Wales National Team

Discussion in 'General Football & Other Sport' started by Klein Lust, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    Nostalgic article about the forgotten Euro tournament of 1976. Leighton James, what a fantastic winger. Clive Thomas, what an arrogant c-u-n-t he was and probably still is.

    Euro 1976: The year the Welsh Dragon roared again
    By Jimmy SmallwoodBBC Sport
    Last updated on

    12 May 201212 May 2012.From the section Football

    "It is the forgotten campaign," says Leighton James.

    A former Derby, Burnley and Wales winger, James won 54 caps and scored 10 goals for his country between 1971 and 1983.

    The highlight of his international career is also the oh-so-nearly moment of Welsh football.

    For many football fans, from Cardiff to Colwyn Bay and Porthmadog to Prestatyn, the crop of the mid-70s is the Wales team that time forgot: the quarter-finalists of Euro '76.

    The Dragons - captained by Leeds legend Terry Yorath and led from the front by Liverpool's John Toshack - came within a whisker of reaching the last four of a major international competition.*****.jpg
    Yugoslavia '76: Twists and turns
    Semi Netherlands 1-3 aet Czechoslovakia

    Semi Yugoslavia 2-4 aet West Germany

    Third place Netherlands 4-2 aet Yugoslavia

    Final Czechoslovakia 2-2 aet West Germany

    (5-3 pens)
    The finals of the 1976 European Championship took place in mid-June, in an affair conducted behind the Iron Curtain. The competition format saw just the remaining four countries gather for the final stages.

    West met east with communist Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia facing the free market might of West Germany and the Netherlands.

    Wales, under the stewardship of Mike Smith, reached the last eight by topping a group containing the fancied Hungary as well as Austria and Luxembourg.

    Other Home Nations, by contrast, fell at the first hurdle of the group stages, and it was up to Wales to fly the British flag in the quarter-finals.

    Two matches against hosts Yugoslavia - who in 1976 were required to qualify for the tournament they were hosting - would decide Wales's fate.

    "We were quietly confident," James told BBC Sport. "Provided that we didn't blow up out in Yugoslavia, we would have a chance in Cardiff."

    Yet it all went wrong on a tough night in Zagreb.

    "We lost 2-0, going a goal down after less than a minute," recalls James. "That was a disastrous start for us. We lost but we were still confident of clawing it back.

    "In the second leg we had an East German referee and he refused to start the game unless the East German flag was flown over the stadium. He gave them an awful penalty and they scored, putting us 3-0 down. We then proceeded to hammer them, got a goal back, and really should have beaten them. We played very well on the day, but it wasn't to be."

    Yet, despite the team's failure to qualify for the finals, a Welshman still had a part to play.

    One of the darkest moments in Dutch footballing history took place on 16 June 1976 when the masters of total football took on unfancied Czechoslovakia, the eventual tournament winners.

    After 120 gruelling minutes played in a quagmire under pouring rain, and with two Netherlands players and one Czech sent off, the underdogs emerged 3-1 winners.

    The referee in that controversial, unforgettable European semi-final? Welsh official Clive Thomas.

    Home Nations exploits
    None of the Home Nations were able to join Welsh referee Clive Thomas at the finals in Yugoslavia. Wales fell at the knock-out quarter-final stage, while England dropped out at the group stage, finishing second in Group One behind eventual winners Czechoslovakia. Scotland finished second bottom in Group Four, while Northern Ireland managed second in Group Three, behind the tournament hosts.

    "It was the most difficult [second] half of a match that I ever refereed in my career," Thomas confessed to BBC Sport 36 years later.

    "It rained the whole day before, it rained the day of the game. Holland had no chance of playing their ideal game of total football.

    "I had the impression as the second half wore on that the Dutch thought they were bigger than the game, and that they were bigger than you. They could do what they liked. That wasn't my game of football.

    "Johan Cruyff was one of the worst, but then he always had been. You had to nail him right at the very beginning, because if he knew that he had control of you then you had had it. I saw too many matches where Cruyff had control of referees.

    "You don't expect players of that calibre to act like they did."

    Thomas even admits that, as he received abuse from certain Dutch players having dismissed Willem van Hanegem for repeated dissent, he considered abandoning the game.

    Is Thomas disappointed that the Welsh footballers of his generation never got to experience the 1976 finals in Yugoslavia, as he did?

    "It was a shame Wales didn't get there. But I got to the semi-finals because they didn't," he explained.

    "Talk about Ryan Giggs, Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, all of them. Not one of them have had what I had. I've been to the World Cup and to the European Cup. None of them have gone to a finals."

    How does ex-Wales international James recall 1976, that year of the oh-so-nearly?

    "I feel pride, plus a little bit of sadness that we didn't get to Yugoslavia," he reflected.

    "When we all meet up we still mention it and we get a little peeved or annoyed that people tell us we've qualified for nothing since 1958.

