Thursday, October 20, 2016

20 October 1968 - Lots May Be Fair, But They're Not As Exciting

A 1-1 Olympic quarterfinal draw between Bulgaria and Israel on 20 October 1968 resulted in FIFA's adoption of penalty shootouts.

The two teams met at the Nou Camp in León, Mexico. It was a heated affair, with referee Michel Kitabdjian issuing six cautions in the first minute (three to each team).

In a battle of prolific attacks, Bulgaria took an early lead with a 5th-minute goal from an unlikely source, Slavia Sofia defender Georgi Hristakiev. For the next 84 minutes, Hristakiev played a more traditional role as Bulgaria managed to stifle Israel.

But Yehoshua Feigenbaum eventually cracked the Bulgarian defense, drawing Israel level in the 89th minute and the match ended at 1-1 after 90 minutes. In order to determine which team would advance, the rules at the time required the drawing of lots. Bulgaria won and progressed to the semifinals where they beat Mexico, 2-3. They then moved on to the final, losing to Hungary 4-1.

After watching his team lose via lots, Israel supporter Yosef Dagan wrote to FIFA, suggesting they resolve draws with a penalty shootout. FIFA adopted the proposal in 1970.


  1. Did the referee show six yellow cards in the first minute, or were they verbal cautions?

    1. Verbal cautions only. Actual cards weren't used until two years later at the 1970 World Cup.