Battle of Santiago
|Date||2 June 1962|
|Venue||Estadio Nacional, Santiago de Chile|
|Referee||Ken Aston (England)|
The Battle of Santiago (Italian: Battaglia di Santiago, Spanish: Batalla de Santiago) is the name given to a particularly unsavoury and infamous football match during the 1962 FIFA World Cup. It was a game played between host Chile and Italy on 2 June 1962 in Santiago. The referee was Ken Aston who later went on to invent yellow and red cards.
In this Group 2 clash, already heightened tensions between the two football teams were exacerbated by the description of Santiago in crude terms by two Italian journalists. Chile's organization and preparation of the tournament had been severely disrupted by the 1960 Valdivia earthquake, the strongest earthquake ever recorded in human history. Italian articles were used and magnified by local newspapers to inflame the Chilean population. The journalists, Antonio Ghirelli and Corrado Pizzinelli, had to leave the country before the World Cup fearing for their own safety: a few days before the match an Argentinian journalist, mistaken for an Italian, was beaten up in a bar in Santiago.
The first foul occurred within 12 seconds of the kick-off. Italy's Giorgio Ferrini was sent off in the twelfth minute after a foul on Honorino Landa, but refused to leave the pitch and had to be dragged off by policemen. Landa retaliated with a punch few minutes later, but he was not sent off.
English referee Ken Aston overlooked a punch by Chilean Leonel Sánchez to Italian Mario David, which had come in retaliation for being fouled seconds earlier. When David kicked Sanchez in the head a few minutes later, he was sent off.
In the violence that continued, Sanchez broke Humberto Maschio's nose with a left hook, but Aston did not send him off. The two teams engaged in scuffles and spitting, and police had to intervene three more times. Chile won the match 2–0 (74' Ramírez; 88' Toro).
When highlights from the match were shown on British television a couple of days later (not the same night, because film of matches still had to be flown back), the match was famously introduced by BBC sports commentator David Coleman as "the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game."
2 June 1962
- Battle of Highbury
- Battle of Berne
- Battle of Bordeaux
- Battle of Bramall Lane
- Battle of Nuremberg
- Football War
- Murray, Scott (6 November 2003). "The Knowledge (November 6, 2003)". Guardian Online (UK) (London). Retrieved 26 June 2006.
- FIFA.com – Ken Aston – the inventor of yellow and red cards
- http://www.ultimathule.it/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=153 (Italian)
- http://www.todoslosmundiales.com.ar/mundiales/1962chile/historias/0017chilevsitalia.htm (Spanish)