The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League; the Premier League is a corporation. Seasons run from August to May with each team playing 38 matches. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; the Premier League has featured 47 English and two Welsh clubs since its inception, making it a cross-border league. The competition was formed as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from the Football League, founded in 1888, take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal; the deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB and BT Group securing the domestic rights to broadcast 116 and 38 games respectively. The league generates € 2.2 billion per year in international television rights. Clubs were apportioned revenues of £2.4 billion in 2016–17. The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people.
In the 2014–15 season, the average Premier League match attendance exceeded 36,000, second highest of any professional football league behind the Bundesliga's 43,500. Most stadium occupancies are near capacity; the Premier League ranks second in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons, as of 2018. Forty-nine clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. Six of them have won the title since then: Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City; the record of most points in a Premier League season is 100, set by Manchester City in 2017–18. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 1980s marked a low point for English football. Stadiums were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985; the Football League First Division, the top level of English football since 1888, was behind leagues such as Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga in attendances and revenues, several top English players had moved abroad.
By the turn of the 1990s the downward trend was starting to reverse: at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, England reached the semi-finals. In the 1980s, major English clubs had begun to transform into business ventures, applying commercial principles to club administration to maximise revenue. Martin Edwards of Manchester United, Irving Scholar of Tottenham Hotspur, David Dein of Arsenal were among the leaders in this transformation, it gave the top clubs more power. By threatening to break away, clubs in Division One managed to increase their voting power, they took a 50% share of all television and sponsorship income in 1986. Revenue from television became more important: the Football League received £6.3 million for a two-year agreement in 1986, but by 1988, in a deal agreed with ITV, the price rose to £44 million over four years with the leading clubs taking 75% of the cash. According to Scholar, involved in the negotiations of television deals, each of the First Division clubs received only around £25,000 per year from television rights before 1986, this increased to around £50,000 in the 1986 negotiation to £600,000 in 1988.
The 1988 negotiations were conducted under the threat of ten clubs leaving to form a "super league", but they were persuaded to stay with the top clubs taking the lion share of the deal. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the country's top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. In 1990, the managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the "big five" football clubs in England over a dinner; the meeting was to pave the way for a break away from The Football League. Dyke believed that it would be more lucrative for LWT if only the larger clubs in the country were featured on national television and wanted to establish whether the clubs would be interested in a larger share of television rights money; the five clubs decided to press ahead with it. The FA did not enjoy an amicable relationship with the Football League at the time and considered it as a way to weaken the Football League's position.
At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the game's top-flight clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League; the newly formed top division would have commercial independence from The Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League licence to negotiate
1998 FIFA World Cup
The 1998 FIFA World Cup was the 16th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It was held in France from 10 June to 12 July 1998; the country was chosen as the host nation by FIFA for the second time in the history of the tournament, defeating Morocco in the bidding process. It was the second time that France staged the competition and the ninth time that it was held in Europe. Qualification for the finals began in March 1996 and concluded in November 1997. For the first time in the competition, the group stage was expanded from 24 teams to 32, with eight groups of four. 64 matches were played in 10 stadiums in 10 host cities, with the opening match and final staged at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis. The tournament was won by host country France. France won their first title, becoming the seventh nation to win a World Cup, the sixth to win the tournament on home soil. Croatia, Jamaica and South Africa made their first appearances in the finals. France was awarded the 1998 World Cup on 2 July 1992 by the executive committee of FIFA during a general meeting in Zürich, Switzerland.
They defeated Morocco by 12 votes to 7. Switzerland withdrew; this made France the third country to host two World Cups, after Mexico and Italy in 1986 and 1990 respectively. France hosted the third edition of the World Cup in 1938. England, who hosted the competition in 1966 and won it, were among the original applicants, but withdrew their application in favour of an successful bid to host UEFA Euro 1996. On 4 June 2015, while co-operating with the FBI and the Swiss authorities, Chuck Blazer confirmed that he and other members of FIFA's executive committee were bribed during the 1998 and 2010 World Cups host selection process. Blazer stated that "we facilitated bribes in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup". Since France won the selection process it was thought the bribery came from its bid committee, it transpired that the bribe payment was from the failed Moroccan bid. The qualification draw for the 1998 World Cup finals took place in the Musée du Louvre, Paris on 12 December 1995.
