Prologue: Preventing a Boycott and the Expansion for the 1966 FIFA World Cup

A TRUE WORLD CUP
An Early World Cup Expansion
By QTXAdsy

Prior to qualification for the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England, FIFA found itself in the middle of a controversy and a headache. In 1964, 31 African nations threatened to boycotted the tournament to protest a 1964 FIFA ruling that required the three second-round winners from the African zone to enter a play-off round against the winners of the Asian zone in order to qualify for the World Cup, as they felt winning their zone was enough in itself to merit qualification [1]. Even though they might've thought about this, the rest of the World, mainly in Europe and South America felt very little to their cause as those so called 'teams' made nothing more than making up numbers at a tournament and often got smacked down with ease.

CAF during this time pleaded with FIFA to try and change their stance on the matter...one of them being an expansion of the tournament from 16 to 20 teams [2]. Despite many thinking that their hopes would be wasted, the idea suddenly caught on among the higher ups at FIFA, mostly by it's president, Stanley Rous, who began to think that such a proposal might have some merit that not only it could help prevent a boycott but also prove to the World that the World Cup would truly be a World Cup rather than a European/South American affair. Much back and forward between many members at FIFA took place until right on the even of qualification that FIFA made the announcement that the 1966 World Cup would be expanded to host 20 teams with one African team qualifying automatically for winning the 1965 Africa Cup of Nations with the runner up playing into the play off round in the Asian side, which in the end would be Ghana and Tunisia respectably [3].

The news brought a mixed response in which while those outside Africa and Asian might've been happy with the news by ending their boycott, UEFA felt that it would for a weaker tournament with the loudest voice coming from Scottish Chief Executive Willie Allan bemoaning that, "If raising the entry meant that more teams of the calibre of Costa Rica, Ghana and Australia would reach the finals, then I would rather be champion of Europe than champion of the world." [4]. In order to try and please UEFA, FIFA quickly tweaked the qualification with Europe having a raise of 8 to 14 teams to qualify which now meant the 1966 World Cup would see 24 teams competing, though there was some grumblings around Europe that the only reason why the European teams would have more spaces was that the English FIFA president wanted to have the likes of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to compete in England to give the hopes of a British team to win the cup. However despite this, the qualification would come and go and in the end and would see not only a record number of new teams to take place, but also the return of several teams making a long awaited return...


List of teams that qualified for the 1966 World Cup
From outside Europe alone, 5 teams would make their debut being Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, North Korea and Tunisia, though it's fair to say that due that some qulaified in rather unorthodox circumstances. While Ghana would be a shoe in for winning the African Cup of Nations in 1965 and Costa Rica [5] would go through for finishing in second place behind Mexico, the rest were somewhat strange. Prior before the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) would exist, Australia would have to play in the AFC in order to qualify in a group that featured South and North Korea and, somewhat oddly, South Africa. CAF had threatened to boycott if South Africa were to play in qualifying rounds due to the apartheid regime and despite being placed in the AFC, the voices from CAF grew louder and thus South Africa were disqualified. The formation of that qualifying stage would see the top two go through with the third place spot being the play off round that would see that team play Tunisia in a two legged affair to qualify for the World Cup.

The group of three suddenly became a group of two when South Korea decided to withdraw [6] due to not only not wanting to face North Korea but also not having the finance to take the team out to Tunisia to play and thus suddenly the African side became on the second team to qualify for the World Cup without playing a game, the first being India though unlike them who later withdrew, the Tunisians would not let this chance slip and for a country celebrating it's 10th anniversary as an independent nation in 1966, what better way than to make their debut a major sporting occasion to show itself on the World's stage?

For Australia and North Korea, they two had both technically qualified but still had to play in order to fill the demands, though neither nation recognised each other due to be opposing sides of the Korean war and thus played at a neutral venue in Cambodia in which the Koreans won both legs [7]. Nonetheless the fact both nations would play at a World Cup would see much excitement in both nations. In Europe, the 1966 World Cup would see a very British feel about it with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland qualifying for the first time since 1958 and incidentally was the last time all the Home Nations were last seen at a World Cup [8]. The expanded tournament would be very useful for them as all of them finished in runners up spot with just enough points to qualify. The only European nation making it's debut would be Norway [9] and would be the sole Scandinavian team at the World Cup.

There was one problem with such an expanded tournament...the venues needed.


List of venues used for the 1966 World Cup
When it was found out that 12 venues would be needed, expanded from the 8 stadiums before, it would be an expensive task to pull off. However the good fortune was the fact that England was hosting the tournament because England had the largest stadiums that could be used for the task in mind in the short time needed and had it been other nation hosting it, it is likely that the increase to 24 teams would have likely never had happened.

The venues chosen were picked for their close geographic positions nearby which was to help with the reduced travel times for both players and fans alike, something that was greatly appreciated by all concern. With all this in place, everyone felt that it was more open than ever as the world descend on England that summer in 1966 and it was fair to say that some things would never be quite the same way again...

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From the person that brought you 'All To Play For', comes another football TL...A True World Cup! Before you say anything, no this isn't a reboot for ATPF as this is separate and I could never let my old TL die as it is still active when we get round to Euro 2021, hope you are all taking care in this difficult times and hopefully this TL might offer a bit of escapism for everyone on here. However as e have a long wait, I bring you this new TL in which it's POD is preventing the African boycott and seeing an increase number of 24 teams much early than OTL. Might sound ASB but the idea fascinated me with perhaps many teams outside Europe and South America improving earlier on and seeing major butterflies sporting wise.

Anyway, here are some of the points you might want to know...

