Die Mannschaft: The best and worst of Germany at the World Cup
Joachim Low may only be taking one centre-forward to Brazil in Miroslav Klose, who could overtake Ronaldo as the top scorer in the history of the competition with a couple, but their cadre of top-draw midfielders make Die Mannschaft a curious prospect at 5/1 to win their fourth World Cup.
Here’s a look back at three of the multitude of Germany moments on football’s great stage:
The Good – ‘Der Bomber’ blows apart Dutch defence to win the World Cup
Gerd Muller couldn’t quite manage to replicate a phenomenal tally of 10 goals in six World Cup 1970 games when the tournament rolled into his homeland four years later, but his second-round group-stage goal against Poland made sure of West Germany’s passage into the Munich final.
Free-scoring Die Mannschaft defender Paul Breitner had drawn his side level after Johan Neeskins’ second-minute penalty put the Netherlands in front, then Muller won the trophy in front of his adoring faithful with the scrambling finish shown below:
The Bad – ‘Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over…’
If only Geoff Hurst’s ghost goal had been the last, then Franz Beckenbauer and co could have had genuine cause to gripe about the outcome of the 1966 World Cup final.
As it was, the West Ham legend put the match beyond doubt at 4-2 with this piece of gratuitous John Bull-bombast:
The Ugly – Toni Schumacher and ‘that’ foul
At 1-1 deep into the second-half of West Germany’s World Cup semi-final in Spain 32 years ago, Les Bleus talisman Michel Platini floated in a sublime ball for substitute Patrick Battiston to run on goal with.
The defender’s World Cup was over a moment later thanks to this ‘tackle’ by keeper Harald ‘Toni’ Schumacher:
Incredibly, no penalty was awarded and Schumacher remained on the pitch to make two crucial saves ahead of extra-time, as French officials attempted to keep Battiston from slipping into a coma and scanned the ground for his three missing teeth.
Naturally, the former Koln legend saved two penalties in the shoot-out that killed the France challenge, but ended up on the losing side in the final against Italy. And four years later against Argentina. How about that Karma, eh?
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