Retro Heaven

Italian Cool in ’74

The Italian football team at the 1974 World Cup…


Italy 72-74 Road Giorgio Chinaglia 2_smallIt is very rare that I watch a football match in its entirety these days, whilst the pace and quality of the game overall has improved the romance of it has, for this old blogger at least, faded. I loved the World Cups of 1974 and 1978, so much so that I still have the t-shirts I wore at the time. The memorabilia of those tournaments were charming and the stuff of boyhood pleasure. It was my era for heroes; Müller, Cruyff, Netzer, Keegan, Socrates, Best and Zoff, the list goes on.

Fashion in the seventies has taken a beating over the years, deservedly so in many respects but when it comes to football it was a decade to be reckoned with. Be they international or club teams, from East or West, the Americas, Africa or Asia it mattered little. Compare the kits of the 1970s to the horror shows of the 1990s in particular and there is no competition.

The Italian football team arrived in Germany for the World Cup in 1974 with their usual sense of style and cool. The team manager cut a dash in his tailored suit and the track bags were a thing of beauty. The Italians knew how to turn it on, they even sculptured the new trophy. Their home and away kits oozed class and their team composed of some of the decades greats. Dino Zoff, their legendary goalkeeper entered the tournament with a clean sheet which seemed to last forever (1,143 minutes) and we all wondered who could beat him. Even the players names were cool; Benetti, Capello, Facchetti, Riva, Mazzola and Chiangila. They were set to dominate but despite their skill they met opposition which replaced technical ability with grit and determination. After drawing with Argentina they lost 2-1 to Poland which included a fight between their substitute goalkeeper Albertosi and a disgruntled fan.

They crashed out amid arguments and attempts to escape crazed Italian fans desperate to unleash the full force of their fury. It was a remarkable tournament in many ways and one I shall look at more closely in other posts but for now let us just remember an era for what it was and wish we could own that track bag in the front of the photograph!



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