In the summer of 1982, I was 16 and getting ready for my senior year of high school with a couple of summer school classes, but other than that, I didn't have a lot to do. I worked for my dad in the evenings, but my days were free and I got a chance to watch a lot of the World Cup that year from Spain. For what I believe was the first time, Spanish language TV in Los Angeles was showing nearly all of the matches live. Prior to that, most World Cup matches were only shown on closed circuit TV in movie theaters. And those movie theaters tended to not be in the San Fernando Valley.
The Final Four (as it were) that year were: Germany, France, Italy, and Poland.
I really can't do justice in recounting all the events in the match since I can't keep track of all the names. The World Cup website has a good recounting of the match between Germany and France in Seville.
What I remember about the match are these things:
1) German keeper Harald (or Toni) Schumacher clobbering France's Patrick Battiston late in the second half and knocking him out of the game. Literally. Battiston was knocked unconscious and lost a couple of teeth. And the French had to use their last sub as you only got two back then.
2) It was the first time I had seen an international match go into overtime. So, being an American and not quite understanding the Univision announcers. I assumed that the French won once Marius Tresor scored two minutes in. But they kept playing. And then Alain Giresse scored again. "Ahh, they play the whole period," I thought. Then Heinz-Karl Rummenigge scored. Then the ref blew the whistle.
And I thought, "Well, France won 3-2!" But no, I found out then that they just switched ends. And the Germans got another goal in the 108th minute on a spectacular goal by Klaus Fischer. Then the whistle blew 12 minutes later. This time, they finally stopped playing.
3) I sort of knew there was a penalty kick tiebreaker and for some reason, I knew how it worked. And it was exciting to watch. The first three guys on France made theirs, before Germany's third man missed. Then France's Didier Six (a really cool name) choked his. Pierre Littbarski tied it up at 3-3. Michel Platini made it 4-3 France. Rummenigge made it 4-4. Maxime Bossis went up to the spot for France and Schumacher stopped him. And Schumacher looked like the most evil man on the planet then. I was surprised he didn't take the ball and eat it to show his contempt. Horst Hrubesch made his PK and the Germans went to the finals.
The weird thing was that I found myself rooting for Germany in the match. I have no idea why. The Germans were the bad guys. Schumacher was a thug. The team was not warm and fuzzy. Yet, I wanted them to win. I felt exhilirated after watching that match. It had surpassed an earlier match that I had considered the best of the tournament, Italy's 3-2 upset of Brazil in the second round (which was round robin that year.) I doubt that either of the semis this year will match that drama. And I certainly hope that Jens Lehmann doesn't turn into a Toni Schumacher.
But if France and Germany meet in the final, expect to see this match dredged up again in even greater detail.