Editor’s note: Every day from now until the start of the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on November 20, we will reveal a different memory from the history of the World Cup. The the countdown from 101 continues with the “Game of the Century” between Italy and West Germany.
No wonder they call it the game of the century. Tied 1-1 after 90 minutes in their 1970 World Cup semi-final in front of more than 100,000 fans at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, West Germany and Italy erupted for five goals in half an hour of extra time, with the blue ones he finally prevailed with Gianni Rivera’s winner in the 111th minute.
Italy had led for most of the match. But Germany equalized through defender Heinz Schnellinger in second-half stoppage time, and German striker Gerd Müller made the most of the dazed Azzurri players when he put his side 2-1 up early in the session extra Italy hit back, and things were level again when they made it 2-2 just four minutes later.
Gigi Riva put Italy 3-2 up, and it looked like that would settle it, until a defensive error by Rivera allowed Müller to equalise. The team again. Just nine minutes before a draw that would determine which team advanced to the final (FIFA didn’t introduce the penalty shoot-out until the 1974 World Cup), Rivera made up for his mistake to put Italy ahead for good.
Never before had five goals been scored in extra time at the World Cup, let alone between two of the sport’s most decorated teams with a place in the final on the line. The record stands to this day. Does Game of the Century do it justice? If not, the best game of the World Cup also works.
Game of the century
Germany and Italy combined for five extra-time goals in the 1970 World Cup semi-final.
Doug McIntyre is a football writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a writer for ESPN and Yahoo Sports and has covered the US men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @By Doug McIntyre.
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