v Algeria, 1982 World Cup First Phase Group 2
First Phase Group 2 v Algeria, Estadio Municipal El Molinón, Gijón, 16.06.1982
Rummenigge 67. / Madjer 54., Belloumi 68.
Germany lined up for their opening match against North African tournament debutants Algeria with victory more or less assured, with Nationaltrainer Jupp Derwall as laissez-faire as ever in suggesting that he would happily take the first train back to Germany or jump into the Mediterranean Sea should his side fail to win. As well as showing a completely unprofessional lack of respect to the opposition Derwall and his advisors had clearly not done their research: the tenacious Algerians – known as Les Fennecs or “the Desert Foxes” – were far from being a pushover, and had in fact beaten a German side – though admittedly a weak and inexperienced one – in their only previous meeting Algiers in 1964.
Derwall may well have been foolish in his overconfidence, but nobody would have really contradicted him. While seven of the Algerian squad plied their trade in either France or Belgium, they were an unknown quantity – in contrast to the reigning European Champions who boasted such names as Harald Schumacher, Paul Breitner and two-time European Footballer of the Year Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Expecting his side to serve up a feast of goals, the Nationaltrainer would abandon his natural defensiveness in naming a 4-3-3 formation that saw a solid defensive quartet of Manny Kaltz, Uli Stielike, Karl-Heinz Förster and Hans-Peter Briegel sitting behind a creative-looking midfield containing Wolfgang Dremmler, the recalled veteran Paul Breitner and Felix Magath – while up front skipper Rummenigge would be teamed up with Euro 1980 final hero Horst Hrubesch and the sprightly Pierre Littbarski.
On what was a bright Wednesday late afternoon at Gijón’s El Molinón in front of a crowd of forty-two thousand, Peruvian referee Enrique Labo Revoredo got things underway with Germany in their traditional white-black-white and the Algerians wearing a green kit with white trim and red socks.
While one could put the result down to the Germans underestimating their opponents and paying the price for their complacency, I’d instead focus on the Algerians’ magic shirts, something that to this day has not been touched upon. For what was the goalless first half, Les Fennecs sported one design of their green shirt, but on emerging from the dressing room for the second half they were seeing wearing a shirt with a completely different design and emblem.
This shirt-change was clearly responsible for some of the magical play that the North Africans put on during the second half, and with this in mind one can hardly put all the blame at the feet of Nationaltrainer Jupp Derwall.
The shockwaves caused by the result against Algeria however was nothing compared to what was to follow.
Germany FR: Schumacher – Kaltz, Stielike, Kh. Förster, Briegel – Dremmler, Breitner, Magath (82. K. Fischer) – Kh. Rummenigge (c), Hrubesch, Littbarski
Algeria: Cerbah – Merzekane, Guendouz, Kourichi, Mansouri – Fergani, Dahleb, Belloumi, Zidane (63. Bensaoula) – Assad, Madjer (88. Larbes)
Referee: Enrique Labo Revoredo (Peru)
Assistants: Gilberto Aristizábal Murcia (Colombia), Paolo Casarin (Italy)
Yellow Cards: Hrubesch / Madjer
Red Cards: – / –