Antonio Rattín, the World Cup 66, the magic carpet of Queen Elizabeth II and the flying beer cans

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The expulsion of the Argentine captain against England was emblematic, but several myths grew around those events.

The reference is inevitable every time Argentina’s elimination from the 1966 World Cup in the quarterfinals against England, the host, is mentioned. “After the expulsion, Antonio Rattín sat on the queen’s carpet, then squeezed the flag that was in the corner and when he retired they threw cans of beer at him.” Words more, words less, it’s written in thousands of newspaper articles, in Spanish, in English and in several other languages. To verify this, just do a simple Google search: “Rattín carpet queen” or “Rattín carpet Queen”.

The World Cup in England was not televised live to the country. The images were only seen three days later. The Argentines listened to the actions of the party by radio and then they were informed through the press, Clarín, La Nación, Crónica, and the magazines El Gráfico and Goles. What they told on its pages was almost a holy word. What was shown, shocking. However, in the references of the time, there are no allusions to the fact.

The most widespread images were those of the German referee Rudolf Kreitlein expelling Rattín, the tumult, the arguments, the squeeze to the British flag in a corner and the failed exchange of shirts between Oscar Mas and George Cohen, which was interrupted by the English coach Alf Ramsey. Of rugs, queens and beers, nothing.

But Rattin repeated it so many times that five decades later he molded his favorite version. “After 15 minutes I ask for the interpreter because he charged everything in favor of England. He kicked me out. Said, get out, get out, cut me off. The game was suspended for approximately 25 to 30 minutes. The FIFA leaders entered the field of play, I sat on the queen’s red carpet to watch 10 minutes of football. Then I went to the dressing room and when I passed the corner flag, I twisted the English flag that was flying. I insulted them, they threw beer cans at me ”. He tells it like this, with luxurious details in the documentary series Soccer is History (Chapter 3, Koala Contents, 2012).

The questions fall mature. ¿No photographer managed to perpetuate Rattin’s image on the red carpet and yes, instead, that second in which he pressed the British flag? Has none of the cameras on English television or those hired by FIFA to make the official World Cup film change the spotlight? Didn’t anyone dare mention that the player got cans of beer thrown at him? When did the then captain of the Argentine National Team begin to tell his own version?

There are no mentions in the newspapers of the time, neither Argentine nor foreign. Manuel counted Nolo Ferreira, the former Estudiantes de La Plata player who has become a journalist, in Clarion: “Rattín had been reprimanded twice and when he wanted to make the German referee understand that he was the captain, in the face of a foul from an English player, claiming why he was not protecting himself in the same way against rivals, he was expelled from the field of play” .

The Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo explains: “The players crowded together, the technical directors went out onto the field, the linesmen approached, it was discussed for seven and a half minutes and the referee stood, immovable, in his decision and managed to impose his criteria and that Rattín came to step on the field, outside the band, where he stayed for a long time, once the game was resumed, before retiring to the changing rooms, while the referee, by means of a dropped ball, started the game again ”.

In the documentary produced by Christian Rémoli there are two types of images: one in color, from official television, and the other in black and white, from Rattín’s own home camera. You see the red carpet, but you never see the former Boca sitting there, you see him walking towards the corner watching the game, which had already been resumed, and people also following the actions; He is seen squeezing the pennant while the majority of the public followed the game; He is seen retiring at a wearisome pace, gesturing to the rostrum that they had paid, but nothing flies over Rat’s humanity, less beers.

A few years ago, a website uploaded the full video of the match between England and Argentina. It’s no longer available. There was the whole sequence, the 9 minute suspension (not 25 or 30 as Rattín affirms), you could see the discussions in the center of the playing field, very close to a red carpet that reached the sideline in the center of the field, between Rattín, an Argentine leader and one from FIFA, when the match had already resumed; then the long, slow walk of the player to the locker room.

The two cameras of that transmission barely stop focusing on Rattin for less than a minute. Did that brief moment have sat down? Could it have been after he entered the locker room, in some reserved place that no one could get to see?

“Rattin’s refusal to leave the field, although quite understandable, was not the right attitude either. For eight minutes he stood on the outside line, with one foot inside and one outside the court, arguing with the referee, with FIFA officials and with anyone who wanted to join, ”wrote the English writer David Downing, who was that day on the field, in a note published by the newspaper Página 12 on July 24, 2006.

History has its original story, that first unstoppable fuse. It was a few days after the historic July 23rd in Birmingham. The Boca flyer referred to the event in an interview that Ernesto Cherquis Bialo made for the magazine El Gráfico (Issue number 2443 of August 2, 1966) a few days after the return to Argentina.

He Flat, who was 29 years old, related: “Well, I had to go away with a barbaric row. I made signs to the interpreter about how much the referee had been paid. To the public, who was just there, glued to the line, I spoke saying the same thing: many booed me and others applauded. Nobody understood anything: neither I to them, nor they to me. Then I sat on the royal carpet, what do I care! And in the end I grabbed the little English flags that were on the corner flags and squeezed them until they were off. If they don’t catch me, I’ll kill him at the end of the game. Good thing I didn’t. I never played football again. “

Afterwards, for a long time the subject was not mentioned. In the World Cup Book, published before the 78 World Cup, there are Rattin’s testimonies, a huge number of photos and a detailed account of the events and no mention of the sitting on the carpet. In the Argentina – England preview at the Mexico World Cup in 1986, the story took shape again.

In addition to the moment when he pressed the corner pennant with the British flag (not the English one), the greatest certainty of this story is that due to the scandal and the lack of communication between the player and the judge, four years later the yellow and red cards began to be used. . He looked at me with malicious intent. That is why I realized that he had insulted me, “explained the German referee in his report.

The English international judge Ken Aston, who was one of those who tried to chat and calm Rattín on the side of the playing field, in 1970 chaired the FIFA Referees Committee, and it was he who proposed to use cards from Mexico 70.


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