FIFA World Cup 1970 Group 2
In their first appearance in the World Cup finals, Israel made a good impression, taking points off Sweden and Italy. Sweden became the first team to be eliminated on goal difference having finished with the same number of points as Uruguay.
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Uruguay 2 Israel 0
Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla (20,000)
2 June 1970
Uruguay had no difficulties at all, despite losing their captain and playmaker for the tournament after only 13 minutes, either with Mexican conditions or their opponents who were making their World Cup Finals debut. Compact and cautious, and doing just enough, their goals came from Maneiro (22 mins) and Mujica (51). Compared to the remaining matches in the group, this one could be considered something of a goal-fest. Spiegler, Israel's record goal scorer, played alongside Pelé for New York Cosmos in 1975.
Italy 1 Sweden 0
Estadio Luis Dosal, Toluca (14,000)
3 June 1970
Playing at 8,744 feet above sea level, the highest venue in the Finals, both teams struggled with conditions. Domenghini scored in the 10th minute with a strike from outside the area following a set-piece from a corner, but 'keeper Hellström, who would become a star of the '74 and '78 Finals, should have done much better with the shot, instead allowed the ball to squirm under his body at the near post. Italy relied on their cast iron defence to protect their lead and conserve energy. The stadium was nicknamed 'La Bombonera' (the chocolate box) by locals.
Uruguay 0 Italy 0
Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla (30,000)
6 June 1970
Defences dominated in a deadly-dull match devoid of any real chances, in which a draw suited both teams, especially Italy, who played Israel next, but their fans were wondering why Gianni Rivera had been left out of the side again, given their team's current lack of goal-scoring opportunities.
Israel 1 Sweden 1
Estadio Luis Dosal, Toluca (10,000)
7 June 1970
Sweden missed their chance to take the points against the group's outsiders, in a niggling, bad-tempered game - Swedish striker Kindvall, who scored Feyenoord's winner against Celtic in the European Cup Final only weeks earlier, came in for some savage treatment from the Israeli defence; Israel complained that their midfielder Schwager was punched when the referee's back was turned. Sweden eventually broke through the Israeli defence when Turesson scored in the 53rd minute, but the lead lasted just 3 minutes when Spiegler equalised with a fierce long-range shot.
Sweden 1 Uruguay 0
Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla (18,000)
10 June 1970
Uruguay were very defensive, knowing that even defeat by a single goal would still allow them to progress. In fact the score was 0-0 after 90 minutes, Sweden's Grahn scoring in injury time. The result meant that Sweden became the first team to be eliminated from a World Cup on goal difference. Before the game there was a rumour that de Moraes, the original referee, had asked Uruguay for money to favour them; Uruguay claimed it was a ploy to discredit them. FIFA investigated, found nothing to substantiate the rumour, but switched the referee to the Italy/Israel game anyway.
Italy 0 Israel 0
Estadio Luis Dosal, Toluca (10,000)
11 June 1970
Something of a shock score line doesn't tell the whole story. Italy came close several times, had a goal disallowed and a strong penalty appeal turned down, but they still ought to have won. Italian fans got their wish when Rivera came on as a second-half substitute, but he made little impact and his team became more and more cautious as the game dragged on, knowing that a draw would allow them to progress to the quarter-finals. If they wished to progress further, however, they had to improve on their return of a solitary goal in three games.
(Marco, Esteban Catalán)