THE MATCHES

Australian Four Four Two - - WORLD CUP 1974 -

What was it like hear­ing the an­them be­fore the first match?

It took a lit­tle bit of time to re­alise it was real. We were all part-time play­ers. There we are, in a coun­try that was one of the bet­ter coun­tries in the world as far as the game was con­cerned, both on and off the field. I’ll never for­get ar­riv­ing in Mu­nich and the new sta­dium had just been built, and the rail­way sta­tion came right into the sta­dium. It was built for the fu­ture, it wasn’t built for then.

Which was the tough­est match?

It was go­ing in against Chile in the fi­nal game, be­cause were most prob­a­bly look­ing as though the best had come from us. Ev­ery­body was ex­pect­ing us to get pretty eas­ily taken care of. We were tested in every way – it was the wettest ground I have ever played on. Half-time was an ex­tra 20 min­utes be­cause they just weren’t sure if we were go­ing to go back out or not. And ev­ery­body was ex­press­ing their spirit, it was quite ex­tra­or­di­nary. I was amazed at the run­ning and the de­fen­sive qual­i­ties of every mem­ber of that team. They were never out­classed. The game was of a high qual­ity and we were equally as good as they were.

Your best mo­ment on the field?

The mo­ments where we cre­ated op­por­tu­nites against Chile and I was watch­ing from the goals at the other end. We had some good chances, like the op­por­tu­nity Atti Abonyi had in the sec­ond half to score and the ball just went over the cross­bar.

And the worst?

Also against Chile. We were in the 92nd minute and this ball came in and it was chest-high as far as I was con­cerned, but be­cause of the state of the ground I came back down onto the ground, my heels went from un­der­neath me, and it threw me back­wards along with the ball. For­tu­nately for me, Peter Wil­son was the de­fender that he al­ways was and he blocked the shot that came in when the ball spilled to the ground.

Your best mo­ment off the field?

You could al­ways be very, very sure Peter Wil­son was go­ing to test ev­ery­body. Whether he was test­ing the phys­io­ther­a­pists with an in­jury he didn’t have or whether he was test­ing ev­ery­body to make sure they were in bed at the right time of night. It was very, very in­ter­est­ing that he could do all of these pranks and still go on the ground and re­tain his pres­ence.

And the worst?

After the World Cup, com­ing off the plane hav­ing ar­rived back home and we find out that Sir Arthur Ge­orge has sacked Rale Ra­sic. I firmly be­lieve that is one of the main rea­sons that is why we dis­ap­peared into the wilder­ness for 34 years. I thought that was fairly or­di­nary.

What about the fun­ni­est mo­ment?

I come back to Peter Wil­son. The late Peter van Ren, who was the phys­io­ther­a­pist, I think he’s most prob­a­bly look­ing down from above these days think­ing, God, how was I so silly? That in­jury on the pe­nis of Peter Wil­son was just a steel mar­ble un­der his fore­skin.

What’s your last­ing mem­ory of the 1974 World Cup?

Go­ing into the sta­dium prior to the first game against East Ger­many. My heart was go­ing at a rate it’s never gone at since, I can as­sure you. It was just phe­nom­e­nal to think, here we are in a group with one of the bet­ter na­tions in the world, we’re go­ing to play against them and give it the best we pos­si­bly can.

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