Idrottsparken, Norrköping, 15.06.1992
Riedle 30., Effenberg 47. / –
Having secured a draw from the jaws of defeat against the CIS in their opening fixture, Berti Vogts’ German side took on Scotland knowing they had to get a positive result to put themselves in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. The Scots too had everything to play for, having suffered a late single-goal defeat at the hands of the defending champions and now group favourites the Netherlands.
Given that his team had to chase the game, Vogts opted for a more attacking formation – though without skipper Rudi Völler who had fractured his forearm in the opening match. Manfred Binz was retained at sweeper, with just the two dedicated defenders sitting behind a five-mad midfield which saw Andreas Möller and Matthias Sammer come into the side at the expense of Stefan Reuter and Thomas Doll. In the the absence of injured Völler up front, Karl-Heinz Riedle was joined by the recalled Jürgen Klinsmann.
In front of a noisy crowd of just under eighteen thousand packed into Norrköping’s compact Idrottsparken, Belgian referee Guy Goethals got the match underway on what what a fine and sunny afternoon.
Both sides started with intent, with the first chance going Scotland’s way. Having won a free-kick out on the right, Gary McAllister swung the ball into the German box where Riedle under pressure from Scottish skipper Richard Gough forced Bodo Illgner into a smart save to tip it over. Just minutes later the action was at the other end, as Häßler moved down the right before delivering a low flat cross into the Scottish box that fizzed just in front of the sliding Riedle. What had been an exciting opening ten minutes was capped off by a superbly-timed pass from Paul McStay, who put McAllister through on goal with the German back line caught cold. The alert Illgner however was quick to advance and smother the shot.
The Scots were starting to grow in confidence, with Brian McClair being foiled by Illgner before Stuart McCall sent a well-timed shot just wide of the Illgner’s right post with the German ‘keeper scrambling to make his ground. McPherson went even closer some five minutes later as he tried to get on the end of another McAllister free-kick that floated over the German defence, sending the ball over the bar as he slid in from all of five yards with Illgner rooted to the spot.
The natural thing would have been to try and slow things down, but knowing they too had to chase the win Berti Vogts’ side instead continued to try and work the ball through the packed midfield and down the flanks. Just as it looked as though Scotland were producing the better chances, Häßler sent in a corner from the right which was superbly met at the near post by Klinsmann, whose firm downward header met the legs of the fortunate Andy Goram. Just moments later Klinsmann was unable to find the target after a well-time long ball from Stefan Effenberg and yet another sharp cross from the increasingly dangerous Häßler. Klinsmann then found the fast advancing Jürgen Kohler with a cheeky backheel, but the fullback was unable to continue the move despite working his way to the byline.
It was just a matter of time when the first goal arrived, and the breakthrough finally came just shy of the half-hour mark. After gaining possession just inside the Scottish half Kohler found Andreas Möller, who played a short pass towards Matthias Sammer who was lurking just outside the oppositional penalty area at the edge of the D. A quick turn saw the flame-haired midfielder skip past his marker, before he found Klinsmann by the penalty spot with his back to goal. Klinsmann held things up brilliantly, allowing his strike-partner Riedle to position himself nicely before lashing a crisp right-footed shot past the static Goram.
While Germany deserved their lead, it was at the same time slightly harsh on the Scots who had more than played their part in what had been the most exciting match of the tournament thus far.
Having taken the lead Vogts’ side were not prepared to sit back, and they continued to move forward with intent. Every Scottish pass was being chased down, and every ball challenged for; even without the dominant figure of Lothar Matthäus marshalling things in midfield, things started to look just like they had two years previously in Italy. When the half-time whistle arrived, everyone in a white shirt had good reason to be pleased.
Stefan Effenberg chases down Stuart McCall in Nörrkoping, where the injuries would start to pile up for the Mannschaft
The second half started with no changes to either side, and within two minutes Germany got the best possible start. Andreas Brehme picked up the ball in his own half, playing it inside to Sammer who then found Effenberg out on the right. The blond midfielder ambled into the opposition half, and under no real pressure from the Scottish defenders was allowed to make his way to the edge of the penalty area. Sighting both Riedle and Klinsmann prowling inside the area, Effenberg’s attempted cross took a nasty deflection of Maurice Malpas, resulting in the ball spinning up and over the unfortunate Goram who could do little but look on as it bounced into the left-hand side of the net.
