Obituary: Gottfried Dienst

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The Independent Culture
IVAN PONTING's obituary of Gottfried Dienst [8 June] concentrated, not surprisingly, on the ball-over-the-line goal in the World Cup final - but there was much more to his career, including an uncannily similar incident five years earlier, writes Cris Freddi.

In the 1961 European Cup final, when Dienst was a referee, Benfica had just drawn level with the hot favourites Barcelona when a misplaced defensive header drifted back towards Barcelona's goalkeeper and captain Antonio Ramallets. Apparently dazzled by the sun, he could only push the ball against his crossbar, whence it bounced along the goal line. Dienst awarded the goal, Barcelona lost the match and had to wait another 31 years to win the European Cup for the first time.

In 1965 Dienst achieved the unique feat of refereeing two European finals in the same year, the European Cup again and the Fairs Cup (later the Uefa Cup). He also took charge of the 1968 European Championship final between Italy and Yugoslavia and refereed five matches in World Cup tournaments, including one of the semi-finals in 1962.

However, prominent official though he was, the Germans of 1966 knew what they'd like to have done with him. One of their publications misspelt his name Goodfried! His exact date of birth was 9 September 1919.

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