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The 1970 World Cup
Mexico had won the bid to host the tournament on 8th October 1964, beating off the challenge of Argentina by 56 votes to 32. The 9th World Cup finals would be the very first to be televised in colour and the first Central/South American tournament that viewers in Europe would be able to watch LIVE via satellite. Because of the time difference, the European TV companies insisted that the originally planned kick-off times be changed so that they could broadcast the matches in peak-time hours back home, this resulted in some matches kicking off at 12 noon Mexico time in sweltering heat. The pictures were less than perfect because the Mexicans used a different television system, 525 line NTSC, and the live feed had to go through a conversion process with a relatively primitive computer working out how to add the extra 100 lines, but this minor problem failed to distract from what is still generally considered to be the best World Cup finals of all time. It was also a resounding success for ITV who's viewing figures bettered those of the BBC (the only time this has ever happened), this was due to the lively and often heated London studio debates chaired by Jimmy Hill who had selected an unprecedented number of panellists to appear on each and every one of ITV's World Cup broadcasts, these being Malcolm Allison (manager of Manchester City), Derek Dougan (of Wolves and Northern Ireland), Pat Crerand (Manchester United and Scotland) and Bob McNab (Arsenal, plus 4 caps for England).

1970 ITV World Cup panel
ITV's London Studio panel for coverage of World Cup 1970.
Bob McNab, Pat Crerand, Derek Dougan & Malcolm Allison.

Commentators
The ITV commentary team in Mexico comprised Hugh Johns, Gerald Sinstadt, Gerry Harrison and Roger Malone (pictured below). Billy Wright joined Johns as co-commentator, England captain Bobby Moore co-commentated on a semi-final and the final. Brian Moore stayed behind in London to present the programmes.
The BBC's coverage was hosted by Frank Bough in London and David Coleman in Mexico. Among the ever changing BBC panellists were two future ITV mainstays, Brian Clough and Ian St.John (others included Joe Mercer, Don Revie, Noel Cantwell, Ray Wilson, Bob Wilson and Johnny Haynes) whilst the commentators in Mexico were Ken Wolstenholme, David Coleman, Barry Davies, Alan Weeks and Idwal Robling.

The 1970 ITV World Cup commentators

Theme tunes
ITV's theme tune for the tournament was "The World At Their Feet" written by Joan Shakespeare and performed by The John Shakespeare Orchestra, it was released as a single on the Pye label on 8th May 1970 (cat no 7N 17942, b-side "Mucho Mexico Seven-O").
The BBC's World Cup theme tune was "Mexico Grandstand" written by M.Begg and performed by The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, this was also issued as a single in May on the Fontana label (cat no 6007 013, b-side "Winter in the Sun").

Malcolm Allison, ITV 1970Jimmy Hill, ITV 1970
Malcolm Allison & Jimmy Hill
(See also this TVTimes article and Bob's 70/71 web-page here)

Qualification
Eight European, three South American, and three sole representatives from Africa, North/Central America and Asia/Oceana would join the hosts Mexico and holders England in making up the 16 countries taking part in the finals. With only those who finished in pole position able to qualify from the eight European groups, Bobby Brown's Scotland were in the unfortunate position of finding themselves in the same pool as the 1966 runners-up West Germany - and after drawing the home fixture in Glasgow, Scotland needed to maintain their record of having never lost to the West Germans in the penultimate group match in Hamburg, but a 3-2 defeat saw West Germany claim 1st place. Billy Bingham's Northern Ireland lined-up with arguably the best player on the planet at the time, but he had yet to grace the world stage in order to truly justify that claim, George Best was handed a realistic opportunity of making the finals in 1970 when his country were paired up in a three team group with the Soviet Union, but having brushed aside Turkey (one of the then weakest nations in the European qualification round), Northern Ireland could only manage a goalless draw in the group's key match in Belfast and went on to lose 2-0 in the return match in Moscow. For Dave Bowen's Wales, the 1970 World Cup proved to be a literally pointless exercise, losing all four of their group games to Italy and East Germany. The Republic of Ireland faired little better, finishing bottom of a four team group headed jointly by Hungary and Czechoslovakia*.

*Had either the goal-difference or head-to-head rule applied to the 1970 World Cup qualification round, Hungary would have gone through, but teams level on points were instead required to play-off and it was Czechoslovakia who went to Mexico (and were drawn to play in England's group) after winning a single match decider held in neutral France.
 

British TV coverage of Mexico 1970

ITV games are in white, BBC or non-televised matches are in grey.
All televised matches from October 1968 until November 1969 were shown in black & white.

Qualifiers & Friendlies

Tue 10/Sep/1968    Israel 2 (M.Spiegler, Talbi) Northern Ireland 3 (Irvine 2, Dougan)
Friendly in Jaffa
*No scheduled TV coverage. Pat Rice made his debut for Northern Ireland who led 3-0 at half-time.

Wed 16/Oct/1968    Denmark 0 Scotland 1 (Lennox)
Friendly in Copenhagen
*Possibly highlights included on the SCOTTISH only show "Scotsport" from 11pm. A less than impressive performance by Scotland in a fixture they were expected to win comfortably, the Danes holding out for 70 minutes before Lennox netted the winner with a rising shot.

Wed 23/Oct/1968    Northern Ireland 4 (Best, McMordie, Dougan, W.Campbell) Turkey 1 (Ogün)
Qualifier in Belfast
BBC N.IRELAND Highlights
*Shown in Northern Ireland only on BBC1, 11:01-11:46pm.

Wed 23/Oct/1968    Wales 0 Italy 1 (Riva)
Qualifier in Cardiff
BBC WALES Highlights
*Shown in Wales only on BBC1 10:15-10:45pm. BBC1 viewers in England and Scotland saw action from the Mexico Olympic Games. Italy scored the only goal just before half-time, Riva turning on the edge of a the box and striking low into the corner of the net.

