How Algeria got screwed out of the 1982 World Cup


Algeria’s first appearance at the 1982 World Cup made an impact that changed the tournament forever because they produced a performance good enough to defeat West Germany, a favorite to win. Algeria, however, was sabotaged by soccer’s most blatant cases of corruption and match-fixing. Although the Germans thought they would crush the Algerians, they were wrong. The German team hadn’t done enough research. Had the team watched the videos taken of Algeria’s game play they would have known that they beat Nigeria twice, the Republic of Ireland, Real Madrid and Benefica. Algeria was playing with fluency and a dynamic familiarity with each other. The Algerian team had been playing together for years and most of them lived in Algeria since it was against the law for players to leave the country before the age of 28. Moreover, these players had been the heirs of those in 1958 whom had given up professional careers in France to participate in Algeria’s war of independence. The football team was a product of Algeria’s resistance movement, the Front de Libération Nationale and they were sure to represent that fight for freedom well. The 3-2 victory meant that Algeria would become the first African team to reach the second round unless the group’s final game ended in a one or two goal win for West Germany over Austria in which case both of them would advance. In the 10th minute of the match Horst Hrubesch put the Germans in front. For the rest of the game nothing happened. The score suited both teams and screwed Algeria. Germany and Austria effectively stopped playing. In the 80 minutes that followed, there were no shots on goal, almost no tackles, almost no crosses, and almost no sprints at all. The game was no longer a contest because it had become a conspiracy. Read more about how the world reacted and the details of this World Cup tragedy of the 1980s at The Guardian.

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