As tournament hosts, France was exempt from the draw. 174 teams from six confederations participated, 24 more than in the previous round. Fourteen countries qualified from the European zone. Ten were determined after group play - the best second-placed team. CONMEBOL and CAF were each given five spots in the final tournament, while three spots were contested between 30 CONCACAF members in the North and Central America and the Caribbean zone; the winner of the Oceanian zone advanced to an intercontinental play-off against the runner-up of the Asian play-off, determined by the two best second placed teams. Four nations qualified for the first time: Croatia, Jamaica and South Africa; the last team to qualify was Iran by virtue of beating Australia in a two-legged tie on 29 November 1997. This was Team Melli's first appearance in the finals since 1978, the last time Tunisia qualified for the tournament. Chile qualified for the first time since 1982, after serving a ban that saw them miss out on the two previous tournaments.
Paraguay and Denmark returned for the first time since 1986. Austria, England and Yugoslavia returned after missing out on the 1994 tournament, with the Balkan team now appearing under the name of FR Yugoslavia. Among the teams who failed to qualify were two-time winners Uruguay; as of 2018, this is the most recent time Austria, Norway, Bulgaria and Jamaica have qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals, as well as the last time Portugal missed out. The highest ranked team not to qualify was Czech Republic, while the lowest ranked team that did qualify was Nigeria; the following 32 teams, shown with final pre-tournament rankings, qualified for the final tournament. France's bid to host the World Cup centered on a national stadium with 80,000 seats and nine other stadiums located across the country; when the finals were awarded in July 1992, none of the regional club grounds were of a capacity meeting FIFA's requirements – namely being able to safely seat 40,000. The proposed national stadium, colloquially referred to as the'Grand stade' met with controversy at every stage of planning.
As Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac negotiated a deal with Prime Minister Édouard Balladur to bring the Stade de France – as it was named now, to the commune of Saint-Denis just north of the capital city. Construction on the stadium started in December 1995 and was completed after 26 months of work in November 1997 at a cost of ₣2.67 billion. The choice of stadium locations was drafted from an original list of 14 cities. FIFA and CFO monitored the progress and quality of preparations, culminating in the former providing final checks of the grounds weeks before the tournament commenced. Montpellier was the surprise inclusion from the final list of cities because of its low urban hierarchy in comparison to Strasbourg, who boasted a better hierarchy an
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional football club based in Aston, England. The club competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888 and of the Premier League in 1992. Villa are one of only five English clubs to have won the European Cup, in 1981–82, they have won the Football League First Division seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the League Cup five times, the UEFA Super Cup once. Villa have a fierce local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the teams has been played since 1879; the club's traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and sky blue socks. Their traditional club badge is of a rampant lion; the club is owned by the NSWE group, a company owned by the Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and the American billionaire Wes Edens.
Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth, now part of Birmingham. The four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villa's first match was against the local Aston Brook St Mary's Rugby team; as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. After moving to the Wellington Road ground in 1876, Villa soon established themselves as one of the best teams in the Midlands, winning their first honour, the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1880, under the captaincy of Scotsman George Ramsay; the club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the game's first household names. Aston Villa were one of the dozen teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the club's directors, William McGregor being the league's founder. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles and three FA Cups by the end of Queen Victoria's reign.
In 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name "Villa Park". Aston Villa won their sixth FA Cup in 1920, soon after though the club began a slow decline that led to Villa, at the time one of the most famous and successful clubs in world football, being relegated in 1936 for the first time to the Second Division; this was the result of a dismal defensive record: they conceded 110 goals in 42 games, 7 of them coming from Arsenal's Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, that conflict brought several careers to a premature end; the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. Aston Villa's first trophy for 37 years came in the 1956–57 season when another former Villa player, Eric Houghton led the club to a record seventh FA Cup Final win, defeating the'Busby Babes' of Manchester United in the final; the team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons due in large part to complacency.
