As the 2018 FIFA World Cup approaches, DFB.de takes you on a journey back through Germany’s previous appearances at the tournament, bringing you everything from historic matches to unusual anecdotes. Part five takes us back to 1962…
The 1962 edition of the World Cup was held in Chile with 16 teams qualifying for the tournament. Like the 1958 World Cup, the 16 teams were split into four groups with the top two teams in each group progressing to the quarter-finals. West Germany found themselves in Group 2 alongside Chile, Italy and Switzerland. Interestingly, 1962 was the first World Cup to use ‘goal average’ (calculated by goals scored divided by goals conceded) to differentiate teams on the same amount of points. Two years before the tournament, disaster struck as Chile suffered a 9.5 magnitude earthquake in May 1960 but the stadia and infrastructure were rebuilt quickly enough for the tournament to still go ahead. This was to be the first time West Germany featured in a World Cup on another continent: a 17-hour long, 14,000km journey was a new element for the 1954 champions, but one thing that did stay the same was coach Sepp Herberger, as he led Die Mannschaft to a fourth World Cup.
While West Germany qualified for the competition without dropping points, there was a lack of high hopes heading into the tournament; while the rest of the world had long established professional leagues, the Bundesliga was yet to be formed. Herberger himself stated: “We don’t have a strong team. Half the team are amateurs.” In fact, only Horst Szymaniak in the squad was a professional footballer as he plied his trade in Italy for Catania FC.
Uwe Seeler reflected: “The mood in camp was quite downbeat from the off. We were too reliant on Horst Szymaniak in midfield.” A big surprise came in goal as Herberger opted for Wolfgang Fahrian as his number 1 over Hans Tilkowski. Fahrian made his World Cup debut on his 21st birthday and it was only his second international appearance. “All of a sudden I went from being a village footballer to playing in goal in every game at the World Cup,” Fahrian reminisced.
On May 31st 1962, 65,440 filled the National Stadium in Santiago. Herberger’s notes read: “Our aim and task is as follows: Keep a clean sheet!” And they did. In a hard-fought, ill-disciplined game, neither team was able to break the deadlock as it ended goalless. The defences came out on top which was a theme for the whole tournament as the competition averaged under 3 goals a game for the first time. In fact, it has never been over 3 since. Sepp Herbeger said after the game: “It was our toughest game in many years.” FIFA president Sir Stanley Rous summarised the game with a simple sentence – “Brilliant football but too many fouls.”
The day before this clash, the other game in Group 2 took place between Chile and Italy, or as it is now better known, “The Battle of Santiago”. The game has become infamous for the flood of fouls which took place throughout. The game was slated by the international press. It was up to West Germany to restore people’s faith in the future of the tournament and the future direction of international football. One change was made to the starting XI as FC Schalke 04’s Willi Koslowski came in for Hansi Sturm. West Germany were facing an under-pressure Switzerland side, who, after losing their opener to hosts Chile, needed a result to stand any chance of reaching the competition’s latter stages.
West Germany kick-off proceedings and dominated from the off. Unlike the encounter the day before, the game saw the likes of Haller dribbling through defences. Just as the first half seemed to be petering out, Brülls converted with his left foot to give West Germany a 1-0 lead at half-time.
In the first half, Szymaniak had collided with his Swiss counterpart Eschmann and, while the Switzerland man had attempted to continue following initial treatment, he did not come out for the second half. As substitutes were not permitted in the FIFA World Cup until 1970, it meant Switzerland were both a goal and a man down while needing to turn the game around to keep their hopes alive. West Germany compounded their misery, doubling their lead on the hour mark as Uwe Seeler kept his cool to fire home. However, against the run of play, Switzerland pulled one back in the closing stages through Schneiter which led to a nervy end for West Germany. Fahrian had to pull off a number of stops to maintain West Germany’s lead. They ran out 2-1 winners in the end but, as Die Welt summarised, “West Germany may have won, however, the result was in danger until the very end.”
Heading into the final game of the group stages, West Germany required at least a point against already qualified hosts Chile. Due to Die Mannschaft’s attack misfiring so far in the tournament, head coach Sepp Herberger made two changes, with Willi Giesemann and Engelbert Kraus given their World Cup debuts in place of Willi Koslowski and Helmut Haller. The hosts were being cheered on in their national stadium by a crowd of over 60,000. However, it was West Germany who started off on the front foot. In the 21st minute, Uwe Seeler was fouled in the penalty area and Horst Szymaniak converted the resulting spot-kick. West Germany’s defence attempted to keep the hosts at bay for the remainder of the first half and Fahrian once again did well in goal, stopping a number of the hosts’ efforts so his side went into the break 1-0 up.
