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Spurs at the World Cup - Danny Blanchflower

Posted on 5 June 2014  - 11:30

As the World Cup in Brazil draws ever nearer - the first match is now just a week away - we continue to profile our players to have appeared on the greatest stage of all...

Danny lifts the FA Cup in 1962Danny, then manager of Northern Ireland, with the great George Best, 1976Danny with Bill Nicholson, 1987George Best unveils a Royal Mail stamp of Danny in a series of British legends, 1996

Next up, double-winning captain and one of greatest Spurs players of all time.

Danny Blanchflower
Spurs 1954-1963 - 382 appearances, 19 goals

Danny Blanchflower will always be remembered as one of the greatest players ever to have worn our famous white shirt and there was a great deal of pride around White Hart Lane when he had the chance to appear on the biggest stage of all in 1958.

So many great players - the likes of George Best and Ryan Giggs are always famous examples - never had the opportunity of gracing a World Cup Finals. But Blanchflower was a key figure in Northern Ireland’s team in the late 1950s and with his drive, commitment and inspiration, he helped his nation to the final stages in Sweden in 1958.

Blanchflower had already played in the qualifying campaigns for the 1950 and 1954 tournaments without success, but he wasn’t to be denied a third time.

Despite being drawn in a qualifying group alongside Italy and Portugal, Danny played in all four matches as home wins against both sides ensured the Irish of their place in Sweden alongside England, Wales and Scotland - the only time so far all four home nations have reached a World Cup together.

Northern Ireland began their first-ever World Cup in fine fashion, beating Czechoslavakia 1-0 thanks to Wilbur Cush’s 16th-minute goal in Halmstad, before losing 3-1 to Argentina despite taking a third-minute lead.

With Blanchflower at the heart of the side, they then held Germany to a 2-2 draw with striker Peter McParland scoring both goals, and that result led to a play-off with the Czechs to determine who would join Germany in the next round, after both sides had finished level on points.

McParland was again the hero, adding another double to his tally, as the Irish edged home 2-1 after extra time to set up a quarter-final against the much-fancied French. It proved a step too far for Blanchflower and his team-mates, with France running out 4-0 winners to send Northern Ireland back home, although they returned with heads held high.

Blanchflower captained our Spurs side to the famous ‘Double’ in 1961, but during the course of that season, he was also attempting to get his Northern Ireland side back to the World Cup, for the 1962 tournament. It wasn’t to be though, as Germany won their qualifying group and so brought to an end Danny’s association with the World Cup.