    "We went out in the quarter-finals, and that's still something the footballing public of Wales doesn't pay much attention to."
    Smudger and Klein Lust like this.
  2. Since63

    Since63 Squad Player

    I hope there’s nothing riding on the game personally.
    Klein Lust likes this.
  3. Klein Lust

    Klein Lust Uber Keine

    Yep, Giggs is a dirty cheating divvv. Page, knowing most of the team having managed them in u21, has been really surprisingly brilliant;
  4. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    John Charles would be in an all time British eleven. He was the British di Stefano. An idolo still at Juventus where he was voted their best overseas player even ahead of the legendary Omar Sivori. Bale's a great player but J.Charles was equally comfortable at the back and upfront and when he did return from Italy part of the fledgling revolution at Leeds. His brother was pretty decent too.

    Anyway congratulations to all the Welsh boyo's on here @reg_varney , @Klein Lust. I can't see the US NT as is or Iran as much of a threat. R16 should be easily accomplished. Very pleased for Pagey. Fingers crossed the FAW release Giggs and make him head honcho permanently.
    reg_varney likes this.
  5. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    Malcolm Allen going mental at the final whistle on Sunday. Another one of our own.

  6. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    That’s Peter Glaze, isn’t it? (One for the kids there.)
    reg_varney likes this.
  7. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    With Don "Yes I have cleaned my teeth this morning" MacLean or Leslie Crowther if you're even older.
    WillisWasTheWorst likes this.
  8. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    Yes I am. Crowther for me.
  9. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    Just before my time. I can just remember Micheal Aspel hosting it before Ed "Stewpot" Stewart who has partially shattered my innocence with his post-Saville reminiscences of when he first dated his wife and the photo of him on a night out with Mary Millington.
  10. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    One of Crowther’s daughters was married to Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy and another is an actress who made early regular appearances alongside Trevor Eve in Shoestring on TV in the 80s.
  11. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    As they say “never more vulnerable than when you have just scored”!
  12. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    Of course, statistically this is nonsense. People naturally notice when it happens but don’t take into account all the countless times when it doesn’t.
    wfc4ever likes this.
  13. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    In Shoestring, was she the one who was PA to the Radio station boss?

    My Dad was in Ricky Lions Club with a Motorway Policeman who had then recently pulled over Leslie Crowther for excessive speeding on the M25. With a "How dare you" attitude, Crowther informed him, "I'm terribly busy, don't you know who I am", to which came the white lie "No, never heard of you" followed by a ticket written with added zeal.
  14. Teide1

    Teide1 Squad Player

    Did you get to keep your Pencil
    WillisWasTheWorst likes this.
  15. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    A second string Wales team narrowly lose to the Netherlands. Annoyingly, they managed to equalise in injury time but fail to see the game out with the winner coming about 90 secs later. Never mind, some good game time for some of the younger lads against top quality opposition. Watford Ladies Helen Ward is one of the pundits.

  16. luke_golden

    luke_golden Space Cadet

    The only time you’re more vulnerable, is when you’ve just taken a 2-0 lead. The most dangerous score of all.
  17. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    Yes she was. Redhead as I recall.
  18. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

    Not everywhere.

    When Phil Lynott asked for her hand in marriage, Leslie Crowther said "well you have had the rest of her, you may as well have her hand as well"
  19. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    No, it was Liz Crowther who was in Shoestring. Lynott married a different sister.
  20. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

    Caroline - i stand corrected !
  21. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    wfc4ever likes this.
  22. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

    Match highlights here:

    Fark me it happened again. After a very slow start, defence half asleep and conceding 2 goals, a below strength starting line up Wales pull a goal back in the first half with a nicely taken finish by the very in-form Brennan Johnson. Under the cosh, but defending much better in the second half, the Dutch concede a stupid penalty at the end of normal time. Bale dispatches and it looks like a Welsh point but once again Netherlands go straight up the pitch and score the winner. This is a decent Dutch team and Wales came so close again to getting something against the Dutch. Once again, very good experience for the young players. This is turning into a non-too-shappy Wales team. There is optimism to be had.
    Smudger, Sahorn and wfc4ever like this.
  23. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Makes the hair stand up on your neck. Wonderful song and a magnificent crowd. Great to see Welsh on the revival. An ancient and very descriptive language.

    In Our Time: S20/32 The Mabinogion (May 10 2018) - YouTube

    Fingers crossed Cornish can revive as well. We're losing far too many languages across the world recently. Great to see the kids belting it out as well. I'm sure my old primary head Mr.Allan would have loved this.

    There will be some magnificent supporters travelling to Qatar this winter. Argentina fans are tremendous, Brazil and Wales singing these songs. Shame the Peruvians did not make it as they also have some great chants and a fiesta when they turn up.
    reg_varney likes this.
  24. Knight GT

    Knight GT Predictor extraordinaire 2013/14

    Good lord there is some passion in that. Have a soft spot for the Welsh having spent a lot of my time in the North of Wales on Llyn Peninsular. Beautiful country and boy can they sing
    reg_varney likes this.
  25. Happy bunny

    Happy bunny Cheered up a bit

    No, the time you're most vulnerable is when you've shipped out or alienated your best players and haven't got any decent replacements in.

    Hope that never happens to Watford.
  26. reg_varney

    reg_varney Reservist

  27. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason First Team Captain

    folkestone orn and wfc4ever like this.
  28. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    I think the players have said as much and Giggs probably knew that.

    He's been away too long and of course still has this court case to come.

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