[1] This is how it all starts, as we all know their boycott went ahead but here...
[2] The POD in which the proposal to expand to the tournament happens earlier here, it was planned to happen in 1978 but even then that didn't happen until 1982.
[3] Both reach that final in 1965 as OTL
[4] This was said by a the president of the Belgian FA over when the tournament was proposed to expand in 1978, however here it said by the Scots, just because... ;)
[5] Both would be in those places as OTL, only difference is that both qualify for the World Cup.
[6] Happens as per OTL.
[7] Happens as per OTL.
[8] Still as of 2020 in OTL still the last time all four were seen at a World Cup.
[9] Norway wouldn't qualify until the 1994 World Cup in OTL.

So hope you enjoyed the start of this new TL and if you are one of my followers from before, hello again! And if you are a new reader to my stuff...please to meet you and hope you will all enjoy the next update in which will be the group stage, going to be quite a trip...
 
The picture and info of Goodison is wrong. The one you show is post-'71. In the mid-60's capacity was about 65,000.

The 1965-66 season had relatively poor attendances.

Table of games, including gates, from NSNO.


Brazil v Bulgaria. Leitch's 1909 Goodison Road Stand on left, Gwladys End to right, St Luke's in middle.


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Edit: the picture is actually post-'94, with the single-decker Park End Stand visible.
 
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1966 FIFA World Cup Seeding and Group Stage
1966 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part One

Just before Christmas 1965 and just soon as the qualification had concluded, the draw would be made however much like a lot of things were going to be different as unlike previous World Cup draws in which were drawn out by their continental locations, the draw for the 1966 World Cup would be the first to included seeded teams that take into account of their ratings as of that month (which in retrospect would be the creation of the World Football Elo Ratings) [1] which proved to be quite alien to many and it wasn't without it's critics.

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The seedings of the 1966 qualified teams prior to the draw
Many were split of the format; while many could agree having the hosts, England, and the reigning champions, Brazil, alongside the seeded teams with the newcomers like Australia and Costa Rica in Pot C, some felt that some countries should've been in a higher or lower place depending on their status, however undoubtedly the biggest controversy to many was the placing of Ghana in Pot A as many felt they should've down in the pecking order, though many in Africa would deny this considering that not only during the mid 60's that this Ghana team was not only the strongest African team at that point but also in the middle of their 'golden years'.

FIFA did point out that after checking through the rankings as of which teams were sitting at during that period was that indeed Ghana were justified of their place being quite high ranked on the list [2]. In the end, many begrudgingly gave up arguing and the draw would be broadcast live to the world and in it there were to be many fascinating draws made, which even then many felt that this World Cup might have a few shock results along the way.

The opening event at Wembley on a bright sunny day which saw the many teams lined up with the message being that the motherland of football had opened up for the whole world to take part in with Her Majesty The Queen declaring that the World Cup be opened with the opening match to be played between England and Mexico and the start of what many hoped to be a thrilling tournament.

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Final table and results of Group 1
While England would win the opening match 2-0, the Mexicans did proved to be quite a stubborn side to break down, however the hosts hadn't exactly set the world on fire with that performance and knew they'd have to do better. The following day came the turn of France vs Tunisia which for the later ever since the draw had been made had been eagerly anticipated as this match against their former colony masters on their 10th anniversary as an independent nation would have a lot riding on it. The game itself would end in a 0-0 draw with the team really playing for it, but the result was treated as a victory in Tunisia as not only had they manage to give France a red face but also had become the first African side to gain a point at the World Cup. For France it was to have a disappointing outcome for them later on.


England and Mexico play in the opening match at Wembley

England would in their second game thrash the African nation while Mexico drew with the French which meant those under the English had everything to play for. The final group games would see France and England play out to a tight 1-1 draw while the Mexicans would get the victory they needed in order to progress with the English to the second round. Conflicted feelings fell upon the French as despite crashing out at this early stage, they hadn't lost a game and thus became the first team to go out of a World Cup undefeated [3], something though that didn't give the French much comfort in the grand scheme of things. For Tunisia, their English adventure would give them a lot to think about for the future...

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Final table of results of Group 2
As one of the seeded teams and the runners up at the last World Cup [4], the Czechs felt confident that they could repeat their brave performance from last time, however they hadn't accounted for a Scottish side that was packed with talent, especially with the talents of Denis Law upfront who who would strike a dagger to the hearts of the Czechs in the opening match and would set up the fates for both sides. However the real story was that of North Korea who despite being an unknown side would comfortably take out the Australians in what was both their debut match and things hadn't changed since that two legged affair from before.

The Czechs would gain some pride when they blasted the sorry and inexperienced Australians 4-0 apart and ended their World Cup adventure before it had even started, though many were forgiving of them for this was their first World Cup to play at. Meanwhile the Scots would beat the Koreans 2-0 in what was a bit of a strange match considering both sides had been in different sides of the Korean war, though the North Koreans weren't finished yet.


Scotland players coming onto the pitch prior to the game with North Korea

The final group games saw Scotland get all 6 points as they ended Australia's hopes, though they did get their first goal to at least go away with something and the Scots were delighted to finally make it the second round on the third time of trying. However the biggest shock of all would happen at Villa Park in which the Czechs knew that a point would be enough to see them through, however North Korea would shock the world as they scored the winning goal that sent the runners up at the last World Cup crash out in embarrassing circumstances [5]. The combination of the so called 'bigger' team's arrogance and the newcomer's will to win would see North Korea become the first Asian side to reach the second round [6] and proved to everyone that this expanded format might have merit to it.

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Final table and results of Group 3
Group 3 was one in which many expected the Italians and the West Germans to progress with ease, though the Germans' loss to Italy in their opening group match would make them sweat and would start a trend of the joke that the Germans can never beat the Italians in football [7]. Costa Rica would have a tournament debut to forget about in which they lost all their matches and were to make an early exit home.

