If You Could Attend Any Football Match In History, Which Would It Be?

Chris Wright

18th, November 2011

78 Comments

By Chris Wright

What’s that I smell? Is it cabbage? It smells a bit like cabbage…*sniff*…mixed with…creosote? It’s…it’s…PROPER FOOTBALL! Proper football is back! Enough of your rubbish inter-lull nonsense, the time has come to hunker down in your armchair, set your phaser to ‘slob’, grab a room-temperature Tizer and spend the entire weekend driving a wedge between yourself and your loved ones – studiously watching triffic match after top top match, highlight after highlight, cringing as the results pour in and Garth Crooks continues to splutter and froth over something so insignificant it’d make your mind pop if you even began to know what he was up-in-arms about. Proper football.

Hell, you may even have forked out for some football tickets online and be toddling off to a game this weekend. Come Saturday afternoon, I’ll be watching Forest succumb to Ipswich as my toes do likewise to frostbite because I’m masochistic like that and, as always, by about 3:45pm there’ll probably be – as Billy Joel would have it – ‘some place that I’d rather be’. And I’m not talking about the bar. Or the City Ground urinals.

Lord knows there have been a raft of great games down through the footballing annals. Games steeped in historic semblance, games fraught with palpitation-inducing drama, games that are endearing and/or special on altogether more personal grounds – which, all-in-all leads me to ask: Which match would you watch (or re-watch) live if you were granted the chance to take your place in the stands for any game, ever?

Ferenc Puskas leads Hungary out ahead of the ‘Match of the Century’ at Wembley

Giving it a moment’s thought, a few go-to’s ran around my head instantly; Real Madrid destroying Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the 1960 European Cup Final; Liverpool’s back-from-the-brink Lazarus act against AC Milan in Istanbul; That balmy night in Barcelona; Hungary blowing England’s minds at Wembley in 1953; England pulling Holland’s pants down at Euro ’96; ‘The 5-1’ and, of course, West Hallam’s historic 3-2 win over Littleover Dazzlers at the Derby Racecourse in the early 2000’s – man, I’d love to see that jaw-dropping winning goal again, some kid called ‘Wright’ I seem to recall.

Eventually I came to a decision. Perhaps not a hugely popular one, but a game I have held in the highest regard since sitting transfixed through it over a decade ago. Spain 4-3 Yugoslavia, Group C, Euro 2000. My respiratory system damn-near failed while watching it the first time, I want to know if it was as good as I remember. I need closure.

The two sides had met 18 times previously and there had only ever once been more than one goal in any of the games but they more than made up for it with a deluge in Bruges. 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3. Real Betis striker Alfonso scoring a beautiful winner in the 95th-minute to take Spain through as group winners (before losing 2-1 to eventual winners France in the very next round)…

Magic. So, the question goes out: If you could attend any football match down throughout history, which would it be folks?

TicketBis is a ticket-exchange where you can get tickets to your favorite games without hassle and fraud. So, the next time your friends talk about a prominent game, you can tell them you were there.

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78 Comments

  1. crazyrussian says:

    This guy reminds me John Coffee from The Green Mile…

  2. Joshua says:

    May 25, 2005

  3. aa says:

    Netherlands – Belgium 1999 : 5-5 !

  4. aa says:

    But since it was a friendly, I would say Liverpool Milan 2005 … Crazy shit

  5. Jordon says:

    Mine would have to be Australia vs Uruguay in 2005. Best of 2 legs and the winner went through to the WC. We started the second game in Sydney with a 1-0 deficit on aggregate. Scored a goal and it went through to penalties. When we won on penalties, I went absolutely nuts. As sad as it might sound, it’s pretty much Australian soccer’s equivalent of England winning in ’66.

  6. shep says:

    the 1950 WC final in the Maracana. purely to be part of the 200,000 strong crowd.

  7. Ed says:

    For me it has to be the 1999 Champions league final.

  8. Nienke says:

    @ Joshua: yeah definitely! Craziest game ever!