Wed 06/Nov/1968    Scotland 2 (Law, Bremner) Austria 1 (Starek)
Qualifier in Glasgow
BBC SCOTLAND Highlights
*Highlights were shown on "Sportsreel" on BBC1 Scotland only 10:45-11:25pm (though ITV SCOTTISH had a "Scotsport" at 10:30-11pm, so maybe both channels showed it). With West Germany winning their opening group game away to Austria, Scotland were under pressure to collect both points tonight. They made the worst possible start in falling behind on 3 minutes, but Denis Law soon had them level on 8 and Bremner netted the winner on 75.

Wed 06/Nov/1968    Romania 0 England 0
Friendly in Bucharest
BBC Highlights
Ken Wolstenholme
*Shown on BBC1 as "International Football" 10:45-11:25pm (except Scotland, see above). A very poor game in which the Romanians were the better side, forcing eleven corners to England's one.

Wed 11/Dec/1968    Cyprus 0 Scotland 5 (Gilzean 2, Stein 2, Murdoch)
Qualifier in Nicosia
SCOTTISH Highlights
*With West Germany only winning 1-0 in Cyprus a few weeks earlier, this comfortable win was a boost for Scottish hopes, all five goals were scored in the first half. Highlights were shown on a "Scotsport Special" the following night (Thursday, Scottish region only) at 10:47pm.

Wed 11/Dec/1968    Turkey 0 Northern Ireland 3 (Harkin 2, Nicholson)
Qualifier in Istanbul
*No British TV coverage scheduled.

Wed 11/Dec/1968    England 1 (Hurst) Bulgaria 1 (Asparoukhov)
Friendly at Wembley
BBC Highlights
David Coleman
*Highlights on BBC1 as "International Football" from 11:05-11:55pm. England played well in this one and were unlucky not to record a victory, Georgi Asparoukhov put Bulgaria ahead on 32 but only for Geoff Hurst to equalise three minutes later. Francis Lee made his England debut. The highlights were repeated on the ESPN Classics channel in the 2000's.

Wed 15/Jan/1969    England 1 (J.Charlton) Romania 1 (Dumitrache(pen))
Friendly at Wembley
BBC Highlights
David Coleman
*Highlights on BBC1 as "International Football" from 10:45-11:30pm. Jack Charlton gave England the lead on 28, heading in from a corner, but the same player was responsible for the penalty that led to the equaliser on 78 - given for hand ball after Charlton had raised his hands to protect his face. Both sides also hit the post. Repeated on ESPN in the 2000's.

Wed 12/Mar/1969   England 5 (O'Grady, Hurst 3(2pens), Lee) France 0
Friendly at Wembley
ITV Highlights
Brian Moore
*Late night ITV Highlights as "International Football" at 11:30pm-12:20am. A good performace against a poor French team, England were constantly on the attack throughout but only led 1-0 at HT. The 2nd half saw two penalties converted by Geoff Hurst (both given after his West Ham team-mate Martin Peters had been pulled down in the area). Terry Cooper made his England debut.

Wed 26/Mar/1969    West Germany 1 (G.Müller) Wales 1 (Jones)
Friendly at Frankfurt
*ITV were sheduled to screen football at 11:30pm-12:24am, but this was apparently only highlights of the Scottish league v Football League. John Toshack made his debut for Wales.

Wed 16/Apr/1969    Scotland 1 (Murdoch) West Germany 1 (G.Müller)
Qualifier in Glasgow
?SCOTTISH Highlights?
*BBC1 Scotland "Sportsreel" showed this at 11:15-11:45pm, highlights may also have been included on "Scotsport" in the SCOTTISH region from 10:45pm. Most of the advertising hoardings are in German - suggesting that it was shown live in West Germany - but the on screen captions are in English. It was a match that Scotland really needed to win and certainly couldn't afford to lose. Gerd Müller gave the Germans the lead on 39, the equaliser came late in the match thanks to a fine strike by Bobby Murdoch on 85.

Wed 16/Apr/1969    East Germany 2 (Löwe, Rock) Wales 1 (England)
Qualifier in Dresden
*No British TV coverage scheduled. An 89th minute winner effectively killed off any serious Welsh hopes of qualifying.

Sat 17/May/1969   Scotland 8 (E.Gray, McNeill, Stein 4, Henderson, Gemmell) Cyprus 0
Qualifier in Glasgow
BBC SCOTLAND Highlights
*Highlights were shown on "Sportsreel" on BBC1 Scotland from 10-10:45pm (Archie MacPherson).

Sun 01/Jun/1969    Mexico 0 England 0
Friendly in Mexico City
ITV LIVE
Brian Moore & Jimmy Hill
*In the summer of 1969 England embarked on a short three match Central/South American tour in preparation for the finals the following year. The first of these fixtures was shown LIVE on ITV from 6:55-9pm (there had also been a preview sequence during ITV's Sunday afternoon "Summer Sports Arena" programme). It was the first football match played on the other side of the world to be shown live in the UK and may have been staged in front of colour television cameras (Mexico having first introduced colour TV as early as 1963 and covering the Olympic games in colour in 1968), but British viewers back home were only able to watch the match in black & white as ITV were still broadcasting in monochrome only - At least they had a better view than commentator Brian Moore who found himself positioned inside an airless booth behind a screen that apparently failed to offer a clear sight of the pitch. The match kicked-off at noon local time, and although it was hot, the sky was thankfully overcast as England attempted to get to grips with the altitude and its' affects on the speed of the ball. Hurst came closest to scoring for England, heading against the bar on 25 mins, Estrada hit the post for Mexico on 56 and by the closing stages England were clearly very tired. ITV still have this game in full on tape, complete with Jimmy Hill's introduction which (right on cue) is drowned out by a passing military band.