Chile felt rather frustrated that having made it to the semis last time that they could at least reach the second round and during their final match with West Germany they only needed a win and throughout that final match they held the Germans for a lot of the match and looked as they might be able to cause an upset, however West German would pop up and get the goal needed to see them through and dump the South Americans out.


West Germany prior to the game with Costa Rica

The Italians were favourites from the off and never once coincided a goal which made them ones that would go all the way, though with the exception of the Germans, the rest had been rather easy teams...[8]

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Final table and results of Group 4
The weakest group of that World Cup would prove to have not much to say about other than many expected the Soviet Union to finish as the Group winners as they did, though many were disappointed with Uruguay who flopped and Hungary would put on an unlikely run to join the Russians into the second round, though this wasn't the Hungarian team of the 50's that was for sure.


The Russians coming onto the field prior to the start of their match with Switzerland
While not many thought much of the Russians, there were some who thought that they might be able to cause an upset or two and with them winning the group unbeaten then there was some thinking that might be the case.

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Final table and results of Group 5
In contrast to Group 4, Group 5 was considered to be the group of death by many with Northern Ireland looked set to be the whipping boys. Brazil might've been one of the favourites as always, however Portugal would give their former colony a bloody nose [9]. Elsewhere Northern Ireland would shock Spain by beating them with that man, a certain George Best making his mark with that goal and the hopes of Northern Ireland going all the way.


George Best would make his first appearance at the 1966 World Cup

Brazil would get back on track by beating Northern Ireland while Portugal ended Spain's chances in the Iberian derby. Spain's misery was concluded in their final match in which the Brazilians would hold them to a draw which proved to be just enough to see them through as Portugal would win the group by smashing Northern Ireland and ending their World Cup hopes. Nonetheless it would prove to be an experience that would hopefully aid them in the long term for the future.

The one problem for Brazil was despite going through, Pele was injured in the game with Spain...[10]

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Final table and results of Group 6
The final group would see a strong Argentina team willing to show their world what they were made of by taking apart Ghana, though it most be noted that the Africans gave the Argentinians a scare as they were the ones who scored the first goal and look set to cause the mother of all shocks, though Argentina would get the better of the inexperience Africans. The Welsh would comfortably take apart the Norwegians with the Welsh enjoying the backing of the locals in Middlesbrough.

The Welsh would suffer mishaps against Argentina while Ghana would blow a lead with Norway in a game the Africans should've won and pretty much left their hopes dangling by a thread. Wales would win their final game with Ghana though not before Ghana ran into a 2-1 lead and would take two somewhat dodgy penalties from Wales to put an end to Ghana's hopes of making it to the next round.


Two images of the Argentine team during the World Cup

Norway would see an end to their rather poor campaign as Argentina would wreck them 4-0 and it would be a mere footnote for Norwegian football history. Nonetheless Argentina looked to be a strong side that could go all the way and thus the final 12 teams would now have to go onto a second group stage to decide who would make it to the semi final stage [11].

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And so here we come to an end of the first round! Hope you enjoyed it and here are some notes to follow:
[1] Something we all know today.
[2] This is actually true as if you check the Elo ratings Ghana are actually high up.
[3] In OTL, Scotland would be the first to pull this off in 1974.
[4] As OTL.
[5] Czechoslovakia end up having the same fate Italy had IOTL.

[6] As OTL
[7] As OTL, somethings never change :p
[8] Take note of this later on...
[9] Same result as OTL
[10] Take note of this too...
[11] The second stage will be pretty much the same as OTL's 1982 second group stage.

Which speaking of which, here are the groups for the next update...

Group A
England
Italy
Wales

Group B
Scotland
Soviet Union
Brazil

Group C
Argentina
Mexico
West Germany

Group D
Portugal
North Korea
Hungary

What will be your prediction on who will get to the last four? Find out next time! :)

 
1966 FIFA World Cup Second Group Stage
1966 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 2

Unlike other World Cups before which would go into a knockout stage after the group stage, this tournament would have a second group stage of 4 groups of 3 with the winner of each group progressing to the semi finals [1]. While it would provide some mouth watering groups, it was a format that wasn't quite supported by all as many did feel it would bring up a lot of dead rubber games and thus it would be dropped for the next World Cup which would revert back to a knockout stage [2].

To help ease with travel and recovery, each group would be played at a single venue such as Group A playing all their games at Wembley stadium. Little did anyone know then how tight and thrilling these groups would be.

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Final table and results of Group A
Group A would catch much attention with the hosts up against the favourites and and an all British clash which the latter would be the opener. Unlike the previous encounter in October in Cardiff in the Home Championship which had ended in a 0-0 draw [3], this game would be a thrilling clash in which despite a plucky Welsh performance, England came out on top which while it ended Welsh hopes there to progress, their fans gave them a warm reception to thank them for getting that far.

Wales' second and Italy's first match of the group would see Italy run out comfortably as 2-1 victors with the Welsh getting a consolation goal towards the end. However despite going out with no points, that solo goal would come to haunt Italy as they went into their final match with England, the game many had been hoping to see with some ever stating that whoever won the group would win the cup.

The game would be be a tense affair with Italy getting the opening goal and dominated large parts of the game and looking set for the semi finals, however a late goal near the end would see England claw back a draw and saw both sides finish on level points, however it would be England that would win the group by mere goal difference and saw Italy exit in heartbreaking circumstances [4]. For England, they were so close to the final...


