CBC Sports Online's soccer expert, John Molinaro, takes you inside the world of soccer and offers his insights about the action on the pitch and in the front office.
No "Anschluss" for Germany, Austria this time around
Friday, June 13, 2008 | 11:06 AM ET
Austria refuses to go gently into that good night at Euro 2008.
Down 1-0 and and looking like a sure bet to lose its second consecutive game, Austria was rewarded a penalty in injury time and Ivica Vastic converted from the penalty spot to help the tournament co-hosts earn a 1-1 draw with Poland on Thursday.
While a loss would not have technically eliminated the Austrians, it certainly would have killed off any legitimate chance they had of advancing to the quarter-finals.
Now all they have to do to book their spot in the final eight is beat Germany. No big deal.
Well, not quite.
The Germans are the No. 5 team in the current FIFA world rankings (Austria comes in at No. 92) and are coming off a stunning 2-0 loss to Croatia, a result that leaves their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals hanging in the balance.
Needless to say Germany and Austria will have plenty of motivation to go at it tooth-and-nail when they square off next Monday – unlike when they met 26 years ago.
Austria and West Germany shamefully conspired with one another at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, draping a blanket of controversy over the competition.
Algeria, playing in its first World Cup, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition when it earned a 2-1 victory over West Germany.
The Africans looked a sure bet to go through to the next round after they defeated Chile. Austria and the Germans faced off in the final match of the group the next day. Because FIFA did not require the final two games of the group stages to be played simultaneously, Austria and West Germany knew that a 1-0 win for the Germans would be enough for both nations to advance to the next round.
And so, the two neighbouring countries had their "Anschluss" — arrangement — and stopped playing when the Germans went 1-0 up after 10 minutes. From that point on, the game slowed down to a crawl with neither team seriously venturing forward.
The Spanish spectators in the stands booed both countries unmercifully as they carried out this sporting fraud, and Algeria protested the result to FIFA the next day, but soccer's world governing body turned a blind eye and let the injustice stand.
There won't be any arrangement this time around.
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About the Author
John F. Molinaro is a reporter for CBC Sport Online whose chief love is international soccer. John served as senior editor of Sports Online's Euro 2004 website, which helped him win a CBC.ca Award of Excellence, and was the driving force behind our coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He holds an honours BA in sociology from York University and a print journalism diploma from Sheridan College, and is also the author of The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time (Stewart House, 2002).
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