WORLD CUP: Shootout decides World Cup match for 1st time
For many, the 1982 semifinal match between France and West Germany is the greatest World Cup game of them all.
It had everything – goals, high drama, arguably the worst foul in the tournament’s history and, for the first time at the World Cup, a penalty shootout.
Taking place on a hot evening in southern Spain, the two teams took the field in Seville knowing that the winner would meet Italy in the final three days later. The Azzurri had comfortably beaten Poland 2-0 earlier that day, the in-form Paulo Rossi netting twice.
If history was all that mattered, then two-time champion West Germany would have been the clear favorite. France, after all, had never made it to the final.
But following an opening loss to England, the team marshalled by midfield great Michel Platini was emerging as a potential winner. West Germany, by contrast, had barely got into its stride, grinding out the results it needed to make the semifinals.
When France took a 3-1 lead halfway through the first period of extra time with a sublime strike from Alain Giresse, the match looked over. But goals from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Klaus Fischer brought West Germany level.
In the shootout, the first one to miss was West Germany midfielder Uli Stielike, who was taking his team’s third penalty. Didier Six missed France’s fourth and the shootout eventually went to sudden death after Rummenigge and Platini converted. After Horst Hrubesch made it 5-4 for West Germany, the pressure on Maxime Bossis was immense. His effort was saved by Harald Schumacher and West Germany was through to the final.
Schumacher was exceptionally lucky to still be on the field. In the 57th minute, France substitute Patrick Battiston was superbly put through on goal by Platini and Schumacher charged out. After nudging the ball past Schumacher and just wide of the goal, Battiston was felled by the goalkeeper, who had recklessly charged out.
Battiston ended up unconscious, but Schumacher was unmoved. The referee gave nothing.
Italy won the final 3-1 – with the support of most neutrals.
For France, that semifinal loss remains the ”Tragedy of Seville.”
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