However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions. The following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercer's forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil; the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967. The following season the fans called for the board to resign as Villa finished 16th in the Second Division. With mounting debts and Villa lying at the bottom of Division Two, the board sacked Tommy Cummings, within weeks the entire board resigned under overwhelming pressure from fans. After much speculation, control of the club was bought by London financier Pat Matthews, who brought in Doug Ellis as chairman. However, new ownership could not prevent Villa being relegated to the Third Division for the first time at the end of the 1969–70 season.
However, Villa began to recover under the management of former club captain Vic Crowe. In the 1971–72 season they returned to the Second Division as Champions with a record 70 points. In 1974, Ron Saunders was appointed manager, his brand of no-nonsense man-management proved effective, with the club winning the League Cup the following season and, at the end of season 1974–75, he had taken them back into the First Division and into Europe. Villa were back among the elite; this culminated in a seventh top-flight league title in 1980–81. To the surprise of commentators and fans, Saunders quit halfway through the 1981–82 season, after falling out with the chairman, with Villa in the quarter final of the European Cup, he was replaced by his softly-spoken assistant manager Tony Barton who guided the club to a 1–0 victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup final in Rotterdam courtesy of a Peter Withe goal. The following season Villa were crowned European Super Cup winners; this marked a pinnacle though and Villa's fortunes declined for most of the 1980s, culminating in relegation in 1987.
This was followed by promotion the following year under Graham Taylor and a runners-up position in the First Division in the 1989–90 season. Villa were one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992
The Celtic Football Club is a professional football club based in Glasgow, which plays in the Scottish Premiership. The club was founded in 1887 with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the immigrant Irish population in the East End of Glasgow, they played their first match in May 1888, a friendly match against Rangers which Celtic won 5–2. Celtic established themselves within Scottish football, winning six successive league titles during the first decade of the 20th century; the club enjoyed their greatest successes during the 1960s and 70s under Jock Stein when they won nine consecutive league titles and the 1967 European Cup. Celtic have won the Scottish league championship 49 times, most in 2017–18, their seventh consecutive championship, they have won the Scottish League Cup 18 times. The club's greatest season was 1966–67, when Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup winning the Scottish league championship, the Scottish Cup, the League Cup and the Glasgow Cup. Celtic reached the 1970 European Cup Final and the 2003 UEFA Cup Final, losing in both.
Celtic have a long-standing fierce rivalry with Rangers, the clubs are known as the Old Firm, seen by some as the world's biggest football derby. The club's fanbase was estimated in 2003 as being around nine million worldwide, there are more than 160 Celtic supporters clubs in over 20 countries. An estimated 80,000 fans travelled to Seville for the 2003 UEFA Cup Final. Celtic Football Club was formally constituted at a meeting in St. Mary's church hall in East Rose Street, Glasgow, by Irish Marist Brother Walfrid on 6 November 1887, with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the East End of Glasgow by raising money for the charity Walfrid had instituted, the Poor Children's Dinner Table. Walfrid's move to establish the club as a means of fund-raising was inspired by the example of Hibernian, formed out of the immigrant Irish population a few years earlier in Edinburgh. Walfrid's own suggestion of the name Celtic was intended to reflect the club's Irish and Scottish roots and was adopted at the same meeting.