English and Welsh players getting surrounded by fans after the first group match

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Final table and results of Group B
The Scots were playing for the first time in the second round and it quite nerve racking for the Scots as they faced the Soviet Union and the much fancied Brazil. Scotland did well to go into a 2-0 lead over the Russians at the end of the first half, in which many of the Scottish fans had come down in their numbers with many of the locals getting behind the Scots. However the Soviet Union would stun the Scots by dragging Scotland to a 2-2 draw which meant that Scottish hopes of reaching the semi finals looked doomed.

The second game with Brazil and the USSR would raise many eyebrows with many assuming Brazil would beat the Russians, however with Pele being out injured [5] Brazil would stumble to a 1-1 draw which meant that it was all to play for as Scotland prepared to take on the mighty Brazil, a game that not many in Scotland would ever forget and willing to make up for throwing away that lead.

The final game would be quite open and it would be that man, Denis Law, firing in the goal that led Scotland to the next round and saw mass celebrations across Scotland that saw them live up to going all the way. For Brazil, as horrible as this defeat was for the now former world champions, little did anyone knew then just of the Brazilian side that was to come out from this mess...[6].


Scotland players after their victory over Brazil

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Final table and results of Group C
Like Group A, Group C would be one of the tightest groups with the group being much about Argentina and West Germany, poor Mexico would be the whipping boys of the group as demonstrated with West Germany beating them 2-0 and could've even been up by much more, though little did they know then that they might've needed more goals later on...

The big clash with West Germany and Argentina would be, despite much hype, a disappointing goalless draw [7], the good news was that if Argentina could beat Mexico by three goals without coinciding, they'd be in the semi finals. As a result, Argentina would duly deliver this and saw the South Americans win the group by goal difference and saw West Germany dumped out of the tournament.

For Argentina as the sole South American team left in the last four, there would be some pressure on them now, though few would forget of the match that followed for better or for worse...


Argentina vs West Germany during the second group stage

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Final table and results of Group D
While some saw Group D as the weakest group of the bunch, it would though proved to be the most thrilling group from the first game in which much like they had shocked many before hand, North Korea's dream run looked seemed to carry on when they shocked Hungary winning 2-1, the aftermath for the Hungarians would be of humiliation on the scale of 1954 when they got home. The Asians became the underdog team everyone wanted to go all the way and became an unlikely force of good in the middle of the Cold War.

The Asian miracle looked set to become a reality in North Korea's second match with Portugal when, playing such a high from their last game, North Korea ran into a 3-0 lead within 20 minutes and seemed set for a shock result that would seem them become the first Asian team reaching the last four. However Portugal would make a massive comeback to win 5-3 [8] Nonetheless North Korea would go out on a high note and proved the world that the expanded World Cup was really worth it.

Portugal would conclude their unbeaten run by ripping the sorry Hungarians 3-1 to progress to the semi finals for the first time and would cement their status as the tournament's dark horses. With all the groups done, it was time for the semi finals with England, Scotland, Argentina and Portugal all to take part for a place in the final. Question was who would it be?


North Koreans celebrate taking the lead when it looked they were on the verge of reaching the last four...

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[1] Pretty much the same format for OTL 1982 World Cup
[2] As did with OTL's 1986 WC
[3] As in OTL
[4] Things go better for Italy at this WC that OTL, no North Korea to face...
[5] As in OTL
[6] You all know what happens in 1970...
[7] As in OTL
[8] As in OTL's Quater final

There we are, hope you enjoyed the update and here is the last four as it stands:

England vs Argentina

Scotland vs Portugal

Who do you think will go through, I think you might know how things might turn out but still, you never know. Hope you are all keeping safe and that this TL is enough to keep your mind of things. Should I carry on this TL with Mexico '70? Until then...see you soon!
 
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Excellent mate!!!...And i see a better fate for Argentina...in that 1966, despite all that disorganisation, it had a very strong side!, I guess it deserved better luck...perhaps loosing against England but in semifinals, not quarterfinals..
 
1966 FIFA World Cup Semi Finals
1966 FIFE WORLD CUP
Part 3

The last four of the 1966 would see the semi final revert to a simple knockout stage with both games being played on the same day with England taking on Argentina first at Wembley [1]. Indeed, with the exception of Argentina, it would be the first time that the other three teams left in the tournament which add to the fact that neither had ever won the World Cup at that point meant that a new name on the trophy was pretty much assured.

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Final results of the Semi Finals of the 1966 World Cup
The semi final at Wembley would not only be one of the more infamous games of the World Cup but a watershed moment in what would be part of the English/Argentina rivalry in which a tight game would be won by a goal from Hurst however the Argentinians would claim that the goal was offside, but it would be remembered for all the wrong reasons when Argentina's captain, Antonio Rattín, would be sent off in bizarre circumstances after receiving his second caution of the game. The Argentines considered the second caution to be unfair, including Rattín himself, who had to be escorted by police as he refused leave the pitch [2].

While the English celebrated for reaching their first ever final, the South Americans would feel cheated from reaching the final and the match would be referred to in Argentina as el robo del siglo ("the theft of the century") [3]. The rivalry had truly begun.


Scene from the Semi final
Later on that day, Scotland would take on Portugal at Old Trafford in Manchester in what was both their first Semi final and the Scots had brought along with them a huge support to help cheer the team on in the hopes of reaching Wembley for the final. However Portugal would prove to be Scotland's toughest test yet as Eusébio would fire Portugal into the lead and for large parts of the game, Portugal looked set to reach the final.

However Scotland would throw everything towards the end with Baxter and Law getting the goals needed to help Scotland stun Portugal and ultimately send Scotland to the final and a memorable pitch invasion from Scotland fans who celebrated for reaching the final and even more so for Denis Law, a Manchester United player himself who had helped play a part in Scottish football history.

