Spain 12–1 Malta

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UEFA Euro 1984 qualifying match
Event UEFA Euro 1984: qualification group 7
Matchday 8
Date 21 December 1983
Venue Benito Villamarín, Seville, Spain
Referee Erkan Göksel (Turkey)
Attendance 18,871
Weather Very cold

On 21 December 1983, Spain played Malta in the last qualifying match for UEFA Euro 1984. The game is often described as one of the most important in the Spanish national football team's history.[citation needed]

Background[edit]

An original Spain shirt worn in the match by Antonio Maceda

Four days before the game, the Netherlands defeated Malta 5–0 and finished their qualification schedule with 13 points and a goal difference of +16. The aggregate score between Spain and the Netherlands was 2–2 so, under tournament tie-break rules, if Spain won their final qualifier and thus also finished on 13 points, the goal difference would decide which team qualified.

With a goal difference of +5, Spain would need to defeat Malta by a margin of at least 11 goals to qualify. The team had only managed to score 12 goals in their previous seven matches, and before the game the Maltese goalkeeper, John Bonello, said: "Spain couldn't even score 11 goals against a team of children."

After 17 December, and before Spain's match against Malta, the group 7 table stood as follows:

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1  Netherlands 8 6 1 1 22 6 +16 13
2  Spain 7 5 1 1 12 7 +5 11
3  Republic of Ireland 8 4 1 3 20 10 +10 9
4  Iceland 8 1 1 6 3 13 −10 3
5  Malta 7 1 0 6 4 25 −21 2

Red = unable to qualify.

Match[edit]

Spain's only chance of qualifying for Euro 1984 was to defeat Malta by 11 or more goals.

When half-time came and the scoreline was 3–1 to Spain, few expected them to score enough goals to qualify. However, Juan Antonio Señor, who had missed a penalty kick awarded to Spain in the second minute of the first half, scored Spain's 12th and last goal in the 84th minute; Rafael Gordillo scored a 13th in the final minutes of the game but it was disallowed by the referee. That did not matter, however, as the Spaniards won by the 11-goal margin required for them to beat the Netherlands to qualification.[1]

21 December 1983
20:15 CET
Spain  12–1  Malta
Santillana Goal 15'26'29'75'
Rincón Goal 47'57'64'78'
Maceda Goal 62'63'
Sarabia Goal 80'
Señor Goal 84'
Report Degiorgio Goal 24'
Benito Villamarín, Seville
Attendance: 18,871
Referee: Erkan Göksel (Turkey)
Spain
Malta
GK 1 Francisco Buyo
DF 5 Andoni Goikoetxea
DF 3 José Antonio Camacho
DF 4 Antonio Maceda Booked
DF 2 Juan Antonio Señor
MF 8 Víctor Muñoz
MF 6 Rafael Gordillo Booked
MF 10 Manuel Sarabia
FW 7 Francisco José Carrasco
FW 9 Santillana
FW 11 Hipólito Rincón Substituted off 87'
Substitutions:
FW 16 Marcos Alonso Substituted in 87'
Manager:
Spain Miguel Muñoz
GK 1 John Bonello Booked
DF 3 Alex Azzopardi
DF 2 Emanuel Farrugia
DF 5 John Holland
DF 6 Norman Buttigieg
DF 10 Emanuel Fabri Booked
MF 11 Michael Degiorgio Yellow cardYellow cardRed card, 76'
MF 9 Ernest Spiteri Gonzi
MF 8 Ray Farrugia Substituted off 72'
FW 4 Simon Tortell Booked
FW 7 Silvio Demanuele
Substitutions:
DF 14 Mario Farrugia Substituted in 72'
Manager:
Malta Victor Scerri

The match was broadcast by RTVE in Spain. Afterwards, many claimed[citation needed] that the Maltese were paid to not play their best and to let Spain win by a large margin, and it was rumoured that words had been exchanged between Maltese and Spanish officials and players at half-time. No wrongdoing was ever proved.

The Malta Football Association launched an inquiry into the result, and its chairman George Abela (later the President of Malta) brought about changes to the national team. Abela said that a lack of facilities meant that the team lacked serious professional preparation for a tournament such as the European Championships, and the closeness of away fixtures (Malta had played in the Netherlands only four days prior to their 12–1 loss in Seville) was a further hindrance and such scheduling would be avoided in future.

Final table[edit]

Spain and the Netherlands finished the qualification stage level on 13 points, level on the aggregate score between them, level on goal difference, but Spain qualified on goals scored (24 to the Netherlands' 22).

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1  Spain (Q) 8 6 1 1 24 8 +16 13
2  Netherlands 8 6 1 1 22 6 +16 13
3  Republic of Ireland 8 4 1 3 20 10 +10 9
4  Iceland 8 1 1 6 3 13 −10 3
5  Malta 8 1 0 7 5 37 −32 2

Records[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Spain's top newspaper recalls 12-1 victory over Malta 30 years ago today". Times of Malta. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 

External links[edit]