Algeria 2 West Germany 1 (first round - group 2)

Group Two saw the return of the West Germany of 1954. In one of the most disgraceful matches ever played at a World Cup West Germany qualified at the expense of Algeria. What had happened was that earlier Algeria players had played one of the games of their lives, defeating the European champions by two goals to one in their first game of this World Cup. The Algerians had hung on in the first half, then thirteen minutes into the second Lakhdar Belloumi stormed into the German penalty area and shot, the ball thudded into a defender’s legs and bounced off into the path of the onrushing Madjer, who promptly scored. West Germany were shaken, and started to put in some very aggressive tackles of dubious legality, nine minutes later Rummenigge equalised for Germany, but it left a sour taste as Fergani and Cerbah of Algeria had earlier had to be treated for injuries. But within a minute justice was done; Assad, on the left hand side of the half way line, was half tackled but managed to retain possession, he then slipped the ball to Zidane, and then hurtled forward, Zidane soon returned the ball to Assad who by now was in the German penalty area, quick as a flash Assad volleyed the ball into the path of Belloumi, past Breitner in defence, for Belloumi was rushing onwards to the West German goal. Belloumi side-footed the ball into the net. The West Germans desperately lashed out but were unable to retrieve the situation. It looked as if Algeria could qualify at the expense of the former champions, but it was not to be. Fifa had, unfortunately, not learnt the lesson of fours years previously, and they permitted interlined matches to kick-off at different times.

Italy 3 Brazil 2 ( Group C – first round)

Italy stormed into the lead after only five minutes, courtesy of Rossi, but then Brazil began to respond. After twelve minutes Socrates managed to level the scores. And Brazil began to take charge. Yet Italy never stopped battling, deriving comfort from the knowledge that this Brazil were not secure at the back. Indeed in the twenty-fifth minute Cerezo of Brazil carelessly knocked the ball within reach of Rossi who seized the opportunity and sped off with the ball towards the Brazilian goal. Peres in goal for Brazil was a fraction late off his line to challenge Rossi and the rest of Brazil’s defence was behind the Italian, Rossi thumped the ball into the back of the net. Brazil were in trouble, again. Zoff, at the age of forty, was on top of his game, and managed to make repeated saves both before and after half time. Then, thirteen minutes into the second half Rossi misses the chance to put the game out of reach, for he was presented with the ball with only the goalkeeper to meet, but, inexplicably, missed. Ten minutes later Brazil were level. Conti, who had been tremendous form throughout the game, kept the Italian counterattacks going; with one quarter of an hour to go Conti takes a corner for Italy, the Brazilians don’t clear it properly which gave Tardelli the chance to shoot, he does, and is rewarded with a goal as Rossi manages to deflect it en route. Still Brazil, fought back, but achieve nothing more than a disallowed goal, which was also something the Italians managed. The giants of Latin America had fallen.

Spain 0 England 0 (second round)

England would have to beat Spain in the final game of the group and score at least twice. This seemed would have seemed an eminently possible prospect, except that two of England’s most creative players, Trevor Brooking and Kevin Keegan, were not match fit. Ron Greenwood the England manager calculated that both players could only manage half an hour each. The question was whether to play them at the beginning, or the end of the game. One can never judge what substitutions would be needed during the game, so Greenwood went for the more flexible option of bringing them on at the end. Unfortunately, a grimly determined Spain did not want the ignominy of a whitewash, for sixty minutes they prevented England from scoring. By the time Brooking and Keegan appeared their tails were up, and they hung on grimly for the goal less draw. Thus England departed from the competition without losing a game and having conceded only one goal.

West Germany 3 (1) France 3 (1) after extra time
West Germany won 5-4 on penalties (semi-finals)

The match between West Germany and France did much to alienate the neutrals from Germany. In the match France took the lead and were pegged back. Then after sixty-six minutes Battiston of France collected a beautifully precise ball from Platini and raced on, there was only Schumacher in goal for West Germany to beat, the German ‘keeper rushed out to meet the Frenchman; Battiston’s effort, unfortunately, hit the post and went out. It was what happened next that enraged the neutral and the French alike. Schumacher made no effort to slow down and smashed his forearm into Battiston’s face. The Frenchman went down, the blow was so severe that he had to be given oxygen to breathe; as if this was not enough he had lost three teeth and had neck and shoulder injuries. Battiston had to be carried off on a stretcher. Incredibly the referee did not penalise Schumacher for the worst foul in World Cup history. France twice came desperately close to winning, but the match ended three-three. West Germany then went through on penalties.

Final result
Madrid 11 June 1982

West Germany: Schumacher, Kaltz, K-H Förster, B Förster, Briegel,
Dremmler (62 Hrubesch), Breitner, Stielike,
Rummenigge (81 Müller), Fischer, Littbarski.

Italy: Zoff, Bergomi, Collovati, Scirea, Gentile, Cabrini,
Tardelli, Orialli, Conti, Rossi, Graziani.

Referee: Arnaldo (Brazil).

Half time scores in brackets.

West Germany 1 (0) Italy 3 (0)
Attendance: 90,000

Scorers:
Rossi (56), Tardelli (68), Altobelli (80);
Breitner (82).

The West Germany team played in the Bernabeau Stadium, home of Real Madrid, on 11 July 1982 with the status of favourites. It was four years since another European team had beaten them. Yet, of the ninety thousand spectators, only a small number wanted this German record to continue. The behaviour of the West German team in the matches against Austria and France had gone against all sense of fair play. There was no sense of shame, for Schumacher, the German goalkeeper and perpetrator of the atrocious foul on Battiston of France, kept his place in the team. The match started disastrously for Italy when Graziano had to come off injured when the match had barely begun, he was replaced by Altobelli. The early play went in West Germany’s favour, but slowly the Italians began to impose themselves. In the twenty-fifth minute Conti was brought down by Briegel in the penalty area, but unfortunately Cabrini missed, when he took the penalty. At half time no goals had been scored and the Italians were gaining in confidence. In the second half the cynical side of the West German game reared its ugly head in the form of several rash challenges, some near the German penalty area. There was a tremendous roar of approval when, eleven minutes into the half, Rossi headed home from a free kick. West Germany kept attacking, with Rummenigge being at his most dangerous Zoff only just managed to stave the ball off thanks to an assist from Collovati. Twelve minutes after the first goal, Italy scored again, the West Germans having been unable to prevent Tardelli from loosing off a left-footer. The Italians now tried to play a possession game, with the crowd deliriously shouting “olé” every time a West German attempted an unsuccessful tackle.

Briegel did nothing to endear himself to the crowd with a transparent dive, the desperation of the West German players was such that they ludicrously tried to argue the issue with the referee who had waved play on. While this non-argument was going on Conti swept forwards sixty yards, pulling it in for Altobelli to put Italy three up. There was widespread cheering. Breitner did pull one back for West Germany shortly afterwards, but it was too late. Never has there been a final in which nearly all the neutrals wanted one side to win, but West Germany had brought this on themselves by their lack of sportsmanship.

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.