As the 2018 FIFA World Cup approaches, DFB.de takes you on a journey back through West Germany’s previous appearances at the tournament, bringing you everything from historic matches to unusual anecdotes. Today, we look back at 1982...
Under new head coach Jupp Derwall, German football had been undergoing somewhat of a renaissance. In Derwall’s first tournament, West Germany lifted the trophy in the 1980 European Championships. His team had gone 23 games unbeaten and won every game in qualifying for the tournament. Only four members of the squad from previous World Cup in 1978 made the team this time around. Those players were Kaltz, Hansi Müller, Klaus Fischer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge with the latter captaining the side. With these experienced players alongside fresh faces such as Harald Schumacher, Felix Magath and Horst Hrubesch, West Germany headed into the tournament as one of the favourites.
The 1982 version of the World Cup had a unique format. The 24 participating teams were put into six groups of four. The top two sides from each group would then go into a second round of group stages. The 12 sides that progressed from the first round were put into four more groups of three each. The four group-winners then went into the semi-finals before the winners played one another in the final. In their first round group stage, West Germany faced Chile, Algeria and Austria. Having beaten Austria twice in qualifying and perceiving Chile and Algeria to be two of the weaker sides to qualify, West Germany were optimistic before the tournament began.
Against the supposedly easiest opponent in the group, nothing but a win was acceptable for the West Germany national team against Algeria, Derwall stated we should “get the next train” home if his side lost. Toni Schumacher predicted there to be between “four to six goals”. It was Algeria’s first ever game in a World Cup and only centre-back Kourici plied his trade in Europe with Bordeaux.
The ball started rolling in the El Molinon stadium in Gijon. The Algeria national team started off on the front foot and had the better of the opening stages but neither team was able to break the deadlock at the break. There was a goal after the break but it was for the underdogs. Belloumi was given too much space and, though Schumacher parried his effort impressively, the ball fell to Madjer who fired home from close range to send shockwaves around the world. The goal finally stirred West Germany to life and, not long after, Rummenigge connected with Magath cross to equalise. Order appeared to be restored. However, straight from kick-off, West Germany switched off and Algeria had scored once again. “We thought we’d already won when we equalised,” reflected Rummenigge. The reigning European Champions were unable to bounce back. The final whistle blew. The impossible had taken place. West Germany had lost their first game of the World Cup to Algeria.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve seen many West Germany games in my time but I’ve never been more disappointed,” said commentator Rudi Michel. Head coach Jupp Derwall had the following to say: “I can hardly believe it. We underestimated Algeria and we now have to win out next two games. Everyone has to improve. I know they can.” Derwall’s opposite number, Mahiedine Khalef, added: “The Germans didn’t respect us.”
As Chile were defeated by Austria in their opener, neither side could afford to slip up once more heading into the second game of the tournament. Despite calls for changes, Derwall played the same starting XI. History was on West Germany’s side as Die Mannschaft had been victorious in two previous World Cup duels in 1962 and 1974. The game began in a sold out stadium in Gijon once again but this time West Germany started on the front foot. Rummenigge hit a hopeful effort from the edge of the box which rolled under Osben’s arm in the Chile goal to open the scoring for Die Mannschaft. West Germany had a number of chances but were unable to extend their lead before half-time.
In the second half, West Germany started brightly once again. Wing-wizard Littbarski jigged into the area and lifted a ball high - West Germany’s captain leapt highest and headed home off the post to make it 2-0. Soon after, it was 3-0 as Rummenigge played a one-two with Magath and stuck a delightful effort with the outside of his boot to complete his hat trick. Werder Bremen’s Uwe Reinder came off the bench for the final ten minutes to make his World Cup debut. Within two minutes of his cameo, he made it 4-0 squeezing one in at the near post. However, a late lapse of concentration meant that Chile were able to score a consolation after a nice individual run from Moscoso. Jupp Derwall stated after the game: “If we play like that on Friday, we can beat Austria.” However, Pelé was less convinced as he summarised West Germany as “Ten robots and Rummenigge.”
