2 Replies to “Belgium v England 1954”

  1. Interesting that in both games- this and the one above- Matthews faced by a defender doesn’t run down the line but crosses from the point of the penalty area- was this a tactical ploy at that point? I know Matthews is known for his dribbling but what was the general impression of his crossing?

  2. Yes, crossing “early” is one of the few “tactical” recommendations that comes up in British football prior to the sixties. I’m not aware of specific opinions to do with Matthews’ crossing – only of the more general feeling that he was, in the days before Pele, considered to be the greatest player the world had ever seen.

    Of course, the “world” in that sense would have excluded South American players, and IMHO Uruguay and Brazil had overtaken England technically, if not psychologically, by 1930. But in what little clear footage remains, Matthews IS clearly exceptional, and we also know that he was international and progressive in his outlook when many around him weren’t. He was the first British player to wear modern, thin-leathered, low-slung boots – and not only were they the first modern boots in Britain, but also the first COLOURED boots. What did he start?

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