Germany coach Joachim Low says he does not fear Algeria’s much publicised revenge mission for their controversial exit from the 1982 World Cup.
The round of 16 clash between Germany and Algeria inevitably brings to mind memories of their last World Cup meeting 32 years ago.
“Gijon?” said Low in his pre-match press briefing. “Forget it. No, that’s not a subject.”
Algeria- making their first ever World Cup appearance in Spain in 1982- stunned the then European champions West Germany 2-1 in their opening group game. They finished with two wins and a defeat from their three matches, which they completed before West Germany and Austria met in the final group game.
A 1-0 win for West Germany over Austria would take both sides through at the expense of Algeria, and that was how the history panned out; leaving Algerian officials to cry fowl that the match was fixed.
As a result of the controversy, the final round of World Cup group fixtures now kick off at the same time.
“We have not even spoken about that,” he added. I know that in Algeria this is a subject which is constantly present and, of course, they are trying to motivate their team by using this argument.
“But the players of Algeria were mainly not born yet in the year this happened in Gijon, and our players – except Klose and Weidenfeller – had not yet been born. So these players have no idea what it was. That is over 30 years ago and that’s not longer a subject for us.”
Meanwhile, Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic insists his side are not over with the event which became known as the ‘Anschluss of Gijon’.
“We have not forgotten,” Halilhodzic said. “Everybody has been talking about Algeria and Germany from 1982.”
Algeria finished runners-up in Group H behind Belgium with one win, draw and loss each to book a date with a team rated 2o places ahead of them on the Fifa ladder. It is the first time ‘La Fennec’ have advanced into the last 16 of the World Cup in four appearances.
“Thirty-two years ago is a long time. I am very proud of what we have achieved tonight and we deserve to be here,” Halilhodzic added on reaching the knockout stage in Brazil.
“I think Algeria played a heroic match and our qualification for the second round is perfectly deserved.”
Germany striker Miroslav Klose is just a goal shy of becoming the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history, having recently drawn level with Brazil legend Ronaldo on 15 strikes.
Although the three-time champions will be without Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski who injured his thigh during their last group game win over the United States of America (USA).