The city of Sevilla was dealt an unusual hand when the host cities were announced for España 82. It's two splendid stadiums would get to host just four matches, but what matches they were, each full of quality and drama. Sevilla FC's Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán was the larger of the city's two venues and hosted the prestigious Brazil - Soviet Union first round tie and one of the games great semi-finals, West Germany vs France. Both games left the watching spectator and the World-wide audience with a series of magnificent and indelible memories.
ESTADIO RAMÓN SÁNCHEZ PIZJUÁN
Now I like the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán a lot. Sure it's well past its heyday and rarely gets top billing these days, and unlike a fading movie star, it cannot rely on a soft focus lens to hide the cracks and wrinkles, but when the sun shines on its sleek lines and curves, it still has star quality. Back in 1982, it had just undergone a re-fit of which the main addition was the erection of a roof over the west tribuna. Whilst simple in design, it is also stunningly elegant, balanced on stilts high above the upper tier of seating. A retaining wall had to be built to support the cantilevered roof and it is on the centre portion of this wall, above the main entrance, that an eye-catching Mosaic stands. Created by local artist and Sevillista, Santiago del Campo, it depicts the club crest and the shields of 60 other clubs who have visited the stadium. New floodlights were also added, but instead of towers, they sit on gantries around the top of the bowl and along the fascia of the roof. The addition of some extra seats and improved media facilities saw the capacity drop a little to 68,000. You can read more about the stadium and Sevilla FC here.
|Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán ready for its chance in the spotlight|
BRAZIL VS SOVIET UNION
After the drama of the opening day at the Camp Nou, attention turned to the south of the country and another South America/European battle. The Brazilians had reverted to the attacking style that had been so successful in 1970, but the Soviets proved a good match for the first hour. They even opened the scoring when Bal speculative strike was dropped into his own net by Brazilian goalkeeper Waldir Peres. Brazil increased the pressure after half-time and finally 15 minutes from the end Socrates scored with an unstoppable shot. Eder scored the winner three minutes from time, flicking up Falcao's pass to volley past a static Dasev.
WEST GERMANY vs FRANCE
The World Cup returned to Sevilla after a break of 24 days, but everybody who watched this most dramatic of matches unfold would have said it was worth the wait. Put simply, it is one of the all-time great matches and so packed with incident, controversy and drama, it easy to forget the high levels of skill exhibited throughout. Rather than try to describe the match in an inadequate fashion, I'll leave you to watch it unfold in these extend highlights. Oh yes... don't forget to boo football's all-time great pantomime villain, Harald Schumacher.