In the 1982 World Cup, the final two group stages games were not played at the same time. Earlier that day, Algeria defeated Chile 3-2. So heading into the group’s final game, both West Germany and Austria knew both teams would progress to the next round if the game ended 1-0 to West Germany, eliminating Algeria in the process. Jupp Derwall named the same starting XI for the third time in a row. Assistant coach, Felix Latzke, said: “West Germany are beatable right now, we want to send them home.”
Once again, West Germany played in a packed out stadium in Gijon. West Germany started off on the front foot and scored early as Pierre Littbarski’s cross was met by Horst Hrubesch whose effort found its way into the goal. As it stood, both sides knew they had qualified for the next round. Initially, it looked like West Germany would push for a second as Breitner fired over but that was to be the game’s last real chance. Whistles were being blown from the stands at half-time at their dismay at the football on display. Rummenigge later wrote: “In the second half, we realised that Austria wanted to keep the result as it was so we just kept the ball as the result suited us too.” ARD reporter simply stated: “This isn’t a game of football anymore.”
It wasn’t a good day for the sport or the World Cup as a whole. Algeria lodged a complaint to FIFA due to the two sides’ conduct. No disciplinary action was given but, since then, all final group stages games at a World Cup have taken place at the same time.
Unrest is the easiest way to describe West Germany’s preparations for their second round clash with England. Their Gijon hotel was disturbed throughout the fans by angry fans. There was also a bomb threat so the team had to leave and train earlier than planned. There were calls for Jupp Derwall to resign. The head coach did not do so and changed his line-up for the first time in the competition. Due to the nature of the second group stage, a defeat would mean certain exit so West Germany switched from the 4-3-3 to a more defensive 4-4-2 with Bernd Förster coming into defensive midfield in place of Felix Magath. Hansi Müller also came into the side alongside Uwe Reinders with Horst Hrubesch and Pierre Littbarski being the players to miss out as they faced an England team who had won all their games so far.
In Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu, the game between the two European footballing giants kicked off. However, this game played out as a cagey affair. Rummenigge hit the woodwork for Die Mannschaft and Toni Schumacher was tested by Coppell but both teams were predominately focused on not losing the game. Whistles came from the crowd with 20 minutes to play as it became ever clearer that neither side was going to risk losing to win. The game ended scoreless. “It’s a shame Rummenigge’s effort didn’t go in. I think we deserved to win,” reflected Jupp Derwall. Karlheinz Förster stated: “We can be happy with the 0-0.”
With the final game of the group (Spain versus England) taking place in the coming days, West Germany knew that they had to get a result against hosts Spain so that qualification for the semi-finals was possible. There were two changes to the team which faced England three days earlier as Pierre Littbarski came in for Hansi Müller and Klaus Fischer made his first start for Uwe Reinders. So far, Spain had been disappointing in front of their own fans as they qualified from the first round only on goals scored over Yugoslavia after failing to beat Honduras and losing to Northern Ireland.
The game got underway in 33 degree heat in Spain and the game reflected the temperature. 90,000 fans filled the stadium with the over-whelming majority cheering on the hosts. This was a must-win game for both sides if either were to progress. Die Mannschaft played their best football to date in the competition. However, no goals were scored before the break meaning Group 2 of the second round had gone 135 minutes of football without seeing the net bulge. Five minutes after the start of the second half, we finally had a goal. Littbarski scored his first ever World Cup goal to put West Germany 1-0 up and stunning the stadium into silence. After the goal, the game became more open. With 20 minutes to go, West Germany doubled their lead as Littbarski turned provider to find Klaus Fischer who scored his first World Cup goal. However, it was far from plain sailing for Die Mannschaft. With nine minutes on the clock, Zamora headed home for the hosts to restore hope. It was to be too little too late for Spain as West Germany ran out 2-1 winners. Celebrations were relatively muted though as there was still one game to play between Spain and England. If England won by two goals or more, they would progress on goal difference. Fortunately, the two sides cancelled one another out in a 0-0 draw so West Germany reached the semi-finals.
West Germany entered the final four and faced an impressive France side. Rummenigge was still injured and sat on the bench as Felix Magath returned to the starting XI. Seemingly, the more important the games were, the higher the temperature climbed in Spain. The semi-final took place in a sold-out stadium of 63,000 in sweltering 35 degree Sevilla. However, the game that was to come was arguably hotter than the temperature itself. There were highs and low. It was not only the game of the tournament but arguably one of the best games in World Cup history.
