Tuesday, June 7, 2016

7 June 1962 - Yugoslavia Delivers The Knockout Punch

On 7 June 1962, Yugoslavia and Colombia met in the World Cup with a place in the knockout rounds at stake.

Playing on their group's last match day, the two teams were battling to join the USSR, who had won the group the previous day with a 2-1 win over Uruguay, in the quarterfinals. Yugoslavia, sitting on 2 points at the start of the day, could advance with a draw. Colombia, however, had only a single point and needed a win to take the group's second spot in the knockout rounds.

Although the stakes were equal for both teams, the day belonged to Yugoslavia. Striker Milan Galić opened the scoring in the 20th minute and was joined on the scoresheet five minutes later by his fellow striker, Dražan Jerković (both Galić and Jerković had been instrumental in Yugoslavia's run to the Final of the European Championship in 1960).

Colombia tightened up their defense and managed to keep the score 2-0 until the 61st minute, when Galić added another. Not to be outdone, Jerković scored a second goal in the 87th minute, with an intervening goal in the 82nd minute from midfielder Vojislav Melić.

The 5-0 scoreline sent Colombia home and catapulted Yugoslavia into the next round, where they advanced over Hungary 1-0 before falling to Czechoslovakia in the semifinals. It remains their best showing in a World Cup, matched only by their semifinal run in 1930.

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