Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, 02.07.1982
Littbarski 50., Fischer 75. / Zamora 82.
Having secured a point in their opening fixture against England, Jupp Derwall’s side went into their second match against hosts Spain knowing that even if they won they’d have to spend three days waiting to see if they if they were in the semi-finals. The three-team “mini-group” system was bizarre to say the least, but one thing was clear: Germany would have to get a better result against hosts Spain than England to secure a place in the last four. Essentially, the Nationalmannschaft would be left to set the benchmark that England would have to better three days later.
Knowing that nothing less than a win would do to maximise their advantage, the Nationaltrainer would change the formation of the side significantly – ditching the more orthodox 4-4-2 used against England with a bolder 4-3-3 lineup. Manny Kaltz returned to the midfield in what was a straight tactical swap with Bernd Förster, while the dynamic Pierre Littbarski replaced the disappointing and inconsistent Hansi Müller to join skipper Karl-Heinz Rummenigge up front. The third part of the new three-pronged attack would be the veteran Klaus Fischer, who came in for the more pedestrian Uwe Reinders.
The pressure on the German team would be immense: their form had been patchy right from the beginning of the tournament, key players were carrying niggling injuries, and they were hardly the most popular team in Spain following the first-phase walk in the park against Austria. If this were not bad enough, they would now have to face the host nation in a seething Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
Perhaps the only thing in the Mannschaft’s favour was that their Spanish opponents had also found themselves under severe pressure. Having dropped a point against minnows Honduras in their opening first-phase match, José Santamaría’s side would come back from a goal down against Yugoslavia before falling to a shock single-goal defeat at the hands of Northern Ireland. They would somehow make it past the group phase by the skin of their teeth, pipping the Yugoslavs on goals scored to finish second in a group they had been expected to dominate.
In front of a raucous and partisan crowd of over ninety-thousand in Madrid, both sides took to the field on what was a dry and warm July evening. The home side were in their usual combination of red shirts, blue shorts and black socks, with the Nationalmannschaft taking to the field in their familiar Schwarz und Weiß. Taking charge of the match would be Paolo Casarin, a no-nonsense Italian with plenty of experience in high-pressure matches such as this: the hosts kicked off, with the packed stands awash with red and yellow Spanish flags.
Jupp Derwall’s men would start the match with purpose, and the home side quickly found themselves on the back foot as their opponents pressed forward in the face of a chorus of boos and whistles from the hostile crowd. The sprightly Littbarski was looking particularly sharp on the left flank, and with just over three minutes on the clock the Mannschaft got their first shot on goal as Bernd Förster’s firmly-struck shot from outside the penalty area was collected by Spanish ‘keeper Luis Arconada. It was a confident opening spell from the men in white, and with just over five minutes gone Littbarski sent the ball wide of the target after a great run and smart backheel from skipper Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
With just under ten minutes gone Klaus Fischer’s desperate chase for the ball earned him a yellow card from the Italian referee, but the Germans continued to be positive against a Spanish defence that seemed content just to soak up the pressure. Littbarski was now beginning to enjoy himself, and picked out Hans-Peter Briegel with a delicious pass into space down the left; the burly 1. FC Kaiserslautern fullback charged into the box and showed great skill to squeeze around his marker, but was unable to find the target with his shot as he stabbed the ball past Arconada and wide of the far post.
The versatile Hans-Peter Briegel shows his strength to muscle past Spain’s Juanito
Jupp Derwall’s side went even closer to opening the scoring just moments later: after the Spaniards had failed to clear a right-wing Littbarski corner, Bernd Förster’s firmly-struck right-footed volley from the edge of the penalty area was brilliantly turned around the post by the flying Arconada.
Arconada had to be on hand to collect another on-target shot from Briegel after twenty-two minutes, and with a quarter of the game having passed German Torhüter Harald Schumacher had been relegated to the role of mere spectator. As the game crossed the half-hour mark the home side were finding it increasingly hard to gain let alone keep possession of the ball, and with each German move forward one could sense the crowd becoming increasingly restless. It took until just over the half-hour mark for Spain to create their first real opportunity, as Miguel Ángel Alonso’s header found Santillana who bundled past Wolfgang Dremmler before his shot was brilliantly smothered by the fast-advancing Schumacher.
Santillana’s opportunity would constitute the only real threat on the German goal by the home side, and as half-time approached Jupp Derwall’s team continued to press for the goal that would put them into the driving seat in the group standings. The last action of the half would see a Rummenigge free-kick easily collected by Arconada, but for all their dominance the Germans had been unable to breach a shaky-looking Spanish defence.