To say this game was end-to-end would be an understatement. Pierre Littbarski opened the scoring for West Germany early on but the goal was cancelled out as Platini levelled from the penalty spot for France. 26 minutes played, 1-1. Despite chances aplenty, there were to be no more goals in normal time as the two evenly met teams headed into extra-time.
Only three minutes into extra time, France’s Marius Trésor volleyed home to put France 2-1 to the good. It was time for Rummenigge. However, before he could make an impact, Alain Giresse extended France’s lead to 3-1 and it seemed the reigning European Champions would be eliminated. 3-1 down with 20 minutes to go, West Germany continued to fight. Fischer had a goal disallowed for offside as West Germany poured more and more players forward. Their attacking endeavours were soon rewarded as Rummenigge poked home to make it 3-2. The players headed into the break in extra-time with West Germany one goal away from forcing a penalty shootout. In the 108th minute, Horst Hrubesch nodded the ball on to Klaus Fischer who did the only thing he could in the situation. He turned and performed a sublime overhead kick which rifled into the net to level the scoring once again. It was perhaps the best goal of the World Cup and the most important one for West Germany. France and West Germany were going to participate in the first ever World Cup penalty shootout.
Giresse, Kaltz, Amoros, Breitner and Rocheteau scored their penalties before Uli Stielike’s weak effort was saved by Ettori. “I thought to myself ‘You can never show your face in Germany again’” recalled a horrified Stielike. However, Didier Six immediately saw his effort denied by Schumacher and Littbarski scored to make things level at 3-3 with four penalties taken by each side. Platini and Rummenigge both scored. Maxime Bossis stepped up next for France but Harold Schumacher guessed right once again and saved the spot-kick. Horst Hrubesch had the responsibility of scoring the spot-kick that would send West Germany into the World Cup final and he kept his cool to send the ‘keeper the wrong way. West Germany would head to Madrid to face Italy. “We never gave up,” said Jupp Derwall. “The craziest game I’ve ever been in,” reflected Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Now, it was time to see if West Germany could go all the way.
Forced to come off the bench in the semi-final, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was determined to run the risk of further injury to start the World Cup final as West Germany’s captain. After receiving initial criticism in the group stages, Italy had come on leaps and bounds to see off the likes of Argentina, Brazil and Poland en route to the final. One man in particular came to the fore: Paolo Rossi had scored Italy’s last five goals and was level with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for the Golden Boot.
There were no goals in the first half – only half chances for either side. Then, in 57th minute, after a poor challenge from a clearly struggling Rummenigge, Italy took the free-kick quickly, shifting the ball out to the right flank and crossing quickly into a disorganised penalty area. Paolo Rossi capitalised on the confusion and lack of marking to nod home from close range to put Italy 1-0 up shortly before the hour mark. Just over ten minutes later, it soon became clear only one team was going to be crowned World Cup winners as Italy scored a second with ease. Pulling the West German defence from side to side, the ball was eventually pulled back to Marco Tardelli who controlled the ball, shifted it onto his left foot and unfurled a rocket into far corner past a frozen Schumacher. 69 minutes gone and Italy were 2-0 to the good against a seemingly powerless West Germany side. Rummenigge was replaced not long after as it became ever clearer he was unfit to play. Things then went from bad to worse for West Germany. Conti was allowed to run the length of the field unchallenged for Italy who then squared the ball across to Altobelli who jinked past the onrushing Schumacher and shot home to make it 3-0 in the 81st minute. It had never been 3-0 in a World Cup final before. However, thankfully for West Germany, the score did not stay that way for long. Two minutes later, Paul Breitner volleyed past Zoff to give West Germany a consolation strike and meant Breitner became the first German to score in two different World Cups. The final whistle blew. Italy were crowned World Cup winners for the third time with a 3-1 win. “Italy deserved to be win based on their second half performance. We couldn’t generate enough momentum going forward after the draining semi-final in Sevilla,” commented Jupp Derwall.###more###