Brazil in Seville; June 18, 9pm local time; 90 degrees (at least); Impossible is nothing for Narey and Scotland are on top of the world.
The nation had been glued to their televisions that week in June, transfixed by the arrogant authority of Souness and the wonderful insouciance of Strachan. Stein had described the seeding for the 1982 World Cup Finals as “farcical” with Scotland trapped, to his mind unjustly, in the third pot. The draw itself in Madrid was an astonishing cock-up of balls and baskets, Scotland first drawn with Argentina, only for an error to be declared and Scotland shunted into Group 6 alongside Brazil, the dark horse USSR and the perceived whipping boys of New Zealand. “We always knew it would be tough, but this is as tough as they come,” said Stein.
For Scotland, the 1982 World Cup began with New Zealand in Malaga. “We have chosen as many proven goalscorers as possible,” explained Stein, “in anticipation of spending most of our time in New Zealand’s half of the field.” Kenny Dalglish would lead the hunt with Alan Brazil of Ipswich, whom Stein preferred to AC Milan’s Joe Jordan. Width and wonder would be provided by Strachan and John Robertson, the latter restored to the Scotland set-up by Stein, while John Wark would make his trademark runs, from the midfield governed by Souness.
“Our fear is not our opponents. Our fear is ourselves,” said Stein prophetically. He chose not to name substitutes in advance so that every one of his players would be on their toes . A great deal of the satisfaction against New Zealand flowed through Strachan who was inspired, laying on all three of Scotland’s first-half goals. “The World Cup is his stage,” Stein had vouched of his flame-haired entertainer.
Brazil in Seville; June 18, 9pm local time; 90 degrees (at least); Impossible is nothing for Narey and Scotland are on top of the world. Souness outwits Socrates in the heat of the battle but then Zico equalises with a vengeful free-kick. Oscar heads Brazil ahead and Eder cheekily chips Rough for the third. Falcao rubs the salt into Scotland’s wounds with Brazil’s fourth. The 4-1 defeat was hard on Stein’s side but the hard reality was that Scotland had been driven into submission by a South American masterclass. “It’s going to take something special to prevent Brazil from winning this World Cup,” said Stein. Scotland defender Gray, who had to cope with the Brazilians, recalls: “Brazil were fantastic but I felt the first half was as good as we played as a Scotland team.”
My memory of this game is as a wee excitable wean at home in Eaglesham. My dad had invited quite a few friends over to watch the game and I remember the smell of beer and cigarettes and seeing lots of cans of Tennents Lager everywhere with pictures of ladies on the side.
When Narey scored, I assumed that we would then go on to win the game and confidently went around telling everyone in my wee voice that we would win the World Cup too. I may have even started singing a song to that effect.
Understandably, as Brazil piled forward in search of an equalizer, my dad’s pals were not happy about my lack of pessimism, and told my Dad to shut me up as obviously I was jinxing the team.
Naturally when Brazil came back to score 4 goals – I got the blame.
It was my first lesson in being a Scotland fan: don’t get too cocky against Brazil.
Feel free to stop watching the rarely seen video below after about 2 minutes.