World Cup Tales: The Shame Of Gijon, 1982


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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12 Responses

  1. Elliott says:

    The timing of the group game matches generated controversy for a long time – a certain Argentina/Peru match comes to mind, of course including an Argentine-born Peruvian goalie.

    Great story!

  2. Roy Ebsary says:

    What was especially unforgivable about Argentina/Peru in 1978 is that the first-round Group matches & some of the second-round group matches WERE played simultaneously, just not the Brazil & Argentina matches. I remember Scotland losing to Peru while Holland were thrashing Iran, & the Holland-Italy & West Germany-Austria matches were also played at the same time.

    In fact, one of the reasons the Germans conceded the late winner to the Austrians was because they found out that Holland were beating Italy & so realised they couldn’t get through to the Final & didn’t want to be bothered with the 3rd/4th Place Play-Off. After the match, the Austrian manager even criticised the Germans for easing up & therefore blemishing the last match in charge of the German team of Helmut Schoen, who been the manager for 16 years.

    Obviously, as all this happened in 1978, it should have been predictable that it could happen in 1982 as well. FIFA didn’t think lightning could strike twice!

  3. ejh says:

    Estadio El Molinón in Gijon

    Ah, if you’re going to have the accent in Molinón you’ll want one in Gijón too.

  4. sunil says:

    I was in Nigeria during the 1982 World Cup & the consensus over there was that two European countries had cynically conspired to screw Africa again (with all the colonial baggage that implies). We shrugged our collective shoulders – some things will never change.

    Time’s mellowed my views since then. And I’d say now, “OK, you already know FIFA doesn’t want Algeria-Peru or some other one-hit wonder as its showcase tournament final. But you didn’t win or tie your game against Austria. The blame lies nowhere else.”

  5. jonathan says:

    i’m a collector of old games on dvd and i watched the full recording of this one, with spanish commentary, a few weeks back.

    it’s not accurate to say that “everybody shut up shop and the match degenerated into seventy-nine minutes of lazily passing the ball around the two defences and backpasses to the two goalkeepers”. the majority of the first half was competitive. west germany made all the running and should have scored a couple more goals in the first 20 minutes, including a reflex header from breitner which clipped the top of the bar at 0-0. austria didn’t seem interested in attacking but the germans did have their moments.

    for the opening half-hour, the midfield was crowded and combative, with players throwing themselves into tackles. in other words, it was a reasonably normal game up to this point. after about 35 minutes, though, things visibly seemed to slow down, and not much goalmouth incident took place for the remainder of the first half. but this wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, and there were still a number of fiercely-contested 50/50 balls in midfield.

    but the second half was another story entirely. nothing happened at all, and around the 50-minute mark, mass whistling could be heard from the crowd. the tv director cut away from the play and panned around the stadium to show everyone on their feet, jeering and waving the white handkerchiefs.

    it was without question a stitch-up, but to say that nothing whatsoever happened in the game after hrubesch’s goal is not true. the next 20-25 minutes were vaguely watchable, a lot of full-blooded challenges were flying in for the entirety of the first half, and the germans were definitely trying to grab a second goal during that period.

    by the way, anyone reading this is advised to get hold of a dvd of algeria v chile if they can, which was a fantastically entertaining match.

  6. Keir says:

    “[It] was, whether intentional or not, a stitch-up by the West German and Austrian teams.”
    I’m moving to Germany in the next fortnight where I’ll be teaching philosophy, yet I just can’t my head around what might constitute an unintentional stitch-up…

  7. Ragnar says:

    Keir- I suspect he meant “premeditated” rather than “intentional”.

    Jonathan- thanks for the account! Appreciated!

  8. Thomas Nutkins-Smythe says:

    I don’t think it’s got anything to do with you Sunil. Nigeria is a nothing country that has no right to critise it’s superior nations, who you all look up to and try and emulate.

  9. Don says:

    Hey Jonathan I am also a collector. Where do you collect the old games. Do you get them in English commentary? I am trying to get some old games but most I get now are in Spanish commentary instead of English.

  1. May 10, 2010

    […] since 1986 brings back memories of one of the most shameful episodes of soccer history — the non-football that West German and Austria played in the final match of the first round at Gijon,…, ensuring that both would go through and Algeria would go home. Was it a conspiracy? Or was FIFA to […]

  2. May 21, 2010

    […] did invent the game, after all, and the Algerians certainly deserve some recompense for “The Shame of Gijon” (the debacle where the Germans and Austrians conspired to keep Algeria from advancing in the […]

  3. June 26, 2012

    […] Spain progressed despite losing to Northern Ireland. The match wasn’t quite played to the same pedestrian levels as West Germany’s 1-0 win over Austria earlier that […]

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