The club has The Bhoys. However, according to the Celtic press office, the newly established club was known to many as "the bold boys". A postcard from the early 20th century that pictured the team and read "The Bould Bhoys" is the first known example of the unique spelling; the extra h imitates the spelling system of Gaelic, wherein the letter b is accompanied by the letter h. On 28 May 1888, Celtic played their first official match against Rangers and won 5–2 in what was described as a "friendly encounter". Neil McCallum scored Celtic's first goal. Celtic's first kit consisted of a white shirt with a green collar, black shorts, emerald green socks; the original club crest was a simple green cross on a red oval background. In 1889 Celtic reached the final of the Scottish Cup, this was their first season in the competition, but lost 2–1 in the final. Celtic again reached the final of the Scottish Cup in 1892, but this time were victorious after defeating Queen's Park 5–1 in the final, the club's first major honour.
Several months the club moved to its new ground, Celtic Park, in the following season won the Scottish League Championship for the first time. In 1895, Celtic set the League record for the highest home score when they beat Dundee 11–0. In 1897, the club became a Private limited company and Willie Maley was appointed as the first'secretary-manager'. Between 1905 and 1910, Celtic won the Scottish League Championship six times in a row. In both 1907 and 1908 Celtic won the Scottish Cup, this was the first time a Scottish club had won the double. During World War I, Celtic won the league four times in a row, including 62 matches unbeaten between November 1915 and April 1917; the mid-1920s saw the emergence of Jimmy McGrory as one of the most prolific goalscorers in British football history. Over a sixteen-year playing career, he scored 550 goals in 547 games, a British goal-scoring record to this day. In January 1940, Willie Maley's retirement was announced, he was 71 years old and had served the club in varying roles for nearly 52 years as a player and as secretary-manager.
Jimmy McStay became manager of the club in February 1940. He spent over five years in this role, although due to the Second World War no official competitive league football took place during this time; the Scottish Football League and Scottish Cup were suspended and in their place regional league competitions were set up. Celtic did not do well during the war years, but did win the Victory in Europe Cup held in May 1945 as a one-off football tournament to celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Ex-player and captain Jimmy McGrory took over as manager in 1945. Under McGrory, Celtic defeated Arsenal, Manchester United and Hibernian to win the Coronation Cup, a one-off tournament held in May 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Elizabeth II, he led them to a League and Cup double in 1954. On 19 October 1957, Celtic defeated Rangers a record 7–1 in the final of the Scottish League Cup at Hampden Park in Glasgow, retaining the trophy they had won for the first time the previous year; the scoreline remains a record win in a British domestic cup final.
The years that followed, saw Celtic struggle and the club won no more trophies under McGrory. Former Celtic captain Jock Stein succeeded McGrory in 1965, he won the Scottish Cup with Celtic in his first few months at the club, led them to the League title the following season.1967 was Celtic's annus mirabilis. The club won every competition they entered: the Scot
Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Tranmere Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in Birkenhead, England. Founded in 1884 as Belmont Football Club, they adopted their current name in 1885, they were a founder member of Division Three North in 1921, were a member of The Football League until 2015, when they were relegated to the National League, the fifth tier of English football. On 12 May 2018, they beat Boreham Wood in the 2017–18 National League playoff final to regain their status as a Football League member. During the 1980s, they were beset by financial problems and, in 1987, went into administration. However, this was a prelude to the most successful period in Tranmere's history. Under King's successor, John Aldridge, Tranmere experienced a number of cup runs, most notably reaching the 2000 Football League Cup Final. Other cup runs include reaching FA Cup quarter-finals in 2000, 2001 and 2004. Tranmere's regular kit is an all-white strip with blue trim, their main colours since 1962; the club moved to its current home, Prenton Park, in 1912.
In 1995, the ground had a major redevelopment in response to the Taylor Report. It now seats 16,567 in four stands: the Kop, the Johnny King Stand and the Cowshed. Tranmere Rovers were formed as Belmont Football Club when the football arms of two cricket clubs – Lyndhurst Wanderers and Belmont – came together in 1884. On 15 November 1884, they won their first game 4–0 against Brunswick Rovers; this was a friendly match, as there were no leagues until 1888. Under the presidency of James McGaul, the team had a successful inaugural season, losing only one of their fifteen matches. An unrelated, disbanded side had played under the name "Tranmere Rovers Cricket Club" in 1881–82. On 16 September 1885, before their second season began, Belmont F. C. adopted this name Tranmere Rovers. Tranmere played their first matches at Steeles Field in Birkenhead. In 1887, they bought Ravenshaws Field from Tranmere Rugby Club. In 1895, their ground was renamed Prenton Park, although it was 25 years that the team moved into the current stadium of the same name.
