38: The best WC game you never saw

The greatest World Cup game you’ve probably never heard of

Every World Cup is preceded by an epidemic of lists. The joy of six, the 10 greatest, five reasons why... and I’m a sucker for them, though I prefer shorter, more unusual ones (great one-armed World Cup players, a select list topped by Hector Castro, who scored Uruguay’s fourth in the 1930 World Cup final).

LISTS Try FFT.com's new Lists section. Paul would...

Still, I couldn’t resist Rob Smyth’s 10 greatest World Cup games. All the usual suspects were there – Italy 3 Brazil 2 in 1982, Italy 4 West Germany 3 in 1970 and England 2 Argentina 2 in 1998. But bizarrely there was no mention of Brazil 6 Poland 5 in 1938.

This 11-goal thriller of a first round match, played in front of 13,000 fans in Strasbourg, is largely forgotten outside Poland – where it has a resonance only surpassed by the Poland v England games in the 1974 qualifying campaign. But what a match it must have been.

Polish striker Ernst Wilimowski became the first player to score four goals in one World Cup finals match – he is still the only one to do so and lose  – while Brazilian legend Leonidas, so tricky one Paris Match reporter swore he had six legs, scored a hat-trick.

Leonidas, whose boot had flown off on a swampy pitch, probably scored Brazil’s matchwinner barefoot. In Futebol, still the best book on Brazilian football, Alex Bellos quotes an eyewitness: “The shot, strong and unexpected, left everyone in the small stadium open-mouthed. People were stunned. Europe’s sports press, who thought they had already seen everything, reacted with fright, confusion and shouts of ‘Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!’”

Ezi v the Rubber ManWilimowski was no saint. In 1936, his drinking and partying forced the Polish authorities to reluctantly ban a striker who was averaging roughly a goal a game for the national team. But he was back in the fold for the third World Cup and gave one of the performances of his life against Brazil whose hopes rested largely on Leonidas, perfector of the bicycle kick and so acrobatic as a centre-forward he was dubbed the ‘Rubber Man’.

The game was almost a duel between Wilimowski and Leonidas. After 18 minutes, the quicksilver Brazilian put his side 1-0 up. Five minutes later, Wilimowski dribbled past three defenders and was rugby-tackled by a defender in front of goal; midfielder Friedrich Scherfke scored from the spot to make it 1-1. Then goals by Romeo and Peracio put Brazil 3-1 ahead by the interval.

As the rain began to pelt down during half-time, Polish coach Jozef Kaluka shouted at his players. Chastened, resentful, perhaps sensing the slippery conditions might not suit their opponents, the Polish half-backs began to impose themselves.

Showing the trickery of a circus performer, Wilimowski scored twice to make it 3-3 after 59 minutes. Then the rain stopped. Brazil regained confidence and Peracio made it 4-3 with 19 minutes left on the clock. But Wilimowski wasn’t finished: he completed his hat-trick with 60 seconds left to make it 4-4 and force extra-time.

A Brazilian stick of dynamiteIf the second half belonged to Wilimowski, Leonidas shaded extra-time. According to a reporter quoted by Bellos: “Leonidas was simply amazing. He was like a stick of dynamite. He did the impossible. Every time he touched the ball there was an electric current of enthusiasm throughout the crowd”.

He scored twice. Opinion differs on which goal Leonidas scored barefoot. Either way, he did play for a while in his socks until referee Ivan Eklind ordered him to put his boots back on. Under today’s rules, the barefoot strike would not have stood but Eklind may not have noticed because Leonidas was wearing black socks.

Even with the Poles 6-4 down in the second half of extra-time, Wilimowski didn’t give up. He grabbed another goal in the 118th minute. Polish midfielder Erwin Nyc hit the bar as Brazil shredded their coach Ademar Pimenta’s nerves. But a third comeback was too much for Poland.

There is a strange clip of this game on YouTube. But the fact that this footage only covers some of the 11 goals seems to symbolise the fate of this strangely neglected match.

