Disgrace of Gijón
El Molinón held the match
|Event||1982 FIFA World Cup|
|Date||25 June 1982|
|Venue||El Molinón, Gijón, Spain|
|Referee||Bob Valentine (Scotland)|
The Disgrace of Gijón is the name given to a 1982 FIFA World Cup football match played between West Germany and Austria at the El Molinón stadium, Gijón, Spain, on 25 June 1982. The match was the last game of the first-round Group 2, with Algeria and Chile having played the day before. With the outcome of that match already decided, a win by one or two goals for West Germany would result in both them and Austria qualifying at the expense of Algeria, who had beaten West Germany in the first game. West Germany took the lead after 10 minutes, thereafter the remaining 80 minutes was characterized by few serious attempts by either side to score. Both sides were accused of match-fixing although FIFA ruled that neither team broke any rules.
As a result of this, and similar events at the previous World Cup in Argentina, FIFA revised the group system for future tournaments, so that the final two games in each group would be played simultaneously. In German, the match is known as Nichtangriffspakt von Gijón (lit. "Non-aggression pact of Gijón", but also "no-offence pact of Gijón") or Schande von Gijón (lit. "Disgrace of Gijón"), in Dutch it is known as Het bedrog van Gijón (lit. "The deceit of Gijón), while in Algeria and the rest of the non-English speaking world it is known as the Anschluss (in reference to the unification of Austria and Nazi Germany in 1938).
- Note: 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw, first tie-breaker is goal difference.
Algeria began their campaign by recording a shock 2–1 win over West Germany on the opening day, referred to as the "greatest World Cup upset since North Korea beat Italy in 1966" at the time, and retrospectively as "one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history". Algeria became the first African and Arab team to defeat a European team at the FIFA World Cup. They then went on to lose 0–2 to Austria before beating Chile 3–2 in their final match. Algeria's victory over Chile made them the first ever African and Arab team to win twice at a World Cup.
As Algeria played that final match the day before West Germany met Austria, the two European teams knew what result they needed in order to qualify for the next round. A German win by one or two goals would see both West Germany and Austria qualify. A larger West German victory, by three goals or more, would see West Germany and Algeria qualify (because Algeria had scored more goals than Austria, they would qualify even with the same goal difference), while a draw or an Austrian win would eliminate the Germans.
After ten minutes of furious attack, West Germany succeeded in scoring through a goal by Horst Hrubesch. After the goal was scored, the team in possession of the ball often passed between themselves in their own half until an opposition player came into the vicinity of the ball, then the ball was then passed back to the goalkeeper. Isolated long balls were played into the opposition's half, with little consequence. There were few tackles, and both sets of players flamboyantly missed with apparently no attempt at accuracy whenever they shot on goal. The only Austrian player who seemed to make any effort at livening the game up was Walter Schachner, though he had little success, while one of the few serious attempts on net was made by Wolfgang Dremmler of West Germany.
This performance was widely deplored by all observers. German ARD commentator Eberhard Stanjek at one point refused to comment on the game any longer. Austrian commentator Robert Seeger bemoaned the spectacle and actually requested that the viewers should switch off their television sets. George Vecsey, a New York Times journalist, stated that the teams "seemed to work in concert", though added that proving such would be impossible. El Comercio, the local newspaper, printed the match report in its crime section.
Likewise, many spectators were not impressed and voiced their disgust with the players. Chants of "Fuera, fuera" ("Out, out"), "Argelia, Argelia" ("Algeria, Algeria"), and "Que se besen, que se besen" ("Let them kiss, let them kiss") were screamed by the appalled Spanish crowd, while angry Algerian supporters waved banknotes at the players. The match was criticized even by the German and Austrian fans who had hoped for a hot rematch of the 1978 World Cup match, the so-called "Miracle of Córdoba", in which Austria had beaten West Germany; one German fan burned the national flag in protest.
With West Germany's 1–0 victory, they joined Austria and Algeria with four points in three matches. The teams were separated by goal difference, with West Germany and Austria progressing to the next round of the tournament at the expense of Algeria.
It appears that this was a case of spontaneous match-fixing, in which Austria gave up their opportunity to be first in the group (by winning or drawing the match) in exchange for a sure opportunity to advance. The bargaining positions of the two teams was affected by West Germany being in danger of elimination if it failed to win, but also being the higher-ability team. By coming second in the group Austria's second-stage group was France and Northern Ireland. West Germany's opponents were hosts Spain and England who had previously beaten France.
The Algerian football officials were furious and lodged an official protest. However no rules were technically broken as a result of the match, so FIFA declined to take any action or investigation and the outcome was allowed to stand. Both teams denied any collusion during the match. West Germany manager Jupp Derwall defended his team from the criticism, pointing out that Uli Stielike and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge were both unfit.
Germany (considered the successor to the West Germany) and Austria met in their final Group B game of UEFA Euro 2008, their first competitive meeting in a tournament finals since 1982. With only the top two teams advancing with one of the berths held by group leader Croatia, it was a must-win game for Austria to qualify for the knockout stage while Germany needed a win or a draw to advance. Germany won 1–0 in a match that saw managers Joachim Löw and Josef Hickersberger sent to the stands for arguing with the fourth official.
Following German reunification in 1990, the reunified German team inherited the history of the West German side. Germany played Algeria - who had finally made it past the group stage for the first time in their history, 32 years after the events of Gijón - in the last 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Lakhdar Belloumi, who scored the winning goal in 1982, claimed that the 2014 Algerian side would be "inspired" to gain "revenge" due to the events 32 years before. However, Germany went on to win 2–1 in extra time after a hard-fought match, and went on to win the tournament.
- The 2–2 draw between Denmark and Sweden ensured the elimination of Italy, which simultaneously played its last group match against already-eliminated Bulgaria, because UEFA's tiebreakers took into consideration head-to-head results before overall goal difference. Because both Sweden and Denmark had lower-scoring draws with Italy, and because both teams had beaten Bulgaria, it was known prior to the final pair of group matches that a draw of 2–2 or higher score would eliminate Italy regardless of the result of their match with Bulgaria.
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