    I’d also love to see the Champions League final of 1995. I was seven at the time, so needless to say I wasn’t there in Vienna. But it’s one of the biggest regrets of my (football)life that I never saw my team Ajax Amsterdam win the Champions League. And given current developments I guess I never will…

    Though I wás there the 15th of May this year, when we played FC Twente in a direct confrontation for the Championship. I witnessed unique football history there! Still I cherisch every minute of that day… *dozes off reminiscing about the match and the aftermath…*

  9. Hoops82 says:

    1967 league cup final for sure, 2-0, 3rd division qpr 2-0 down at half time against 1st division WBA (who were reigning champions, come back and score 3 in the second half. and the first league cup final to be played at wembley

  10. Ubietz888 says:

    France V Bulgaria WC 94 qualifier in Paris. Kostadinov winner in injury time to make the frogs cry in pain.

  11. Davy says:

    Newcastle 3 2 Barcelona….The magic that was Asprilla….Mint!!

  12. Davy says:

    in 1997 that was!!

  13. Dick van Kundt says:

    nice write-up, chris. liked it.
    definitely the 1991 fa cup semi-final at wembley. watching it on telly i damn nearly broke my toe when i kicked the table celebrating gazza’s blinding free kick.

  14. Temjin says:

    Portugal 3 – England 2 , Euro 2000. 15 minutes in i’m eating the stuffing of my couch out of anger. 90 minutes in i’m screaming “YEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!” at the TV.

    Then I kinda felt sorry for the English players. They were going to (and did) get much stick for a game were they didn’t play that badly at all.

  15. wanky o'toole says:

    Either the 05 champions league or the germany 4-1 england game, sweet games ;)

  16. dennis says:

    Nienke you’ll like mine.

    29-04-2007
    Three clubs were all on 72 points from 33 matches, with the AZ on top due to goal difference. Ajax were second, PSV were third. AZ suffered a shock defeat at league minnows Excelsior Rotterdam in the final round, playing with 10 men after 15 minutes in the game. Ajax won 0-2 at Willem II, and PSV beat Vitesse 5-1. PSV and Ajax both finished on 75 points, but PSV finished first due to a better goal difference (+50, against +49 for Ajax) to end one of the most exciting and closest title races in many years.

    What a wonderfull day that was. Wish I was there in the Philips Stadium.

  17. Chris says:

    Some absolute gems being picked here folks! Keep ’em coming!

  18. Stopping the BS says:

    October 15, 1892 at North Road

    Football League Division One

    Newton Heath 10 – Wolverhampton 1

    To be one of the lucky 4000 to have witnessed it…

  19. aa says:

    If you ask the opposite, worst game ever to attend :

    I’m from Belgium, a huge football fan and thus, a fan of the Belgium national team. We haven’t qualified for a big competition since 2002.

    Last year, our team got better, things were going great. Austria is coming to Brussels. At the 86th minute, Austria is leading 2-3 and I’m so f****** angry.

    Then out of nowhere,87th minute boom : 3-3. Ok, it’s not that bad, still I’m angry we are not winning.

    89th minute BOOM : 4-3 for Belgium, everybody’s overjoyed, Belgium doesn’t usually have that mental strength to get back into the game.

    The team pushes for a fifth goal, we lose the ball, Austria counter attacks, goal.

    4-4. We didn’t get to the play-offs for ONE point.

    I have never ever been so mad at my TV, and at my team.

    God I get angry just thinking about it…

  20. Nienke says:

    @ Dennis: yeah that was crazy! Though I wouldn’t want to re-live it, haha! I remember sitting on the dinner table with my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands. Still can’t believe we (Ajax) didn’t score more than two times against Willem II. I still blame that ***hole Roger (our last number 14, for christ’s sake!!) for delivering the lamest indirect free kick EVER.

  21. Abe Froman says:

    1950, USA 1 – 0 England

  22. Zaaker says:

    Liverpool vs Milan Champions League Final. The best comeback of all times!

  23. Inno says:

    Celtic 2 Inter Milan 1 in Lisbon, 1967. What self respecting (non sectarian, thankyouverymuch) Celtic fan wouldn’t want to be there?

