken Jackson is overcome by his dedication and agrees to help him train and get another shot at Sheffield United.
After continuous persistence, Annie finally reconciles with Jimmy.
He also somewhat reconciles with his father, who tearfully admits that his anger and bitterness is due to the fact that he could not stand to see his own succeed because of his own failings.
It is left for Ken to convince the Sheffield United Management for another shot at a trial for Jimmy. After doing so, Jimmy impresses in the trial and wins a spot on the first team. He is restricted to the bench in the early going, waiting for his opportunity.
Sheffield United are scheduled to play the mighty Manchester United in the semifinals of the FA Cup.
Predictably they fall behind and seem to be eliminated. Due to an injury, Jimmy finally gets his long awaited chance to play and comes in as a substitute at halftime. Annie and Ken are at the stadium cheering, while his friends watch in disbelief in a local pub. After some early difficulty he gets into the game and scores the tying goal to make the teams even (2-2).
With a minute left, Jimmy is elbowed in the box and Sheffield United are awarded a penalty kick.
He is tasked with the ensuing penalty kick. The sequence is shot after a long pause in slow motion for dramatic effect (as if we had any doubts about the outcome).
He scores, they win, everyone celebrates and THE END.
This film was released in 1996, at a time when the Premier League was in its early stages of becoming a global brand.
The ending (as clichéd as it is) feels a little flat with no satisfactory epilogue. The audience assumes that Jimmy is on his way to make it big, but the film ends just as soon as the winning penalty kick is taken.
As far as the penalty kick itself, that sequence is also baffling. It seems inconceivable that he would be assigned to take the penalty kick. He is literally the least experienced player on the field with not even a half of top-flight football behind him. It seems like in basketball, where the fouled player is assigned with the free throws.
Apart from that, the film follows sport movie conventions of rags to riches and is predictable at almost every turn, most notably with the whole redemption narrative and winning back your love.


Photo From: Goal, Issue 7, April 1996
(Sean Bean after the winning kick)

Notes:
1- Former Professional player Mel Sterland, who played the Sheffield United Captain in the film, actually had a long and distinguished career with city rivals Sheffield Wednesday.


2- Some have suggested that Sean Bean, who was well in his thirties, as too old for the role (although his character was supposed to be 25). 

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Addition: Qualification Phase, Part One (USSR 1986 World Cup Qualifiers)


Following USSR’s elimination from qualifying to the Finals of Euro 1984, the Soviet Authorities dismissed The Manager Valeri Lobanovsky.
The new man in charge that they appointed was former Dinamo Minsk Manager Eduard Malofeyev. He had led Dinamo Minsk to the Soviet League Title in the Fall of 1982 and now his mission was qualification for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Malofeyev could still call upon the backbone of the team that included players from Spartak Moscow (goalkeeper Rinat Dassayev, Yuri Gavrilov), Dinamo Tblissi (Chivadze, Sulakvelidze), not to mention the Dinamo Kiev contingent (Baltacha, Bessonov, Demiannenko, Blokhin).
Many of his former Minsk players (Aleinkov, Gotsmanov, Zigmantovich and Kondratiev) now had opportunities in the new regime.
Dnipropetrovsk pair of Gennadi Litovchenko and excellent striker Oleg Protasov were also now in International reckoning after helping Dnipro win the Soviet League title in the Fall of 1983.
USSR played a number of friendlies in 1984 in preparation for the World Cup qualifiers that would start in September.
They lost to West Germany (March 28, 1984, 1-2), but defeated Finland (May 15, 1984, 3-1) and Mexico (August 19, 1984, 3-0).
Their best display was in defeating England at Wembley (June 2, 1984, 2-0).
Malofeyev experimented in these matches and included many of the aforementioned new Dinamo Minsk and Dnipro players.
Their World Cup qualifying group included Denmark, who had surprised everyone during the 1984 European Championships. The others were Republic of Ireland, Switzerland and Norway.
The World Cup qualifiers started on September 12th with an away trip at Dublin to face the Republic of Ireland. The hosts won this hard fought match (1-0). In general the Soviets would find traveling difficult for these qualifiers.


Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 55, October 1984
(September 12, 1984, World Cup Qualifier, Republic of Ireland 1-USSR 0)

Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 70, December 1985
(Gennadi Litovchenko and Mark Lawrenson, September 12, 1984, World Cup Qualifier, Republic of Ireland 1-USSR 0)

The second match at Oslo vs. Norway on October 10th was also disappointing as the Soviets could only manage a (1-1) tie. Litovchenko replied with a goal in the 74th minute, after the Soviets had gone behind twenty minutes earlier to a Hallvar Thoresen penalty kick (awarded after Rodionov had fouled Thoresen in the box). For this match at Norway, Oleg Blokhin had been dropped. Officially, it had been stated that his unavailability was due to injury. Many believed it was because he had quarreled with his teammates.

Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 41, October 14, 1984
(Sergei Alienikov and Hallvar Thoresen, October 10, 1984, World Cup Qualifier, Norway 1-USSR 1)

In the New Year (1985), Malofeyev took the squad to participate in the Jawaharlal Nehru Cup in India.
They came back victorious after wins vs. China, Iran, Morocco and a Final win vs. Yugoslavia.
In preparation for the away qualifier at Berne vs. Switzerland, the Soviets took upon Austria in a friendly at Tblissi and won (2-0).
After two disappointing away performances, the Soviets were eager to come away with a positive result vs. the Swiss. They seemed to be headed to a rare away victory after Demianenko had given them the lead with ten minutes remaining. However, Andre Egli scored Switzerland’s equalizer at the death to deprive the USSR of its first win in the group.


Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 16, April 21, 1985
(April 17, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, Switzerland 2-USSR 2)


Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 70, December 1985
(USSR Squad, April 17, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, Switzerland 2-USSR 2)


Two weeks later they faced the same opponents on home turf. Malofeyev had vowed they USSR would play an attacking game at home. They tore apart Switzerland and scored four goals (two apiece by Protasov and Kondratiev) in just the first half. Future Ballon d’Or winner Igor Belanov made his debut for the Soviet Union by coming on for Litovchenko with ten minutes left.

Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 18, May 5, 1985
(May 2, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 4-Switzerland 0)


Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 18, May 5, 1985
(May 2, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 4-Switzerland 0)

Photo From: kicker_WM-Sonderheft_1986
(Oleg Protasov, May 2, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 4-Switzerland 0)

On June 5th, they faced the impressive Denmark squad at Copenhagen. What more can be said about one of the most referenced matches in the history of Football. This match has gone down as a perfect example of attacking and attractive Football being played by both teams. Denmark won (4-2), but despite the loss, the Soviets were praised for their approach.



Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 70, December 1985
(Preben Elkjaer, June 5, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, Denmark 4-USSR 2)

Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 70, December 1985
(Preben Elkjaer and Tengiz Sulakvelidze, June 5, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, Denmark 4-USSR 2


Photo From: France Football, Issue 2073, December 31, 1985
(USSR Squad, Top, left to right: Rinat Dassayev,  Yuri Gavrilov,  Oleg Protasov, Sergei Aleinikov, Tengiz Sulakvelidze,  Gennadi Litovchenko , Bottom, left to right; Sergey Baltacha, Igor Belanov , Boris Pozdniakov, Sergei Gotsmanov, Anatoli Demianenko , June 5, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, Denmark 4-USSR 2)

The Soviets started the final phase of the qualification with preparatory friendlies vs. Romania and West Germany in August (both won by them).
Alexander Zavarov made his debut for National team in the match vs. Romania.
Oleg Blokhin was now re-integrated back into the squad after having fallen out with his teammates the previous year.
On September 25th, they took upon group rivals Denmark in Moscow. The high scoring Oleg protasov was the difference as they won this key match to inch closer to qualification.


Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 39, September 29, 1985
(September 25, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 1-Denmark 0)

Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 39, September 29, 1985
(September 25, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 1-Denmark 0)

The Soviets were to close out the qualification matches in the month of October at home vs. Republic of Ireland and Norway (within two weeks of one another).
The Irish (surprisingly good away from home) were defeated (2-0) with once again Protasov amongst the scorers.

Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 42, October 20, 1985
(October 16, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 2-Republic of Ireland 0)


Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 42, October 20, 1985
(October 16, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 2-Republic of Ireland 0)

Photo From: Onze, Issue 119, November 1985
(Fyodor Cherernkov, October 16, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 2-Republic of Ireland 0)


Photo From: Onze, Issue 119, November 1985
(Protasov’s goal, October 16, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 2-Republic of Ireland 0)

Photo From: Onze, Issue 119, November 1985
(USSR Squad, October 16, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 2-Republic of Ireland 0)

At the end of the month, they defeated Norway (1-0) with a goal from Kondratiev in very cold temperatures. They qualified for the World Cup Finals along with group winner Denmark.


Photo From: Футбол - Футбол-Хоккей, Issue 44, November 3, 1985
(October 30, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 1-Norway 0)


Photo From: France Football, Issue 2065, November 5, 1985
(October 30, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 1-Norway 0)

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2065, November 5, 1985
(October 30, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 1-Norway 0)

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2065, November 5, 1985
(October 30, 1985, World Cup Qualifier, USSR 1-Norway 0)

In the New Year, the Soviets took part in customary friendly matches in preparation for the World Cup.
The results were disastrous as they successively lost to Spain (January 22, 1986, 0-2), Mexico (February 19, 1986, 0-1), England (at Tblissi, March 26, 1986, 0-1) and Romania (April 23, 1986, 1-2).
The authorities fearing a disaster at the World Cup, removed Malofeyev from his post and re-appointed Valeri Lobanovsky as National Team Manager.
Lobanovsky flooded the squad with his own Dinamo Kiev players and installed Belanov and Zavarov in leading roles.
The Soviets were impressive in the first round of the Finals, which included the (6-0) hammering of Hungary. They were eliminated in the second round by Belgium (3-4). Igor Belanov and Alexander Zavarov’s performances earned the former the Ballon d’Or and the latter the Soviet Player of the year Award.




1986 World Cup Qualifiers-Euroepan Zone-Group 6


September 12, 1984 (Oslo) (Norway 0-Switzerland 1)

September 12, 1984
Republic of Ireland 1-USSR 0
Venue: Dublin -Lansdowne Road
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Johannes ‘Jan’ Keizer (Holland)
Goalscorers:
(Republic of Ireland): Mickey Walsh 64
(USSR): None
Lineups:
Republic of Ireland:
1-Seamus McDonagh, 2-John Anthony Devine, 5-David O'Leary, 4-Mark Lawrenson, 3-Chris Hughton, 7-Ronnie Whelan, 8-Tony Grealish (captain), 6-Liam Brady , 9-Tony Galvin, 10-Mickey Walsh (14-Eamonn O'Keeffe 80th), 11-Michael Robinson
Coach: Eoin Hand

USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev, 2-Tengiz Sulakvelidze,  3-Aleksandr Chivadze (captain), 5-Sergey Baltacha, 4-Anatoli Demianenko, 9-Sergei Aleinikov, 8-Vladimir Bessonov (14-Andrei Zygmantovich 32nd), 7-Gennadi Litovchenko, 6-Khoren Oganesian  (13-Sergei Gotsmanov 67th), 11-Oleg Blokhin, 10-Sergei Rodionov    
Booked: Sergei Baltacha
         


Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Ireland
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
2
Switzerland
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
3
Norway
1
0
0
1
0
1
-1
0
4
USSR
1
0
0
1
0
1
-1
0
5
Denmark
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0


September 26, 1984 (Copenhagen) (Denmark 1-Norway 0)

October 10, 1984
Norway 1-USSR 1
Venue: Oslo -Ullevaal Stadion       
Attendance: 13,789
Referee: Volker Roth (West Germany)
Goalscorers:
(Norway): Hallvar Thoresen 54 pen
(USSR): Gennadi Litovchenko 74
Lineups:
Norway:
1-Erik Thordsvet, 2-Svein Fjaellberg, 3-Terje Kojedal, 4-Aage Hareide,5- Per Edmund Mordt, 6-Erik Soler, 7-Per-Egil Ahlsen, 8-Vidar Davidsen (15-Egil Johansen 72nd), 9-Arne Larsen-Oakland, 10-Paal Jacobsen, 11-Hallvar Thoresen
Coach: Tor-Roste Fossen
Other Subs: Ola By Rise, Per Henriksen, Tonning Hammer, Joar Vaadal

USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev (captain), 2-Tengiz Sulakvelidze, 3- Aleksandr Bubnov, 4-Sergey Baltacha, 5-Boris Pozdniakov, 7-Sergei Gotsmanov, 6-Gennadi Litovchenko, 8-Khoren Oganesian (15-Andrei Zygmantovich 46th), 9-Sergei Aleinikov, 11-Sergei Rodionov (14-Georgiy Kondratiev 66th), 10-Oleg Protasov
Booked: Georgiy Kondratiev, Aleksandr Bubnov


Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Ireland
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
2
Switzerland
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
3
Norway
1
0
0
1
0
1
-1
0
4
USSR
1
0
0
1
0
1
-1
0
5
Denmark
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0




September 26, 1984 (Copenhagen) (Denmark 1-Norway 0)

October 10, 1984
Norway 1-USSR 1
Venue: Oslo -Ullevaal Stadion       
Attendance: 13,789
Referee: Volker Roth (West Germany)
Goalscorers:
(Norway): Hallvar Thoresen 54 pen
(USSR): Gennadi Litovchenko 74
Lineups:
Norway:
1-Erik Thordsvet, 2-Svein Fjaellberg, 3-Terje Kojedal, 4-Aage Hareide,5- Per Edmund Mordt, 6-Erik Soler, 7-Per-Egil Ahlsen, 8-Vidar Davidsen (15-Egil Johansen 72nd), 9-Arne Larsen-Oakland, 10-Paal Jacobsen, 11-Hallvar Thoresen
Coach: Tor-Roste Fossen
Other Subs: Ola By Rise, Per Henriksen, Tonning Hammer, Joar Vaadal

USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev (captain), 2-Tengiz Sulakvelidze, 3- Aleksandr Bubnov, 4-Sergey Baltacha, 5-Boris Pozdniakov, 7-Sergei Gotsmanov, 6-Gennadi Litovchenko, 8-Khoren Oganesian (15-Andrei Zygmantovich 46th), 9-Sergei Aleinikov, 11-Sergei Rodionov (14-Georgiy Kondratiev 66th), 10-Oleg Protasov
Booked: Georgiy Kondratiev, Aleksandr Bubnov

Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Ireland
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
2
Switzerland
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
3
Denmark
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
4
Norway
3
1
0
2
1
3
-2
2
5
USSR
1
0
1
1
1
2
-1
1









October 17, 1984 (Bern) (Switzerland 1-Denmark 0)
October 17, 1984 (Oslo) (Norway1-Republic of Ireland 0)
Novemebr 14, 1984 (Copenhagen) (Denmark 2-Republic of Ireland 0)



April 17, 1985
Switzerland 2-USSR 2
Venue: Berne- Wankdorf Stadion
Attendance: 51,000
Referee: Robert Valentine (Scotland)
Goalscorers:
(Switzerland): Jean-Paul Brigger 43 pen, Andre Egli 90
(USSR): Yuri Gavrilov 36, Anatoli Demianenko 80
Lineups:
Switzerland:
1-Karl Engel, 2-Heinz Lüdi , 3-Charles In-Albon, 4-Andre Egli, 5-Roger Wehrli, 6-Heinz Hermann, 7-Alain Geiger, 10-Georges Bregy, 8-Umberto Barberis (12-Marco Schallibaum 73rd), 9-Jean-Paul Brigger, 11-Dominique Cina
Coach: Paul Wolfisberg
Booked: Jean-Paul Brigger

USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev (captain), 2-Nikolai Larionov, 3-Ivan Vishnevskiy, 5-Sergey Baltacha, 4-Anatoli Demianenko, 6-Sergei Aleinikov, 7-Sergei Gotsmanov, 8-Gennadi Litovchenko (14-Andrei Zygmantovich 71st), 9-Yuri Gavrilov, 10- Oleg Protasov, 11-Georgiy Kondratiev 
Booked: Gennadi Litovchenko, Sergei Gotsmanov


Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Switzerland
3
2
1
0
4
2
2
5
2
Denmark
3
2
0
1
4
1
3
4
3
Norway
4
1
1
2
2
3
-1
3
4
USSR
3
0
2
1
3
4
-1
2
5
Ireland
3
1
0
2
1
4
-3
2






May 1, 1985 (Dublin) (Republic of Ireland 0-Norway 0)

May 2, 1985
USSR 4-Switzerland 0
Venue: Moscow (Lenin Stadium)
Attendance: 95,000
Referee: Roger Schoeters (Belgium)
Goalscorers:
(USSR): Oleg Protasov 18, 39, Georgiy Kondratiev 44, 45
(Switzerland): None
Lineups:
USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev (captain), 2-Tengiz Sulakvelidze,  3-Ivan Vishnevskiy, 4-Anatoli Demianenko, 6-Sergei Aleinikov,  5-Nikolai Larionov, 7-Sergei Gotsmanov, 8-Gennadi Litovchenko (14-Igor Belanov 79th), 9-Yuri Gavrilov,  10-Oleg Protasov,  11-Georgiy Kondratiev (15-Fyodor Cherenkov 72nd)

Switzerland:
1-Karl Engel, 2-Heinz Lüdi, 3-Charles In-Albon, 4-Andre Egli, 5-Roger Wehrli, 6-Heinz Hermann, 7-Alain Geiger, 8-Umberto Barberis (13-Christian Matthey 60th), 11-Marco Schallibaum, 10-Georges Bregy (12-Manfred Braschler 60th), 9-Jean-Paul Brigger
Coach: Paul Wolfisberg
Booked: Heinz Lüdi 34


Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Switzerland
4
2
1
1
4
6
-2
5
2
Denmark
3
2
0
1
4
1
3
4
3
USSR
4
1
2
1
7
4
3
4
4
Norway
5
1
2
2
2
3
-1
4
5
Ireland
4
1
1
2
1
4
-3
3







June 2, 1985 (Dublin) (Republic of Ireland 3-Switzerland 0)


June 5, 1985
Denmark 4-USSR 2
Venue: Copenhagen -Idrætsparken
Attendance: 45,700
Referee: Horst Brummeier (Austria)
Goalscorers:
(Denmark): Preben Elkjaer 15, 19, Michael Laudrup 61,64
(USSR): Oleg Protasov 26 , Sergei Gotsmanov 68
Lineups:
Denmark:
1-Ole Qvist, 2-Klaus Berggreen, 4-Morten Olsen (captain), 3-Soren Busk, 5-Ivan Nielsen, 7-Jens Jorn Bertelesen, 8-Jesper Olsen (13-Per Frimann 46th), 9-Frank Arnesen (15-Henrik Andersen 78th), 6-Soren Lerby, 11-Michael Laudrup,  10-Preben Elkjaer  
Coach: Josef "Sepp" Piontek (West Germany)

USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev (captain), 2-Tengiz Sulakvelidze,  3-Boris Pozdniakov, 5-Sergey Baltacha, 4-Anatoli Demianenko, 6-Sergei Aleinikov, 8- Gennadi Litovchenko (14-Andrei Zygmantovich 23rd), 7-Sergei Gotsmanov, 10- Oleg Protasov, 9-Yuri Gavrilov, 11- Igor Belanov (12-Georgiy Kondratiev 74th)
Booked: Tengiz Sulakvelidze
         

Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Denmark
4
3
0
1
8
3
5
6
2
Ireland
5
2
1
2
4
4
0
5
3
Switzerland
5
2
1
2
4
9
-5
5
4
USSR
5
1
2
2
9
8
1
4
5
Norway
5
1
2
2
2
3
-1
4






September 11, 1985 (Bern) (Switzerland 0-Republic of Ireland 0)


September 25, 1985
USSR 1-Denmark 0
Venue: Moscow (Lenin Stadium)
Attendance: 103,000
Referee: Antonis Vassaras (Greece)
Goalscorers:
(USSR): Oleg Protasov 50
(Denmark): None
Lineups:
USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev (captain), 2-Gennadi Morozov, 5-Aleksandr Bubnov, 3-Aleksandr Chivadze,   4-Anatoli Demianenko,9-Sergei Aleinikov,  6-Nikolai Larionov (14-Alexander Zavarov 25th), 8-Fyodor Cherenkov,  7-Sergei Gotsmanov,  10-Oleg Protasov,  11-Oleg Blokhin (15-Georgiy Kondratiev 85th)
Other Subs: 12-Yuri Gavrilov, 13-Oleg Kuznetsov
Booked: Gennadi Morozov

Denmark:
1-Trols Rasmussen, 2-John Sivebak, 3-Soren Busk, 4-Morten Olsen (captain), 5-Ivan Nielsen (12-Jan Molby 49th), 7-Jens Jorn Bertelesen, 6-Soren Lerby, 9-Klaus Berggreen, 8-Frank Arnesen, 10-Preben Elkjaer (13-Per Frimann 14th), 11-Michael Laudrup
Coach: Josef "Sepp" Piontek (West Germany)
Other Subs: 14-Allan Simonsen, 15-Henrik Andersen


Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Denmark
5
3
0
2
8
4
4
6
2
USSR
6
2
2
2
10
8
2
6
3
Ireland
6
2
2
2
4
4
0
6
4
Switzerland
6
2
2
2
4
9
-5
6
5
Norway
5
1
2
2
2
3
-1
4






October 9, 1985 (Copenhagen) (Denmark 0-Switzerland 0)
October 16, 1985 (Oslo) (Norway 1-Denmark 5)

October 16, 1985
USSR 2-Republic of Ireland 0
Venue: Moscow (Lenin Stadium)
Attendance: 100,000
Referee: Paolo Casarin (Italy)
Goalscorers:
(USSR): Fyodor Cherenkov 61, Oleg Protasov 90
(Republic of Ireland): None
Lineups:
USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev (captain), 2-Gennadi Morozov, 3-Aleksandr Chivadze, 4-Anatoli Demianenko, 5- Aleksandr Bubnov, 7-Sergei Gotsmanov,  6-Alexander Zavarov (12-Vladimir Bessonov 84th), 8-Fyodor Cherenkov,  9-Sergei Aleinikov,  10-Oleg Protasov,  11-Oleg Blokhin (15-Georgiy Kondratiev 55th)
Booked: Sergei Aleinikov 44
Other Subs: 13-Gennadi Litovchenko, 14-Yuri Gavrilov, 16-Mikhail Mikhailov

Republic of Ireland:
1-Seamus McDonagh, 2-Chris Hughton,  5-David O'Leary, 8-Mark Lawrenson, 4-Mick McCarthy, 3-Jim Beglin (13-Kevin O'Callaghan 79th), 7-Gary Waddock, 11-Tony Grealish (14-Ronnie Whelan 71st), 6-Liam Brady,  10-Frank Stapleton (captain), 9-Tony  Cascarino
Coach: Eoin Hand
Other Subs: 12-Kevin Moran, 15-John Byrne, 16-Pat Bonner


Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Denmark
7
4
1
2
13
5
8
9
2
USSR
7
3
2
2
12
8
4
8
3
Switzerland
7
2
3
2
4
9
-5
7
4
Ireland
7
2
2
3
4
6
-2
6
5
Norway
6
1
2
3
3
8
-5
4








