Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today’s Video: The "Battle of Santiago"

With the World Cup set to start on Friday in South Africa we continue our look this week at memorable matches with Latin American teams. Today's entry features the 1962 World Cup and host country Chile.

Perhaps there have been rougher World Cup games than the 1962 group match between Chile and Italy. (Netherlands vs. Portugal from '06 is one that springs to mind). Yet in the build-up to the match most Chileans were ready to make the Azzuri pay the price for the recklessness of a pair of Italian journos:
Chile was recovering from an earthquake that had killed nearly 6,000 people, and didn't have much money in the first place, so its countryfolk weren't particularly disposed to tolerate the two Italian journalists who swanned into Santiago ahead of the World Cup finals, sifted through the wreckage, and sent home dispatches painting a picture of Chile's capital as a poverty-stricken hole full of loose women. Antonio Ghiredelli and Corrado Pizzinelli insisted their reports had been distorted somewhere down the line, but the damage was done and all diplomatic bets were off. The pair skidaddled back home for their own safety – an Argentinian journalist mistaken for one of them was badly beaten in a bar – leaving the poor buggers in the Italian national team to deal with the consequences. Chile and Italy, of course, had been drawn in the same first-stage group.
Chile would go on to win what was later described as the "Battle of Santiago" by a score of 2-0. That victory was marred by the rough play, which the BBC's David Coleman would describe in the clip below as "the most stupid, appalling, disgusting, and disgraceful exhibition of football possibly in the history of the game":

Online Sources - The Guardian, YouTube, BBC Sport,


Anonymous said...

de Clermont - correction - the World Cup begins on Thursday. World Cup competition begins on Friday.

Erwin C. said...

Though there will be an all-star concert Thursday evening including planned performances by Shakira and Juanes, the opening ceremonies and inaugural game (S. Africa v. Mexico) will be on Friday proper. Hopefully this clarifies things up a bit.