Tue 03/Jun/1969    Mexico XI 0 England XI 4 (Clarke 2, Astle 2)
Friendly in Guadalajara
ITV Delayed Coverage
Brian Moore & Jimmy Hill *TVT
*All ITV regions, including the non-English stations, showed this unofficial international played in front of over 50,000 the following night (Wednesday 4th June from 10:30pm-12:10am). Kick-off was 8:30pm Mexico time on Tuesday (3:30am Wednesday morning BST). The game was a one sided affair with England 2-0 up in 18 minutes, though the final goal didn't come until the last minute and the major talking point was the sendings off  of both Alan Mullery and Perez on 86 after Mullery had grabbed hold of Perez as the Mexican made an attempt to kick Colin Harvey (who'd just been flattened by Gonzalez) in the back. The two players were ordered to leave the field once the officials had "....rid themselves of the milling crowd of players, photographers, and anyone else who wanted to join in." It was the 2nd time Mullery had been sent off for England having been the first ever England player to be dismissed the previous year v Yugoslavia in Euro '68.

Sun 08/Jun/1969    Uruguay 1 (Cubilla) England 2 (Lee, Hurst)
Friendly in Montevideo
BBC Highlights
Ken Wolstenholme
*BBC1 showed highlights on "Sportsnight with Coleman" on Thursday 12th (four days after the game was played) at 9:05-9:55pm. On a very poor pitch, Francis Lee scored first for England on 16, Luis Cubilla levelled on 52, the winner came courtesy of Geoff Hurst on 80.

Thu 12/Jun/1969    Brazil 2 (Gonçalves, Ventura) England 1 (Bell)
Friendly in Rio de Janeiro
BBC Highlights
Ken Wolstenholme
*Highlights were shown on BBC1 on Saturday 14th (two days after it was played) at 10:10-11pm. ITV had been under the impression that they had done the deal to screen the match and Brian Moore and Jiimmy Hill were flown over to cover it, only to find out that the contract was worthless. Colin Bell gave England the lead on 14 and Gordon Banks saved a penalty on 28 after Wright had upended Gerson. Brazil included Pelé but with 11 minutes remaining and the score still 1-0, England looked to be on course for a notable victory, but an equaliser by Tostão was quickly followed up with another goal from Jairzinho two minutes later. The attendance in Rio was 135,000.

Mon 28/Jul/1969    Wales 0 Rest of the UK 1 (Lee)
Friendly at Cardiff
BBC LIVE
Ken Wolstenholme
*A friendly to commemorate the Investiture of the Prince of Wales shown LIVE on BBC1 at 7:30-9:20pm. Barry Davies mentioned in his autobiography that he had 'a minor in-vision role', which would have been his first appearance on the BBC (at least in a football capacity). Francis Lee scored the only goal on 34.

Wed 10/Sep/1969    Northern Ireland 0 Soviet Union 0
Qualifier in Belfast
BBC N.IRELAND LIVE *Highlights in England & Wales
David Coleman *At least for England & Wales
*This crucial World Cup qualifier was shown LIVE in Northern Ireland on BBC1, viewers in England and Wales saw highlights at 11-11:45pm. A colour film camera caught some of the action for a BBC documentary on George Best, but both the live broadcast and the highlights on the night were shown in black & white.

Sun 21/Sep/1969    Republic Of Ireland 1 (Givens) Scotland 1 (Stein)
Friendly in Dublin
*No coverage scheduled, BBC1 in Scotland showed World Cup group rivals Austria v West Germany at 2:55-4:40pm (Televised in colour in those countries, but monochrome in Scotland).

Wed 22/Oct/1969    West Germany 3 (Fichtel, G.Müller, Libuda) Scotland 2 (J.Johnstone, Gilzean)
Qualifier in Hamburg
SCOTTISH & GRAMPIAN LIVE
*Shown LIVE in the Scottish ITV regions from 7:25-9:15pm, the other ITV regions most likely saw highlights on "World Cup Football" at 10:40-11:35pm. BBC1 Scotland were scheduled to show highlights from 9:10pm (Archie MacPherson later cited this as his first big LIVE match in his autobiography). Viewers in West Germany would have expected to see the game in colour, but fog appears to have dictated that the cameras be switched to black & white in order to capture a clearer picture. A win for Scotland would have left them needing just a point from their final match in Austria to qualify, whilst a draw would have seen Scotland requiring a win in Austria to earn a single match play-off with West Germany on a neutral ground. The Scots got off to a dream start by taking the lead on 3 minutes with an opportunists goal from Jimmy Johnstone, Klaus Fitchtel equalised on 35 following a corner, Scotland then twice hit the bar before Gerd Müller volleyed the home side ahead on the hour, the Scots were still in the competition when a header by Alan Gilzean levelled the score at 2-2 on 62 mins, but the Germans defeated the Scots for the first time ever after Reinhard Libuda ran onto a through ball and found the net on 80. Tommy Gemmell was sent off in the closing stages, West Germany qualified, Scotland were out.

Wed 22/Oct/1969    Soviet Union 2 (Nodija, Bishovets) Northern Ireland 0
BBC ?LIVE?
Qualifier in Moscow
*This was shown in Northern Ireland as a regional BBC1 opt-out from 7:10-8:45pm, possibly delayed coverage (if it was live then it would have kicked off very late in Russia where it may have been shown in colour). As mentioned above, ITV had a World Cup programme at 10:40-11:35pm but they most likely showed Scotland's match only. .

Wed 22/Oct/1969    Wales 1 (Powell) East Germany 3 (Vogel, Löwe, Frenzel)
Qualifier in Cardiff
BBC Highlights
*Highlights were shown in Wales only as an opt-out on BBC1 at 11:05-11:35pm. A terrible night for the Welsh who only managed a late consolation.

Tue 04/Nov/1969    Italy 4 (Riva 3, Mazzola) Wales 1 (England)
Qualifier in Rome
*No scheduled British TV coverage. Terry Yorath made his Welsh debut.

Wed 05/Nov/1969   Austria 2 (Redl 2) Scotland 0
Qualifier in Vienna
*A meaningless match with the final group standings already settled. Highlights could have been shown on either BBC1 Scotland's "Sportsreel" or SCOTTISH tv's "Sportscene".

