Disbelief For Alan Mullery And Martin Peters In 1970 World Cup


There was a sense of shock and disbelief for Tottenham players, Alan Mullery and Martin Peters in the quarter-final-tie against West Germany at the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico.

Mexico 1970

England travelled to Mexico as World Champions looking to defend the trophy they won in England in 1966. Alf Ramsey’s team for the 1970 World Cup finals was considered to be stronger than the one which had triumphed against West Germany at Wembley four years earlier. One of the changes had seen Tottenham’s Alan Mullery replace Nobby Stiles. Another change was that West Ham United’s Martin Peters was now Tottenham Hotspur’s Martin Peters, having been transferred to Spurs the previous March, with Jimmy Greaves moving to Upton Park.

Group Matches

As holders, England had automatic qualification for the Finals in Mexico. In their group they were drawn with Brazil, Romania and Czechoslavakia. In the build-up to the tournament Sir Alf Ramsey had to deal with the disruption of the arrest of Bobby Moore, accused of the theft of a bracelet in Bogota, of which Moore was completely innocent.

When the football got under way, a Geoff Hurst goal was enough to defeat Romania. Then followed a memorable encounter with Brazil which England lost by a single goal scored by Jairzinho with an hour played. The lasting memory from that game is of a wonderful save by Gordon Banks at the foot of his post from a header by Pele.

In the final group game England defeated Czechoslavakia in another 1 – 0 success, Allan Carke scoring from the penalty spot. That took England into the quarter-finals as runners-up for a re-match of the 1966 Final against West Germany who had won their three matches to top the group.

Quarter-Final Match

Prior to the game against West Germany, England were dealt a massive blow with the withdrawal of Gordon Banks through sickness brought about by food poisoning. Peter Bonetti of Chelsea came into the team which had both Tottenham players, Alan Mullery and Martin Peters in midfield.

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England controlled the game and after 4 minutes of the second half, they were two goals ahead. Alan Mullery had put England ahead after 31 minutes and Martin Peters had added a second in the 49th minute. The holders were comfortable and looking set to progress to the semi-finals until a goal from Franz Beckenbauer in the 69th minute when Bonetti managed to dive over the ball.

A decision by Ramsey to replace Bobby Charlton immediately after this goal released Beckenbauer to dictate the game. In the 81st minute Peters was replaced by defender, Norman Hunter, and a minute later the West Germans equalised through Uwe Seeler when his fortuitous header looped over the stranded goalkeeper, taking the game into extra time.

A goal from Gerd Muller in the 108th minute completed an amazing turn around for West Germany as England’s reign as World Cup holders came to an end amid the shock that Alf Ramsey’s England team had surrendered a two goal lead.

There was total disbelief that this could have happened and the goals of Alan Mullery and Martin Peters counted for nothing in the World Cup defeat.