Tranmere first wore a kit of white shorts and blue socks. In 1889 they adopted maroon shirts, but in 1904 returned to wearing their original kit. In 1886, Tranmere entered their first competition: District Challenge Cup, they joined the Combination, a much stronger league, in 1897, won the championship in 1908. In 1910, continuing their movement through the leagues, they entered the Lancashire Combination and in 1912 they showed their ambition by moving to the present Prenton Park site, with an 800-seat stand. Tranmere won the Lancashire Combination Championship in 1914 and Stan Rowlands became the first Tranmere player to receive an international cap when he was selected to play for Wales. Rovers continued to play throughout the First World War, although their players were criticised for avoiding military service, despite being employed in the local shipyards. Following the expulsion of Leeds City Reserves in 1919, Tranmere were able to enter the Central League, their timing was excellent as the following season, four Central League clubs – including Tranmere – were invited to join the new Division Three North.
On 27 August 1921, as founder members of the division, they won their first Football League match 4–1 against Crewe Alexandra at Prenton Park. At this time the team were managed by Bert Cooke, who did so for 23 years in total, the club record for longest serving manager. In 1924, local youngster Dixie Dean made his debut aged 16 years 355 days, he played 30 games for Rovers, scoring 27 goals, before being transferred to Everton for £3,000. In the 1927–28 season, Dean scored a record 60 League goals for Everton. After Dean's departure, a string of talented youngsters left for Division One clubs, leading to Cooke's reputation as a shrewd businessman. Among those sold was Pongo Waring who – having scored six goals in the 11–1 victory over Durham City – went to Aston Villa for £4,700. Waring retains the record of scoring most goals for Villa in a single season. In 1934, an FA Cup tie between Rovers and Liverpool was watched at Anfield by 61,036 fans a record crowd for a game involving Rovers. One year Bunny Bell netted 57 goals during the 1933–34 season, nine goals in the 13–4 Boxing Day 1935 victory over Oldham Athletic.
As of 2011, the aggregate of 17 goals in one game remains a league record. During this same period, Tranmere made several appearances in the Welsh Cup, reaching the Final on two occasions. In 1934, they lost 3 -- 0 to Bristol City after a 1 -- 1 draw; the following season, they went one better by beating local rivals Chester 1–0 to win their first silverware since joining the Football League. Rovers won their first championship in the Football League in 1938 with victory in Division Three North and, promotion to Division Two for the first time, it is still Rovers' only championship in the Football League. However, they were relegated the next season winning six matches – the record for the worst performance of any team in Division Two. Prenton Park emerged from the Second World War unscathed. Tranmere rejoined the peacetime Football League in Division Three North and stayed there until the 1958 restructuring of the football league's lower divisions. Manager Peter Farrell led Tranmere to finish 11th in the final season of the Northern Section, securing a place in the new national Division Three where they were, founder members.
The final match against Wrexham fighting for a place in the higher league, attracted a crowd of 19,615, which remains t
Scotland national football team
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. It competes in the three major professional tournaments, the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Nations League and the UEFA European Championship. Scotland, as a constituent country of the United Kingdom, is not a member of the International Olympic Committee and therefore the national team does not compete in the Olympic Games; the majority of Scotland's home matches are played at Hampden Park. Scotland is the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside England, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872. Scotland has a long-standing rivalry with England, whom they played annually from 1872 until 1989; the teams have met only seven times since most in June 2017. Scotland have qualified for the FIFA World Cup on eight occasions and the UEFA European Championship twice, but have never progressed beyond the first group stage of a finals tournament.
