Friday, July 24, 2015

24 July 1980 - That's No Way To Treat An Old Friend

On 24 July 1980, the Soviet Union rolled to any easy 8-0 victory over fellow Communists Cuba in the first round group stage of the Summer Olympics. Striker Sergey Andreyev contributed a first-half hat-trick on his way to becoming the tournament's top scorer.

The Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan the previous year sparked a boycott led by the United States, so that 64 countries refused to participate. Most of the traditional football powers competed, however, with the lone exceptions being Uruguay and World Cup holders Argentina. Cuba had not qualified for the tournament originally, but took the place of the withdrawn United States.

Playing at Dinamo Stadium in Moscow, the two sides were playing for the group's top spot, with both having won their first two matches over other group members Zambia and Venezuela. But the Soviets quickly staked their claim, with Andreyev finding the back of the net in the 8th minute. The Cubans were heavily outmatched - the scoreline was 5-0 by the break and three second-half goals extended the lead to the final score of 8-0.

Despite the beat-down, Cuba finished second in the group and progressed to the second round, where they lost 3-0 to Czechoslovakia. The Soviets advanced to the semifinals, but were beaten 1-0 by East Germany, then took bronze by defeating Yugoslavia in the third-place match.

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