It would be heartbreak for Portugal who had been the dark horse but had made everyone back home proud of their efforts. Suddenly the British Isles was now keenly awaiting for a highly anticipated all British clash which the British media proudly claimed would the biggest match of the century. Who knows what would happen when England and Scotland meet...?


Some happy Scotland fans invade the pitch after Scotland beat Portugal to reach the final

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Here we are, I suspect you kinda thought that this would happy but here are some notes to follow...

[1] As OTL, though in a Semi final here
[2] Pretty much the same game as OTL, though as mentioned above being a semi final and not the OTL Quarter final
[3] As OTL

Hope you enjoyed that and next update will be the final and third place game and maybe, if you want it, a list of the teams competing for the 1970 WC...already been thinking of different countries hosting the WC ITL. Until then, catch you later! :)
 
1966 FIFA World Cup Third Place Match and Final
1966 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 4

While the British public was looking forward for a mouth watering clash between England and Scotland, there was still the third place match between Argentina and Portugal to take place at Villa Park. The build up to the game was all about Antonio Rattín, the Argentina captain who had been sent off in the semi final and to add more to his troubles he would not be able to play in this game [1] and it was more terrible that even if Argentina had gotten to the final, he wouldn't be able to play.

Without their captain, Portugal would easily dispatched Argentina with them winning the third place position [2] and the Argentinians would bemoan that the 1966 World Cup was a rough time for all. For their first time, Portugal had made one hell of an debut at this World Cup and had high hopes if they were to go one step further. For many though, the game itself would be seen a warm up for the final...

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Final score of the third place match
For many however, the final was the game that everyone in the UK wanted to see and the game would be a classic that would end this World Cup on a high note. It would be Scotland that started off the game more brightly when Denis Law would score first and hoped that he could help cause an upset. It wouldn't last for long however when Hurst would score to level the game which would see the first half end at that score.

The Second half would be a dramatic finale when the game looked like it would go either way up until the 78th minute when Peters fired England into the lead and that looked to be the deciding goal to win the final...that was until a few minutes later when Law would stun England and fire Scotland back into the game and maybe extra time would be needed. Then in the 83rd minute after Scotland had gotten some momentum behind them would become the most infamous moment of the final in which Baxter might've scored Scotland into the lead, but his ball hit the crossbar and bounced on the line and a great deal of confusion followed in which the linesman felt, after a chat with the referee, made the choice of no goal given [3].

If that was bad enough for the Scots, England saw a chance to take the advantage and Hurst would fly up the other end to score the final goal that ultimately give England victory and their hands on the World Cup and Scotland would feel gutted about their luck and that ghost goal, though years later when footage saw that the goal never crossed the line, many Scots would begrudgingly admit it was the right choice.

All in all, the expanded World Cup to 24 teams had been a success and it would be carried on for Mexico '70. Who knows how the world of football was going to change over the next few decades...

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Final result of the 1966 Final


The players coming on for the final


Scene from the final


England, World Cup Winners 1966


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And so here we are, pretty expected as you see.

[1] Would've been been the case in OTL if Argentina got to the semi final
[2] Third place goes the same as OTL
[3] A choice goes the way how it should've been...

Anyway, next update will be Mexico '70 and to give you a build up, here are the teams taking part in the 24 team 1970 WC

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So until then, see you later!
 
1970 FIFA World Cup Seeding and Group Stage
1970 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 1

With how well the expanded World Cup had been and with more opportunities for countries to qualify, it wasn't a surprise that the twenty-four team format would remain in place for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, though for the organisers, it would be a headache to get more venues needed for the finals. The seeded format was something of an odd one as it was designed not only to have the hosts and reigning champions in it, but also the runners-up, third and fourth place teams too. However with both Argentina and Portugal both failing to qualify [1] only England and Scotland would fill this position along with the hosts.

There were some teams making a return such as Yugoslavia and Sweden who both failed to qualify for 1966 as such Paraguay for the first time since 1954 while Romania and Poland would be making a long awaited return to the World Cup for the first time since 1938 and such as Peru too since 1930 respectably [2]. There were a number of new teams making their debut such as Morocco, Nigeria, Israel and El Salvador though there would also be Greece being the only European team making their debut.

In January 1970, the draw was made and while some were somewhat unsure if the seedings were correct, all of that was soon forgotten about when the draw was made and a number of fascinating draws came about. What made it more interesting was the fact that unlike the last World Cup which went into a second group stage, it would here be a qualification to a knockout stage of sixteen teams with the best ranked third place teams of four going through [3].

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The seeding of the 1970 World Cup
Mexico had been awarded to host the 1970 World Cup in 1964, the first time it would be hosted in North America, though this was before the sudden announcement that the tournament would be expanded and they would express disdain at FIFA that they didn't have the time to get stadiums ready in time which saw many smaller stadiums around the country being used as a quick and easy way to have stadiums ready though many felt if they had more money and time they could've done better. Such was this expansion problem that it would come to a head for the 1978 edition, but that's another story...

Qualification so fourteen teams from Europe go through and four from South America, however it was a shock that Argentina failed to qualify with Paraguay, as the best ranked team in the group stages going through. The qualification process for OFC was a rather straight forward format in which Australia and New Zealand played in a two legged affair in which the winner, Australia, would qualify automatically while New Zealand still had a second chance to go through to face Israel in a play off [4] but sadly failed to do so.

In Africa, Morocca would win the final group while Nigeria as the second place team, would play in a play off with the AFC second ranked team with South Korea. Unlike the last time, the play off went ahead and Nigeria would defeat the Asian team and would make their debut at the World Cup for the first time, though they and several others were going to get a rude awakening.

