Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier, 25.06.1998
Bierhoff 50., Klinsmann 57. / –
With results having gone their way in the first two sets of group matches, Berti Vogts’ side would only need a point in their final first phase match against Iran to clinch a place in the knockout round, but would be seeking a convincing win to keep them ahead of Yugoslavia to take first place in the group – avoiding their old rivals the Netherlands and setting up a meeting against Mexico.
Going into the final pair of fixtures the Mannschaft would be sitting at the top of the group with a slender one-goal advantage over Yugoslavia – with both teams on four points – but knew that even a win would not be good enough to secure first place if the Yugoslavs were able to score more in beating the United States in their final match. Wins for Germany and Yugoslavia would leave both teams on seven points from their three games, with goal difference being the deciding factor.
Although the encounter in Montpellier’s Stade de la Mosson would see the first meeting at full international level between the German national team and Iran, a number of Jalal Talebi’s side would be familiar to the German team: both playmaker Karim Bagheri and striker Ali Daei plied their trade in the I. Bundesliga for Arminia Bielefeld, while Daei’s strike partner Khodadad Azizi played for 1. FC Köln.
Both sides would have plenty to play for: while Germany were expected to confirm their place in the knock-out phase, the Iranians knew that a shock win over the Mannschaft would see them through to the last sixteen – while even a draw would be enough for Talebi’s side if the United States were able to overturn Yugoslavia in the group’s other fixture. The situation would make for an exciting and open encounter.
Berti Vogts would stick with the same 1-2-4-1-2 formation that had been employed against Yugoslavia, but would make a number of personnel changes to his starting eleven. While the defensive trio would remain the same with Christian Wörns and Jürgen Kohler sitting in front of sweeper Olaf Thon, there would be wholesale changes in midfield with veteran Lothar Matthäus, Thomas Helmer and Michael Tarnat all making their first starts of the tournament in place of Dietmar Hamann, Jens Jeremies and Christian Ziege. Ahead of this new-look midfield quartet the recalled Thomas Häßler would replace Andreas Möller as the advanced midfielder, sitting behind the established and in-form strike partnership of Jürgen Klinsmann and Oliver Bierhoff.
With the Nationalmannschaft in their traditional Schwarz und Weiß and the Iranians in an all-red ensemble, Paraguayan referee Epifanio González Chávez would get things underway on what would be a warm evening in front of a crowd of just under thirty-thousand people.
Christian Wörns and Iran’s Bielefeld-based striker Ali Daei challenge for the ball.
After what had been a frustrating and unproductive first half, Berti Vogts’ side would ultimately prove to be too powerful for the game but limited Iranians. Once they had finally got their noses in front, it would be a simple matter of cruising home and finishing off the job. With Yugoslavia beating the United States 1-0 in Nantes, Germany’s 2-0 victory would be more than enough to take them to the top of the group on goal difference – securing a second-phase tie against the Mexicans in the same stadium.
Germany: Köpke – Thon (46. Hamann) – Wörns, Kohler – Heinrich, Matthäus, Helmer, Tarnat (77. Ziege) – Häßler (69. Kirsten) – Klinsmann (c), Bierhoff
Iran: Abedzadeh – Mohammadkhani – Khakpour, Pashazadeh – Zarincheh (71. Dinmohammadi), Mahdavikia, Bagheri, Estili, Minavand – Daei, Azizi
Referee: Epifanio González Chávez (Paraguay)
Assistants: Celestino Galván (Paraguay), Jorge Diaz Gálvez (Chile)
Fourth Official: Javier Castrilli (Argentina)
Yellow Cards: Klinsmann, Häßler / Ali Daei
Red Cards: – / –
First Phase Group F Table
|FR Yugoslavia (Q)||3||2||1||0||4||2||+2||7|
Other results: FR Yugoslavia 1-0 Iran; United States 1-2 Iran; United States 0-1 FR Yugoslavia.