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Spurs at the World Cup - Mullery and Peters, 1970

07 June 2014|Tottenham Hotspur

As the World Cup draws ever closer, we continue our series featuring Spurs players to have stepped onto football's greatest stage...

Two of the key men in Bill Nicholson's trophy-winning team of the early 1970s travelled with England to Mexico, 1970...

Alan Mullery - Spurs 1964-1972, 373 appearances, 30 goals
Martin Peters - Spurs 1970-1975, 260 appearances, 76 goals

Two Spurs players headed to Mexico for the 1970 World Cup with holders England, one an experienced hand at playing in the major tournament, the other tasting the event for the very first time.

Martin Peters and Alan Mullery had played seven times alongside each other in our midfield towards the end of the 1969-70 campaign, following Peters’ arrival from West Ham in March, 1970. And just a few months later they teamed up again, this time in Alf Ramsey’s England side as the national team bid to retain the Jules Rimet trophy.

Of course, Peters was already a World Cup winner having scored in the 1966 final at Wembley Stadium, as England beat West Germany 4-2 in extra time. He was a West Ham player at the time, while Mullery missed out on that tournament and travelled to Mexico hoping to make his World Cup bow and to make a similar impression on the tournament that Peters had done four years previous.

As reigning world champions, there was no need for England to qualify so their first competitive World Cup game for four years came against Romania in Group 3 in Guadalajara.

Both Peters and Mullery started, alongside the likes of Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Bobby Charlton, skipper Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, and the latter’s 65th minute strike was enough to get England off to the perfect start.

The Spurs duo played the full 90 minutes against Romania and did so again four days later for the clash against Brazil, Mario Zagallo’s gifted side featuring true footballing greats including Pele, Rivellino, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto.

The match was the highlight of the first round, a thrilling contest against two quality teams and one which featured the most famous save in the history of football, when Banks dived full-length across his goal to somehow tip Pele’s downward header over the bar. Brazil emerged victorious though, Jairzinho scoring the winner.

It meant England needed to beat Czechoslovakia to progress, which they duly did courtesy of Allan Clarke’s 50th minute penalty - and booked a mouth-watering quarter-final against West Germany in Leon, a rematch of that dramatic final four years earlier.

For Peters and Mullery, it was a match full of mixed emotions. England were without their keeper Banks, taken ill before the game, but seemed well in control when both Spurs players hit the target. Mullery was first, opening the scoring on 31 minutes and when Peters added a second four minutes after the interval, there seemed no way back for the Germans.

But there was plenty of drama to come. Two goals in eight minutes from Franz Beckenbauer and then Uwe Seeler levelled it up and, just as it was in 1966, extra time was required to settle the tie.

This time though, it was West Germany who ran out victors, their in-form striker Gerd Muller firing the winner with 12 minutes remaining to deflate Peters and Mullery and end England’s grip on the World Cup.