With a sureness of foot rivalled only by the Keystone Cops on a major case, Scotland, in their recent warm-up games, have left their supporters clutching at straws. Ross Parsons previews the forthcoming global football shindig.

‘The ball‘s played in. a great chance for Scotland as * * * ‘" (fill in your choice ofname here) ‘flicks it onto his thigh. turns. . . and that is finishing ofthe supremest variety! So. it‘s Scotland 9. Italy () and there's

only. . . '

‘Awright son wake up. you‘ve been sitting there for hours and don‘t pretend you were watching TV. not after you put your foot through it when that Caribbean side got their fourth.‘

‘Aw * * " (fill in your choice of exp/cure here) .‘

lt's ritual humiliation time again the World Cup. Every four years it's the same. Euphoria at having qualified for the Finals gives way to a wailing and gnashingofteeth after we. like an Aberdonian in a bar. fail at the first round. For. no matter how hard we try to hide it and sometimes we try very hard indeed deep down. most Scottish males dream ofwinning the World Cup. Whether we see ourselves actually scoring the winneror whether. only slightly more realistically. we envisage someone else doing it for us. matters little. It is in our genes. this vision ofScots as the ‘Chosen People‘. who will one day inherit our birthright. hopefully by gubbing the bastard English in the final. For some. this belief remains unshaken despite a string of recent results. in which defeat by a team ofone-eyed shepherds from Christmas Island would not have looked out ofplace. But. what does that matter. we qualified for the fifth time in a row didn‘t we‘.’

This time. Scotland do have a great. er good. well . . . better. chance to get through to the second round ofthe Finals. Even ifwe finish third in our group of four we can still squeeze in with the big boys. Though as ever. in the post Ally Macleod era. any hope of us doing so rests on dreams rather than self-belief.

Yet the quasi-religious quadrennial fervour is beginning to surface once again. You may have already noted the symptoms. either in yourselfor others. The most familiar ones are a nervous tic. set off by the words Costa Rica. and a propensity to sit in darkened rooms impersonating football comentators with an empty beer can fora microphone. Soon. these minor manifestations will erupt into a plague as Italia ()0 kicks off. Only then. as the campaign proper begins. will our great passion for the game be revealed in its true glory. and. rising up with one voice. the afflicted will hurl abuse at Jimmy llill.

For a whole month (8 June—8 July) a televisual feast of football will be rammed down our throats. For footballing gluttons this offers an unbelievable array ofsweetmeats.

However. for every gourmet that will relish it. there will be at least two loathers in whom such a menu will induce a powerful feeling of nausea. Here then. for both schools of thought. is the complete guide to the forthcoming TV bombardment. to either enjoy or shelter from.


NB all times given are the kick.otltimes. Edited highlights 01 other matches will invariably follow the ones listed here.


I Argentina v Cameroon (Scottish) 4pm. Preceded by the opening ceremony. Maradotta and company should luck this one under their belts. lzspect a lolol barking back to the ‘l land of (iod' incident eyciy time the ball reaches head height in the penalty area.

Saturday 9

I USSR v Romania

(BBCI l 4pm. The Romanians are the dark horses of ( iroup B and may well qualify aheadol the Soy lets who are not the force they \y ere ill Mesico. pm as they are no longer the lorce they were in l.ithuania.

I Italy v Austria (Scottish ) Spin. The Italian tans expect great things from their learn. lloweyer. their team do hay e the hdenluidehyerand should set things rolling with a victory oy er their i|£l\L'l'Stll'lL‘\til-Old.


I Brazil v Sweden ( ltll(‘l) .S'pm. Two of the main threatstoScotland's attempt to get through the lirsl round. battle it out. The other dangerol course is Roy .-\itken. erl mean ('osta Rica.

I USAszechoslovakia (Scoltish)-lpm. Despite assiduous preparations. the States. w ho are the nest hostsol the competition. are the likely whipping boys. bothof this match and their group.


I Costa Rica v Scotland (Scottish) 4pm. It the (‘osta Rieans are \Vol'ld ('upyiigins Scotland base so lai been itseunuchs.

\\ hatey er the result one (ll other til the letlllls \\ Ill

be suffering post-coital tristesse.