    Failing that, Motherwell 6 Hibs 6 from a few years ago. What a game to have actually been at and been invested in somehow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7oLNSAMgYs

  24. Lukass says:

    Damn, Chris, in the Yugoslavia-Spain game the referee had so blatantly cheated Yugoslavia it almost belied belief… On a side note, at the same EURO the first round match was Slovenia-Yugoslavia 3-3 with Slovenia 3-0 up somewhere about the 60th minute… Those were really the good times…

  25. HJLS says:

    Anfield ’89 without a shadow of a doubt. That night probably holds the record for the largest amount of grown men crying. (Scousers and Gooners come to come think of it, for different reasons ha).

  26. Paul Kirkland says:

    Arsenal 2 – 1 Barcelona, that would be an incredible atmosphere to be in

  27. MessiBalls says:

    Lisbon, Portugal.

    1967 European Cup Final.

    I would love to have a time machine for that game.

    Lions

  28. nt says:

    being german the traditinal german choices came to mind at first, “wunder von bern” july 54 against hungary, 1970 in mexico-city against italy, 74 “regenschlacht von frankfurt” against poland, 97-cl-finale in munich, but i guess in the end i would take cl-group stage 2000, hsv vs juventus turin 4-4.

  29. Auntie May says:

    Liverpool 5 – 4 Alavés. Greatest Uefa Cup fnal ever!

  30. Auntie May says:

    And the way it ended, with an own goal…

  31. Alex Lanza says:

    World Cup 2006 Semi-final Italy vs. Germany. Complete battle through 2 full extra time periods then 2 goals right at the death with a moment of pure brilliance from Grosso. I get chills watching the replays on youtube, cannot imagine what it was like to see that place go nuts live.

  32. Nuno says:

    As a portuguese two obvious games come to mind, the mentioned game vs. England in 2000 and Portugal vs. Korea in ’66 (from 0-3 to win it 5-3).
    As a Benfica fan, it would be great to be in the 61 or 62 finals we won (not so great in one of the 5 finals we lost…)
    But another game I can’t forget was United’s 2-1 CL win in ’99, even not being a United fan, that was an incredible game, to win it in three minutes was just amazing.

  33. 22 says:

    Ireland 1-0 England at Euro 88

  34. jan says:

    dortmund vs juve – 1997 CL finals
    going in as the underdogs and ending the nights as champions if europe. i was just a little lad and only listening on the radio that night. would love to go back. also any game the kaiser was in (1970 vs Italy, 1974 vs Netherlands). would have loved to see him playing live on top of his game

  35. Room101 says:

    Saturday 29th Septmeber 2007

    Portsmouth 7-4 Reading

    Possibly one of the best Pompey squads contributing to 11 Fratton Park goals.

  36. C.Banks says:

    Shamrock Rovers 4 – 6 Bohemians…….Rovers went 4-1 up at half time and all was over for Bohemians (who had not won a league for 24 years) but 5 goals in the last 25 minutes changed everything! Bohs went onto win the league & cup double that year for the first time in 71 years…..what a game…what a season!

  37. Congo says:

    Portugal fan here. Instead of the 2000 Euro match VR England, I would take the England draw in 2004 Euro’s. Never had I had my heart in my throat as much as that back and forth game, ending in PK’s. We, as the host nation, absolutely could not get knocked out in the quarter finals?!

  38. Congo says:

    I almost forgot to mention, the PK’s were won by none other than, the goal keeper: Ricardo! What a finish!

  39. Manolo Garnix says:

    SC Freiburg vs. Bayern München 5-1 in 1994.

  40. dc says:

    last years “manita” vs. real madrid. the greatest masterclass i have ever seen; the only thing that could have made it better would have been to have been inside the stadium rather than down the street from it. the celebrations afterward made it all the better.

  41. PumaYaYa says:

    Argentina – Mexico ~ 2006 World Cup QF
    Liverpool – AC Milan ~ 2005 CL Final
    Argentina – Brazil ~ 2004 Copa America Final

  42. Frank Rizzo says:

    Romania 3 – Argentina 2 in 1994 WC Round of 16. Best display of attacking football ever with Hagi, Battistuta, Petrescu, Dumitrescu, and Ortega all playing big parts. Always nice to see Maradona in pain

    AC Milan 4 – Barcelona 0 in 1993-94 European Cup Final. Best club side that ever played together in terms of chemistry. Certainly the best back 4 with Tassoti, Costacurta, Baresi and Maldini

  43. Al says:

    no one wants to see the 1966 World Cup Final?