Wed 05/Nov/1969    Netherlands 0 England 1 (Bell)
Friendly in Amsterdam
BBC Highlights
Barry Davies
*Highlights were included on "Grandstand Special" 10:50pm-12am with Rugby Union also billed. Barry Davies commentated on his first England match accompanied by fireworks exploding in the stands and barking police dogs. The match may have been shown in colour in Holland but BBC1 remained a black & white channel for nine more days. Emlyn Hughes made his England debut, Colin Bell netted the only goal on 84 minutes having earlier hit the crossbar just before HT. Repeated on ESPN in the 2000's.

Wed 10/Dec/1969    England 1 (J.Charlton) Portugal 0
Friendly at Wembley
BBC Highlights
David Coleman
*The first England home match to be televised in colour was broadcast on BBC1 as "International Football" at 10:20-11pm (not shown in Scotland or Wales). Lured by the prospect of seeing a repeat of the 1966 World cup semi-final, a capacity crowd witnessed a lethargic match as England sought to implement a patient passing game in anticipation of the conditions to be expected in Mexico, sadly the finishing left much to be desired - including a penalty by Lee which was hit 10 yards wide. Jackie Charlton scored the only goal of the game on 24 mins, heading home his brother's flag kick. Repeated on ESPN in the 2000's.

Sat 10/Jan/1970    World Cup Draw
*Held in Mexico City and probably televised in colour. BBC1 showed the draw live as part of "Match of the Day Special: World Cup Draw 1970" from 9:55-11:30pm, Alf Ramsey watched the events unfold from the BBC studio and gave his reaction afterwards. LWT's "The Big Match" devoted a section of their Sunday afternoon programme to the draw (billed as a "Big Match Special" and 30 minutes longer than usual, 2:45-4:15pm), ATV had a special "World Cup Draw" programme before "Star Soccer" from 2-2:15pm whilst Granada showed it after their regular highlights programme. There were offically no seeds and the countries were all drawn from geographical sections to keep certain nations apart. Venues for the hosts Mexico and holders England were pre-determined whilst Morocco had apparently threatened to pull out if they were to be placed in the same group as Israel.

Wed 14/Jan/1970   England 0 Netherlands 0
Friendly at Wembley
BBC Highlights
Ken Wolstenholme
*BBC1 showed highlights of this in colour at 10:15-11pm. It was another poor England performance which at one stage prompted a chorus of "What a load of rubbish" from the stands, Ian Storey-Moore (in his one and only appearance for England) had a seemingly good goal disallowed, Bobby Charlton also found the back of the net at the very end of the game but only after the final whistle had blown. This was the first match in which England used two substitutes.

Wed 25/Feb/1970   Belgium 1 (Dockx) England 3 (Ball 2, Hurst)
Friendly in Brussels
ITV Highlights
Brian Moore
*ITV showed highlights at 10:30-11:25pm, it was billed in the Times as being in colour although Belgian TV was still black & white at the time. In spite of the poor conditions (the pitch was a mud bath and they also had to contend with a snow storm), England put in a very good performance against a team who were also looking forward to the World Cup finals in the summer. Belgium began brightly but England took the lead through Alan Ball on 28 mins, Geoff Hurst made it 2-0 on 55 heading in at the near post from Martin Peters' cross. Four minutes later Belgium pulled it back to 2-1 when Dockx fired in a free-kick, but England restored their 2 goal advantage almost immediately with Alan Ball netting his 2nd. Peter Osgood made his England debut.

Wed 20/May/1970   Colombia 0 England 4 (Peters 2, R.Charlton, Ball)
Friendly in Bogota
BBC Highlights
David Coleman
*BBC1 showed highlights the following evening (Thursday) as part of "Sportsnight" at 9:10-10:45pm with the football from 10pm in black & white. Martin Peters headed both of England's first half goals from corners - the first after only 90 seconds and the 2nd on 39 minutes, Bobby Charlton bagged the last of his record 49 goals for England on 55 with a typical rising shot from the edge of the area, Alan Ball added the 4th goal on 84 by heading in Cooper's cross from the left. A good result for England after a disturbing incident earlier in the day when captain Bobby Moore was accused of stealing a bracelet from a jeweller's shop located in the foyer of their hotel. The police were called and both Moore and Bobby Charlton (who'd been in the shop with Moore) invited the police to search them, but this was declined and the matter appeared to be resolved.

Sun 24/May/1970   Ecuador 0 England 2 (Lee, Kidd)
Friendly in Quito
ITV Highlights
Hugh Johns
*Action from this game was eventually shown the following Friday night as part of ITV's"World Cup 70" preview programme at 10:30pm-12am, the surviving footage is about 20 minutes colour film with Hugh Johns' commentary cleary added off tube. It was Ecuador's first game against a country from outside of Latin America. After the match the England party was to fly to Mexico via Colombia (as there was no direct flight) but upon arriving back in Colombia they were met by armed police who had come to arrest Bobby Moore over the alleged shoplifting incident a few days earlier. Moore was eventually released to play in the finals but the case remained open, the charges were later dropped after details of a plot to frame the England captain were published by a member of the Colombian Special Branch.

Mexico 1970 Finals
Played in Mexico City (Group 1), Puebla and Toluca (Group 2), Guadalajara (Group 3) and León (Group 4).
The sixteen finalists were split into four groups of four, the top two from each group progressed into the Quarter-finals (knock-out stage). For the first time, goal difference would separate teams who finished level on points (rather than play-offs or goal average).

Fri 29/May/1970    "World Cup 70"
*ITV's preview programme was broadcast from 10:30pm-midnight and included action from the friendly between Ecuador and England played almost a week earlier. LWT also had a little teaser at 9-9:05pm and some time was given over to previewing the World Cup during the following afternoon's "World of Sport" programme. On Saturday night, both ITV (most regions) & BBC1 looked back to the previous World Cup with ITV showing the official colour film of the tournament "Goal - World Cup 1966", whilst BBC1 repeated highlights of the final (which were in black & white) at 10:10-11pm. The previous day (Thursday 28th) "Top of the Pops" had once again included a film of the England squad singing their no.1 single "Back Home" (a regular item on the show since 9th April following its' release on the Pye label on 3rd April), host Tony Blackburn also introduced the BBC's World Cup Grandstand theme, which was presumably accompanied by shots of the audience dancing to it. (Sadly the programme was not archived, but the England squad film survives).