The German team emerged from the tunnel for the start of the second half without Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who still seemed unable to shake off his injury problems. The skipper had clearly not been his usual self, and made way for the solid if unspectacular Uwe Reinders while the captain’s armband was handed to Manny Kaltz. Despite the enforced change in personnel the second half started as the first had ended, with the Germans doing the attacking while the disappointingly timid Spaniards tried their best to get into the match in front of an impatient home crowd that had been given little to cheer about.
With just five minutes played in the second half, the Mannschaft would finally get the break they deserved. Uli Stielike – playing on his home club ground – picked the ball up on the left just inside the Spanish half, and had plenty of time to roll it inside to Dremmler, who almost nonchalantly skipped past his marker before being left to drill a right-footed shot from some twenty-five yards. The ball skidded low towards the target, Arconada could only palm it away, and the alert Littbarski arrived at pace to slot it into the net with his left foot to finally break the deadlock – and silence the home crowd.
Having taken the lead Germany now led the group standings with three points, with England in second place on one point. The Spaniards were now staring elimination firmly in the face: if they were unable to secure at least a point, even a win in their final match against England would not be sufficient to take them through to the semi-finals. The home side clearly had to attack to stand any chance of progressing, but continued to look lifeless and bereft of inspiration. Germany for their part continued to press for a second goal: their task now was not only to win, but to win well.
The tireless Briegel hit a shot over the crossbar after some good buildup work down the left by Littbarski and Reinders was well wide of the target with a diving header as the Mannschaft continued to attack Arconada’s goal; meanwhile, the best Spain could offer was some desperately wild tackling, best illustrated by left-wingback Rafael Gordillo’s clumsy off the ball challenge on Reinders that somehow went unpunished.
With a quarter of an hour remaining Stielike was allowed plenty of space to advance, finding Klaus Fischer to swiftly played the ball back to Paul Breitner. With the Spaniards making little effort to challenge Breitner surged forward and played the ball into the opposition penalty area towards Littbarski, who brilliantly turned inside his marker and calmly prodded it across the advancing Arconada to Fischer, who had enough time to write a novel before calmly finding the back of the net with the inside of his right foot. Barring a miracle, Spain would now be out of the semi-final picture; all that remained was for Jupp Derwall’s side to maintain their lead and set England the task of bettering their score in the final fixture against the hosts.
Klaus Fischer doubles Germany’s lead, driving the ball past Spanish ‘keeper Luis Arconada
With the home support now almost silent the small German contingent in the crowd were finally able to make themselves heard, and strains of Oh wie ist das schön could be heard from the stands along with shouts of ausgabe, ausgabe – “more, more”. Rather than shut up shop Derwall’s side contined to play positively, and Reinders tried his best to answer the supporters’ call as he cracked a shot from distance that fizzed narrowly wide of Arconada’s right post.
Then, with less than ten minutes left, out of nothing: a Spanish goal. Picking the ball up just inside the German half, midfielder José Vicente Sánchez looped a hopeful ball into the German box, where it was missed by everybody except for the hitherto anonymous Jesús María Zamora, who leapt to direct a firm header past the static Schumacher and into the top right-hand corner of the net. After a second half where he had been little more than a spectator, the German ‘keeper now had to pick the ball out of the net as his side’s advantage was suddenly halved. A few Spanish flags started flying on the terraces – more in hope than anything else – but for Jupp Derwall a fairly comfortable two-goal cushion to take back to the team hotel had suddenly become a slender one-goal advantage.
The last eight minutes of the match saw more attacking intent from the home side than had been seen in the first eighty-two, but for all of their build-up play José Santamaría’s side were unable to threaten Schumacher in the German goal again.
When the final whistle blew the home side would be out, while Germany would have one foot in the semi-finals – and with it a nervous two-day wait. Spain’s late goal may have been little more than a consolation for the now eliminated hosts, but for the Mannschaft it would prove to be a major irritation in that England would now have a slightly easier task in having to beat the Spaniards by two clear goals instead of three. The 2-1 win would however prove to be enough: England – unbeaten in their five tournament matches – would be eliminated after their second goalless draw, while Jupp Derwall’s German side – humiliated in their opening match by Algeria – had made it through to the last four.
Germany FR: Schumacher – B. Förster, Stielike, Kh. Förster, Briegel – Kaltz, Dremmler, Breitner – Kh. Rummenigge (c) (46. Reinders), Littbarski, K. Fischer
Spain: Arconada – Urquiaga, Alexanko, Tendillo, Gordillo – Juanito (46. López Ufarte), Camacho, Alonso, Zamora – Santillana, Quini (65. Sánchez)
Referee: Paolo Casarin (Italy)
Assistants: Franz Wöhrer (Austria), Károly Palotai (Hungary)
Yellow Cards: Fischer, Briegel / Alexanko, Camacho, Sánchez
Red Cards: – / –
Other result: Spain 0-0 England.