Triviela – Beyond Trivia

The Trivela is a Portuguese term to denote the art of kicking the football with the outside of one’s foot. It is used to hide one’s weaker foot and also to suddenly fool the opposition with a wickedly swerving ball from a difficult angle. In Triviela, we will attempt to find some football feats/facts which would make you sit up and take note, like it happens when you see Ricardo Quaresma try these

Saarland Football: A short-lived romance

The Saarland is  currently one of Germany’s sixteen federal states. After World War II,  it came under French occupation as the Saar Protectorate. The Saarland had a national football team representing it between 1950 and 1956 during the French occupation. Following a plebiscite, The Saarland became a part of the Federal republic of Germany and its football association SFB ended its separate FIFA membership. In the period, they played 19 matches, starting with a 5-3 win  against Switzerland in 1950 and ending with a 2-3 loss to The Netherlands in 1955.

Gerhard Siedl, who played for both West Germany and The Saarland (besides having a successful career at FC Bayern Munich) was their most well-known player.  He played 16 matches for The Saarland and scored  four goals. Herbert Martin was the most capped player with 17 international matches for The Saarland team played and scored  six goals, a record he shares with Herbert Binkert.

Left: The Saarland National team in 1950. Right: Germany vs. The Saarland in 1953 in Stuttgart
Left: The Saarland National team in 1950. Right: Germany vs. The Saarland in 1953 in Stuttgart

 

However, The Saarland’s biggest moment of football glory was participating in the qualifying rounds of the 1954 World Cup, and narrowly  missing out on qualification. They were drawn in the same group as West Germany and Norway. In their first match, they beat Norway (away) 3-2 (with goals from Siedel, Herbert Binkert and Werner Otto) in Oslo. However, they lost their next match (away) 0-3 in Stuttgart and drew 0-0 with Norway (home) at Saarbrucken. In their last match where they played against West Germany at home, they needed to draw level with Germany in terms of points and then proceed to the playoffs. West Germany won 3-1, qualified, and went on to win the World Cup! As a football romantic, I am fascinated to think how different the world football history might have been had The Saarland won their last qualifying match. Who knows, the Mighty Magyars might have won the World Cup and Adidas might never have existed.

Triviela – Beyond Trivia

The Trivela is a Portuguese term to denote the art of kicking the football with the outside of one’s foot. It is used to hide one’s weaker foot and also to suddenly fool the opposition with a wickedly swerving ball from a difficult angle. In Triviela, we will attempt to find some football feats/facts which would make you sit up and take note, like it happens when you see Ricardo Quaresma try these.

The Record That Never Was

Bryan Robson scores against France in 1982

In a quiz before the 1998 World Cup, it was asked – who scored the fastest ever goal in the World Cup finals? The answer given: Bryan Robson who scored after 27 seconds against France on 16th June 1982, at Stadio Mames in Bilbao. FiFA presented Bryan Robson with a gold Seiko watch to honour his achievement. The media hailed him and he made it to all the record books.

Václav Mašek

 A television series produced by Sunset + Vine, for BBC set out to correct the record. All the available television footage of matches along with old news reels and newspaper reports were collected and studied by a panel of experts. The experts included a retired referee, an engineer from the Longines watch company and a professional footballer. They went through the evidence and were convinced FIFA was incorrect. The fastest goal was in fact scored by Václav Mašek, a Czechoslovakian forward, on 7th June 1962 against Mexico at the Stadio Municipal at Vina del Mar, Chile. The video evidence was checked and rechecked by adding a digital clock to the old film. Mašek had scored the goal after just 15 seconds. Oddly though, following the telecast of the programme, Sunset + Vine did not pass on this piece of vital information to FIFA. Some people even allege that the British company wanted the record to remain with an Englishman. On 29th June 2002, Hakan Şükür of Turkey scored after 11 seconds against South Korea, at Daegu to claim the new record. Yet FIFA credited Robson with the second fastest goal.

In 2003, late Syed Akber Ali Wahidi, a Pakistani sports writer and journalist, noticed the error after watching the television programme and wrote to FIFA. FIFA acknowledged his letter, accepting their error and subsequently corrected their records. They sent an honorary letter to Wahidi thanking him for his contribution. He was a special FIFA invitee to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Wahidi’s dream of a lifetime had come true. He passed away on 25th April 2011 in a Faisalabad hotel following a massive cardiac arrest. He was there on a special invite to cover the final NBP National Football Challenge Cup 2011. He died a content man, happy to have realised his ultimate dream of watching a World Cup final.

Meanwhile FIFA was going through its collection of films to check for other such goals. Eventually they found that there was one more goal faster than Robson’s, scored by Ernst Lehner of Germany on 7th June 1934 against Austria at the Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli, Naples. This goal was timed at 25 seconds. Robson went down the list to fourth position. But, spare a thought for Mašek who should have held the record for more than 40 years, but never did.

A Silent Witness to a Rivalry

Statue of Santa Maria Nascente (St. Mary Nascent)

What is the significance of this beautiful polychrome statue in the world of football? 

Designed and built by Giuseppe Perego in 1774 and located on top of the spire of Duomo di Milano or the Milan Cathedral, at a height of 108.5 m (356 ft).  The statue is that of Santa Maria Nascente (St. Mary Nascent) to whom the cathedral is dedicated. When Guiseppe Pozzobonelli was the archbishop of Milan from 1743 to 1783, he supported the idea of having a statue of Virgin Mary at the top of the cathedral. When the Pirelli Building was completed in 1960 and reached a height of 127 m (417 ft) the architect Gio Ponti, a devout catholic had a smaller replica of the original statue built to be placed on top so that St. Mary remained the highest point of the city.

