Wednesday, January 9, 2013

9 January 1930 - Putting The Sportsmanship In Sports

On 9 January 1930, Igor Netto, renowned for one of the most memorable displays of sportsmanship in football, was born in Moscow.

One of the Soviet Union's greatest players, Netto, who played at left back and in central midfield, spent his entire club career at Spartak Moscow, where he made 368 appearances from 1949 to 1966. Along the way, he won five league titles (1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1962) and three Soviet Cups (1950, 1958, 1963).

In 1952, he earned his first cap for the Soviet national team and eventually claimed the captain's armband. During his time with the team, they won the gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics, then lifted the trophy at the 1960 European Championship.

But his most famous moment came during the 1962 World Cup in Chile. On 6 June, the Soviets were playing against Uruguay in the group stage with both teams needing a win to guarantee a spot in the knockout rounds. In the 75th minute, with the score level at 1-1, the referee awarded a go-ahead goal to Soviet striker Igor Chislenko, but Netto explained that the ball had entered the goal through a hole in the side netting and convinced the referee to reverse his opinion and disallow the goal (the USSR went on to win anyway with an 89th-minute goal from Valentin Ivanov and advanced, but lost to hosts Chile in the quarterfinals).

After his retirement as a player, Netto managed several teams, including brief spells in charge of Spartak Moscow and the Iranian national team. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 69.

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