The day the two Germanys met in the World Cup
Some may not know it, but for a few decades, there were 2 Germanys, West Germany, and East Germany. Both countries were separated in 1961 by the Berlin Wall as a product of the division of the country after its defeat in World War II. Amid the "Cold War" between capitalists and socialists, they had to cross paths in the highest competition at the national team level. It was the first and only time that both Germanys played each other.
The match was played on June 22 during the 1974 World Cup in West Germany (East Germany's first and only participation in a World Cup). Both teams shared Group "A", along with Chile and Australia. On the last matchday, both Germanys were qualified for the next round, but even so, they had to play each other to define the first place in the group. To West Germany, with a draw, they would qualify first in the group. The atmosphere before the match was not one of the calmest. Huge security measures surrounded the match that had great expectations both in football and politics.
Without a doubt, West Germany was the candidate to win, as they had international figures such as Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness, Gerd Müller and goalkeeper Sepp Maier. East Germany, meanwhile, had players not very well known. Before starting the game, the anthems were heard. It was a strange moment because in addition to the traditional German anthem ("Deutschland, Deutschland Úber alles" (Germany, Germany above all), the "Auferstanden aus Ruinen" (Resurrected from the Ruins) was also heard, which at that time officiated as the national song for East Germany.
Despite the great expectations, the game was quite boring and everything seemed to indicate that it would end in 0-0. But in the 77th minute, 26-year-old Magdeburg player and mechanical engineer Jürgen Sparwasser took advantage of a defensive distraction and beat Sepp Maier with a powerful shoot. Yes, the "weak" East Germany beat mighty West Germany. After the match, the players refused to exchange jerseys. "I was hitting the enemy where it hurts the most. Many people, then, saw it that way", declared the scorer of the match years later.
Despite the defeat, West Germany was the champion of that World Cup after defeating Johan Cruyff's Clockwork Orange 2-1. East Germany was eliminated in the next round.
Be that as it may, the match is still remembered in Germany as a reminder of something that should never have happened, seeing their country divided.