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Germany v Allies - as it happened!

Liveblogging the best football match that never took place: Germany v Allies, August 15th, 1943

3.15pm: Preamble

Greetings from the Stade Olympique de Colombes in Paris, venue for the 1938 World Cup final between Italy and Hungary, and host for this unprecedented clash between the German national team and an Allied XI. A sell-out crowd of 50,000 is expected, many wearing suspiciously 1970s-looking tracksuits despite it being 1943.

If they weren't already facing a formidable task, the Allies' preparation for this game has been far from ideal. Tony Lewis, the Irish goalkeeper, remains sidelined with a broken arm sustained in a training camp incident, so untested American Robert Hatch has been drafted in for his senior debut after making quite an impression at the Allies training camp:



Player-manager John Colby, once of West Ham United and England, will also skipper his charges in Paris this afternoon. In addition to Lewis's injury, the Allies' selection problems have been compounded by a raft of Czech and Polish withdrawals. Colby, however, has dismissed suggestions that his patched-together side will settle for a point against the might of the star-studded Germans, who include in their starting line-up such talent as Baumann, Reinhardt, Albrecht and goalkeeper Schmidt. The hosts are under the stewardship of Rainer Muller, a former international centre-half who played against Colby at Wembley only five years ago.

Kick-off is at around 4:30pm-ish.


3:23pm

3:25pm
John Colby (West Ham United and England) in deep conversation with German Director of Football Major Karl von Steiner.




3:34pm
Lengthy advert breaks are making this quite an easy task after all.


3:36pm
Despite having not yet made a senior appearance, American goalkeeper (but enlisted in the Canadian army) Robert Hatch is already agonising for a move away. His transfer request is being considered, officials say.

3:44pm
3:54pm
The protracted Robert Hatch saga continues, as he is welcomed back into the Allied fold as their physio/conditioning coach. Training methods have reportedly included elaborate sit-up routines.

3:57pm
Allied tactics leaked:




4:10pm
No stranger to controversy, Hatch (the Joey Barton of World War II) is now embroiled in a fake passport scandal. 

Team news (from this semi-official source):

With poor Tony Lewis ruled out with his broken arm, Hatch will start in goal for the Allies. Germany are unchanged (maybe).

GERMANY:


1. Schmidt

2. Kuntz
3. Reinhardt
4. Baumann (C)
5. Kuntz
6. Kuntz
7. Becker 
8. Kuntz
9. General Bronte
10. Strauss
11. Albrecht

ALLIES:
1. Robert Hatch (USA)
2. Michael Fileu (Bel)
3. John Colby (Eng) (C)
4. Pieter Van Beck (Hol)
5. Doug Clure (Eng) 
6. Terry Brady (Eng)
7. Arthur Hayes (Sco) 
8. Carlos Rey (Mex) 
9. Sid Harmor (Eng)
10. Luis Fernandez (T&T) 
11. Erik Borge (Den) 
subs
Paul Wolczek (Pol) 
Gunnar Hilsson (Nor)
4:47pm
Nice seat at the Stade Olympique de Colombes. The stadium is filling up quickly for this one-off propoganda exercise showpiece.


4:51pm
The teams emerge, led out by the in-no-way-swayable match officials:





4:54pm
Mercifully, no Andy Townsend in the gantry, because he hasn't been born yet.



4:55pm
All smiles at the coin toss:





GOAL! Germany 1-0 Allies (Albrecht, 14 min)
Awful start. Albrecht nods past a stranded Hatch.
GOAL! Germany 2-0 Allies (Strauss, 25 min)
It goes from bad to worse, as Strauss fires a shot under the despairing Hatch.

28 mins
Pieter van Beck goes off injured - looks serious. Hilsson on to replace him.

GOAL! Germany 3-0 Allies (Baumann, pen 31 min)
Baumann slots calmly past Hatch, who barely moved before it hit the net behind him. This isn't quite going to plan, is it?

32 mins
The Allies are struggling to cope with the Germans' physical approach and dazzling wing play. Hatch already looks out of his depth in goal and captain Colby needs to find a way of getting the mercurial talents of Rey and Fernandez into the game. Fernandez, in particular, is already a target for roughhouse treatment. The Allies need a goal, and they need it soon. One more for the hosts and it's game, set and match.


