Terry Duffelen
Sun 15 June 2008


People have been remembering the Anschluss Game ahead of tonight's Austria v Germany fixture, indeed ahead of the tournament, and with good cause. For the uninitiated, the name refers to West Germany and Austria contriving a 1-0 victory for the Germans during the group stages of the 1982 World Cup. The result meant that both teams progressed to the second round of the tournament and is, rightly, derided as the game's nadir - on the pitch at least.

However, for those who listened to the Guardian Podcast recorded in the streets of Vienna on the night of Austria's draw with Poland, the chants among the Austrians were of "Córdoba". This is not a reference to where they intend to holiday in Spain, but to the Argentine city where Austria famously dispatched West Germany in a rare victory during the 1978 World Cup. An Austrian name that may resonate to outsiders is Hans Krankl who scored 34 goals in 69 matches for his country and it was he that scored two goals on that day against the world champions, including the winner.

The Germans went a goal up. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's beautiful strike came after some breathtaking build up play instigated from the German's own half. It was another German who equalized. Berti Vogts could not deal with a cross and put the ball through his own net. Austria then took the lead with a lovely strike from Krankl. He took the ball from a left-sided Eddie Krieger cross into the area, turned and stuck the ball past Sepp Maier.

However, as the English media frequently point out, the Germans do not know when they are beaten (which by the way is contrary to what history tells us, but I digress). Bernd Holzenbein's header from a free kick leveled things up before Krankl sealed his place in history. Rainer Bonhof failed to cut out a long ball to Krankl on the left. With plenty of space in front of him, Krankl surged into the penalty area, beat a diving defender and calmly slotted the ball past the hapless Maier to score.

The match is also known as the Miracle Of Córdoba in clear reference to West Germany's Miracle of Berne where, against the odds, the German's won the 1954 World Cup against the Magnificent Magyars. There is even a legendary piece of commentary to go with Krankl's winner. The gloriously named Edi Finger screamed "Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! I am going crazy!" which has echoes of German broadcaster Herbert Zimmerman's legendary radio commentary in Berne 1954 ("Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal!... Call me mad, call me crazy!")

The result put West Germany out of the tournament and remains one of the finest moments in Austrian football history (probably). It is the memory of this result that the Austrian supporters will be invoking and the players will be trying to emulate tonight in the hope of creating their very own Miracle Of Vienna.

Watch the goals (and listen to the commentary) on YouTube.

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