Arabic Language Blog

The Arabic Football Team that Defeated Germany in World Cup! Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in Vocabulary


When you watch the incredibly powerful performance of the German Football team in the ongoing Euro 2012, you’d probably think that no Arab team could ever dream of beating such high-caliber players as Podolski, Schweinsteiger, Lahm, and Gomez.

But thirty years ago, almost day for day, the best team representing the Arab world, الجزائــــــــر (Algeria), did just that, defeating in a World Cup an even stronger German Football team, possibly the best selection Germany has ever had in its entire Football history!

With world-class players of its own, Algeria would have been able to go very far in the 1982 World tournament organized by Spain, were it not for the infamous collusion between ألمــــــــانيــــــــا (Germany) and its Germanophone neighbor, النَّمســـــــا (Austria.)

Algeria’s participation in that World Cup rewrote the rules of future Football competitions: Afterwards, in order to avoid fiascos similar to the so-called “Game of Shame” between Germany and Austria at the expense of Algeria, FIFA made it mandatory for all final group matches to take place at exactly the same time! 

Prior to the first whistle of the Tournament, whenever German players were asked about their game opposing them to Algeria in the 1982 World Cup, rumor had it that they all had very optimistic declarations to make: “I’ll dedicate a goal to my wife”, said one striker. “I’ll score a goal for my girlfriend”, said another. “I think I’ll even score a goal for my puppy in that day”, joked a Deutsch midfielder.

But on June 16th of that year, the “cakewalk match” that the Germans expected to enjoy did not exactly take place in the Spanish city of Gijón.

The Algerian squad, known as “ثعـــــــالـــب الصَّحـــــــــراء” (“The Desert Foxes“), and sometimes as “The Fennecs“, managed to shock the world by beating the strong German selection by a score of 21.

الهـــدف الأوَّل (the first goal) scored by Algeria (in green and white), beautifully coordinated between Zidane (nicknamed “the Older Zidane”, as opposed to the French-Algerian Zidane), Belloumi, and Madjer

World class players like لخضـــر بلُّـــــــومي (Lakhdar Belloumi), رابــــــح مــــاجــــــر (Rabeh Madjer), صـــــالح عصَّـــــــــاد (Saleh ‘Assad) stunned the Mannschaft with their own Football style, decrypted by sports analysts as a combination of European and South American techniques.

Just like with Schweinsteiger, Podolski, Lahm, Klose, and other German superstars today, the 1982 German line-up, champions of the Euro 1980, featured big Football names that were likely to intimidate the Algerian players: Karl-Heinz RummeniggePaul BreitnerPierre Littbarski, Horst Hrubesch, not to mention one of the best حُـــــرَّاس المرمـــــــى (goalkeepers of all times), Toni Schumacher.

But Rabeh Madjer (the Arabic name “Rabeh” means “Victor” in Arabic) assured that his teammates and him played دون عٌقــــــــــدة (without complex), and won that match with their own brand of Football.

 هدف التَّعــــــــــادل (equalizer goal) for Germany by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, followed immediately by هدف الفــــــــــوز (winning goal) for Algeria by the great Belloumi

In the wake of the exceptional game against Germany, the Desert Foxes conceded one game to Austria, by a score of 2-0, but then recovered in the last game against Chile, winning 3-2.

The two wins were normally enough for Algeria to qualify to the next phase of the World Cup.

But أمــــــر غير مُتوَقَّـــــــع (something unexpected) happened the next day.

The the two neighbors, Germany and Austria, who were otherwise old traditional football rivals, cynically colluded to ensure that they both end up tops of their group, at the expense of Algeria.

That move was deemed so ugly that, to this day, it is still remembered as “Die Schande von Gijón (German for “The Disgrace of Gijón“), and sometimes as the “Anschluss” (allusion to the 1938 annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany.)

That is how, shortly after, FIFA made it mandatory for all final group matches to take place at exactly the same time!

Although the Algerian victory over Germany of 1982 is still widely famous among Football fans around the world, only a few know that it was not the first one of its kind: In fact, Algeria had already played and defeated Germany 2-0 in an official game back in 1964, only two years after the country gained back its independence.

Zineddine Zidane, holding a picture of the FLN Football team, which counted several players of talent, like رشيـــــــــــد مخلـــــــــــــوفي (Rachid Makhloufi) and مصطفــــــــــى زيتونــــــــــي (Mostapha Zitouni), who famously defected from the French national team right after its qualification to the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, in order to join the Algerian Independence War  

The early Algerian team counted several players of talent, such as Ahmed Ouedjani (one of the goal scorers in the 1964 game versus Germany.) Most of these players had previously evolved in French clubs, before secretly joining the Football team of جبهــــــــــة التَّحريــــــــــر الوطنــــــــــي (the FLN, or National Liberation Front), namely the main organisation that fought for استــــــــــرجــــــاع الإستقــــــــلال (gaining back the independence) of Algeria from France.


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