The footage – click here to watch

Forgetting the unforgettableIn Brazil, this 6-5 has been overshadowed by five World Cup triumphs and the controversial defeats in 1950 and 1998. After beating Poland in 1938, the Selecao made the semi-finals, losing to Italy after Pimenta decided to rest Leonidas, his top scorer, for the final. By 1950, the next World Cup, the Rubber Man had hung up his boots – and his black socks.

In Poland, honouring the heroes of this thriller was, for many years, politically difficult. World War II destroyed the nation and the team. Many Polish internationals, who hailed from Silesia, were regarded as ethnically German and, for various reasons, signed the Volksliste to register as German or fought for Germany.

The agonising choices these players faced are evident in Wilimowski’s war. He signed the Volskliste, escaped military service by joining the police and just managed, with the assistance of a famous Luftwaffe pilot called Hermann Graf, to rescue his mother from Auschwitz.

Unsurprisingly, the post-war Polish government regarded Wilimowski and others of his ilk as traitors so he settled down in Karlsruhe to run a restaurant. In the 1970s, he met Kazimierz Gorski, the great Polish coach who led the country to the 1974 finals, at a hotel. As a youngster, Gorski had idolised Wilimowski. But when they met he told his former idol he should have returned to Poland to defend himself. Wilimowski replied: “I was afraid”.

He had reason to be. Edward Madejski, the Polish keeper beaten six times by Brazil, stayed loyal to Poland and spent months under arrest by the Gestapo awaiting execution. But in 1956, he was jailed for three years by Poland’s Communist government on trumped-up charges of spying, a sentence that wrecked his life.

In the euphoric aftermath of the 6-5, Wilimowski was invited to join a Brazilian club. It might have been better for him and his family if he had accepted.

Brazil 6 Poland 5 in 1938 is not just an unforgettable game. It remains a poignant reminder of a truth we often forget during World Cups: glory on the pitch has never shielded footballers from real life’s tragedies.

More from World Cup Wonderland

Features * News * Interviews * HomeInteract: Twitter * Facebook * Forum 



1 comment


POKERSTAR88.com Agen Texas Poker Dan Domino Online Indonesia Terpercaya – Gelandang Manchester City, Yaya Toure meyakini bahwa rekan satu timnya, Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero selevel dengan pemenang Ballon d’Or empat kali, Lionel Messi. Di mana ia telah merasakan bermain bersama kedua pemain asal Argentina tersebut.

Selengkapnya bisa dibaca di : Master Agen Judi Bola Online Terbaik dan Terpercaya di Indonesia

Toure sempat bahu membahu dengan Messi di Barcelona dengan mempersembahkan gelar Liga Champions pada 2009 sebelum hijrah ke Etihad Stadium pada 2010. Sekarang dirinya menjadi partner Aguero, yang mana sedang menjadi penyerang tersebut di Premier League dengan 10 golnya. Taruhan bola hanya di Padipoker.com Agent Judi Poker Situs Poker Online Teraman Dan Terpercaya Indonesia

“Saya sudah bermain dengan Messi dan sekarang bersama Aguero. Dia adalah striker yang fantastis, sulit memilih yang terbaik di antara keduanya tetapi Aguero sangat kuat, pintar, dan cepat,” ungkap Toure kepada Nissan, Kamis (bola pelangi agen bola sbobet ibcbet casino 338a tangkas togel online indonesia terpercaya).

Lebih lanjut, gelandang komplit asal Pantai Gading itu menilai bahwa Olb365.com Agen Judi Bola Online, Agen Judi Casino Online Indonesia Terpercaya memiliki filosofi permainan yang berbeda saat ini jika dibandingkan saat masih dilatih oleh Roberto Mancini. Ia juga menyinggung target tim saat ini.

“Dulu bersama Mancini, kami bermain lebih bertahan dan saat ini bersama Pellegrini kami total menyerang. Setiap pemain memiliki pendapatnya masing-masing, tetapi saat ini dengan Pellegrini, setiap pemain di sini sangat menyukainya,” tambahnya.

“Untuk kami, skenario yang sempurna adalah memenangkan keduanya (Liga Champions dan Premier League) tetapi kami tahu target tersebut sangatlah sulit dan kami akan mencobanya,” tuntas adik dari Agen Ibcbet ini.


