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‘La Pantera’ y ‘El Buitre’, historia de los mundiales

'The Panther' and 'The Vulture', history of the World Cups

Eusebio da Silva and Emilio Butragueño have more in common than we might think at first. Both were great soccer players, although the recognition of the public was not the same for both. It is obvious that at a historical level they cannot be compared. However, his performance in the World Cups is comparable. Both Eusebio and Butragueño managed to score 4 goals in a World Cup match. The Portuguese got it in England, in 1966; the Spanish did it in Mexico, in 1986. Today, July 15, 2018, Portugal and Spain face each other in the World Cup. Therefore, it is a good time to remember two of the greatest World Cup feats of both countries.

Eusebio da Silva, also known as 'The Pantera', is considered by many to be the best player in the history of Portugal. The striker is also one of the great legends of Benfica and European football. He never won the titles with his team that he did win with the Lisbon club. A multitude of leagues and cups dominate a record in which the 1962 European Cup and the 1968 Ballon d'Or stand out above all. His best moment with the national team came between those two great trophies, it was in the 1966 World Cup celebrated in England.


To be more specific, Eusebio's great moment with his team occurred on July 23, 1966 at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Portugal and the surprising North Korea faced each other in a quarterfinal that promised to be comfortable for the Iberian team. However, this was not to be. The Asian team went 0-3 in favor when they only had 25 minutes left in the game. What promised to be a beautiful victory for David against Goliath was not such. Eusebio was in charge of breaking the dream of the Koreans by scoring two goals before the break, showing what was going to happen in the second half.

Back from the changing rooms, 'La Pantera' continued with his recital and scored another two goals to overcome a spectacular match in which Portugal found itself against the ropes. Already in the final stretch, striker José Augusto scored the final 5-3. This game served to forever remember a combative North Korea that was about to kill one of the best teams in the world. Likewise, the meeting left one of the great feats of the World Cups, it showed us an imperial Eusebio who was in charge of scoring four goals to turn the game around and lead his team to a third place in the World Cup, his best classification of always.

Almost 20 years later and more than 8,000 kilometers away, Emilio Butragueño, legend of Real Madrid and the Spanish team, achieved a similar feat. It was June 18, 1986 and Spain was facing Denmark in the round of 16 of the World Cup at the Corregidora Stadium, Querétaro. The Danish team was one of the best in that World Cup, the Nordics were commanded by a Michael Laudrup who could not do anything before the claw of the 'Vulture'. The rising star of Real Madrid was about to show himself to the world.


Emilio Butragueño did something similar to what Eusebio had done 20 years earlier against North Korea. The course of the match was similar, as Denmark went ahead on the scoreboard just like the Asians did, but this time, the lead was only one goal. Shortly before the break, Butragueño scored the equalizer, which, in turn, served as a psychological goal, since the Danes looked 1-0 in favor of the break. When the players returned from the changing rooms, 'El Buitre' scored the 1-2 for Spain. During the Madridista show, Goikoetxea appeared to score the 1-3. This incursion by his teammate did not faze a Butragueño who would later make the final 1-4 and 1-5. This feat of the small white footballer placed him at the level of a legend like Eusebio.

A priori, Eusebio and Butragueño do not have many similarities. However, 'La Pantera' and 'El Buitre' are in the history of the World Cups and their national teams, since they achieved the same feat, scoring 4 goals in a match in the final phase of a World Cup. 20 years separate two feats that will always be remembered by the fans of both countries, even if higher milestones have been achieved later. Portugal and Spain meet in the group stage of the World Cup in Russia with these two legends in mind. This is so because 'La Pantera' and 'El Buitre' are World Cup history.

Written by Javier Siñeriz

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