Even with their two-goal cushion Germany continued to be positive, and rather than shut up shop they continued to make chances. With just under an hour gone they produced what was undoubtedly their best move of the match, with the tireless Häßler making use of an intelligent off-the-ball run by Riedle to find Möller in space out on the right. Möller ran onto the ball and cracked a superb right-footed shot from the edge of the box that skidded at pace past Goram, only to bounce back off the base of the far post. At 3-0 the game would have truly been wrapped up, but the unlucky near-miss probably made up for the lucky second goal.
Having been on the brink of being down and out, the Scots continued to play their part. Having won a corner out on the left, the men in blue brought out the best of German ‘keeper Bodo Illgner as he was forced to make two fine saves in a matter of seconds, the first from Richard Gough’s powerful far-post header and the second from Paul McStay’s well-struck snapshot that flew through a crowded penalty area.
With the desperate Scots throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the German goal the defence were continually called into action, and Brain McClair was unlucky not to bring his side back into the game as a bobbling ball in the penalty area somehow evaded him and find its way into the hands of Illgner. However on the break the Mannschaft were lethal, and Häßler was unlucky not to follow up his last-minute strike against the CIS as a cracking left-footed shot from some thirty yards crashed off the upright with Goram completely beaten.
With the German defence being pressured by a rejuvenated Scottish attack the Nationaltrainer finally decided on sending on a more defensively-minded player, as Stefan Reuter came on for the impressive Riedle who just moments before had found the side netting following another fast break initiated by that man Häßler and Effenberg. Reuter wouldn’t last even ten minutes however, as an accidental clash of heads with Stuart McCall saw him being replaced by Michael Schulz.
With less then ten minutes left yet another clash of heads – this time a three-way collision between Guido Buchwald, Manfred Binz and Richard Gough – saw a groggy-looking Buchwald being helped off the field with blood streaming from the side of his head. These were the days before three substitutions were allowed of course, and the bloodied and bandaged Buchwald slowly marched back to the dugout as his team faced the final minutes of the game with ten men. After the freak injury to Rudi Völler in the first match oif the tournament, it must have pained Berti Vogts to see two more men having to quite literally spill blood on the field for the cause. The coach would also have been annoyed at seeing the influential Häßler – whose importance to the side seemed to be growing minute by minute – pick up an unnecessary yellow card with only three minutes left.
Scotland had one further chance to get on the scoresheet as Kevin Gallacher headed wide, but he ten men in white were able to close out the game to secure a vital two points; the last real action of the game would see McCall level up the yellow card count for a clumsy more than cynical late challenge on Effenberg. The match had been played in an excellent spirit, and the entertainment provided by both teams was a marked contrast with the Mannschaft’s turgid affair just three days earlier against the criminally negative CIS.
Later that night the Netherlands would be held to a goalless draw by the CIS, meaning that Germany and the Oranje headed the group with three points from their two games – with the Germans holding the advantage on goal difference. The CIS had two points from their two draws, while the unlucky Scots were out of the tournament with no return from their two matches.
A win or a draw in their final group match against the Dutch would see Berti Vogts’ side through to the semi-finals, but any sort of defeat could see them being overhauled by the CIS, who in their final fixture would face a Scottish side that had nothing left but pride to play for.
Germany: Illgner – Binz – Kohler, Buchwald – Häßler, Effenberg, Sammer, Möller, Brehme (c) – Klinsmann, Riedle (67. Reuter, 75. Schulz)
Scotland: Goram – McKimmie, Gough, McPherson, Malpas – McAllister, McStay, McCall, McClair – McCoist (69. Gallacher), Durie (57. Nevin)
Referee: Guy Goethals (Belgium)
Assistants: Pierre Mannaerts (Belgium), Robert Surkijn (Belgium)
Fourth Official: Frans van den Wijngaert (Belgium)
Yellow Cards: Häßler / McCall
Red Cards: – / –