1970 4.png

Final results of Group 1
In a blaze of sunshine and a wonderful opening ceremony, the opening match would between Mexico and the Soviet Union though despite much hype, it would turn into something of an anti-climax with the game ending 0-0. Elsewhere, Belgium would spank El Salvador 3-0 in their opening match and the poor little Central American team would end up being the whipping boys of the group gain no goals and letting in nine goals to end up rock bottom of the group.

Mexico had hoped to win the group and while they and the Soviet Union would end up on level points, it would be the Russians that would win the group thanks to scoring an extra goal in their game which may have disappointed the hosts but nonetheless they were still through and hoped that they may have landed themselves with an easy route to try and go all the way.

However it would be Belgium that breathed the biggest sigh of relief as despite finishing in third place [5], they would go through as one of the best ranked third place teams at the 1970 World Cup and the format, despite being something of a confusing thing by some, would be nonetheless welcomed as another way to go through, though it would lead to some teams ending up colluding with others in order to try and get through...


Mexico and the USSR prior to the start of the opening match

1970 5.png

Final results of Group 2

While many had Italy down as favourites to win the group in which they did [6], the group would throw up some interesting results. Despite no one given them much thought to go through, Israel would put on a respectably performance in the group stage, most notably holding Italy and Sweden to draws. As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for Sweden scoring a last minute goal against Uruguay in their final group game, Israel had a very good chance to go through as one of the best ranked third place teams. In the end, it would be a sad 'what could have been' [7].

Uruguay would go through as the best ranked second place team and this was indeed an improvement from the last World Cup in which they fell in the first round and with a mostly 'local' crowd backing them, there was a sense that a Latin American side would do well this time round with the heat and humidity being in their favour. The only question was who would it be?

While Israel failing to get through right at the death, it did show that many of the so called 'weaker' nations were not there to just make up numbers but actually try and go all the way. Hopefully though there would be more teams outside of Europe and South America causing a shock on the World Stage.


Uruguay vs Israel in their opening match

1970 6.png

Final results of Group 3
Those hoping for shock results were to look no further than the third group which would raise many eyebrows. Though England were favourites, they had gotten a rough build up with the story of their captain, Bobby Moore being arrested briefly but later released other alleged stolen jewellery. To make matters worse some comments from the England manager Alf Ramsay saying much about his dissatisfaction about Mexico which didn't go down well among the local population and even though they were champions and ended up winning the group, they would end up being the pantomime villains [8].

It would have the biggest shock in which Australia, the whipping boys of the last tournament, would end up shocking the world by going through despite many predicting they would fail. It is said that the hot climate may have made many of the European nations unsettled, it would however make the Australians right at home and they would embarrass Romania in their opening match in which they won the game thanks to a penalty, though this wasn't including the fact that they were on the backfoot most of the time. The match with England and Australia would be real interesting encounter as while England would get the better of the Socceroos, Australia did show much much they had improved from the last time they were seen at the World Cup.

While Romania would be spared their blushes by going through as one of the best ranked third place teams, the same couldn't be said for Czechoslovakia as would end up with one lousy point and had a frustrating campaign in which they bemoaned that the conditions weren't what they wanted. To rub it in even more, they were pretty much forgotten about as everyone wanted to know about Australia and they would be the underdog everyone wanted to support.


England vs Romania in the their final group match

1970 7.png

Final results of Group 4

While at first glance, West Germany were looked upon as the favourites to win the group, the question was who would finish below them. They would go on an unbeaten run smashing all their group opponents and setting the scene ahead as to where may felt their chances would end up as they attempted to show that they meant business and the fact they seemed to have coped well with the conditions said a lot.

Bulgaria would end up being the team to finish in second place despite their bad opening match with the hosts as thanks to two tight 2-1 victories over Paraguay and Morocco helped them just enough to go through and now they were looking at the interesting prospect of heading into the second stage of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

For Paraguay and Morocco, it wouldn't be the best for them as after both ended up getting a draw in their opening match together, it would end up all going downhill from then and none of them would end up with a third place best finish after all that.


West Germany vs Morocco at the start of their match

1970 8.png

Final results of Group 5
Brazil went into this World Cup as pre-tournament favourites and for good reason. The Brazilians would end up spanking all their group opponents with ease without even conceding a goal and pretty much became everyone's favourite team to go all the way [9] though a cynic would point out that this might've been that with the expectation of Yugoslavia, the other two were making their debut and didn't have the experience.

Speaking of Yugoslavia, they would end up taking the second place spot with victories over Greece and Nigeria though it was against Greece they nearly blew it as despite running into a 3-0 lead at half time, Greece came back with a vengeance and one has to ponder if Greece had pulled of a stunning comeback as in the end, Greece would frustratingly miss out on reaching the knockout stage thanks to their poor goal differences preventing them from being part of the best ranked third place teams.

The less said for poor Nigeria the better. After doing so well but sadly losing to Greece in their opening match, It all got worse for them as heavy defeats to Yugoslavia and Brazil would see them finish rock bottom with no points or goals to their name. Things would get better for them but that would be another story...


Brazil celebrate after their big victory over Nigeria in their final group match

1970 9.png

Final results of Group 6

Group six would be perhaps the closet group at the 1970 World Cup with runners-up Scotland winning the group with a team that was said to be even better than the 1966 team [10]. However like with many teams from Europe, the hot climate did prove to be something of a challenge to them. Though they managed to beat Hungary by quite a close result, the game with Peru would be one of the classic games in which defence was pretty much forgotten about as the manic game ended in a 3-3 draw. Scotland would win the group ultimately thanks to a 4-1 victory over Poland in what was said to be one of their best results.

