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Eusebio’s magic revived in tale of ’66

football Updated: Jun 21, 2010 00:27 IST
Paul Radford
Paul Radford
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I can still remember the look on Eusebio's face as North Korea took a 3-0 lead over his Portuguese team in the World Cup quarter-final at Goodison Park in Liverpool 44 years ago.

The Black Panther, as he was known, second best player in the world to Pele himself at the time, gathered the ball from the back of the net, turned and ran back to the centre spot with a look of grim determination which said, "That's enough now. I'm going to sort this out even if I have to do it all by myself."

It was an extraordinary moment. I was standing in the crowd of more than 40,000 as stunned as everyone else, wondering if I was dreaming.

North Korea had arrived for the finals as a mild curiosity and rank outsider. Everyone assumed they had had one of those fluke results that happen in soccer and that they would be overwhelmed by Eusebio and co.

But from the kick-off it all went wrong for the Portuguese and so right for Korea. Park Seung-jin scored after just 55 seconds. Surely not another huge shock on the cards?

Portugal looked confused by the lively North Koreans as I recall. Two consecutive attacks brought two more goals in the 20th and 24th minutes from Lee Dong-woon and the equally unheard of Yang Sung-kook.

But Eusebio had other ideas. By sheer force of personality and sumptuous skill, he single-handedly took the game to North Korea. Just two minutes after Korea's third goal, he had pulled one back.

A penalty just before halftime followed and then two more in the 57th and 60th minutes, the second another penalty. Portuguese fans were breathing sighs of relief as they gained the lead. Jose Augusto made sure with a fifth 10 minutes from time and Portugal, or rather Eusebio, had won the game 5-3.

Portugal went on to take third place and Eusebio was top scorer with nine goals. North Korea went back to international soccer oblivion and have not taken part in any finals until this tournament.