Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Mysteries, Legends and Conspiracy Theories, Part Four

1- West Germany and Hungary 1954 World Cup-First Round
It has been suggested over the years that West German Manager Sepp Herberger instructed his players to intentionally lose vs. Hungary during the First Round of 1954 World Cup (3-8).
This may have been an attempt to save energy and resources, as he was confident that they could defeat Turkey in the playoff and advance to the Quarterfinals.
In addition Hungary’s Ferenc Puskas was injured in this match, whether this intentional as well is unclear.

Photo From: Chronik des deutschen fussballs, 2005
(June 20, 1954, World Cup, Hungary 8-West Germany 3)

2- Argentina and Peru (6-0), 1978 World Cup
The 1978 Argentina and Peru  (6-0 match) World Cup match is the mystery that will never go away. One of the many theories suggests that as part of the ‘Condor Plan’, Latin American Governments cooperated mutually in the repression of political prisoners.
A former Peruvian Senator, Genaro Ledesma, has claimed that Argentina’s General Videla agreed to cooperate only if Peru lost.
As part of the deal, thirteen Peruvian Political prisoners were sent to Argentina to be tortured and sign confessions.

Photo From: Onze, Issue 31, July 1978
(June 21, 1978, World Cup, Argentina 6-Peru 0)

3- ‘Death Match’ of 1942, Ukrainians vs. Nazi Occupiers
One of the legendary stories about the History of Ukrainian Football recounts that during World War II, a team made up of former players were expected to lose a match vs. a German selection.
The so-called ‘Death Match’ took place on August 9, 1942.
However, they defied their occupiers and defeated them (5-3). The enraged Germans had all the players executed.
This version has recently come under scrutiny as some have questioned its authenticity.

4- Michel Hidalgo/ Platini team selections
During Michel Hidalgo’s tenure as France National Team Manager, he was often accused of being Team Captain Michel Platini’s puppet and selecting players according to Platini’s wishes.
It is doubtful how accurate this version was, although as Team Captain, one would assume Platini would have had some say in Team strategy, if not player selection.
Similarly, Didier Deschamps, as France Captain, was also at times accused of influencing National Team Manager Aime Jacquet in player selections in the late 90s.

Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 58, January 1985
(Michel Hidalgo and Michel Platini, June 27, 1984, European Championship, France 2-Spain 0)

5- FIFA’s role in USA Soccer Federation elections in 1990
It has been suggested that during the US Soccer Federation Presidency race in 1990 that FIFA may have behind the scenes lobbied for Alan Rothenberg to oust the incumbent Werner Fricker. With the 1994 World Cup on the horizon, to be hosted by USA, FIFA were desperate for a successful organization for the Tournament, for the game to succeed there. Rothenberg was seen as someone they could work with much easier than Fricker.

It was open secret that FIFA preferred Rothenberg, however, their actual role in helping him get elected is unclear.  

Photo From: World Soccer, January 1991
(Alan Rothenberg and Werner Fricker)

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