In 1974 Zaire's football team were summoned into a room in their West German hotel and told that if they lost to Brazil by more than three goals the following day they would never see their families again. In this astonishing book Jon Spurling has travelled the world to scratch beneath the glossy, confetti-strewn surface of the world's biggest sporting event to uncover its dark secrets. What lengths did Argentina's right-wing military junta really go to in order to ensure their national team won the World Cup at home in 1978? Why did Idi Amin instruct Uganda's footballers to break the teethA" of their Tanzanian counterparts in a World Cup qualifier? What really happened during the infamous 'Soccer War' between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969? Which country's players were sent to work in a chicken-plucking factory as punishment for a poor result during qualifying in 1994? Part travelogue, part history, Death or Glory is based on more than 100 exclusive interviews with players, supporters, writers and team officials.
Its 16 chapters take you on a fascinating journey through sport, politics, conflict and civil strife that ultimately reveals the astonishing power of the world's greatest sporting event - a power that goes far beyond a few games of football every four years.