'Disgrace of Gijon' memories accompany Germany into U.S. clash

Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:32pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BELO HORIZONTE Brazil (Reuters) - When it became clear on Sunday that the United States will slug it out with Germany in their final Group G game for qualification and top spot, memories of Germany's "Disgrace of Gijon," a 1982 World Cup match against Austria, quickly resurfaced.

With former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann now at the helm of the United States and a draw in Recife on Thursday suiting both countries, parallels to the controversial 1982 encounter are inevitable.

With both teams on four points, and Ghana and Portugal on one, a draw will be enough to send both Germany and the United States through to the round of 16.

To make matter even more complicated and help fuel conspiracy theories, current Germany coach Joachim Loew was Klinsmann's assistant during his spell at Germany and the two have stayed in contact ever since.

That 1982 game in Spain - a 1-0 win for what was then West Germany - was enough to send both them and neighbors Austria through at the expense of an entertaining Algeria.

It went down in history as the "disgrace of Gijon" or the "Gijon non-aggression pact."

An early goal by Germany's Horst Hrubesch was followed by a soulless kick-about, neither team wanting to score, leaving in-form Algeria, who had stunned Germany 2-1 but lost to Austria, out of the tournament.

Algeria had edged past Chile 3-2 a day earlier and the players of both Austria and Germany, playing on June 25, knew their 1-0 score was enough for both to go through.   Continued...

U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann stands behind the linesman's flag during the 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match between Ghana and the U.S. at the Dunas arena in Natal June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini