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Müller the menace in German masterclass

Published: Friday 3 October 2003, 9.40CET
West Germany 3-0 USSR
Gerd Müller's two goals inspired a display which still has some proclaiming the new champions as the greatest team to grace the competition.
Müller the menace in German masterclass
German captain Franz Beckenbauer receives the trophy ©Getty Images

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Published: Friday 3 October 2003, 9.40CET

Müller the menace in German masterclass

West Germany 3-0 USSR
Gerd Müller's two goals inspired a display which still has some proclaiming the new champions as the greatest team to grace the competition.

The Soviet Union must have feared the worst. Gerd Müller had scored all the goals in a 4-1 win against them the previous month, and now three quarters of the crowd were German. That is how the pitch must have looked to the Soviet team: at one stage their opponents strung 30 consecutive passes together. It was the match of the tournament because it was so one-sided, the destruction of an outdated packed defence by the first stirrings of Total Football: a masterclass.

West Germany's three most influential players were all involved in the first goal, Franz Beckenbauer bringing the ball out from the back and Günter Netzer volleying almost nonchalantly against the bar. Evgeni Rudakov produced a brilliant save to keep out the rebound but there was Müller to control before pushing it in. More than one English newspaper had wondered if Müller would have enough support against such a tight defence, but they missed the point.

He preferred to be left alone, with no partner to invade his space. With other players taking defenders away (two wingers and Uli Hoeness running from midfield), he was left free to roam the penalty area alone. His tally of 68 goals in 62 internationals is an astounding total in such a defensive era.

He scored another in the second half, Germany's third, after Georg Schwarzenbeck had made a rare appearance in the opposition penalty area and attempted a one-two. When the ball broke to Müller it was all but academic and little more than Helmut Schön's side deserved. There might have been more goals if the wonderfully arrogant Netzer had not been caught in possession so often in the first half or if Hoeness had not hit the woodwork when the score was still 0-0.

Murtaz Khurtsilava rumbled forward to hit the bar and force a full-length save from Sepp Maier, but by then Herbert Wimmer, Netzer's fetcher and carrier, had scored the goal he deserved. It came after a Heynckes pass – but only thanks to a rare mistake by Rudakov, every bit Lev Yashin's successor with his black jersey and elasticity, only to palm the unexceptional low shot up into the net. Not much else of West Germany's performance in Brussels was unexceptional.

"We didn't fear the Russians in the final," Müller said later. "Everything worked well. The team worked, the coach worked, it was great. The team was on a roll and we won. That final was the best of the lot."

Last updated: 10/11/11 14.39CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=1972/matches/round=186/match=3838/postmatch/report/index.html#muller+menace

Lineups

West Germany

West Germany

USSR

USSR

1
MaierSepp Maier (GK)
1
RudakovEvgeni Rudakov (GK)
2
HöttgesHorst-Dieter Höttges
2
DzodzuashviliRevaz Dzodzuashvili
3
BreitnerPaul Breitner
3
KhurtsilavaMurtaz Khurtsilava (C)
4
SchwarzenbeckHans-Georg Schwarzenbeck
4
KaplychniyVolodymyr Kaplychniy
Yellow Card0
5
BeckenbauerFranz Beckenbauer (C)
5
IstominYuri Istomin
6
WimmerHerbert Wimmer
Goal52
6
KonkovAnatoliy Konkov
7
HeynckesJupp Heynckes
7
TroshkinVolodymyr Troshkin
8
U. HoenessUli Hoeness
8
KolotovViktor Kolotov
9
G. MüllerGerd Müller
Goal27
Goal58
9
BaidachnyAnatoli Baidachny
Substitution66
10
NetzerGünter Netzer
10
BanishevskiAnatoli Banishevski
Substitution46
11
KremersErwin Kremers
11
OnyshchenkoVolodymyr Onyshchenko

Substitutes

12
KleffWolfgang Kleff (GK)
14
DolmatovOleg Dolmatov
Substitution46
13
BonhofRainer Bonhof
15
KozynkevychEduard Kozynkevych
Substitution66
14
BellaMichael Bella
12
PilguiVladimir Pilgui (GK)
15
GrabowskiJürgen Grabowski
13
MatviyenkoViktor Matviyenko
16
LöhrJohannes Löhr
16
MuntyanVolodymyr Muntyan

Coach

Helmut Schön (GER) Alexandr Ponomarjev (URS)

Referee

Ferdinand Marschall (AUT)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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