By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports activities Soccer Author
Editor’s word: Every day between now and the kickoff of the primary match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Nov. 20, we’ll unveil a special reminiscence from World Cup historical past. The countdown from 101 continues with Zaire’s ominous ultimatum.
Zaire’s qualification for the 1974 World Cup was a watershed second for the nation. They have been the primary group from sub-Saharan Africa to make it, and simply the third from that continent general.
As soon as they really obtained to West Germany, nonetheless, many in Zaire — now generally known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo — in all probability wished they hadn’t certified all of it. After shedding their opener 2-0 to Scotland, the gamers have been knowledgeable that they wouldn’t be paid their World Cup bonuses. They meant to boycott their subsequent match, towards Yugoslavia, however relented after threats from the nation’s president, dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
Following a 9-0 loss — tied for essentially the most one-sided scoreline in World Cup historical past — the president informed the group to not hassle coming residence in the event that they misplaced to Brazil, the defending champion, by greater than 4 targets. So, down three late within the recreation with the Brazilians lining up a free kick, Zaire’s Mwepu Ilunga raced from the defensive wall and booted the ball down the sector. He was yellow-carded for time-wasting, nevertheless it was value it: Brazil didn’t rating once more, and the match completed 3-0.
Zaire’s head-scratching protection
Mwepu Ilunga kicked the ball out attempting to waste time due to an ominous ultimatum.
One of many main soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has coated United States males’s and ladies’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a employees author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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