October 30, 1985
USSR 1-Norway 0
Venue: Moscow (Lenin Stadium)
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Brian McGinlay (Scotland)
Goalscorers:
(USSR): Georgiy Kondratiev 58
(Norway): None
Lineups:
USSR:
1-Rinat Dassayev (captain),2- Gennadi Morozov, 3-Aleksandr Chivadze, 4-Anatoli Demianenko,  5-Aleksandr Bubnov, 7-Sergei Gotsmanov,  6-Alexander Zavarov, 8-Fyodor Cherenkov, 9- Sergei Aleinikov (Vladimir Bessonov 46th), 10-Oleg Protasov (Yuri Gavrilov 85th), 11-Georgiy Kondratiev 

Norway:
Erik Thordsvet, Hans Herman Henriksen, Terje Kojedal, Aage Hareide, Per Edmund Mordt, Vidar Davidsen, Kai Erik Herlovsen, Tom Sundby, Jorn Andersen (Sverre Brandhaug 75th), Arne Larsen-Oakland,  Hallvar Thoresen
Coach: Tor-Roste Fossen
Other Subs: Ola By Rise, Arne Erlandsen,  Trond Sollied, Goran Sorloth

Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
USSR
8
4
2
2
13
8
5
10
2
Denmark
7
4
1
2
13
5
8
9
3
Switzerland
7
2
3
2
4
9
-5
7
4
Ireland
7
2
2
3
4
6
-2
6
5
Norway
7
1
2
4
3
9
-6
4


November 13, 1985 (Dublin) (Republic of Ireland 1-Denmark 4)
November 13, 1985 (Luzern) (Switzerland 1-Norway 1)

Table

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
1
Denmark
8
5
1
2
17
6
11
11
2
USSR
8
4
2
2
13
8
5
10
3
Switzerland
8
2
4
2
5
10
-5
8
4
Ireland
8
2
2
4
5
10
-5
6
5
Norway
8
1
3
4
4
10
-6
5


P-Played, W-Win, D-Draw, L-Loss, GF-Goals For, GA-Goals Against, GD-Goal Difference, Pts-Points





USSR players during the qualification matches


Goalkeeper:
Rinat Fayzrahmanovich Dassayev (Spartak Moskva)               

Defenders:
Tengiz Grigoriyevich Sulakvelidze (Dinamo Tblissi)
Aleksandr Gavrilovich Chivadze  (Dinamo Tblissi)
Sergey Pavlovich Baltacha (Dinamo Kiev)
Anatoli Vassilievich Demianenko (Dinamo Kiev)
Aleksandr Viktorovich Bubnov (Spartak Moskva)
Boris Aleksandrovich Pozdniakov (Spartak Moskva)
Ivan Yevgenyevich Vishnevskiy (Dniper Dniepropetrvovsk)
Gennadi Vladimirovich Morozov (Spartak Moskva)

Midfielders/strikers :
Sergei Yevgenyevich Aleinikov (Dinamo Minsk)
Vladimir Vassilievich Bessonov (Dinamo Kiev)
Andrei Vikentiyevich Zygmantovich (Dinamo Minsk)
Gennadi Vladimirovich Litovchenko (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)
Khoren Zhoraevich Oganesian (Ararat Erevan) 
Sergei Anatoliyevich Gotsmanov (Dinamo Minsk)
Nikolai Yevgeniyevich Larionov (Zenit Leningrad)
Yuri Vassilievich Gavrilov (Spartak Moskva) 
Georgiy Petrovich Kondratiev (Dinamo Minsk) 
Fyodor Fedorovich Cherenkov (Spartak Moskva)
Oleg Vladimirovich Blokhin (Dinamo Kiev)
Alexander Anatolyevich Zavarov (Dinamo Kiev)
Igor Ivanovich Belanov (Dinamo Kiev)
Sergei Yuriyevich Rodionov (Spartak Moskva)
Oleg Valeriyevich Protasov (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)
         

Coach: Eduard Vasilievich Malofeyev