The second half started much like the first with Chile threatening to equalise. Honorino Landa went closest for the hosts as he hit the woodwork. Down the other end, West Germany were uncharacteristically ruthless considering their inefficiency so far in the competition, as Uwe Seeler headed home a second goal after connecting with Albert Brülls’ cross. Herberger's boys had to dig deep to keep a clean sheet, with Schäfer clearing one off the line. The win saw them top the group and also marked the beginnings of a tradition for West Germany: beating the World Cup hosts on their own soil. “It was a tactical success from our team. Chile may have dominated at time but in tournament football it’s goals that count,” said Sepp Herberger, but Fernando Riera, head coach of Chile, was less satisfied with the match: “The penalty was a scandal. West Germany played well but they don’t play football I like.”
Hacing topped their group, West Germany did not have to travel and played their fourth game of the tournament in Chile’s capital. For a third World Cup in a row, the Germans faced Yugoslavia in a World Cup quarter-final. They came out on top on the previous two occasions, winning 2-0 in Switzerland in 1954 followed by a 1-0 win in Sweden in 1958. Head coach Sepp Herberger made an alteration on the right flank once more, as Berti Kraus dropped to the bench with Helmut Haller coming in on the wing.
Despite winning the last two quarter-final encounters, West Germany were not particularly optimistic heading into the clash. Attacking midfielder, Fritz Walter said prior to the game: “It won’t be easy. Yugoslavia have come on leaps and bounds in recent years.” In 1960, Yugoslavia took the Gold medal at the Olympic Games. In Milutin Soskic, Fahrudin Jusufi, Dragoslav Sekularac and Josip Skoblar, four future Bundesliga stars took to the field for West Germany’s opponents.
It may well have been winter in South America but it was an unusually hot day for the quarter-final. West Germany had the first real chance of the game as Uwe Seeler struck the post in the third minute and, minutes later, he had another effort saved by Soskic. Soon, Fahrian was called into action at the other end of the pitch as he worked hard to keep his sheet clean. The scores were level at the break and, despite West Germany’s bright start, it was Yugoslavia who looked the more threatening.
Much like the first half, West Germany dominated the first quarter of an hour in the second 45. Milutin Soskic pulled off a number of impressive stops to keep the likes of Albert Brülls, Helmut Haller and Willi Giesemann at bay. However, in the 66th minute, it was suddenly chaos in the West Germany penalty area with Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, Herbert Erhardt and Wolfgang Fahrian all clearing the ball off the line.
With ten minutes to go and Erhardt receiving treatment, the players went for a water break and a final pep-talk from assistant coach Helmut Schön as they began to prepare for what seemed like an inevitable period of extra-time as the ball simply would not go in the goal. In the 83rd minute, West Germany had their biggest chance of the game. Schnelliger’s rocket was saved at the second attempt by Soskic and, two minutes later, West Germany were made to pay for not taking their opportunities. Radakovic was left unmarked in the area and fired home after a cross from the right touchline past a powerless Fahrian. After that, Yugoslavia simply held possession for as long as they could and held out until the final whistle. After the game, Sepp Herberger said: “It was clear that the team who scored the first goal would win. We just were unlucky. Uwe Seeler hit the post and we played well. There wasn’t much more we could do.” Herbert Erhardt echoed this sentiment: “We had the better chances to score but that counts for nothing. We’re out.” Fritz Walter was happy with the team’s efforts throughout the competition: “The team did West Germany proud.” Nevertheless, West Germany bowed out of the 1962 World Cup at the quarter-final stage.
West Germany 0-0 Italy - 31st May 1962, Estadio Nacional, Santiago (65,440 spectators)
West Germany 2-1 Switzerland - 3rd June 1962, Estadio Nacional, Santiago (64,922 spectators)
Goals: 1-0 Brülls (45'), 2-0 Seeler (59'), 2-1 Schneiter (73')
West Germany 2-0 Chile - 6th June 1962, Estadio Nacional, Santiago (67,224 spectators)
Goals: 1-0 Szymaniak (21' pen.), 2-0 Seeler (82')
West Germany 0-1 Yugoslavia - 10th June 1962, Estadio Nacional, Santiago (63,324 spectators)
Goals: 0-1 Radakovic (85’)