Tuesday, July 23, 2013

23 July 1966 - It Helps To Have A Ballon D'Or Winner On Your Team, Apparently

On 23 July 1966, four goals from Eusébio helped Portugal rally from a 3-0 deficit to beat North Korea 5-3 in the World Cup quarterfinals.

North Korea had already delivered the shock of the tournament, beating Italy 1-0 in their final group stage match to qualify for the knockout rounds, while Portugal had breezed through their group by winning all three matches.

The teams met at Goodison Park in Liverpool, where a crowd of almost 52,000 gathered to watch what looked to be another upset. The Koreans took a staggering 3-0 lead just 25 minutes in with goals from Pak Seung-Zin (1'), Lee Dong-Woon (22'), and Yang Seung-Kook (25').

Two minutes later, however, Eusébio--the 1965 Ballon d'Or winner--started the comeback by scoring his first of the day. He followed that with a 43rd-minute penalty kick to close the gap to 3-2 at the break, then the second half belonged to Portugal. Eusébio completed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute, then added a fourth via the penalty spot three minutes later to give the Portuguese their first lead of the day.

His Benfica teammate José Augusto, who had assisted Eusébio's first goal, capped the win with an 80th minute strike to set the final margin at 5-3.

Despite the amazing effort--or perhaps because of it--Portugal fell to England in the next round, 2-1. But their comeback against North Korea remains one of the most dramatic matches in tournament history.

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