Monday, July 26, 2010

26 July 2009 - A Fitting Farewell For Bobby Robson

On 26 July 2009, England and Germany played a rematch of their meeting in the 1990 World Cup in honor of former England manager Bobby Robson. Proceeds from the match went to his cancer charity, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The 1990 match, which was won by West Germany on penalty kicks, was Robson's last in charge after eight years at the helm of the national team. The sides met in the semi-finals, marking England's deepest run in the World Cup since winning it in 1966.

After leaving the England job, Robson managed several clubs, including PSV Eindhoven (1990-92, 1998-99), Sporting (1992-94), Porto (1994-96), Barcelona (1996-97), and, lastly, Newcastle United (1999-2004). During that time, he had been diagnosed with cancer on five separate occasions. The last diagnosis, in 2007, was terminal. Shortly afterward, in March 2008, he launched the Bobby Robson Foundation to fund cancer research, detection, and treatment.

The charity match was played at Newcastle's St. James' Park, with Robson in attendance. The England XI included ten members of the 1990 side, including Peter Shilton and Paul Gascoigne, while three players. Three players from the West German team, including captain Lothar Matthäus, joined the Germany XI. The remaining slots were filled by younger internationals and celebrity players such as singers Craig David and Simon Webbe.

History appeared likely to repeat itself as the Germans took an early 2-0 lead in the 18th minute, but England leveled before the break. Newcastle hero Alan Shearer provided the winning goal with a 79th minute penalty kick and the match ended 3-2 for England.

The match was Robson's last public appearance, as he passed away five days later. By the time of his death, the Foundation had raised £1.6 million and by late 2009, that number had risen to £2 million.

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