Everything I know surely about morality and
the obligations of man, I owe to football.
ALBERT CAMUS, French novelist and
former goalkeeper for the Algerian club Oran
If you’d given me a choice of beating four
men and smashing in a goal from thirty
yards against Liverpool or going to bed with
Miss World, it would have been a difficult
choice. Luckily, I had both. It’s just that
you do one of those things in front of fifty
GEORGE BEST, Northern Ireland legend,
Manchester United great, and international playboy
What would soccer be without players, coaches, team officials, fans, even the media, behaving badly? With so much seemingly at stake, getting an edge has become the game within the game. Whether it’s an obscure youth match or a World Cup final, what goal-bound player, in hopes of drawing a penalty kick, hasn’t tumbled to the earth after brushing by an enemy defender? Poor sportsmanship, or “ungentlemanly conduct” as it is referred to in the Laws of the Game, and its many cousins are an integral part of soccer. It may be maddening to some, but it also helped produce one of the longest chapters in this book.
FIFA has frequently tweaked the format of its World Cup in an effort to keep its marquee competition fair, competitive, and above board. However, there have been cracks, most notably Argentina-Peru at Argentina ’78 and West Germany–Austria at Spain ’82.
Brazilians continue to claim that the second-round match between Argentina and Peru in 1978 was a sham, that the Peruvians laid down so that the host Argentines could reach the final at Brazil’s expense.