First Round
Game 1

Sun 31/May/1970   Mexico 0 Soviet Union 0
Group 1 (7pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Hugh Johns & Billy Wright
*ITV kicked off with a four hour LIVE show (5:15-9:10pm) which included the opening ceremony described by Gerald Sinstadt. 31 minutes into the tournament, Givi Nodia of the Soviet Union became the first ever player to see a yellow card. (FIFA having just introduced the yellow and red card system in order to clearly signify when a player had been booked or sent off, this was at the suggestion of Englishman Ken Aston, who was in charge of World Cup referee's. Aston had come up with the idea at a set of traffic lights in 1966 whilst driving home from England's World cup match v Argentina in which there had been confusion as to whether or not Jack Charlton had been booked). Not a single red card was put to use throughout the entire Mexico finals. 1970 was also the first World Cup finals to allow substitutes - The Soviet Union made the first ever World Cup finals substitution in this opening game when Viktor Serebrjanikov was replaced by Anatoli Puzach for the 2nd half. BBC1 also showed the opening ceremony and first match live (5:30-8:50pm) with David Coleman commentating and Frank Bough presenting in London.

Mon 01/Jun/1970  "World Cup 70"
*ITV's teatime show (5:55-6:20pm) reviewed last night's opening match and previewed the next day's games, it was hosted by Brian Moore with contributions from Jimmy Hill and the panel (Allison, Dougan, Crerand and McNab). This edition still exists.

Tue 02/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*ITV previewed England's opening match from 5:55-6:30pm. BBC1 also had a preview show "World Cup Grandstand" at 6-6:30pm.

Tue 02/Jun/1970    England 1 (Hurst) Romania 0
Group 3 (11pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Hugh Johns & Billy Wright
*Three matches were played at the same time late Tuesday night, the Times lists BBC1 as showing the England match live from 10:40pm (David Coleman commetating) with highlights/delayed coverage of the other two games to follow at 12:45-3am. ITV were on air from 10:45pm-1am and must have showed the England match live also. England opened Group 3 with a win thanks to Geoff Hurst who scored from close range on 64 minutes, Francis Lee had hit the crossbar on 30 mins.

Tue 02/Jun/1970    Uruguay 2 (Maneiro, Mujica) Israel 0
Group 2 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerry Harrison
*Barry Davies commentated for the BBC.

Tue 02/Jun/1970    Peru 3 (Gallardo, Chumpitaz, Cubillas) Bulgaria 2 (Dermendzhiev, Bonev)
Group 4 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerald Sinstadt
*Peru came from 2-0 down to win this one. BBC commentator at this game was Ken Wolstenholme.

Wed 03/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*Highlights of all last night's matches were included in this one hour show (5:55-7pm), BBC1 had no less than THREE highlights shows today - starting off with "Good Morning Mexico" at 8-9am, then a lunchtime edition of "World Cup Grandstand" at 12-1:30pm and finally an evening show at the same time as ITV from 6-7pm.

Wed 03/Jun/1970    Brazil 4 (Rivelino, Pelé, Jairzinho 2) Czechoslovakia 1 (Petrá)
Group 3 (11pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Hugh Johns & Billy Wright
*Four matches tonight and again they all kicked-off at the same time. Commentator for highlights of Brazil/Czechoslovakia on BBC1 was David Coleman, the match is best remembered for Pelé's attempt to lob the keeper from the half way line (missing by a whisker). Broadcast hours were the same as the previous night.

Wed 03/Jun/1970    West Germany 2 (Seeler, Müller) Morocco 1 (Houmane)
Group 4 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerald Sinstadt
*Morocco took a shock first half lead, West Germany had to wait until the 80th minute to go in front. This was live on BBC1 with Ken Wolstenholme commentating.

Wed 03/Jun/1970    Belgium 3 (Van Moer 2, Lambert(pen)) El Salvador 0
Group 1 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Roger Malone
*Alan Weeks for BBC1.

Wed 03/Jun/1970    Italy 1 (Domenghini) Sweden 0
Group 2 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerry Harrison
*Barry Davies for BBC1.

Thu 04/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*Two shows for ITV today, the first at 5:55-6:30pm and then a late night round-up at 10:50pm-midnight (One of these included three attempts to interview Alf Ramsey, presumably a satellite problem). BBC again showed three daytime round-ups but didn't show anything at night.

Fri 05/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*There had been no games played on the previous night to report on, but there were two ITV programmes to preview the weekend action at 5:55-6:30pm and 10:50pm-midnight. BBC1 had just the one show at 6-6:50pm.

Game 2

Sat 06/Jun/1970    Soviet Union 4 (Bischovets, Asatiani, Bischovets, Khmelnitski) Belgium 1 (Lambert)
Group 1 (11pm bst)
ITV ?LIVE?
Roger Malone
*ITV appear to have showed this match live plus highlights from other games on their late night coverage from 10:35pm-2:45am. The TVTimes says ITV would show either Uruguay v Italy (which was on BBC1) or Soviet Union v Belgium and Malone does sign off his first half commentary with "and now back to Brian Moore in the studio." but it's hard to believe that both channels failed to show Romania v Czechoslovakia given its' relevance to England. Idwal Robling covered Soviet Union v Belgium for BBC1.

Sat 06/Jun/1970    Uruguay 0 Italy 0
Group 2 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerry Harrison
*This was live on BBC1 (10:25pm-3am) with Barry Davies commentating, his first live commentary for the BBC. Several reports from Mexico were also included in "Grandstand" during the afternoon.