What is its connection with football?

This statue is known by locals as the ‘Madonnina’. The famous Milan derby is known as Derby della Madonnina, named after this statue. Next time the Rossoneri and Nerazzurri meet at the San Siro, one should remember the traditions and the history behind the match which lie far beyond the boundaries of football.

Parting Shot

Which goalkeeper has the record for the most number of minutes played without conceding a goal in top division football?

I have asked this question to three different persons and all of them have the same reply: Edwin Van der Saar of Manchester United.

Indeed? Well, not quite. In fact Van der Saar comes in sixth, having gone 1311 minutes unbeaten. So who holds the record? Geraldo Pareira de Matos Filho aka Mazaropi of Vasco da Gama club of Brazil who was unbeaten in goal for a whopping 1816 minutes in all the competitions, May 1977 – September 1978. And who are the other four before Van der Saar?  Keep watching this space!

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Kinshuk Biswas is an architect by education, a consultant by profession, a quizzer, writer and an absolute football fanatic by choice. Follow him at http://confessionsofastonedmind.blogspot.com

Triviela – Beyond Trivia


The Trivela is a Portuguese term to denote the art of kicking the football with the outside of one’s foot. It is used to hide one’s weaker foot and also to suddenly fool the opposition with a wickedly swerving ball from a difficult angle. In Triviela, we will attempt to find some football feats/facts which would make you sit up and take note, like it happens when you see Ricardo Quaresma try these.

The 1st Bishop of Pavia

The 1st bishop of Pavia has an unwitting history with a game, which was discovered at least 14 centuries after his death.

Pavia is an ancient town in northern Italy about 35 km from Milan. It is the capital of the provinceofPavia. The city achieved its greatest political importance between 568 and 774 A.D., as the capital of the KingdomoftheLombards. Syrus (Sirus) was the 1st bishop of Pavia back in the 1st century. His legend, according to the 14th century source known as the De laudibus Papiæ (In the Praise of Pavia), states that Syrus was the boy with the five loaves who appears in the Gospels.

This Saint Syrus would have stayed off limits, till you hear the Italian way of writing his name – Syrus is written as Siro and being a saint, he was called San Siro!

Even though San Siro di Pavia did not have any direct relation to football or football clubs, it was in his memory, that a vast district of Milan was named San Siro. So when the stadium was opened in 1926, it was named “Nuovo Stadio Calcistico San Siro” (San Siro New Football Stadium). Later it was renamed as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, but owing to Meazza’s Inter history (though he played for both Milan clubs), the Rossoneri half of Milan still call the stadium San Siro.

Parting Shot: San Siro di Pavia had a compatriot, a bishop in Pavia back in the 1st century, and his name was Juventius of Pavia. No link has been found between him and the third famous Italian club from Turin though.

Larger than Life

Let’s start with a question: What is common between Jomo Sono of South Africa, Abedi Pele of Ghana and Mohammed Kallon of Sierra Leone. Well for one, they are all African. While Jomo and Abedi Pele are absolute legends of the African game and in their country, Kallon is only a national legend. 56 year old Jomo and 46 year old Pele are into managing clubs while 31 year old Kallon’s wandering career has taken him to a struggling I-Leage (Indian national league) club Viva Kerala.

But the thread that connects all three is that all of them have clubs named after them.

After his soccer career ended, Sono returned to South Africa, where he purchased the Highlands Park club in Johannesburg in 1982, renaming it Jomo Cosmos in honour of his old team, the NY Cosmos. Under his ownership, the club went on to achieve several successes: it won the National Soccer League in 1987, the Bobsave Super Bowl in 1990, the Cola Cola Cup in 2002 and the Super Eight in 2003. Jomo Cosmos has also consistently finished among the top teams in the South African Premier Soccer League.

European Champions League winner, 2 times African Player of the Year, winner of the African Cup of Nations and former Ghanaian Captain Abedi Pele founded FC Nania (often called as Abedi Pele’s Nania Accra F.C.) in the Legon suburb of Accra in 2004. Nania never reached the successes of Jomo Cosmos and instead was embroiled in a match fixing scandal. In 2008, Abedi Pele was banned from participation in active football for one year by the Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Football Association after the controversial Division One Middle League results in which Abedi’s Nania FC beat Okwahu United 31-0.

The only silverware that FC Nania managed to win was the E.K. Nayanar Memorial Football Gold Cup, a tournament in Southern India beating Viva Kerala and that is where our 3rd figure, Mohd. Kallon comes in. Sierra Fisheries, a club based out of Freetown, Sierra Leone, was acquired by Kallon in 2002 for $30,000. Kallon FC won the Sierra Leonean FA Cup and the Sierra Leone League title in 2006. Kallon himself played for the club in the 2009-10 season. Just like it’s a sharp drop for a man who has played 42 times for Inter Milan – with 14 goals, between (2001-04), and 48 times for AS Monaco – between (2004-07), scoring 14 goals again, to ply his trade in the Indian League, Kallon FC too have not set any pulse racing since their last title in 2006.

Parting Shot: Clarence Seedorf is the coowner of AC Monza, a club in Italian lower division, one he bought in 2009. Though he hasn’t renamed it after himself, you may keep an eye out on this.