Peru and Hungary would end up on level points and would end up going through together with Peru being the best third place team of all the teams with the goals they had managed to score though it was something strange considering the fact they had done it without getting a victory with all their games being draws. This would indeed lead to more concerns that the format was making easier for teams to avoid losing in order to better their chances to go through.

Poland's long awaited return to the World Cup was something of a disappointment as a defeat to Hungary would in the end kill their chances to progress and would head home with a lot to think about. Still with the group stages done, there were many with baited breathes who waited to see who would progress and thus, twenty-four teams had been reduced to sixteen.


Scotland captain Billy Bremner after the 3-3 thriller with Peru

1970 10.png

The best ranked third place teams at the 1970 World Cup


-----------
At last, here is the long awaited update and hope it is what you wanted. Anyway, here are some details to follow:

[1] As in OTL.
[2] As in OTL.
[3] The same format as what would happen from 1986 Mexico, only difference is it happens a whole decade earlier.
[4] Quite similar to OTL though the qualification process for both Australia and New Zealand was quite tricky looking back on hindsight with several groups to go through, here it's a little bit more easier.
[5] The Group is pretty much the same as OTL, only difference is that Belgium go through.
[6] As they would be...
[7] The Group is pretty much the same as OTL with Sweden going through and thus a much more frustrating affair for Israel.
[8] This all actually happened which caused much of the Mexican public rooting for the England team to fail.
[9] What else were you expecting? ;)
[10] It is said that the 1970 Scotland team was the peak Scottish team that failed to qualify for a tournament.

Hope those are helpful and here are the fixtures for the knockout stage as follows...

Soviet Union vs Romania

Hungary vs Uruguay

Brazil vs Bulgaria

England vs Peru

West Germany vs Sweden

Mexico vs Australia

Scotland vs Yugoslavia

Italy vs Belgium

So who do you think will win each of those games? Until then, please comment for more and hope you are enjoying it so far :)






 
Soviet Union vs Romania

Hungary vs Uruguay

Brazil vs Bulgaria

England vs Peru

West Germany vs Sweden

Mexico vs Australia

Scotland vs Yugoslavia

Italy
vs Belgium
 
1970 FIFA World Cup Last 16
1970 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 2



Live broadcast of the opening ceremony of the Knockout stage prior to Mexico vs Australia

With a total of sixteen teams in the knockout stage, it was the first time this had happened since the 1938 World Cup and the first match would be with the hosts playing the plucky Australians in the Estadio Azeteca. Though the Mexicans were clear favourites to win, they would like several other teams underestimate the underdogs who actually gave the Mexicans a game there was one infamous moment in the 24th minute in which an Australian strike would hit the crossbar and had it only been a few inches shorter it might've gone in and changed the course of the game. The first half would end in a 0-0 stalemate and the many local supporters jeered and whistled their team off at such a lacklustre performance and some of the Australian players might've thought they had a chance to go through. Alas, the Mexicans would step up their game and ultimately win 3-0 but the Australians would go home with their heads held high at what was their best performance at a World Cup to date and now hoped to do even better for 1974.

Later that day, the Italians would easily brush aside the Belgians with little fuss though this could be said that the Italians were more suited to the heat than the Belgians could ever be. All goals came in the first half and during the second half the Italians started show boating in front of curious Mexican locals.

The following day saw an all eastern European affair with Romanian and the Soviet Union. Neither side really looked comfortable though it would be the Russians that would get the better of the Romanians though neither left much of an impression that they were going to go all the way in the Quarter-finals.


The Soviet Union team line up prior to their match with Romania

The game with Sweden and West Germany would prove to be one of the most surprising and more tense affairs in which despite all odds, Sweden struck first in the first half and for large parts of the second half looked set to cause a big upset but the Germans would break through with a goal in the 78th minute to drag the game into extra time. That all being said, Sweden didn't give up and would take until the bitter end before West Germany struck home the winner that saw them go through and deny the Swedes of a famous victory. Despite the victory there were rumours of discontent in the German camp and combine that with how much the Swedes had exhausted them, they looked set for the taken.

The day after that, England would take on Peru with the English looking to be the favourites to win. Despite some criticisms that this England team couldn't cope with pressure, they managed to answer their critics with a great performance to defeat Peru 3-0 and progress to the Quarter-finals in hope of defending the World Cup. Though few did think they could defend it...


Snapshot photo of the England team during the closing minutes of their game with Peru

The 17th June was quite a day for British football to add as on the same day as England played Peru, Scotland would take on Yugoslavia in their match later on in the day. Scotland would play a ropey game in which they were stuck on the defensive for most of the game and looked no way they could win, let alone score. However from against the run of play, Scotland scored a goal in the second half and held on to create an upset and progress to the Quarter-finals. Could they be the dark horse of the tournament?

The final day of round of sixteen games started with Brazil destroying Bulgaria 4-0. There was nothing wrong that Bulgaria did it was just the fact that they were up against this rampant Brazilian team and results like these were only adding to many people's thoughts that Brazil were the team that were going to go all the way.

Later that day and the last game of the round with Uruguay and Hungary would be perhaps the most thrilling match. Hungary would score first via a penalty but Uruguay would come strong mostly in the second half to lead 3-1, however it would make it a nail biting finale once Hungary scored late on and at that point the South Americans would have to hang on to get the victory and progress.


The team of Uruguay line up for their game with Hungary
Now there were eight teams left and now the real pressure started to kick in. The 1970 World Cup was proving to be an excellent tournament even with the addition of twenty four teams and even there were rumours of even expansion further to an eyewatering thirty-two teams. How many laughed at that crazy thought...