    That’d be my choice, plus it would be my birthday so double fun. I’d be minus 15.

  44. Alan Duffy says:

    Milan’s 4-0 demolition of Barcelona in the 1994 Champions League final.

    Barca were expected to win comfortably but the Italians were superb, with Dejan Saviceivc, arguably the most under-rated footballer ever, destroying Cruyff’s much lauded side.

    Indeed, Savicevic, Boban and Desailly were able replacements for Milan’s Dutch trio of Gullit, Rikjaard and Van Basten.

  45. It’s difficult for me to choose one:

    – Brasil Vs Italy (1982 World Cup): 3-2
    – Liverpool Vs Milan (2005 Champions League Final): 3-3
    – Spain Vs Holland (2010 World Cup): 1-0 (I’m Spanish, so I might choose this one)
    – Real Madrid Vs FC Barcelona (May 2009): 2-6. As culé, it is like a dream.

  46. nichap says:

    Liverpool vs. Chelsea 2005 Champs League semi. Electric atmosphere. the noise, normally dumbed down on the telly, was immense. that ball never crossed the line and we still went through. we knew we were going through form the beginning! even more so when gudjohnsen put that ball wide of the far post in the last few minutes. and it took us through to the craziest final ever!

  47. df says:

    istanbul 2005

  48. Scott says:

    As an Arsenal fan, 1989 at Anfield. THOMASSSSSSS!

  49. Mr. Sparkle says:

    Relive the one time glory which was marred in controversy. No, I’d rather not see the 1966 World Cup Final.

    I think out of all the World Cup Finals, I wouldn’t mind seeing 1998 again. That was quite the game, I admired Zinedine Zidane at the time.

    Otherwise, for jokes probably England vs Argentina in 1986 or Germany vs Argentina four years later.

    Not too picky otherwise, games of the past are games of the past. I doubt I could live through a night of tension and potential heartache again.

  50. WildScotsman6 says:

    Scotland – England after England wont the WC… I don’t expect to get much support on this… but the result made us the official WC Winners in my opinion (and anybody else with the Tartan Army) ha!

  51. juansolo says:

    Match of the Decade – Liverpool F.C. 4–3 Newcastle United F.C., 3 April 1996

  52. Tom Jones says:

    17th September 1955: Australia – South Africa 0-8

    To see the thieves getting arsefucked high up into the air by “mighty” South Africa would be great.

  53. Greg says:

    Great piece, now I see ;)

    Anyway I’d have to say mine would have to be anything between Holland vs Argentina at France 98. I still get goosebumps when I watch Bergkamp’s goal again.

    Another Dutch game would be their 3-2 defeat against Czech Republic at Euro 2004. The Czech’s were 2-1 but came back to win in with emphatic quality. Nedved was on fire. Even my Mom enjoyed that game.

    And I don’t think anyone has mentioned it but Barca 5 Real Madrid 0 would have been an absolute treat!

  54. M35 says:

    1982 European Cup Final!!!!! VILLA!!!!!! Is it? It has to be…….Peter Withe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. Ryan Kam says:

    2005 CL Final, oh what a night.

  56. “Real Madrid destroying Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the 1960 European Cup Final” was the first one I thought of as well.

    Then of course you’ve got a couple of great England performance vs Germany; the ’66 World Cup final, and that 5-1 drubbing in Munich.

    Other than that, I don’t know. Maybe Solomon Islands 2-2 Australia in 2004?

  57. Redskywalker says:

    + rep to @ed! Like he said, gotta be 1999 in Barcelona.

  58. Jay says:

    LMAO. Soooooo true about Garh Crooks!!!Always mad and in anger over everything! With such an angry face! He really has anger management problems! hahaha

    Great highlight Chris!

  59. Jay says:

    *anger being the key word,lol. My bad.

    But seriously though, I always feel sorry for any interviewer/host who asks him a question as he always answers with disdain and looks at the interviewer/host through the corner of his eye…..Unbelievably condesceding.

  60. Guy says:

    @Jordan – what a wonderful night that was. 32 years of pain gone! I was there and it would definitely be my pick to relive again.

    Other than that, I’d pick Australia vs Japan in the 2006 World Cup. Our first ever WC goal and WC win. Went mental watching it here, at the game itself would have been amazing!

