England were robbed of victory in this first-ever match with Russia by one of the most amazing decisions ever called by an international referee.
England were robbed of victory in this first-ever match with Russia by one of the most amazing decisions ever called by an international referee. With England leading 1-0, Austrian referee, Friedrich Zeipelt, allowed the Russian equaliser by Valentin Ivanov after the player had clearly handled the ball before scoring.
One linesman, also an Austrian, instantly flagged, but Zeipelt, who was standing several yards behind the run of the play, saw nothing. And, when the English players protested, he heard nothing. Billy Wright, the England captain, said afterwards, "I clearly saw the linesman flag, otherwise I would have not run after the referee. It was most disappointing".
Fresh from their humiliating 5-0 defeat at the hands of Yugoslavia in Belgrade, the England team boosted hopes of a World Cup triumph with a moral victory over the Russians - their first-round opponents in the World Cup series at Gothenberg on June 6.
Struggling against the fighting England team from the start, the Russians suffered a major set-back after five minutes when their captain, Igor Netto, had to leave the field after a tackle by England defender Bill Slater. He was replaced in the USSR team by Viktor Starev but the substitute player was never in the same class.
A hockey-style summary of shots revealed that England had 22 shots on the Russian goal while the home side could only master seven on the England net. A first-half header by Bobby Robson hit the post in the 32nd minute and two shots by Kovan were kicked off the line.
It was with seconds of the first-half left that a sweeping pass by winger Douglas floated across the Russian goalmouth and onto the head of Derek Kevan. He nodded the ball towards the goal, and, although netminder Tsahin managed to got his hands to the ball, it spun out of his hand and into the net. A delighted England promptly forgot their instructions not to mob a scorer during the game.
The disputed equaliser came 12 minutes from the end. An Ogonov free-kick was whipped in by centre-forward Streltsov and the scorer, Ivanov, clearly brought the ball down with his hands before lobbing it over MacDonald's head into the net.
Stars of the match were the Wolverhampton half-back trio of Clamp, Wright and Slater. Clamp started well, lost his man, then recovered and nearly won the game with a terrific shot, following the best move of the match with Haynes and Robson.
At the end of the match, Billy Wright led his team across to acknowledge the applause of the 200 England supporters while the remainder of the 104,000 spectators whistled their national team off the pitch.
ENGLAND: McDonald (Burnley), Rowe (West Bromwich), Banks (Bolton), Clamp (Wolves), Wright (Wolves), Slater (Wolves), Douglas (Black burn), Robson (West Bromwich), Kevan (West Bromwich), Haynes (Fulhan), Finney (Preston)
RUSSIA: Yashin (Dynamo), Ogonkov (Spartak), Kutznetsov (Dynamo), Voinov (Kiev Dynamo), Krizhevsky (Dynamo), Netto (Spartan, capt), Apukkhtin (Army), Ivanov (Torpedo), Streltsov (Torpedo), Falin (Torpedo), Illyin (Spartak) Substitute Starev (Dynamo)