The last major tournament they qualified for was the 1998 World Cup. The team have achieved some noteworthy results, such as beating the 1966 FIFA World Cup winners England 3–2 at Wembley Stadium in 1967. Archie Gemmill scored what has been described as one of the greatest World Cup goals in a 3–2 win during the 1978 World Cup against the Netherlands, who reached the final of the tournament. In their qualifying group for UEFA Euro 2008, Scotland defeated 2006 World Cup runners-up France 1–0 in both fixtures. Scotland supporters are collectively known as the Tartan Army; the Scottish Football Association operates a roll of honour for every player who has made more than 50 appearances for Scotland. Kenny Dalglish holds the record for Scotland appearances, having played 102 times between 1971 and 1986. Dalglish scored shares the record for most goals scored with Denis Law. Scotland and England are the oldest national football teams in the world. Teams representing the two sides first competed at the Oval in five matches between 1870 and 1872.
The two countries contested the first official international football match, at Hamilton Crescent in Partick, Scotland, on 30 November 1872. The match ended in a goalless draw. All eleven players who represented Scotland that day played for Glasgow amateur club Queen's Park. Over the next forty years, Scotland played matches against the other three Home Nations—England and Ireland; the British Home Championship began in 1883. The encounters against England were fierce and a rivalry developed. Scotland lost just two of their first 43 international matches, it was not until a 2–0 home defeat by Ireland in 1903 that Scotland lost a match to a team other than England. This run of success meant that Scotland would have topped the Elo ratings, which were calculated in 1998, between 1876 and 1904. Scotland won the British Home Championship outright on 24 occasions, shared the title 17 times with at least one other team. A noteworthy victory for Scotland before the Second World War was the 5–1 victory over England in 1928, which led to that Scotland side being known as the "Wembley Wizards".
Scotland played their first match outside the British Isles in 1929. Scotland continued to contest regular friendly matches against European opposition and enjoyed wins against Germany and France before losing to the Austrian "Wunderteam" and Italy in 1931. Scotland, like the other Home Nations, did not enter the three FIFA World Cups held during the 1930s; this was because the four associations had been excluded from FIFA due to a disagreement regarding the status of amateur players. The four associations, including Scotland, returned to the FIFA fold after the Second World War. A match between a United Kingdom team and a "Rest of the World" team was played at Hampden Park in 1947 to celebrate this reconciliation; the readmission of the Scottish Football Association to FIFA meant that Scotland were now eligible to enter the 1950 FIFA World Cup. FIFA advised that places would be awarded to the top two teams in the 1950 British Home Championship, but the SFA announced that Scotland would only attend the finals if Scotland won the competition.
Scotland won their first two matches, but a 1–0 home defeat by England meant that the Scots finished as runners-up. This meant that the Scots had qualified by right for the World Cup, but had not met the demand of the SFA to win the Championship; the SFA stood by this proclamation, despite pleas to the contrary by the Scotland players, supported by England captain Billy Wright and the other England players. The SFA instead sent the Scots on a tour of North America; the same qualification rules were in place for the 1954 FIFA World Cup, with the 1954 British Home Championship acting as a qualifying group. Scotland again finished second, but this time the SFA allowed a team to participate in the Finals, held in Switzerland. To quote the SFA website, "The preparation was atrocious"; the SFA only sent 13 players to the finals though FIFA allowed 22-man squads. Despite this self-imposed hardship in terms of players, the SFA dignitaries travelled in numbers, accompanied by their wives. Scotland lost 1–0 against Austria in their first game in the finals, which prompted the team manager Andy Beattie to resign hours before the game against Uruguay.
