ENGLAND 7 AUSTRIA 0 Friendly International Wembley Stadium 26th September 1973

England warmed up for their impending make or break World Cup qualifier with an exhibition performance against Austria in a match which would be the final victory for England’s World Cup winning manager.

With England needing goals against Poland, Ramsey cast aside the defensive midfielder which had been a feature of recent line-ups and fielded an attacking and creative midfield four. Young guns Mick Channon and Tony Currie joined forces with more experienced heads Colin Bell and Martin Peters. Bobby Moore was missing from the defence, Norman Hunter stepping in alongside Roy McFarland.

ITV once again had the coverage with Hugh Johns, as usual for home games taking over the commentary with Brian Moore presenting.

Mick Channon celebrates the opener – From midlandsmemorabilia.com

England were in front on 10 minutes as a sweeping move ended with Martin Peters floating a cross into the area. Austrian keeper Friedrich Koncilla made the first mistake of a woeful night, missing with his punch and Channon tapping in.

Alan Clarke then grabbed two goals, the first a fine rifled effort across the keeper after a lovely turn wrong footed the Austrian defence. His second, and England’s third owed a lot to a spectacular piece of play by Colin Bell, diverting the ball at full stretch from the right hand side to an unmarked Clarke in the box. The Leeds frontman’s first effort was weak, but Koncilla could only block with his legs giving the ball back to Clarke on a plate, “Sniffer” not wasting his second opportunity.

England started the second half in the same attacking vein. Clarke had a shot from 20 yards which Koncilla spilled onto the post, Channon following up quickly to force the ball home to make it 4-0. Martin Chivers was next in on the act, turning in Currie’s low driven cross before the Sheffield United man made it six, controlling the ball on his chest before arrowing home a glorious effort from the edge of the box.

Colin Bell wrapped up proceedings with the seventh three minutes from time, another angled drive across the keeper giving England a huge win and a massive confidence boost before the must win game against Poland. Leopold Stastny, the Austrian manager, was in no doubt that England could get the win they needed, stating after the game that “England can still teach the world how to play.” How they wished they could have saved one of the goals they scored on this night, for their next fixture the following month.


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