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World Cup `82


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when yer man gets the ball

1982 World Cup Finals

Spain V Northern Ireland

June 25th 1982 - Estudio Luis Casanova - Valencia

Billy Bingham`s men stood proudly alongside Spain`s finest as the expectant, partisan crowd chanted "E-spanya, E-spanya" in time with their drums.

It was billed as one way traffic, a certain win for the host nation. But 93 odd minutes later, the men in green had won 1-0 and recorded a famous victory over the host nation.

If Algeria hadn`t beaten the mighty West Germany 2-1, then the Norn Iron result would have undoubtedly been the shock of the tournament.

As the match progressed Sammy McIlroy had his calf raked raw, Mal Donaghy was given a straight red card for raising his hands, Norman Whiteside (the youngest player ever to take part in World Cup finals - 17 years and 42 days) played like a seasoned pro - giving as good as he got from the niggling Spanish players and all the while big Pat Jennings stood firm in nets.

Suddenly the whole team started to believe that they had a chance.........Billy Hamilton gracefully eluded a challenge on the right wing and crossed the ball towards the box.......Arcanada in the Spanish goal could only parry the ball .........the whole stadium held its breath as the oncoming Gerry Armstrong struck the ball, hard and low between two defenders and the keeper.......... into the back of the net......... GOAL!!!!!!

Then, after the euphoria of scoring had subsided, the realisation began to dawn on the players that now they had to defend their amazing lead.

The strangely named Lopez Ufarte ( yes, I am serious ) had two good chances with only Pat Jennings to beat, but failed to net. The final whistle blew and the stadium fell silent, apart from the small sea of green dancing in unison.

They had done it ...Northern Ireland 1 .....Spain 0. Not only had they beaten the host nation but they topped the group and qualified for the next phase of the competition.

At this stage a very audible "Yeeeeaaaaaaaaassssssss" could be heard from every household across Northern Ireland -cups of tea , tins of beer, small children, were thrown in the air. For my part , I ran around the living room recreating the Armstrong strike ........except the ball I kicked was the metal radiator! One broken toe to me. But it was worth it.

Listen to the builld up to the Spain match, including Alan Green`s match reports, Billy Bingham`s its not over yet attitude on the eve of the Spanish match....and of course...the radio commentary of that goal that I`ve just described....

listen Listen "...and its 1-0"


You must have some great memories of that time , perhaps you have kept a treasured souvenir or knew one of the players, please register with your place and mine and share your memories.


Your Responses

Harry - Feb '07
Great article...brings back great memories of a fantastic nite when the beautiful game once again went against all the odds..we had a great team then and superb was all about football and taking part big name superstars at the time but after it was over a team of heroes to us all...from big pat in nets to the super gerry armstrong up front and of course it launched gerrys career in spain and so he deserved it

Harry - Feb '07
Is there anywere you can buy a copy of that game be it on video or dvd?

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