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Soccer-'Disgrace of Gijon' irrelevant for Algeria match - Loew

Reuters

By Erik Kirschbaum

SANTO ANDRE, Brazil, June 28 (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew is fed up with analogies drawn between the 1982 World Cup when West Germany lost to Algeria - their next opponents on Monday - then coasted to a convenient 1-0 win over Austria to eliminate the Africans.

Noting that most of his players were not even born 32 years ago, Loew said it was also absurd to use terms like "revenge" and "vengeance" for a match between two teams who have not met since that game at the finals in Gijon, Spain.

Germany have played Algeria twice and lost both times - 2-1 at the 1982 World Cup and 2-0 in a friendly in 1964 in Algiers - one of the few teams they have never beaten.

"I find it irritating when I read that this is a match about vengeance," Loew told reporters at Germany's training base on the Atlantic coast in northeastern Brazil.

"Most of the players on my team weren't even born (in 1982). Why should Algeria want to punish us? It's incomprehensible for me. Our players don't know anything about that (West Germany) team back then. It's not an issue for us. Maybe some on the other side want to make an issue out of it to motivate Algeria."

It is certainly a topic motivating the media.

That match on June 25, 1982 was probably the darkest hour in the 104-year history of the German FA (DFB) and is still referred to as the 'Schande von Gijon' ('Disgrace of Gijon') or the 'Gijon non-aggression pact' in Germany and Austria.

Algeria upset West Germany in their first group match 2-1, but lost to Austria 2-0 and then beat Chile 3-2 on June 24.

West Germany knew a 1-0 win over Austria in their final group match the next day would enable them and their opponents to advance to the second round while eliminating Algeria.

That is exactly what happened.

Horst Hrubesch scored in the 10th minute and the rest of the match was a soulless kick-about in which neither team looked like they were attempting to score.

NOTES BURNED

Fans in the stadium burned bank notes and shouted "rigged". Television commentators in West Germany and Austria condemned the play and even urged viewers to turn their televisions off.

Among the players on the pitch for West Germany that day were Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Paul Breitner and Felix Magath.

Loew said he found it hard to fathom that either coach would have endorsed collusion on the pitch.

"Whether there was an agreement, I just don't know," he said. "But for any coach who thinks normally there is just no way that could happen. Every coach wants to win."

Wolfgang Niersbach, the German DFB president sitting next to Loew on Saturday, was at that infamous match as a journalist.

He said West German reporters had found it strange and embarrassing but added that the players denied there was any pre-match agreement.

"I talked to the players and they said there was no agreement," Niersbach said. "They said that it just evolved out of the situation during the course of the match.

"There was an error in the (scheduling) system before that match," he said, adding that after that game FIFA changed the schedule and since then the final group matches have been played simultaneously. "FIFA corrected the error in the system." (Editing by Ken Ferris)

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