Uruguay were reigning champions and had never before lost a game at the World Cup finals, they defeated Scotland 7–0. The 1958 FIFA World Cup finals saw Scotland draw their first game against Yugoslavia 1–1, but they lost to Paraguay and France and went out at the first stage. Matt Busby had been due to manage the team at the World Cup, but the severe injuries he suffered in the Munich air disaster
Defender (association football)
In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals. There are four types of defenders: centre-back, full-back, wing-back; the centre-back and full-back positions are essential in most modern formations. The sweeper and wing-back roles are more specialised for certain formations. A centre-back defends in the area directly in front of the goal, tries to prevent opposing players centre-forwards, from scoring. Centre-backs accomplish this by blocking shots, intercepting passes, contesting headers and marking forwards to discourage the opposing team from passing to them. With the ball, centre-backs are expected to make long and pinpoint passes to their teammates, or to kick unaimed long balls down the field. For example, a clearance is a long unaimed kick intended to move the ball as far as possible from the defender's goal. Due to the many skills centre-backs are required to possess in the modern game, many successful contemporary central-defensive partnerships have involved pairing a more physical defender with a defender, quicker, more comfortable in possession and capable of playing the ball out from the back.
During normal play, centre-backs are unlikely to score goals. However, when their team takes a corner kick or other set pieces, centre-backs may move forward to the opponents' penalty area. In this case, other defenders or midfielders will temporarily move into the centre-back positions; some centre-backs have been known for their direct free kicks and powerful shots from distance. Brazilian defenders David Luiz and Naldo have been known for using the cannonball free kick method, which relies more on power than placement. In the modern game, most teams employ three centre-backs in front of the goalkeeper; the 4–2–3–1, 4–3–3, 4–4–2 formations all use two centre-backs. There are two main defensive strategies used by centre-backs: the zonal defence, where each centre-back covers a specific area of the pitch; the sweeper is a more versatile centre-back who "sweeps up" the ball if an opponent manages to breach the defensive line. This position is rather more fluid than that of other defenders who man-mark their designated opponents.
Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as libero. Though sweepers may be expected to build counter-attacking moves, as such require better ball control and passing ability than typical centre-backs, their talents are confined to the defensive realm. For example, the catenaccio system of play, used in Italian football in the 1960s, employed a purely defensive sweeper who only "roamed" around the back line; the more modern libero possesses the defensive qualities of the typical libero while being able to expose the opposition during counterattacks. The Fundell-libero has become more popular in recent time with the sweeper transitioning to the most advanced forward in an attack; this variation on the position requires great fitness. While seen in professional football, the position has been extensively used in lower leagues. Modern libero sit behind centre-backs as a sweeper before charging through the team to join in the attack; some sweepers move forward and distribute the ball up-field, while others intercept passes and get the ball off the opposition without needing to hurl themselves into tackles.
If the sweeper does move up the field to distribute the ball, they will need to make a speedy recovery and run back into their position. In modern football, its usage has been restricted, with few clubs in the biggest leagues using the position; the position is most believed to have been pioneered by Franz Beckenbauer, Gaetano Scirea, Elías Figueroa, although they were not the first players to play this position. Earlier proponents included Alexandru Apolzan, Ivano Blason, Velibor Vasović, Ján Popluhár. Other defenders who have been described as sweepers include Bobby Moore, Franco Baresi, Ronald Koeman, Fernando Hierro, Matthias Sammer, Aldair, due to their ball skills and long passing ability. Though it is used in modern football, it remains a respected and demanding position. A recent and successful use of the sweeper was made by Otto Rehhagel, Greece's manager, during UEFA Euro 2004. Rehhagel utilized Traianos Dellas as Greece's sweeper to great success, as Greece became European champions.
Although this position has become obsolete in modern football formations, due to the use of zonal marking and the offside trap, certain players such as Daniele De Rossi:, Leonardo Bonucci, Javi Martínez and David Luiz have played a similar role as a ball-playing central defender in a 3–5–2 or 3–4–3 formation. Some goalkeepers, who are comfortable leaving their goalmouth to intercept and clear through balls, who participate more in play, such as René Higuita, Manuel Neuer, Edwin van der Sar, Fabien Barthez, Hugo Lloris, among others, have been referred to as sweep