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      Internationals and icons: Selhurst's biggest matches


      As Palace celebrate the anniversary of Real Madrid's arrival at Selhurst Park on 18th April, 1962, check out some of the greatest and most significant moments in the stadium's long and storied history...

      England v Wales, 1926

      ‘England match No. 148’ doesn’t sound particularly special, and, to be frank, the opponents were not particularly exotic. Too early for the samba delights of Brazil or the fiery arrival of Argentina, instead it was Wales in town for an encounter between old enemies. And yet, the international played on 1st March, 1926 is unique: it is the only England game to have been hosted at Selhurst Park.

      The stadium had only opened two years prior, and England took to the surface in their traditional white collared jerseys with dark blue shorts. As ever, the bigger sides dominated the selection: Bolton, Sheffield United, Aston Villa and Sunderland were represented, but there was space for Clapton Orient’s John Townrow at centre-half. Sadly, no Palace players made the squad.

      William Walker scored the only goal for the hosts, knocking past Albert Gray in the Wales goal – but the visitors were not to be stopped. William Davies of Cardiff City and Jack Fowler of Swansea City responded, the latter bagging a brace, and Cymru went home victorious.

      “Though Wales fully deserved to win on the run of the play, it can have been but seldom that an English forward line has been so ineffective,” wrote The Times. Typical negative English media.

      Summer Olympics, 1948

      Despite coming just three years after emerging victorious from the Second World War, the national mood as the London Olympics approached in 1948 was not a merry one. The public purse had been stretched to breaking point and rationing was still in force, leading to the nickname ‘The Austerity Games’. No jokes about 2012, please.

      Along with the Empire Stadium – later to become Wembley Stadium – White Hart Lane, Lynn Road (home of Illford F.C), Griffin Park and more, Selhurst Park was chosen to host the football. It staged two matches: Denmark v Egypt and eventual gold medallists Sweden v South Korea.

      Sweden would go on to triumph in the final at Wembley, while Great Britain missed out on a medal in fourth, much to the chagrin of their charismatic, young manager, then just plain-old Matt Busby. Whatever happened to him?

      Palace v Real Madrid, 1962

      On 18th April, 1962, rain hammered down under Selhurst Park’s newly-installed floodlights. Illuminated by the fresh, electric glare buzzing over a near-saturated 1960s pitch played a footballer whose name remains synonymous with the sport over half a century later.

      In a stadium of 25,000, a single diminutive figure wouldn’t typically stand out. But as Ferenc Puskás’ stubby metal studs made their maiden voyage into the viscous south London turf, the squat Hungarian had all eyes on him.

      The 20th century's highest-scoring player, Puskás was the star when Real Madrid came to Selhurst Park as arguably the club’s most eminent opponent ever - all on this day, some 61 years ago.

      Among their ranks were the icons Alfredo Di Stéfano, Francisco Gento, Raymond Kopa, a young Amancio and, of course, into his third of five consecutive seasons as the club’s top scorer, Ferenc Puskás.

      Click HERE to read the full story.

      Palace v Burnley, 1979

      In May 1979, the Crystal Palace squad faced their final and most important game of the season when Burnley travelled south to Selhurst Park.

      Meeting teammates nearly five hours earlier than normal, Vince Hilaire and the rest of the Crystal Palace squad were fully alert to the significance of the game they were set to play and the impact it would have on the course of the club’s history.

      "We were under no illusions that it was just another game," Hilaire recalled, speaking with in 2017. "We came out of the hotel and in the coach it took us about 45 minutes for a five-minute journey because of the crowds."

      The crowds had gathered for the denouement to a successful 1978-79 season under the late, great, Terry Venables, which saw the club holding a chance to gain promotion from Division Two to English football's top flight.

      Sitting for an early lunch hours before kick-off, the Eagles’ prognosis for their final fixture was clear: lose and another season in Division Two beckoned; draw and promotion would be clinched; win and they would secure the championship from under the noses of league leaders Brighton.

      With the lunch digested and the bus having forced its way through the packed Croydon streets, a record 51,482 supporters crammed into Selhurst Park for one of south London’s most iconic footballing nights.

      Despite a strong, purposeful start from the home side, Burnley provided stubborn resistance and rode their luck for over an hour, producing the occasional scare for Palace. Eventually, however, 14 minutes from time, Ian Walsh met a cross from Hilaire and the ball flashed into the net.

      Jubilant fans streamed onto the pitch in the following seconds, but order was soon restored, allowing Swindlehurst to clinch the title with a right-footed drive in the 88th minute.

      Hilaire, joining the celebrations after having a key role to play in both goals, later recalled a unique set-back having an apparent advantage: "Early in the match I took a bang on the head and the game was a little bit of a blur because I was slightly concussed. I got two assists so a few people said: ‘I think you should play concussed more often!’"

      At the final whistle the throng of fans re-invaded the playing surface as Jim Cannon led his teammates to the director’s box. Several miles up and flying to America with the season firmly behind them, rumour has it the Brighton squad found out about Palace’s title-clinching win as their Eagles-supporting pilot broke the news.

      'Crystanbul', 2014

      Oh go on then, one more. A more recent encounter this time – and when over 3,000 supporters were asked to pick their favourite Premier League outing from a list of 30, a huge 42% voted for this one. Of course, it’s 'Crystanbul'.

      The south Londoners were 3-0 down inside 55 minutes and the crowd consigned itself to defeat as the Reds closed in on a return to victorious ways after a rampant winning run of 11 ended the game before against Chelsea.

      The night went down in Palace history when the Eagles hosted a title-chasing Liverpool at Selhurst. Victory was crucial for Brendan Rodgers' men, and their three-goal advantage kept them in the race for their first league title since 1990.

      Palace fought-back from near-certain defeat after a deflected long-range effort from Damien Delaney and a Dwight Gayle brace sent Selhurst into raptures, bringing their final home game of their Premier League return to a close.

      It was a fitting end to a season that saw Palace consolidate their Premier League status for the first time with an 11th-place finish, defying the odds as relegation favourites after nine losses from their opening 10.