Soccer historians ask every four years: has there been a better World Cup semi-final than the 1982 France vs Germany battle?
West Germany faced France in the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium in Seville, Spain. Thus, the match is known as the Night of Seville in both countries. This match will also be remembered for the most outrageous and notorious foul in World Cup history.
West Germany won the match on penalties. As a result, Germany advanced to the final against Italy. This game is considered one of the best soccer matches of all time due to the drama, the goals in extra time, and the dramatic penalty shootout at the end.
During World Cup finals soccer history, this is the first time a shootout has determined the outcome.
Drama Before The Match
Although West Germany captain Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was ruled out of the starting lineup due to a tight hamstring, Germany started the semi-final stronger and more aggressively. They created a few shots on goal before scoring first in the 17th minute. From about 12 yards out, Klaus Fischer challenged French goalkeeper Jean-Luc Ettori for a fifty-fifty challenge. Pierre Littbarski followed up the challenge and scored with a first-time shot into the empty net. It sent the crowd wild that created a fantastic atmosphere throughout the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. It seemed from the reaction in the stadium that most of the neutrals were supporting France that evening.
France took control of the match after falling behind to the shock of falling behind. After 27 minutes, they were rewarded with a penalty after the delivery of a free kick. Bernd Förster was all over Dominique Rocheteau inside the box when the ball was delivered towards the goal. Like he has done hundreds of times before, Michel Platini calmly stepped up and made Harald Schumacher dive the wrong way.
Millions of people worldwide have vivid memories of the incident that ensued after France’s equalizer. Platini released Patrick Battiston through on goal. As Battiston closed in on goal, Schumacher raced off his line and threw himself into the attacker, hip and elbow first. Watching replays, it was clear what had happened. The keeper turned his body in mid-air to protect himself from the collision but was late to the ball, and his hipbone made flush contact with Battiston’s face. He should have been sent off immediately.
Remarkably, the referee failed to notice any offense and refused to award the French a free-kick, let alone send Schumacher off. So instead, the world watched as the ball trickled over the goal line for a goal kick.
Despite Battiston being knocked unconscious, Dutch referee Charles Corver did not even book Schumacher. Instead, he will be remembered for his lack of action. The collision claimed three missing teeth, cracked his ribs, damaged his vertebrae, and left him unconscious for almost thirty minutes. The keeper restarted the game with the goal kick.
For the rest of the 90 minutes, the semi-final was a nervous affair, with both sides went close in scoring a winner late in the game. However, aside from a Manuel Amoros effort in stoppage time hitting the crossbar, both sides failed to capitalize on their chances at full time.
One-All, At Full Time
Extra time consisted of two 15-minute periods. While the exhausted soccer players were lying on the grass, the coaches talked with the tired players. The temperature in the stadium was 37 degrees when the game commenced that evening. Trainers, physios, and substitutes passed around water and massaged tired legs.
Marius Tresor put France ahead for the first time in the match with a volley following a deflected free-kick from just outside the box. Soon after, Rummenigge replaced Hans-Peter Briegel in the game. A third French goal scored at the 98-minute mark came from Alain Giresse, who fired a first-time shot from 18 yards off of Harald Schumacher’s right post and into the goal. France now led by 3-1. Despite West Germany’s looming defeat, Karl Heinz Rumminege made an immediate impact after being introduced.
As West Germany began their comeback, Rummenigge flicked home an outside-of-the-foot volley from six yards that cut France’s lead to 3–2. In an attempt to see out the game, the French abandoned their attacking philosophy and sat back. However, Fischer’s bicycle kick from six yards brought the scores level once again after three minutes of the second extra time. For the last 10 minutes of extra time, the game remained open. The teams fought like two blind, exhausted fighters until the final whistle. The score remained 3–3 until the end of extra time.
In the soccer shootout, Giresse converted the penalty with a lovely cushioned shot for France, and Kaltz answered for West Germany. Paul Breitner, the only survivor of West Germany’s 1974 World Cup-winning side, converted his penalty for West Germany, as did Amoros for France. After Rocheteau’s successful strike, Uli Stielike’s shot was blocked by Ettori, giving France a 3–2 lead. However, France was unable to capitalize in the fourth round. The West Germans’ Littbarski scored once Schumacher blocked the shot from Didier Six. In the fifth round, both Platini and Rummenigge scored.
As soon as the score was 4-4, the sudden death began with Maxime Bossis volunteering to take the subsequent penalty for France. However, the goalkeeper Harald Schumacher – who many thought should have been dismissed earlier – saved again. When German substitute Horst Hrubesch scored the final penalty, the Germans secured their place.
The hero was Harald Schumacher. The German goalkeeper made two excellent saves, one from Stielike and the other from Six. While West Germany advanced to the final, France and the 107 other FIFA soccer nations, who had entered the 1982 World Cup, were left devastated.
Conclusion After The Match
In a poll conducted in a French newspaper just after the 1982 World Cup, German keeper Schumacher was voted the most hated person in France, just ahead of Adolf Hitler. The Germans could not mobilize the energy required to match the Italians, who were not forced to use full power against Poland in their semi-final. As a result, West Germany lost 3-1.
Despite losing a couple of teeth and breaking his jaw in the horrendous Schumacher tackle, Patrick Battiston recovered to continue playing until 1991. The French decided to play a reserve team in the 3rd place playoff against Poland and were defeated 3-2. France is waiting patiently for revenge.
1982 Germany Semi-Final Starting Lineup
Paul Breitner, Hans-Peter Briegel, Wolfgang Dremmler, Klaus Fischer, Karlheinz Förster, Bernd Förster, Pierre Littbarski, Manfred Kaltz, Felix Magath, Harald Schumacher, Uli Stielike
Subs: Bernd Franke, Wilfried Hannes, Horst Hrubesch, Hansi Müller, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Coach: Jupp Derwall
1982 France Semi-Final Starting Lineup
Manuel Amoros, Maxime Bossis, Bernard Genghini, Alain Giresse, Gerard Janvion, Michel Platini, Dominique Rocheteau, Didier Six, Marius Tresor, Jean Tigana.
Subs: Bruno Bellone, Patrick Battiston, Jean Castaneda, Christian Lopez, Gérard Soler
Coach: Michel Hidalgo
Venue: Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Seville, Spain
Main Image: The Guardian