Hillsborough’s showpiece World Cup quarter-final on July 23 1966 denegrated into a farce with two Uruguayan players dismissed in the second half by English referee Jim Finney.
West Germany were leading 1-0 at half-time from a 12th minute Helmut Haller shot deflected in by Siegfried Held, which came against the run of play.
Peter Howard reported in the Green Un: “The incredibly stupid actions of Horaio Troche and Hector Silva cost their colleages dear, for Uruguay were the better side in the first half and the dismissals - in the space of six minutes - killed any faint hopes of trecovery from Germany’s shock opener.”
The second half was only five minutes old when Finney ordered off Troche after the Uruguayan captain had swung a punch at Lothar Emmerich with the ball nowhere near and after a quick consultation with the linesman, the referee took decisive action.
But this wasn’t the end of the incident as Troche was reluctant to leave and even appeared to have a swing at another German, Ewe Seeler.
He eventually left the field, escorted strangely enough by opponent Wolfgang Overath, who put his arm around Troche and walked with him right across the field to the tunnel from where Troche watched the rest of the match.
There was further sensation when Finney ordered off another Uruguayan, Hector Silva, for a vicious foul on Haller, who had to be helped off the field for treatment.
Silva was twice back on the field, dragged there by colleagues but eventually police moved in to restrain him.
After the dismissals came the deluge as the Vermans went on to win 4-0. Franz Beckenbauer scored the second on 70 minutes from close range, after being fed by captain Ewe Seeler, who scored the third five minutes later with a thunderbolt.
And Seeler was again involved to set up the fourth for Haller In the 84th minute.
The controversies marred a carnival atmosphere among trhe 33,751 crowd who basked in the sunshine in Sheffield 6. Peter Howard said: “Seldom has the Hillsborough Kop presented such a fascinating and colourful sight with thousands of German flags waving merrily.”
The Star’s second man at the game Tony Hardisty, was surpised by the quality of the South Americans.
“Though they had took the lead with a somewhat fortuitous deflection, the Germans might have been two behind at this stage. The Uruguyans certainly surprised us all with the quality of their attacking soccer.
“Goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski was almost constantly in action, beating out tremendous shots from the Uruguayans, who played beautiffuly and were terribly unlucky at the onset.
“In this hectic period for West Germany’s rearguard Wolfgang Overath dropped back to help out and put in some tremendous work under ther severest pressure and he was Germany’s outstanding performer at this critical stage.”
In Monday’s Star Hardisty called for a better deal for referees: “So much abuse has once again been heaped upon referees that it may be pertinent to get one or two things straight.
“The people who have so far caused the trouble are those coining in handsome bonuses for doing so - the players.
“All right, so the interpretation of the laws of the game can be a difficult matter for South Americans used to far more lattitude from officials in their own countries. But the Uruguayans and Argentinians have played in many a match in which the officials have been from Europe and knew full well how far they would be allowed to go.
“The fact that they overstepped the mark makes their stupidity all the harder to comprehend - and the decisions of the referees fully justified.
“Are we ever to play to the rules, must we suffer these sickening sopectacles?
“And must we continue to be surprised that young and sensible men shy away from becoming referees? World Cup referees are being paid £4 for each day their services are required. The usual FIFA allowance is £4 3s 4d. A cut in cash to officiate at the most important competition of them all! Referees must pay their own insurance and FIFA takes no responsibility for referees who might be injured when controlling men who have been called animals by our national team manager.
“There are good referees and bad referees, just like there are good players and bad players. But there are no underpaid players.”