v Scotland, 1986 World Cup First Phase Group E
Estadio La Corregidora, Querétaro, 08.06.1986
Völler 23., Allofs 49. / Strachan 18.
Only hours before the Germany v Scotland match was about to kick off, I was still serving my indefinite World Cup ban – so I thought I’d try my luck to worm my way out of it. On being served by the head at high tea, I managed to find the time to ask him what he thought the score would be – placing great emphasis on the fact that I wouldn’t be able to see it. As I had for along time been a “good boy” – in the years prior to being caught in the middle of the night watching World Cup matches – he called time on my restriction then and there.
As I happily headed to the common room I saw my dorm-mate emerge in full enforcer mode – oblivious to the Head’s overturning of my what turned out to be one-match ban. He then tried to drag me out of the common room, only to be unceremoniously turfed out himself by a senior prefect. I could hear the little bastard cursing loudly as he stomped off in a huff down the corridor.
Having scraped that precious point in their opening game, only a win would do for the Nationalmannschaft against a Scotland side whose backs were already against the wall following a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Denmark. Coach Beckenbauer opted for a more attacking line-up, dropping Andreas Brehme for the livewire Pierre Littbarski and moving Norbert Eder into a restructured back four sitting in front of sweeper Klaus Augenthaler. Despite his gaffe in the first match, Lothar Matthäus retained his place in the three-man midfield alongside Littbarski and Felix Magath; Klaus Allofs and Rudi Völler once again started up front.
Unlike in the game against Uruguay the Germans began the game brightly, putting pressure on the Scottish defence from the off. Within the first ten minutes they had crafted a couple of decent opportunities, but these came to naught as the Scots started to force their way back into the game – leading to the opening goal after eighteen minutes.
Once again the German defence failed to clear in what was a relatively unthreatening situation – the loose ball was picked up by Roy Aitken, whose perfect through pass found the diminuitive Gordon Strachan – later called “Chucky” by my brother and me on account of his similarity to the mischievously murderous doll in Child’s Play – who lashed in a stunning right-footed drive with the help of a slight deflection that took the ball away from Toni Schumacher.
Strachan’s goal was truly a glorious strike, but the quality of the finish was long forgotten on account of his bizarre celebration that has since become the stuff of World Cup legend. Clearly inspired by Antonio Alzamendi’s celebration where the Uruguayan had acrobatically leapt over the advertising hoardings, Strachan charged towards the touchline, only to realise that he was never going to make it without getting a broken neck – so he instead rested one leg on the hoarding and took a well-earned breather. It was made funnier still that the advertising hoarding he had selected was one for Camel cigarettes. If Camel wanted to script an advert, Strachan’s impromptu celebration could not have been any better.
Before the Scots could truly appreciate their lead, Germany were back in the game – and how. Charging past three defenders, Hamburg’s Felix Magath found Klaus Allofs, whose clever little backheel found Pierre Littbarski, who jinked past another defender and slotted a return ball through the Scottish back line to Allofs who had continued his run towards the byline. All that remained was for Allofs to dink the ball back into the box for his strike partner Rudi Völler, who placed it into the empty net. The Scottish lead had lasted a mere five minutes. As the first half-time whistle approached the Germans were clearly in the ascendancy, with Beckenbauer’s side looking the most likely to wrap things up in the second half.
The half-time break clearly gave the Nationalmannschaft the required extra impetus, as they came charging out of the blocks at the restart. With less than five minutes played after the break, a hopeful through-ball from Littbarski found Völler in the box. Surrounded by defenders, the Werder Bremen man twisted and turned, causing defender David Narey to botch his challenge and in the process provide a helpful short pass for the advancing Allofs, who smacked the ball home with a glorious left-footed strike. It was the 1. FC Köln man’s second crucial goal in the course of a week, and set Germany on course to move onto three points in the group standings – and more or less eliminate the unlucky Scots from the competition.
When Romanian referee Ion Igna – who would become well-known in Germany two years later – blew the final whistle there was much relief; with three points now in the bag, a second phase berth was looking promising. Next up would be the dynamic Danes.
Germany FR: Schumacher (c) – Augenthaler – Berthold, Eder, Förster, Briegel (63. Jakobs) – Littbarski (75. Rummenigge), Matthäus, Magath – Allofs, Völler
Scotland: Leighton – Narey, Miller, Malpas – Gough, Souness, Strachan, Aitken, Nicol (61. McAvennie), Bannon (74. Cooper) – Archibald
Referee: Ion Igna (Romania)
Assistants: Bogdan Dotchev (Bulgaria), Alan Snoddy (Northern Ireland)
Yellow Cards: – / Archibald, Bannon, Malpas
Red Cards: – / –