The next part of our feature focusing on Chelsea players that have represented their country at the World Cup takes in four tournaments played during three different decades, starting in Mexico in 1970, a tournament England went in to as the holders…
Peter Bonetti was one of three goalkeepers in Alf Ramsey’s victorious England squad in 1966, but he would have to wait until 1970, in Mexico, to represent his nation on the world stage.
Peter Osgood (pictured top middle, partly hidden), then 23, was also in the squad. The striker came on in England’s 1-0 group stage wins against Romania and Czechoslovakia, playing a total of 44 minutes as the Three Lions progressed in second place behind Brazil.
The day before England’s quarter-final with West Germany, regular number one Gordon Banks suffered a stomach complaint and so Bonetti, who had conceded just once in his six England caps, was thrust into the spotlight.
The repeat of the 1966 final proved almost as exciting. The match went into extra-time, just as it had four years earlier. Alan Mullery and Marvin Peters had put England 2-0 up, before a mistake by Bonetti allowed a tame shot from Franz Beckenbauer to bobble into the net. Germany subsequently equalised before Gerd Muller (pictured below challenging Bonetti for a high ball) notched an extra-time winner to send the holders crashing out in Mexican heat and altitude.
It was the Cat’s final game in an England shirt. He wrote in 2010 that both Ramsey and his team-mates had been very supportive in the wake of his mistake, but things had been a little different when he returned to club duty.
‘My home fans at Chelsea were great to me the following season but I did get some fearful stick at away grounds,’ he said. ‘It’s not easy having to hear about how you cost your country the World Cup every other week.’
England failed to qualify for both the 1974 and 1978 World Cup and that fact, coupled with our own malaise, meant Chelsea supporters would have to wait until 1986, when the tournament was again hosted by Mexico, before another Blue took to the field.
Kerry Dixon’s solitary appearance was a fleeting one. With England 3-0 up in their final group game, against Poland, our striker (pictured below) replaced the man who had scored all three goals, Gary Lineker, with four minutes remaining.
England’s tournament had started poorly. They lost to Portugal and drew with Morocco, and with the team having failed to score a goal in those two games, manager Bobby Robson, who was now hit by injury and suspension, decided he needed to shake up his attacking options for the must-win encounter against the Poles. However, the England boss decided to start with Peter Beardsley, and not Dixon, who had shared the First Division Golden Boot with Lineker in 1984/85.
In truth, the decision was rewarded and the pair of Lineker and Beardsley would go on to form an effective partnership at international level that would last until after Italia ’90.
After beating Paraguay 3-0 in the second round, England were knocked out by eventual winners Argentina in the quarter-finals, Maradona’s deftness and deception proving too good in Mexico City.
For the first time a non-English Chelsea player featured at a World Cup. Gordon Durie played once for Scotland, starting in their 2-1 group stage success against Sweden in Genoa. The Scots had been shocked by Costa Rica in their opening game and so Durie, and future Blue Robert Fleck, were brought in to a three-man forward line.
The pair combined to win the corner from which Stuart McCall gave the Scots the lead. Durie was then replaced with 16 minutes remaining, his final action of the tournament. Scotland went on to win 2-1, but their defeat to Brazil in the final group game put paid to any hopes they had of qualifying for the knockout rounds as one of the best third-placed teams.
There were two Chelsea players on England’s books in Italy that year. Dave Beasant was a late call-up to the squad after David Seaman broke a finger in training and though our goalkeeper didn’t play, Bobby Robson admitted afterwards he considered bringing him on in the last minute of the semi-final against Germany because of his reputation for saving penalties.
One man who did make it onto the field of play was Tony Dorigo. The left-back started the third/fourth place play-off against Italy in Bari, and supplied the cross from which David Platt equalised with nine minutes remaining. Toto Schillaci won and then scored a penalty to secure Italy the consolation prize, but Dorigo (pictured below consoling Paul Gascoigne after defeat to Germany) and England could be pleased with their work. It remains the only time the Three Lions have reached the last four of the World Cup since 1966.
Two fans’ favourites represented the Blues at USA ’94. Dmitri Kharine, playing for his third differently named international team as a result of the Soviet Union’s break-up, captained Russia in their first two games, which they lost to eventual winners Brazil, and Sweden.
Against Brazil Kharine produced one of the saves of the tournament to deny Bebeto, and of the four goals he conceded in his 180 minutes on the pitch, two were penalties. With Russia out of the tournament by the time they played Cameroon in their final group game, Kharine was rested for what proved a comfortable 6-1 win.
Erland Johnsen could well consider himself the most unfortunate Chelsea player to have not qualified from a group stage at a World Cup, as his Norway team exited USA ’94 in most unusual circumstances.
All four teams in Group E finished with four points, the only time that has happened in World Cup history, and incredibly all four teams finished with a goal difference of zero. Norwich finished bottom of the group on account of the fact they had scored fewer goals than Mexico, the Republic of Ireland and Italy, who all qualified to the knockout stage.
Unlike Kharine, Johnsen did not feature in his nation’s first two games but was brought in for the decider with Ireland. A nervy goalless draw ensued, with what was at stake perhaps evidenced by a game that was shorn of genuine quality. The side that had beaten both the Netherlands and England to top spot in qualifying was heading home early.
By the time Tony Cascarino took to the field for the Republic of Ireland in their second round game with the Netherlands – injury had prevented him from appearing earlier in the tournament – his contract with Chelsea had expired and thus he was officially unattached.
By Rupert Cane