Sat 06/Jun/1970    Romania 2 (Neagu, Dumitrache(pen)) Czechoslovakia 1 (Petrá)
Group 3 (11pm bst)
ITV ?Highlights?
Hugh Johns & Billy Wright
*David Coleman commentated for BBC1.

Sat 06/Jun/1970    Peru 3 (Cubillas 2, Challe) Morocco 0
Group 4 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerald Sinstadt
*Ken Wolstenholme for BBC1.

Sun 07/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*ITV transmitted a show in the Sunday afternoon "Big Match" slot at 2-3pm, no doubt devoting a fair amount of time looking ahead to tonight's game between England and Brazil. BBC1 had a World Cup programme starting at the same time but theirs was a two hour show which included 'Match of the week'.

Sun 07/Jun/1970    Brazil 1 (Jairzinho) England 0
Group 3 (7pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Billy Wright & Hugh Johns
*The favourites vs the holders, and the most keenly anticipated match of the group round. Both channels showed it live - BBC1 were first on air at 6:20-8:55pm (with David Coleman commentating), ITV were on from 6:45-9:10pm. Ten minutes into the match England keeper Gordon Banks made the most famous and seemingly impossible save of all time, diving to the foot of his far post to scoop a downward Pelé header up and over the bar, Jairzinho scored on the hour by finishing off a fine move involving Tostao and Pelé, England then made a double substitution and within minutes of coming on both players had missed great chances, first Alan Ball who misskicked and then a terrible miss by Geoff Astle in front of a practically open goal. There were also some iconic masterly tackles by England captain Bobby Moore in which he dispossessed Pelé and robbed Jairzinho inside the penalty box.

Sun 07/Jun/1970     Mexico 4 (Valdivia 2, Fragoso, Basaguren) El Salvador 0
Group 1 (7pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Roger Malone
*ITV apparently focussed on this game in their 11:25pm-midnight highlights show. The BBC commentator at this one was Alan Weeks.

Sun 07/Jun/1970    Israel 1 (Spiegler) Sweden 1 (Turesson)
Group 2 (7pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerry Harrison
*Barry Davies for BBC1.

Sun 07/Jun/1970    West Germany 5 (Libuda, Müller 3(1pen), Seeler) Bulgaria 2 (Nikodimov, Kolev)
Group 4 (7pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerald Sinstadt
*Ken Wolstenholme for BBC1. Highlights of the Sunday night games could be seen on BBC1 from 10:30pm-1am.

Mon 08/Jun/1970   "World Cup 70"
*Two round up shows on each channel, BBC1 at 12noon-1:30pm and 6-7:10pm, ITV at 5:55-6:45pm and 10:50-11:20pm.

Tue 09/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*Just the one show on BBC1 today at 6-6:30pm, ITV had two programmes at 5:55-6:30pm and 11:50pm-12:20am.

Wed 10/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*ITV previewed the the night's fixtures at 5:55-6:25pm, BBC1's 30 minute preview show began 5 minutes later.

Game 3

Wed 10/Jun/1970   Brazil 3 (Pelé 2, Jairzinho) Romania 2 (Dumitrac, Dembrovschi)
Group 3 (11pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Hugh Johns & Billy Wright
*Brazil v Romania was live on both ITV (from 10:45pm) and BBC1 (also 10:45pm, David Coleman commentating). Brazil only needed a draw to secure first place, but the win did England a favour.

Wed 10/Jun/1970    West Germany 3 (Müller 3) Peru 1 (Cubillas)
Group 4 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerald Sinstadt
*Both West Germany and Peru were already guaranteed a place in the QF's, but the winners would have the advantage of staying in León (where all group 4 games had been played) and avoiding Brazil. Gerd Müller netted his 2nd hat-trick in successive games. Ken Wolstenholme was behind the mic for BBC1.

Wed 10/Jun/1970   Soviet Union 2 (Bischovets 2) El Salvador 0
Group 1 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Roger Malone
*The Soviet's guaranteed their place in the QF's, a draw would have been enough. El Salvador were already destined to return home. Alan Weeks commentated for BBC1.

Wed 10/Jun/1970  Sweden 1 (Grahn) Uruguay 0
Group 2 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerry Harrison
*The usual broadcast times likely applied to BBC1 and ITV coverage with the Soviet Union/El Salvador and Sweden/Uruguay matches being shown as highlights in the early hours. Barry Davies commentated for BBC1. Sweden needed to win by two clear goals in order to leapfrog Uruguay and qualify. The 1-0 result meant that Uruguay were through whilst the Swedes would only join them if Israel beat Italy 1-0 or 2-1 in tomorrow night's final Group 2 fixture.

Thu 11/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*ITV looked ahead to the England v Czechoslovakia match from 5:55-6:30pm, BBC1 had a "Good Morning Mexico" at 8-9am, a "World Cup Round-up" at 9:10-9:38am, a mid-day "World Cup Grandstand" went out at 12-1:45pm and finally a preview show was aired at 6:10-6:40pm.

Thu 11/Jun/1970    England 1 (Clarke(pen)) Czechoslovakia 0
Group 3 (11pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Hugh Johns & Billy Wright
*With Brazil and Romania having played their final group game the previous evening, England knew exactly what was required in order to qualify as runners-up for a Quarter-Final meeting with West Germany - they simply had to avoid defeat. Czechoslovakia needed to win by three clear goals to climb above both England and Romania into 2nd place, a Czechoslovakia win by a smaller margin would see Romania go through. The match was exclusively live on ITV (10:45pm-midnight) but those in the Granada region would not have been able to see it because of  strike action which denied viewers in the North West access to much of ITV's coverage throughout the tournament (Note that The Times continues to list Granada's schedule for days when they were off the air). England wore an unfamiliar all light blue strip in this game (the Czechs were in all white), Allan Clarke scored on his England debut with a penalty on 48 mins, Bobby Charlton equalled Billy Wright's appearance record with his 105th cap whilst brother Jack made what turned out to be his final international appearance. As group runners-up, England would now have to leave their base in Guadalajara for León. Alf Ramsey and Bobby Moore were interviewed by ITV at some point during the day. David Coleman was at the game to commentate for BBC1 who did not show any of tonight's games live, but they did have a very late highlights programme from 12:45-3am.

Group 3 Final Table
1. Brazil         +5  6
2. England        +1  4
3. Romania        -1  2
4. Czechoslovakia -5  0

Thu 11/Jun/1970    Mexico 1 (Peña(pen)) Belgium 0
Group 1 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Roger Malone
*A big night for the hosts who had to avoid defeat in order to qualify. Idwal Robling commentated for BBC1.

Group 1 Final Table
1. Soviet Union   +5  5
2. Mexico         +5  5
3. Belgium        -1  2
4. El Salvador    -9  0

Thu 11/Jun/1970    Italy 0 Israel 0
Group 2 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerry Harrison
*Italy only needed a draw to win the group, but defeat would have seen them go out. Israel could only have made the QF's with a 2 goal victory. Barry Davies commentated for BBC1.

Group 2 Final Table
1. Italy          +1  4
2. Uruguay        +1  3
3. Sweden          0  3
4. Israel         -2  2

Thu 11/Jun/1970    Bulgaria 1 (Zhechev) Morocco 1 (Ghazouani)
Group 4 (11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerald Sinstadt
*A meaningless match in terms of qualification, but Morocco were able to make a point for the African continent (the Moroccans being the first African team to take part in the finals since Egypt in 1934, African nations had boycotted the 1966 finals in protest at not having a guaranteed place in the finals - Prior to 1970 the top African nation had to play-off against a European or Asian country, and some had pulled out to avoid playing Israel). Ken Wolstenholme commentated for BBC1.

Group 4 Final Table
1. West Germany   +6  6
2. Peru           +2  4
3. Bulgaria       -4  1
4. Morocco        -4  1

Fri 12/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*ITV screened two World Cup programme today rounding up last night's action. The first at 5:55-6-25pm and another at 10:50-midnight (London are listed in TVTimes (Anglia version) as starting at 10:30pm but this must be a mistake). BBC1 showed "Good Morning Mexico" at 8-9am, "World Cup Grandstand" 12-1:30pm and an extended tea-time programme at 6-7:35pm.

Sat 13/Jun/1970
*The TVTimes does not schedule any World cup coverage for today (even on "World Of Sport"), the BFI holds an ITV interview with the West Germany manager which is dated 13/06/1970, but this must have been an insert for inclusion in the following day's preview. BBC1 had a ten minute World Cup section during "Grandstand" from 1:25pm and there was a full review and preview programme at 10:10-11:15pm.

Quarter-Finals

Sun 14/Jun/1970    West Germany 3 (Beckenbauer, Seeler, Müller) England 2 (Mullery, Peters) [AET]
(7pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Hugh Johns & Billy Wright
*All four World Cup Quarter-finals kicked off simultaneously (an unthinkable arrangement today) and according to the Observer only BBC1 were scheduled for a live broadcast (The TVTimes does bill live coverage for ITV but the Observer lists a revised LWT schedule including an episode of Hawaii-Five-O and a film), David Coleman commentated for the BBC on the England v West Germany match alongside Don Revie & Joe Mercer with coverage beginning at 6:25pm. ITV had a round up/preview programme at 2-3pm, then (according to the Observer) a highlights show at 10:25-midnight. BBC1 also had a round up/preview programme in the afternoon. England had met West Germany once since the 1966 World cup final, losing to German opposition for the first time ever in a friendly in June 1968, but - over an hour into this quarter-final - there was no indication that West Germany were about to record a 2nd victory. Despite losing their star goalkeeper Gordon Banks to food poisoning, England took a 2-0 lead through a close range prod  from Alan Mullery on 32 and Martin Peters finishing off an incisive move on 50. Franz Beckenbauer pulled one back by firing in a long range effort on 69, Bobby Charlton was then taken off (his last ever moment of action in an England shirt having just broken the world record number of caps) and with ten minutes to go Martin Peters (scorer of the 2nd goal) was substituted in favour of a defender. A minute later, on 82, Uwe Seeler headed a fluke equaliser which looped over Peter Bonetti to take the game into extra time. In the 2nd period of extra-time, a deep German cross was headed back towards Gerd Müller who beat a seemingly tentative Peter Bonetti to the ball to score the winning goal. Some ITV studio rehearsal exists from this day in black & white plus an interview with Alf Ramsey (with several re-takes) and the panel discussing the England Manager.

Sun 14/Jun/1970    Brazil 4 (Rivelino, Tostão 2, Jairzinho) Peru 2 (Gallardo, Cubillas)
(7pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerald Sinstadt
*Brazil were 2-0 up early on with goals on 11 and 18 minutes, Peru were back in it at 2-1 on 28, Brazil scored again on 52, Peru on 69, Brazil then finished the scoring at 4-2 on 76. Ken Wolstenholme commentated for the BBC.

Sun 14/Jun/1970    Uruguay 1 (Espárrago) Soviet Union 0 [AET]
(7pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Roger Malone
*The Soviet Union lodged an official protest claiming that the ball was out of play when it was centred for the goal on 117mins. The protest was rejected. Alan Weeks voiced this match for the BBC.

Sun 14/Jun/1970    Italy 4 (Peña(og), Riva 2, Rivera) Mexico 1 (González)
(7pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Gerry Harrison
*Mexico led with a goal on 13, an own goal levelled the score on 26. Italy netted three 2nd half goals on 64, 69 and 76. Barry Davies covered this one for the BBC.

Mon 15/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*Two ITV programmes today featuring action from last night's Quarter-finals, the first at 5:55-7pm, then a late night analysis at 10:50-11:20pm. BBC1 had a lunchtime show at 12-1:30pm and a tea-time programme at 6-7:10pm.