Ibcbet Seiring berjalannya periode senja karier, David James malah diterpa krisis finansial. Bekas kiper tim nasional Inggris itu mulai mengalami kebangkrutan. Terpaksa, beberapa barang memorabilia nan berharga masuk daftar lelang.

Kiper berusia 44 tahun yang juga pernah membela SBOBET – Liverpool dan Manchester City itu sedianya masih menyambung kariernya, sebagai pemain sekaligus pelatih di sebuah klub ISL (Indian Super League), Agen Bola Terpercaya.

Akan tetapi gajinya di Agen Bola nampaknya belum bisa menutupi krisis keuangan pribadi sang kiper yang punya 53 caps bersama The Three Lions itu.

Sebagaimana dikutip Taruhan Bola Online Agen Bola, Rabu (5/11/2014), James mendaftarkan sekitar 150 barang untuk dilelang yang sebagian besar merupakan memorabilia berharga sepanjang kariernya.

James memasukkan 150 barang tersebut ke HilcoIndustrial, situs lelang onlineyang berbasis di Kota Napoleon, Ohio Taruhan Bola– Amerika Serikat.

Beberapa barang yang coba dilelangnya adalah sejumlah jersey kiper timnas Inggris yang pernah dipakainya, serta beberapa jersey pemain lawan yang pernah bertukar dengannya.

Ada pula sejumlah jersey klub Premier League yang pernah ditandatangani rekan setimnya, ditambah berbagai barang yang tak ada hubunganya dengan olahraga, macam sepeda klasik Raleigh, sampai sebuah mobil Rajamerah.com situs judi Poker online terbaik terpercaya.

Pulaujudi.com Master Agen Judi Bola Online Terbaik dan Terpercaya di Indonesia – Arsène Wenger kini tak perlu lagi dibikin ribet oleh masalah resleting jaketnya. Problem ini sedianya sepele, tapi kadang membuat nakhoda Arsenalitu kesal setiap kali kesulitan mengancingkan resleting jaket lamanya.

Musim sebelumnya, Sbobet sering terlihat kesulitan, baik saat berdiri di pinggir lapangan, maupun sedang terduduk di bench, hanya untuk mengancingkan resleting jaket Nike-nya (Indomasterbola.com Agen Judi Bola, Taruhan Bola Terbaik dan Terpercaya).

Kerap kali, rekaman Wenger itu bahkan dijadikan candaan dan bahkan pem-bully-an di beragam media sosial.

Tapi kini problem itu sudah terpecahkan. Puma sebagai apparel baru Arsenal musim ini, menyediakan jaket dengan resleting yang lebih inovatif. Kini, Wenger tak lagi harus kerepotan mengancingkan resleting jaket panjangnya hingga ke leher demi menahan udara dingin.

Jaket baru dari JagadPoker.com Agen Texas Poker & Domino Online Indonesia Terpercaya ini sedikit berbeda dalam hal resletingnya. Tak seperti jaket-jaket pada lazimnya, jaket yang disediakan Puma ini punya kait resleting ganda.

Kait bawah untuk menyatukan dua rel resleting, sementara satu kait di atasnya yang saling tersambung dengan kait bawahnya, berguna untuk memudahkan Wenger menaikkan resletingnya.

“Di BOLAWIN88.COM BANDAR TARUHAN AGEN JUDI BOLA CASINO POKER DOMINO BOLATANGKAS DAN TOGEL ONLINE TERPERCAYA INDONESIA, kami tahu bahwa sepakbola tidak bisa diprediksi. Anda harus siap untuk hal apapun, baik itu lawan yang berat maupun cuaca yang buruk,” papar Puma dalam komersial barunya.

“Ada banyak macam hal yang bisa mengubah pertandingan. Jika Anda seorang pelatih, Anda butuh fokus. Anda tak bisa membiarkan apapun memecah fokus Anda, termasuk masalah resleting,” lanjut pernyataan apparel asal JINPOKER.COM Agen Judi Poker Online dan Domino Online Indonesia Terpercaya itu.