v Sweden, Olympiastadion, Berlin (Semi-Final), 31.03.1988

2-4 PSO (1-0, 1-1, 1-1 aet)
Allofs 42. / Truedsson 74.
Penalties: Prytz 0-1; Thon 1-1; P. Larsson 1-2; Eckstein 2-2; Strömberg 2-3; Matthäus MISSED; Thern 3-5; Völler SAVED.

Germany’s “semi-final” in the 1988 tournament played in West Berlin was against Sweden, and was to witness only the second occasion the Nationalmannschaft had been beaten in a penalty shootout. Given that the event overall was fairly low-key the result unlikely to have been remembered by many, but it would make for an excellent quiz question nevertheless.

Germany took the lead just before half-time, when skipper Klaus Allofs drilled a well-struck free-kick past Swedish ‘keeper Jan Möller. It would be Allofs’ seventeenth and last international goal, in what would be his fifty-sixth and final appearance for the German team.

The home team made plenty of chances but couldn’t quite finish the Swedes off, and paid for the lack of sharpness in front of goal when Peter Truedsson netted the equaliser in the 74th minute. The game ran through to the end of both the ninety minutes and extra time with no change to the score, and would be settled from the Elfmeterpunkt.

The first four spot-kicks went to form, with Robert Prytz and Peter Larsson scoring for Sweden and Olaf Thon and Dieter Eckstein for Germany; after Glenn Strömberg put the Swedes 3-2 up, Lothar Matthäus blased his penalty high over the bar and into the stands to hand the advantage to opposition. Jonas Thern made no mistake to take Sweden’s lead to 4-2, and it was left to Rudi Völler to keep the Mannschaft in the contest: he placed his kick to Möller’s left, but the Swedish keeper made his ground easily to keep it out.

Germany: Immel – Herget – Berthold (75. Reuter), Kohler, Buchwald, Frontzeck – Matthäus (c), Littbarski (75. Rolff), Thon – Völler, K. Allofs (46. Eckstein)

Sweden: Möller – R. Nilsson, Hysen, P. Larsson, Schiller – Thern, Prytz, Strömberg, Holmquist – Ekström (69. J. Nilsson), Gren (62. Truedsson, 83. Rehn)

Referee: Lajos Hartmann (Hungary)

Yellow Cards: – / –
Red Cards: – / –

Attendance: 25,000

v Argentina, Olympiastadion, Berlin (3rd/4th Place Play-Off), 02.04.1988

1-0 (1-0)
Matthäus 30. / –

Germany would line up against Argentina – beaten 4-2 by the Soviet Union in their semi-final – in the third place play-off, a match-up that many had expected to be the final. Played in the early afternoon, the home side sported their new green change kit while the Argentinians were in their familiar sky blue and white.

The match was settled by an individual moment of brillance by Lothar Matthäus on the half-hour mark. Picking the ball up deep inside his own half, the German skipper charged at speed down the right, skipping past a number of defenders before laying a neat pass out to Rudi Völler on the right. Völler swung the back into the box, where it found Matthäus who had carried on his run into the middle of the Argentinian box. Having found enough time and space, he met the ball firmly with his head, bundling it past ‘keeper Nery Pumpido.

The narrow 1-0 victory was the Nationalmannschaft’s first positive result against the Albiceleste for over eight years, breaking a run of five games that had seen one draw and four defeats – one of which had been the World Cup Final in Mexico in 1986.

Germany: Immel – Herget, Berthold (46. Brehme), Kohler (59. Pflügler), Borowka – Matthäus (c), Thon, Rolff – Klinsmann, Völler, Eckstein (81. Neubarth)

Argentina: Pumpido – Batista, Brown, Ruggeri, Monzón – Giusti, Díaz, Troglio, Sensini (73. Rodríguez) – Caniggia, Maradona

Referee: Kurt Röthlisberger (Switzerland)

Yellow Cards: – / –
Red Cards: – / –

Attendance: 25,000

In the final match, Sweden would beat the Soviet Union 2-0, with goals from Hans Eskilsson and Hans Holmquist.

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