v Colombia, 1990 World Cup First Phase Group D
v Colombia, Stadio San Siro, Milano (First Phase Group D) 19.06.1990
Littbarski 89. / Rincon 90.
With an eye on the second phase and a match against any one of the Netherlands, England, the Republic of Ireland or Egypt, Franz Beckenbauer’s side adopted a more relaxed approach with Colombia, for who a draw would guarantee at second phase berth irrespective of how other results turned out. The same formation was retained for the third match in a row, with the exception of the suspended Andreas Brehme who was replaced by Bayern München midfielder Hansi Pflügler.
The first half could best be described as scrappy, where we got to see both the worst and best of Colombian ‘keeper René Higuita. After almost being caught in possession way outside his area by Rudi Völler – where he was lucky to be awarded a free-kick for what was would have been a perfectly reasonable tackle had he been an outfield player – he then acrobatically turned a curling left-foot shot from Jürgen Klinsmann around the post.
The star of the show however – and not in the best possible sense – was the big-haired Colombian midfielder Carlos Valderrama, whose divaesque antics quickly started to get under the nose of both the German team and referee Alan Snoddy. After going down after what could be described as a nothing challenge, Valderrama remained on the ground while Snoddy allowed play to go on. After Freddy Rincón had blasted the free-kick over the bar and Völler had been hacked down at the other end by Leonel Álvarez, the referee finally allowed the hirsute Colombian to receive attention – whereupon the full stretcher team arrived to carry him off.
No longer had Valderrama been stretchered off the field he was back on his feet – his slow walk back to the touchline being accompanied by a loud and well-orchestrated chorus of jeers, whistles and ironic applause.
There was little in the way of goal-scoring opportunities in what was a rather fractured and scrappy second half, which saw yet more histrionics from Valder-drama – resulting in his being booed every time he touched the ball. Lothar Matthäus did well to work pick up a sharp pass from Stefan Reuter and manufacture an opportunity with some seventy-five minutes gone, but his chip over Higuita – who had made yet another suicidal charge into no-mans land – only managed to find the top of the crossbar. Somehow, Higuita managed to scramble back to thwart Rudi Völler’s attempt to head in the rebound.
Rather fittingly, all of the important action was packed into the final minutes. As a man valued more for his poachers’ finishing and six-yard box savvy, Rudi Völler was the last man one might have expected to tear open the Colombian defence – but this he did, playing a neat one-two with skipper Lothar Matthäus in the middle of the park before embarking on a marvellous jinking run that saw him ease past two defenders and play a tidy ball into the path of sub Pierre Littbarski with the outside of his right boot. Litti used his pace and strength to work free of his marker before drilling a left-footed shot past the prone Higuita.
Littbarski’s at-the-death strike appeared to have taken Germany to the maximum nine points, leaving the Colombians teetering on the brink and with one foot on the ‘plane home – but the last-gasp drama had not yet ended. That man Valderrama was at the centre of the action as the Colombians pressed for an immediate response, engineering a fluid series of passes ending in a final ball to Freddy Rincón – who then stroked the ball under the advancing Bodo Illgner to level the scores with almost the last kick of the game.
Franz Beckenbauer’s men had missed out on maximum points but had comfortably finished at the top of the group – while the Colombians could take that foot off the next flight back to Bogotá.
Germany FR: Illgner – Augenthaler – Berthold, Buchwald – Reuter, Häßler (88. Thon), Matthäus, Bein (46. Littbarski), Pflügler – Völler, Klinsmann
Colombia: Higuita – Herrera, Perea, Escobar, Gildardo Gómez – Fajardo, Álvarez, Gabriel Gómez, Valderrama – Estrada, Rincón
Referee: Alan Snoddy (Northern Ireland)
Assistants: Jassim Mandi Abdul Rahgman (Bahrain), Tullio Lanese (Italy)
Yellow Cards: Berthold / Herrera, Gómez, Álvarez
Red Cards: – / –
First Phase Group D Table
|United Arab Emirates||3||0||0||3||2||11||-9||0|
Other results: United Arab Emirates 0-2 Colombia; Yugoslavia 1-0 Colombia; Yugoslavia 4-1 United Arab Emirates.