National Team

How Algeria made final World Cup group games simultaneous

Have you ever wondered why the final group matches at major tournaments are played at the same time? Ever find it annoying that you cannot watch two matches at once? Well you won’t be as annoyed as Algeria were in 1982.


Playing in their first ever World Cup, the Desert Foxes stunned the globe to beat Germany and Chile in the group stages, but lost to Austria. Two wins in the group almost certainly puts a team through, but not in this rare scenario.

The final group match saw Germany take on Austria. Both sides knew that a 1-0 win for Germany would take both Germany and Austria through to the second round going into the game.

Germany took the lead early on, and what followed was horrible. Commentators refused to continue commentating as both teams passed the ball around aimlessly and created no chances on purpose in order to run the clock down for the final 80 minutes. It later became known as the ‘Disgrace of Gijon’.

Newspapers printed their match reports in the crime section, rather than the sports section. The Spanish crowd chanted “let them kiss” towards the players on the field. The final whistle went and Algeria were eliminated on goal difference.

Algeria’s legacy was that after an investigation with FIFA, the final group matches at all major tournaments are now played at the same time to avoid any similar scenarios.


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