had caused the oblivion. With Johnston sent home in disgrace. Scotland produced a superb performance against the Dutch and Gemmill stroked in the best goal of the tournament, which at last gave the long-suffering viewers something to cheer.
The approach of the 1982 ﬁesta , in Spain was necessarily low-key. ., Besides, England had also qualiﬁed this time, which stole some of Scotland's thunder. A shaky start against New Zealand was followed by David Narey’s unbelievable goal against Brazil in the second match (a toe poke according to Jimmy Hill).
The fact that Brazil came back and thrashed us 4-] didn‘t seem to matter and the Scots fans sashayed out in something like a samba with their new Brazilian chums. Only Russia stood between us and the elusive second round. Unfortunately only Hansen stood between Miller and an easy second half clearance and. as the two lay pole-axed, Shengelia nipped in to score Russia‘s second and bring a hail of empty beer cans crashing down on TV sets all over Scotland.
A skin-of—the-teeth qualiﬁcation in 1986 saw us enter the ‘Group of Death', a title which the Uruguayans were determined to take literally. Defeat by Denmark and West Germany meant that we had to overcome the aggressively defensive South Americans to progress. Even with Batista sent off in the ﬁrst minute Scotland never really looked like scoring, while the hair-pulling and spitting antics of the Latins produced more rancour among armchair fans in one match than Hill had managed in a life time of Scot-baiting.
The easiest group yet faced Scotland in l990. Victory against Costa Rica and Sweden would mean that our last match against Brazil wouldn‘t matter and the two teams could samba off together into the second round. Unfortunately, the Costa Rica debacle meant that the Scots players were back where they seemed to belong when the second round began, slumped in front ofa TV set.
This time, of course, we are represented by a referee and so probably have the best chance ever of going beyond the ﬁrst round. In a way, it‘ll be a relief not facing the agony of waiting for an under-rated team to put us out. Besides, we can always win a meaningless friendly against the World Champions when it's all over and then we can start dreaming again.
In the pink
Scots aren’t entirely absent from USA ’94. Tom Lappin persuades referee Les Mottram to blow the whistle on the new FIFA outﬁts he’ll be modelling throughout the tournament.
t’s the last minute of the last
qualifying tie on a balmy night in Paris. France
are drawing 1-] and need a point to make the
World Cup Finals. Bulgaria need to win. A
French attack breaks down,
and the Bulgarian winger races down the touchline to shoot into the roof ofthe French net, with only seconds remaining. Dramatic stuff.
‘That‘s when the atmosphere did get to me,‘ confesses Les Mottram, the Scottish schoolteacher who was refereeing that night. ‘Everything went quiet. There was a stunned silence in the place.‘ Mottram blew his whistle a few seconds later. and France went into mourning.
In the rare absence ofthe Scottish national side and the Tartan Army. Mottram is the only Caledonian representative at this year‘s World Cup tournament, after surviving a qualifying procedure as daunting and competitive as the actual players faced. FlFA had all their referees watched during the qualifying tournament, and as it progressed they whittled its shortlist down to 30 referees from all over the world.
‘They took us over to Dallas for a week in March to do all the medical and ﬁtness tests,‘ Mottram recalls, ‘and reduced the numbers down to 24. There was a lot of pressure but you can only do your best and realise there’s obviously a lot of politics involved about which countries are represented.’
Mottram survived, and is suitably chuffed, but after the experience of the Paris game isn‘t daunted by the prospect of taking charge of some of world's greatest players. The thought of confronting a petulant Maradona or a play-acting Klinsmann doesn't perturb him in the least. ‘There's nobody who wonies me. When you do an international you‘re dealing with the eleven best players from that country, so obviously you‘re talking about a lot of skill and a lot of ability,’ he explains. ‘With the Scottish game, no disrespect to the club players, but you have varying degrees of ability. lntemational games are a bit slower. more skilful, the game is
‘The way I look at it, if FlFA want me to go out there with pink
bows in my hair I’ll go out and do it.’
World Cup Special 7
0 played the way you might expect it to be played. In
Scotland there is so much pressure. so much fear of failure that the game is played at such a furious pace that it's almost impossible to keep up with at times.‘
Oh but Les, what about the feverish atmosphere, the catcalls of the crowd, the showers of ticker-tape, the Mexican waves? ‘l've always said that the atmosphere and hype of big games are only there before and after the game. Once you blow the whistle at the start, the crowd are non-existent as far as I'm concerned. That goes for a lot of referees. You are so engrossed in the game that you wouldn't notice if there were no spectators there at all.
For this tournament, FlFA have asked their refs to crack down on the tackle from behind, and to be more lenient to the attacking side in interpreting the offside law. Apart from that, the most striking innovation is the replacement ofthe traditional black outﬁts with dinky American umpire gear. including one version in a rather lurid pink. The man in fuchsia. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it does it? The question is, without the distinctive black garb, will the refs have the necessary forbidding presence to cow the dirtiest of Bolivian sweepers. ‘lt’s different,‘ admits Mottram. ‘but I think they distinguish the referee from the players, and that's what the whole thing‘s about. I've heard a lot of people criticising them, but the way I look at it, if FlFA want me to go out there with pink bows in my hair I‘ll go out and do it.‘
lee Mottram In rather more mlble garb.
around old rags in the townships of Yaounde. If they can harness some discipline to their innate exuberance, the Africans will be a force to be reckoned with,’ or similar nonsense, despite the fact that most of the side are wealthy professionals playing for top European clubs.
D is for “dim and distant past’,
Brian Moore's favourite catch-all
phrase to introduce an anecdote that inevitably touches on the World Cup exploits of a) The England 1966 squad, b) Pele, or c) Franz Beckenbauer, a German who has somehow become an honorary Brit.
is for Eileen Arantes do
Iasclmento, the full name every
commentator feels obliged to mention when talk turns to Pele, the ‘world‘s greatest ever footballing ambassador', which somehow con- jures up images of Henry Kissinger curling a free-kick round a defensive
wall. For some reason the clips 'l‘V always show to illustrate his genius are Pele putting the ball wide against Uruguay, and Pele taking a pot shot from 50 yards against a hapless Romanian goalie, and missing. The man scored over l000 goals and they show us misses.
is for Just Fontalne, an unas- F suming French centre-forward
who scored the most number of goals ever in a World Cup Finals tournament (in Sweden in l958) and disappeared into obscurity because of the frankly unsatisfactory scansion of the ‘Ooh Aah, Fontaine' chant.
is for Goalkeeper Every touma-
ment throws up an eccentric
keeper, usually of Latin American origins, whose hairstyle. genial grin and reckless rushes out of goal inevitably saddle him with the nickname ‘El Loco'. The last holder of the title was a dubiously coiffured
New Order: acceptable face of soccer slngalong?
Colombian who has since been incar- cerated on cocaine charges. He's threatening to make a comeback for this World Cup.
is for Geoff Hurst. Essex leisure- " centre owner and semi-divine
scorer of the only two-goal hat- trick in international football history. lnevitably mentioned in hushed, ele- giac tones and at intervals of every twenty minutes at least.
is for Italy ‘They‘ve got the class, I they‘ve got the skill, but you have
to ask yourself, have they got the temperament for the big occasion? When things go against them will they revert to all the nasty tricks we know of old?‘ The longest-standing victims ofthe ‘all Latins are petulant cry-babies‘ prejudice, although it cannot be denied that it‘s great fun phoning round the pizzerias after the team are unluckily beaten in the semi-ﬁnal. as,
The List 3—l61une l99417