Stadio San Siro, Milano, 15.06.1990
Völler 35., 75., Klinsmann 36., Matthäus 47., Bein 59. / Khalid Ismaïl Mubarak 46.
Following their 4-1 thrashing of Yugoslavia in their first game, Germany would head back to the San Siro for their match-up against minnows UAE, with coach Franz Beckenbauer fielding an unchanged side and the German fans expecting a feast of spectacular goals. The deluge did come, but only in the form of a Milanese downpour – leaving the expectant crowd to wait patiently in the rain for over half an hour until the hard-working Emirates’ defence was finally breached.
A two goal advantage came in a trice, with Rudi Völler and Jürgen Klinsmann both finding the back of the net within two minutes. The opener was more than a little fortunate, as Klinsmann made full capital of some weak defending on the right to lay the ball across for strike partner Völler, who somehow got a boot on the ball despite being crowded by a UAE defender and the advancing goalkeeper.
The second goal again stemmed from an attack down the right flank, where Stefan Reuter found himself with plenty of time and space to chip the ball into a gaping space in the box onto the head of Klinsmann. The VfB man didn’t need to make use of much of his abundance of aerial ability as he leapt to meet the ball and guide it into the net past the leaden-footed Muhsin Musabah in the UAE goal.
Jürgen Klinsmann and Rudi Völler, waltzing in the rain. It would take some time, but the floodgates would finally be opened
Probably aware of the threat of an impending thrashing, the Emirates emerged after the break with a renewed vigour, and almost immediately pulled a goal back. The goal came from nothing – a hopeful punt from just inside their own half that quite literally found Icke Häßler caught short at the back. The little man tried his best to head the ball away, but was made to look silly as he missed the ball completely. It would fall to Khalid Ibrahim Mubarak, whose fine gather and finish left the frozen Bodo Illgner in the German goal with no chance.
Not to worry – for within a minute Beckenbauer’s men were again two goals back in front. Having once crossed into the box with no result, Brehme’s second ball from the left would find Matthäus at the edge of the box – whose right-footed shot took a deflection on its way in past Musabah. From that point the Mannschaft switched into a more relaxed gear, epitomised by the fourth goal: after more movement on the right from that man Matthäus, substitute Pierre Littbarski found Uwe Bein just outside the D with a fine pass. Casual as you like, Bein nonchalantly leathered the ball into the top-right corner of the net.
The fifth and final goal was in contrast just a little bit scrappy: Littbarski’s right-footed corner was met in the air by Rudi Völler, whose header made its way into the back of the net via first the hand and then the shin of some rather flat-footed UAE defenders. Deeming that the first handball had prevented the ball from ending up in the net, the goal was awarded to Völler.
The 5-1 result was convincing enough, though it could very easily have been many more. The German side had to endure a frustrating half an hour at the beginning and would wind down to a near walking pace for the last twenty minutes; these slack periods would sandwich a twenty-five minute period in which all six of the game’s goals were scored. Admittedly, the weather didn’t really help matters a lot.
With two wins from their opening two games and an almost monumental goal difference of +7, Germany would be left only needing a draw against their third and final group opponents Colombia to secure top spot.
Germany FR: Illgner – Augenthaler – Berthold (46. Littbarski), Buchwald – Reuter, Häßler, Matthäus (c), Bein, Brehme – Völler, Klinsmann (71. Riedle)
United Arab Emirates: Muhsin Musabah – Yousuf Hussain, Abdulrahman Mohamed, Khalil Ghanim, Ibrahim Meer (87. Abdulrahman Al-Haddad) – Eissa Meer, Hussain Ghuloum, Nasir Khamees, Khalid Ismaïl Mubarak – Ali Thani, Adnan Al Talyani
Referee: Alexei Spirin (USSR)
Assistants: Shizuo Takada (Japan), Pierluigi Pairetto (Italy)
Yellow Cards: Brehme / Yousuf Hussain, Hussain Ghuloum
Red Cards: – / –