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Matthias Sindelar, 03/12/1933: Big events in my football life

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-08-01 20:14:05

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Big events in my football life
Matthias Sindelar | 03/12/1933

My first goal against England was the biggest thrill of my life.
Since, at the age of eight, I began playing the game with the other little chaps at school in Vienna, some of us had watched an English team in action — I had heard, read, and talked about the famous island footballers, the pioneers who gave the greatest of games to the world of sport.
Also I had the luck to have as a schoolmaster an old Austrian player who was a great enthusiast.
How little did I imagine in those boyhood days, or even when I was a tall lad at Vienna University, that I would, some misty afternoon, in grey old London Town itself, lead a forward line against an all-England eleven.
When we Austrians ambled on the field at Stamford Bridge to the roars of that crowd I expected to be nervous, though I have played in thirty internationals.
But our coach, Jim Hogan, an old Bolton Wanderer and Fulham footballer, whose shrewd judgment, ready tact, and fine skill have meant so much to Austrian football, said to us in the dressing-room a minute or two before the kick-off:
— Now, fellows, remember even if this is the hub of sport, the game is just football as you have played it before.
As the football world knows, England just won 4—3. That goal I was so glad to get was made possible by a sprint and centre by my clever comrade Adolf Vogl, our outside left.
I poised for a split second to control the ball, and placed my shot out of Harry Hibbs's reach. I had been warned that just letting fly at any old place no use when facing such a goalkeeper.
This same ninety minutes against England also gave me one of those heartbreaking regrets we like to forget but cannot. By a happy combination of doing the right thing at the proper moment and a bit of luck, I managed to body-swerve past Blenkinsop and Goodall, who both tackled me rat-a-tat like successive flashes of forked-lightning.
How you say?
I handed them the dummy.
So far so good. But my shot could not have been worse, missed the target altogether. How do we do these things?
No, I won't repeat what Hogan said about it; his bad "Austrian" is good.
The most successful and exciting afternoon of my career was a final of the Central European Cup. The countries in this competition entered their best club teams. For instance, the British would probably depute Arsenal and Scotland the Glasgow Rangers to represent them, it they went into this Contmental "hat."
After a succession of glorious struggles we confronted the Italian champions, Ambrosiana, in the last round and beat them 3-0. I did what you say the cap-Joke — got all three — Ah! the hat-trick. That's what you call it.
Some of your older footballers and officials have been kind enough to detect a resemblance to the play of your great G. O. Smith, of the Corinthians, in my football. The English are a chivalrous and polite people.
Jim Hogan tells me that I more of a Viennese Vivian Woodward, but — I don't let your readers think I claim to be the equal of these heroes from football's Valhalla.
Off the field I am a banker, when there is any banking to be done. Football, I am convinced, has been a tremendous help to my country in its hour of need. It has helped to teach us to keep on playing the game — looking for the openings even when everything seems to be going wrong with the world.
Coach Jim Hogan, who has trained five international teams — Austria. Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland — thinks the sixteen Austrians from whom we will marshal a side to meet the Arsenal at Highbury to-morrow, are the finest collection of footballers in the world.