1970 12.png

Final results of the Last 16 of the 1970 World Cup

---------
Well, what'd you think of that then? :) Not much to say here other than what game would've you like to have seen here? Anyway, time for the fixtures for the Quarter finals as follows:
---------
Mexico vs West Germany

Scotland vs Italy

Soviet Union vs Uruguay

Brazil vs England

---------
What are your thoughts on who will make it to the semi finals and I am thinking of few things of what happens in the future for this TL thought I need your help. Should I expand the teams to 32 by 1982 or keep as is until later on? Interesting butterfly effects having a bigger World Cup brings football to a bigger audience worldwide. Anyway until then, hoped you enjoyed this and stick around for the Quarter-finals. :)
 

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1970 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 2



Live broadcast of the opening ceremony of the Knockout stage prior to Mexico vs Australia

With a total of sixteen teams in the knockout stage, it was the first time this had happened since the 1938 World Cup and the first match would be with the hosts playing the plucky Australians in the Estadio Azeteca. Though the Mexicans were clear favourites to win, they would like several other teams underestimate the underdogs who actually gave the Mexicans a game there was one infamous moment in the 24th minute in which an Australian strike would hit the crossbar and had it only been a few inches shorter it might've gone in and changed the course of the game. The first half would end in a 0-0 stalemate and the many local supporters jeered and whistled their team off at such a lacklustre performance and some of the Australian players might've thought they had a chance to go through. Alas, the Mexicans would step up their game and ultimately win 3-0 but the Australians would go home with their heads held high at what was their best performance at a World Cup to date and now hoped to do even better for 1974.

Later that day, the Italians would easily brush aside the Belgians with little fuss though this could be said that the Italians were more suited to the heat than the Belgians could ever be. All goals came in the first half and during the second half the Italians started show boating in front of curious Mexican locals.

The following day saw an all eastern European affair with Romanian and the Soviet Union. Neither side really looked comfortable though it would be the Russians that would get the better of the Romanians though neither left much of an impression that they were going to go all the way in the Quarter-finals.


The Soviet Union team line up prior to their match with Romania

The game with Sweden and West Germany would prove to be one of the most surprising and more tense affairs in which despite all odds, Sweden struck first in the first half and for large parts of the second half looked set to cause a big upset but the Germans would break through with a goal in the 78th minute to drag the game into extra time. That all being said, Sweden didn't give up and would take until the bitter end before West Germany struck home the winner that saw them go through and deny the Swedes of a famous victory. Despite the victory there were rumours of discontent in the German camp and combine that with how much the Swedes had exhausted them, they looked set for the taken.

The day after that, England would take on Peru with the English looking to be the favourites to win. Despite some criticisms that this England team couldn't cope with pressure, they managed to answer their critics with a great performance to defeat Peru 3-0 and progress to the Quarter-finals in hope of defending the World Cup. Though few did think they could defend it...


Snapshot photo of the England team during the closing minutes of their game with Peru

The 17th June was quite a day for British football to add as on the same day as England played Peru, Scotland would take on Yugoslavia in their match later on in the day. Scotland would play a ropey game in which they were stuck on the defensive for most of the game and looked no way they could win, let alone score. However from against the run of play, Scotland scored a goal in the second half and held on to create an upset and progress to the Quarter-finals. Could they be the dark horse of the tournament?

The final day of round of sixteen games started with Brazil destroying Bulgaria 4-0. There was nothing wrong that Bulgaria did it was just the fact that they were up against this rampant Brazilian team and results like these were only adding to many people's thoughts that Brazil were the team that were going to go all the way.

Later that day and the last game of the round with Uruguay and Hungary would be perhaps the most thrilling match. Hungary would score first via a penalty but Uruguay would come strong mostly in the second half to lead 3-1, however it would make it a nail biting finale once Hungary scored late on and at that point the South Americans would have to hang on to get the victory and progress.


The team of Uruguay line up for their game with Hungary
Now there were eight teams left and now the real pressure started to kick in. The 1970 World Cup was proving to be an excellent tournament even with the addition of twenty four teams and even there were rumours of even expansion further to an eyewatering thirty-two teams. How many laughed at that crazy thought...

View attachment 565766
Final results of the Last 16 of the 1970 World Cup

---------
Well, what'd you think of that then? :) Not much to say here other than what game would've you like to have seen here? Anyway, time for the fixtures for the Quarter finals as follows:
---------
Mexico vs West Germany

Scotland vs Italy

Soviet Union vs Uruguay

Brazil vs England

---------
What are your thoughts on who will make it to the semi finals and I am thinking of few things of what happens in the future for this TL thought I need your help. Should I expand the teams to 32 by 1982 or keep as is until later on? Interesting butterfly effects having a bigger World Cup brings football to a bigger audience worldwide. Anyway until then, hoped you enjoyed this and stick around for the Quarter-finals. :)

Mexico to upset the West Germans maybe?
Scotland ought to lose to Italy, but might not
Uruguay to beat USSR- 2-1
Brazil to beat England, who haven't played first-class opposition since the last World Cup Final. 3-2?

I quite like the 24-team format for story purposes because it allows you so many second chances in the groups (same reason I don't like it IRL).
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
If the Brazil vs England match is as great as the OTL meeting was, Mexico is in for a treat. I would still fancy Brazil, not only because they had perhaps the most sublime midfield & forward line (that could also look after itself) but they should be handling the heat better. England relied on their overlapping full backs to provide width, and it was the exhaustion of Cooper & Newton as much as the supposed disaster of withdrawing Bobby Charlton and Bonetti's fallibility in goal that saw them lose to West Germany OTL. Of course, if Felix is his usaly self, the English might force a win.
 
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