I England v Republic ol Ireland (Scottish) Spm. ('an the tinglish sury be the rough and tumble of the Irish game. can the Irish sury be the ‘Z-hour ban on alcohol that w ill be imposed in (‘agliarii’

Tuesday 12

I Rolland v Egypt ( BBC l Spm. lf Scotland didn't beat the underdogs last night maybe the Dutch will show us how it‘s done. I Belgium v South Korea (Scottish) 4pm. 'l‘hose fun-loving Belgians will be hoping to induce a ‘hang-dog‘ look in their opponents. Worth watching. it only l'orthe novelty yalue.


I Uruguavapainlllltt‘Z) 4pm. Well Brian. this could goeilhcr way. liither the t 'ruguay ans

w ill attempt to kick. punch and molest the Spaniards out of their stride as they once did to Scotland.or they will turn on theskill as they did against lingland recently. My money ‘s on the latter. IArgentinavUSSR (Sc‘otlish)Sprii. Argentina with you Arum who on his home ground should prove too good lor the Soviets.

Thursday 14

I Yugoslavia v Columbia or

('aineroon \ Romania (Scottish) 4pm.

Friday 15

I Austria v Czechoslovakia (BBCll-lpm. Not a tie to lire the imagination greatly . proy iding the as id yiewer with an opportunity toyenture into the outside world IWestGermanyvUnited Arab Emirates ( Scottish ) Spm. 'I’eutonic elt'icency should win the day tor the highly l;l\t)lll'L‘tl \Vest (iet‘man side.

Saturday 16

I Brazil v Costa Rica

(Scottish) .S‘pm. .-\s the old saying has it. when Brazil are w inning so is football. They‘re always worth watching and this result

w ill hay e a bearingon Scotland‘s bid to break througli to the second round.

I Scotland v Sweden llllt‘l . Spm. Scotland's crunch match. Sweden are a uselul. but hardly world-class side. If we don’t at least scrape a draw it could w ell be

an iycderci ltalia.


I Republic of Ireland v Egypt (Scottish) 4pm. This may proy ide Jack ('harlton's men w itli their best chance to quality from their particularly tough group.


I Argentina v Romania (BIK ‘3) Split.

Tuesday 19

IWest Germanyv Colombia ( Blit‘li 4pm. I ltalyszechoslovakia (Scottish) 8pm.

I Brazil chotland (Scottish) Spin. The

ll iendliest li\tltl'c ofSpain 'S’Z. w hen Scotland achieved the remarkable feat of scoring their consolation goal first.

Thursday 21

I Belgium v Spain (Scottish) ~1pm.

I England v Egypt ( lint ‘l l Spin. l’nlortunalely . it is unlikely that the lagyplians will be able to inflict on our southern breth ren the kind of humiliating defeat that we suffered at l’ittodrie recently.

The remaining lo mule/icy lake/)lilt‘t' on .1“. 24. .35 uni/3011mm the Quarter l‘inu/s mt injum' uml/ July. the Semi l'inu/s ("Li umH/uly'mull/1e [Vina/8 July. Ic/ei‘iyio/i coverage H (/f be (UNION/[(17](lfft'l'l/lt’ Ill'yl mum! has been romp/Neil.



The object of this simple game is to stay awake during those long summer nights in front of the telly. Each viewer selects one phrase or more. depending on numbers: every time your phrase is heard. you score the appropriate number of points. The winner gets to impersonate Hugh Macllvanneylorthe rest at the evening. while the loser

does Jock Brown.

I ‘Well that really is disaster for

Scotland.‘ 1 point.

I ‘Shilts doesn‘t otten let them in from

that range.‘ 10 points.

I ‘It all stemmed from this terrible error at the heart of Scotland‘s

delence.‘ 2 points.

I ‘Roxburgh is beginning to look more and more like a haunted man.‘ 3





I ‘lreland may lack the quality players but they're certainly giving Robson‘s team the run around at the minute.‘ 9

I ‘Oh dear. oh dear. they‘ve let Van Basten in again.‘ 10 points.

I ‘ll I could just point out that when l was playing in goal lorArsenal . . .' 5

I ‘Barring a mathematical miracle. it looks like England will not now be going through to the second round.‘ 7

I ‘One's beginning to see why Egypt are champions of Alrica.‘ 4 points.

I ‘I really can‘t see why they have left Aitken on in this hall.‘ 2 points.

I ‘Well. that's Scotland‘s third and surely now they have secured their place in the next round.‘ 10 points.

The List 1— 14June 199011