Tue 16/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*Two further programmes a day before the Semi-finals, at 5:55-6:30pm and 10:50-11:20pm. BBC1 scheduled a single broadcast from 6-6:25pm.

Semi-Finals

Wed 17/Jun/1970    Brazil 3 (Clodoaldo, Jairzinho, Rivelino) Uruguay 1 (Cubilla)
(11pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Gerald Sinstadt & Bobby Moore
*ITV's Semi-final day coverage began with a preview programme at 5:45-6:30pm, the live broadcast started at 10:30pm. ITV and BBC tossed a coin for first pick of the semi's, ITV won and opted for the Brazil tie. BBC1 broadcast delayed coverage of Brazil/Uruguay from around 1:20am with Ken Wolstenholme commentating. The match is best remembered for a near miss when Pelé dummied the keeper by letting the ball run one side of the keeper whilst he ran around the other, regrettably his finishing effort was wide, otherwise it would have been a very strong contender for the greatest goal ever scored.

Wed 17/Jun/1970    Italy 4 (Boninsegna, Burgnich, Riva, Rivera) West Germany 3 (Schnellinger, Müller 2) [AET]
(11pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Hugh Johns & Billy Wright
*BBC1 showed the Italy v West Germany semi-final live (David Coleman & Don Revie commentating) with coverage beginning at 10:10pm, they had earlier broadcast a preview programme at 6-6:35pm. Cited by many as the game of the century, this seven goal thriller was only seconds away from ending 1-0, Boninsegna had scored on 7 minutes and it was looking desperate for West Germany by the time Franz Beckenbauer made the most of a challenge on the edge of the area by hurling himself into the box, the referee deemed the foul to have been committed outside the area and the free-kick was wasted. Beckenbauer ended up having to play on with his arm in a sling as both German subs had already been used. Right at the death, Schnellinger equalised to take the game into extra-time, Gerd Müller then put West Germany ahead on 95, but Burgnich equalised for Italy three minutes later. Just before the extra-time changeover, Italy were ahead through Riva on 104. Müller then scored his 10th goal of the tournament on 110 mins to make it 3-3, but with TV viewers still watching an action replay of Müller's goal, Rivera restored Italy's lead on 111.

Thu 18/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*ITV had just the one highlights programme today, though it was an extended edition running from 5:55-7:30pm and appears to have focussed on the Italy v West Germany SF, but there was also an interview with Bobby Moore. There was no late programme because of the General Election coverage (which would see Ted Heath and the Conservatives replace Howard Wilson's Labour Government. Some people claim the election result would have been different had England beaten West Germany four days earlier). BBC1 had three World Cup programmes, "Good Morning Mexico" at 8-9am, a lunchtime show at 12-1:30pm, and a tea-time programme at 6-7:20pm.

Fri 19/Jun/1970    "World Cup 70"
*One ITV programme today at 5:55-6:20pm (with Bobby Moore interviewed again) up against "World Cup Grandstand" on BBC1 from 6-6:30pm.

3rd/4th place play off

Sat 20/Jun/1970     West Germany 1 (Overath) Uruguay 0
(11pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Gerald Sinstadt
*ITV had exclusive live coverage of the 3rd/4th place play off with coverage beginning at 10:30pm, there was also a World cup sequence during "World of Sport" in the afternoon at 1:53-2:20pm. BBC1 showed a preview of the final at 10-11pm (there had also been a report on "Grandstand" at 1:40-2pm). The only goal in the play-off came on 27 minutes. Both this match and the final were played in Mexico City.

The Final

Sun 21/Jun/1970    Brazil 4 (Pelé, Gérson, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto) Italy 1 (Boninsegna)
(7pm bst)
ITV LIVE
Hugh Johns & Bobby Moore
*The build up on ITV began with a preview programme at 2-3pm, the live coverage began at 6:45pm and was due to end at 9:10pm. Ken Wolstenholme commentated for BBC1 who's live coverage began at 6pm (they also had a preview show at 2-3:30pm which probably included highlights of the 3rd/4th play off). Both nations were seeking to win the Jules Rimet trophy for keeps having each won the competition twice before, Pelé opened the scoring for Brazil on 18 mins by heading in a lobbed Rivelino cross from the left, Italy then equalised on 37 when Roberto Boninsegna stole the ball from a defender attempting a fancy back heel. In the 2nd half, Brazil went close with a free-kick just outside the box which saw Rivelino strike the cross bar before Gérson struck a sweet left footer to restore the lead at 2-1 on 66 mins. A long high ball into the box on 71 was headed down by Pelé and Jairzinho scrambled home to become the first player to have scored in every World cup finals match through to the final. Finally, Brazil scored probably the most awesome goal ever seen, a delightful build up found Jairzinho on the left wing, he played it inside to Pelé who was standing just outside the 'D', Pelé then appeared to pass the ball into no-man's land on the right, but suddenly - from out of nowhere - Carlos Alberto came flying into view and lashed the ball into the net for 4-1, beautiful. Perhaps that goal on 87 mins would not have looked quite so spectacular had it been in 16:9 ratio widescreen rather than 4:3, but it was a fabulous way to end the tournament.

22to26/Jun/1970    "The 1970 World Cup"
*With BBC1 now focussing on the Wimbledon Tennis championships, ITV ran a series of World Cup repeats throughout the week from after 2pm each afternoon through to around 4:15pm (but only in the Thames, Scottish and Granada regions, ATV also showed at least one of these repeats and probably more). Monday was most likely a look back at a group stage match (England v Brazil?), Tuesday was the England v West Germany QF, Wednesday the Brazil v Uruguay SF, Thursday Italy v West Germany SF and Friday was probably the final.

*BBC footnote:- John Motson was involved to a small degree, he watched the TV coverage of England's matches in London ready to take over radio commentary should the line to Maurice Edelston, Peter Jones and Bryon Butler have failed.


Mexico '70 caption examples, the team names were always in Spanish, so England were "Inglaterra".
 

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19.04.2014

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