  61. Mozzla says:

    without question czech republic 3-2 netherlands from Euro 2004. Nedved had one of the best goals never scored. stunning!

  62. tom says:

    it would have to be 66! i would give any limb to see england actually achieve something!

  63. Francisco Rodrigues says:

    Portugal 3 – 2 England euro2000 (Scholes and João vieira Pinto both scored headers)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgaT8DoOk6Q

    Sporting Lisbon 5 – 3 Benfica Portuguese cup semi-final
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK3YAzc22rQ

    Manchester Utd 2 – 1 Bayern Munich UCL final

    Liverpool 4 – 4 Arsenal Arshavin’s poker

    Liverpool 3 – 3 AC Milan 04/05 UCL final

    But from all them…. The portuguese victory over england!

  64. Stevesy says:

    Ajax – Milan in 2003. The implications of that game were ridiculous in hindsight.

    Gives me chills still. The Ajax team is cool to have a view into the future with as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAdP_SGohto

    Threw a remote into my drywall watching the 2005 CL Final. I hate even thinking about it.

  65. Raphael says:

    France vs Italy in the Euro 2000 Final! What an improbable last gasp comeback! Otherwise maybe France vs England in Euro 2004, when Zidane scored 2 dead ball kicks in the final minutes to seal the comeback and defeat Beckham’s squad.

  66. SlimJames says:

    No question, 3-2 England vs. Cameroon Quarterfinals-World Cup 1990. Francois Omam-Biyik, Cyrille Makanaky, Roger Milla and Eugene Ekeke all in full flight. It was a crying shame that the Indomitable Lions went out, but they went out in style!

    African football will never again be that good!

  67. JotaJota says:

    Argentina vs England – WC 1986

  68. Sheasy says:

    99 champs league final no doubt

  69. human.gps says:

    The best match from South Africa 2010, the quarterfinal Uruguay vs. Ghana. This match had everything, great end to end stuff, and a moment of madness from Luis Suarez which not only made him a revelation, but the ‘charruas’ team as well. Sheer brilliance or malevolent cheat depending on your point of view.

  70. Dragan says:

    Champs league.. Man-united vs Real madrid… rated one of best CL games ever… ronaldo, becks… classic!

  71. AVFC says:

    1982 European Cup Final, Villa 1-0 Bayern Munich, enough said

  72. UnitedFan says:

    I have a few, here’s the list:
    *Highbury 57/58, Arsenal 4 – 5 Man Utd. The Busby babes played in England’s soil for the last time.
    *Old Trafford 02/03
    Man Utd 4 – 3 R.Madrid
    Highly entertaining match.
    *Camp Nou 98/99
    Man Utd 2 – 1 B.Munich
    The most dramatical champions league final (without diving)
    *Luzhniki 07/08
    Man Utd 1 – 1 Chelsea
    VIVA JOHN TERRY!!

  73. Luke says:

    I really enjoyed Uruguay v Ghana at WC2010, but it’s got to be Istanbul 2005

  74. Anonymous says:

    France v Germany WC semi final 1982.
    1-1 after 90 minutes.
    Schumacher knocks out Battiston but stays on the pitch.
    France go 3-1 up.
    Germany equalise 3-3.
    Germany win (inevitably) on pens.
    I was 12 at the time and it has stuck with me ever since.

  75. Björn says:

    Denmark Vs Sweden Euro2008 Qualifying
    Sweden was leading the game 3-0. Denmark then caught up in the second half and tied 3-3 but a Danish player ended up punching a Swedish player and got a red card. If that wasn’t entertaining enough a Danish fan then ran out onto the stadium and punched the referee. The game was finally canceled with only a few minutes remaining.

  76. Louis says:

    1982 World Cup – Italy 3 Brazil 2. Rossi on fire against one of the best Brazil teams attacking but so open at the back.
    But the reason I pick this game over any other is that the atmosphere just seemed fantastic – even on tv. Even John Motson seemed to be out of character and quite enjoying it in his commentary.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAxbQ7OjDo4

    One bonus moment has to be the first 10 seconds of San Marino vs England as it made me fall off of the couch. No other game has EVER made me do that.

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