GOAL! Germany 4-0 Allies (Bronte, 41 min)
Well, this is dreadful. Just as the Allies had started to string some passes together through Rey and co, Bronte latches onto a spill from Hatch (who else) and the Germans couldn't be homer and drier.

GOAL! Germany 4-1 Allies (Brady, 44 min)

HELLO. With Fernandez off injured with what looks like a bad shoulder injury, and Hatch bleeding from a head wound, the Allies suddenly rally. Tackles fly in on the German midfield, and the ball finds its way to Terry Brady at the back post. He taps home. Scant consolation?


HALF TIME: Germany 4-1 Allies
Fernandez looks like his afternoon is over. The Allies limp back to the dressing room to regroup. Brady's goal has given them something to cling on to, but the Germans' superior fitness will surely tell in the second period.




46 min
And we're off again! But not before a spot of mind games from the Allies, who kept the Germans waiting for a few minutes before the second half could begin. Not sure what happened there.

GOAL! Germany 4-2 Allies (Rey, 52 min)
This is a completely different Allies to the one we saw in the first half. Rey slaloms his way through, past Schmidt, and slides it home. Game on?
GOAL! Germany 4-3 Allies (Wolczek, 76 min)

Amazing! Wolczek  pounces on a loose ball and it's suddenly anyone's game!
80 mins:
Champagne stuff



84 min: GOAL DISALLOWED! 
Clure taps home for a dramatic equaliser....but it's ruled out! Chaotic scenes.
GOAL! Germany 4-4 Allies (Fernandez, 88 min)
It was literally in the script. Fernandez, nearly crippled with injury, slides the ball out to the right to find Brady. The cross is a little behind the Trinidadian, but he produced an unbelievable bicycle kick to hammer it past Schmidt. RIDICULOUS.

90 min: PENALTY! SAVED!
This is absolutely absurd. With seconds left, Rey upends Baumann in the area. A stupid challenge, and the referee had no hesitation.

Baumann, who had hammered a penalty past Hatch with ease in the first half, stepped up to take. Hatch eyeballed him, and the referee had to step in and send him to his line. The psyching-out clearly worked because Baumann's weak kick was at the perfect height for the American IN HIS FIRST EVER FOOTBALL GAME, and the clutched it to his chest. Baumann is on his knees!



Full-time - Germany 4-4 Allies

The crowd are on the pitch, and it's not a minority of idiots either. They've swamped the heroic Allied players, who are nowhere to be seen.


They'll make a film out of this.

So there we have it. A ramshackle bunch of POWs have out-Radforded Ronnie Radford, 30 years before he even got the chance, against a German side who were playing at the World Cup finals only five years earlier. The scoreline reads 4-4, and a share of the spoils, and this tells either the whole story or none of it at all. Four goals down after 41 minutes, and being kicked from pillar to Parisian post by their adequately-nourished opponents, the Allies staged a miraculous second-half revival, led by the English lions of Terry Brady and captain John Colby, and aided by the the magic of Mexico's* Carlos Rey and Trinidadian genius Luis Fernandez.

Fernandez, clearly hampered by a shoulder injury that had temporarily forced him to the sidelines, produced the game's defining moment when he flung himself at Brady's cross in the 88th minute to spectacularly hammer a bicycle kick past Schmidt in the German goal and send the 
Stade Olympique de Colombes into raptures. If that wasn't enough drama, rookie goalkeeper Robert Hatch atoned for a catalogue of positional errors by saving a last-gasp penalty from the normally cucumber-cool, talismanic German skipper Baumann.

It was a draw that felt every bit like a victory for Colby and his spirited side, who looked down and out at half-time, with Dutch veteran Pieter van Beck already stretchered off after a brutal tackle. German football supremo Major Karl von Steiner will likely consider the future of manager Rainer Muller after this humiliation, while the likes of Hatch, Rey, Scottish midfielder Arthur Hayes and Fernandez's tireless foil Sid Harmor have surely put themselves in the post-war shop window.

Victoire! Victoire!

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