Italy, 1990

By Corinna Callsen

Twelve years ago, the soccer World Cup was hosted by Italy and even for a ten-year-old, this event had its share of drama.

My native Germany had a good chance to advance as far as the final, simply because back then, they had an outstandingly talented team. However, Italy looked like the potential winner early on. In theother groups, Brazil and England made it to the knockout round, which came as no surprise. Boys at school bid on the teams and we collected stickers, posters and postcards.

Basements and living rooms were occupied by amazingly quiet children, who suddenly turned into intense soccer fans. All in all, Germany was in a state of highly advanced World Cup fever and the closer the team in white and black got to the final, the less people were seen on the streets when the team played.

The semi final match was a thriller, because Germany took on its oldest rival, England. In the other match, Italy faced Argentina. No matter which teams advanced to the final round, this semi final against England could not be topped in intensity. In the second half Germany had a free kick, which Andreas Brehme directed towards the British goal. The ball ballooned off an English defender and Peter Shilton, the stranded English goaltender, just watched it fly by. That was the moment Germany exhaled, cheered and did what they do best–opened a beer.

With a game like that, it is no surprise that the final, where Germany won the rather boring match against Argentina through a penalty shot just before the game went into overtime is only a footnote in Germany’s soccer history.

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