Vogts' triumph over adversity

Football: Euro 96 Final; Germany v Czech Republic

At last a "golden goal", Oliver Bierhoff's strike in the fifth minute of extra time bringing Germany yet another triumph. First, confusion as the German squad streaming on to the field in celebration were brought to a halt by the delay caused when a linesman's flag seemed to rule out the winning effort.

Then joy for Berti Vogts and his team, who had struggled manfully through the tournament, overcoming injuries to key players that made their defeat of England last Wednesday a monumental achievement in their history.

Anybody who supposed that Germany's 11th appearance at a final of a major football championship was guaranteed to enhance their reputation as the pre-eminent force in European football ignored the technical expertise, collective and individual, that helped inspire the Czech Republic to a place in the ultimate match of Euro 96. European champions in 1976 when they defeated the Germans on penalties, and World Cup finalists in 1962, the Czechs lived dangerously through this tourna- ment, but their technical proficiency and teamwork was always enough to suggest that they would give the favourites all they could handle.

A personal point of view is that the Germans were not given nearly enough credit for the efficiency and resilience that enabled them to overcome the loss of such notable performers as Jurgen Kohler and Jurgen Klinsmann when defeating England in the semi-final after a penalty shoot-out that had pulled the plug on national expectations and euphoria.

That disappointment ensured that the Czechs would have the backing of most neutrals in the crowded Wembley last night even though the Germans were able to again include Klinsmann, who achieved great popularity when turning out at Tottenham Hotspur two years ago and was voted the 1995 Footballer of the Year in England.

Whatever remedies have been applied to Klinsmann's damaged right calf, an obvious impairment in mobility suggested that the Germans were looking more to his talismanic effect rather than expecting any dramatic contribution. In any case, it was soon apparent that a glowing encounter against England had drained more from the Germans than the Czechs had expended when defeating France at Old Trafford at the same stage in similar circumstances.

Of course, it was ridiculous to suppose that the Czechs would be inferior in their understanding of practical strategy, a point they proved quickly when putting a strain on the discipline and method that had quickly established Germany as a team to beat throughout the championship.

In denying Matthias Sammer the space he cleverly exploits when breaking out in support of attacks, the Czechs reduced the effectiveness of Germany's sorties from midfield, and if they were less threatening generally than England were last week, plenty of anxiety was caused to German defence. A patched-up German team showed signs of weariness, and winger Karel Poborsky was always willing to exploit an instinctive talent for running the ball at defenders and seeking imaginative routes to goal. The Germans were frequently at full stretch.

However, neither goal had been threatened seriously until the Czechs were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute when Sammer was judged to have brought down Poborsky in a race for the German goal-line.

As with so many decisions in this championship, it was dubious and television replays showed the Italian referee, Pierluigi Pairetto, had blundered. Not only did Sammer play the ball, but contact was made outside the penalty area. The possible irony then was that one of the championship's best players would be involved in a moment that cost the team a great victory.

Patrik Berger drove the ball past Andreas Kopke, and here was another opportunity for the Germans to display the fighting spirit that stood them in such stead against England. Bierhoff was not reckoned to be good enough for a place in the starting line-up but a crisis brought him into the game, and almost with the first touch of the ball he brought the Germans level in the 73rd minute.

His winner in extra time, a shot that sneaked just inside the far post and Petr Kouba's fingers, brought Germany their seventh major championship and left England and their supporters wondering what might have been.

At half-time there was a poignant moment when Terry Venables came out to receive the Fair Play Trophy on behalf of his squad. A day earlier he had learned of the sudden death of his close friend, the former Fulham footballer Bobby Keetch. Upon hearing the news, Venables broke down and it was doubtful if he would attend last night's proceedings. He came in tribute to a lost companion.

Final

Czech Republic (0) 1 Germany (0) 2

Berger pen 59 Bierhoff 73, 95

73,611

(at Wembley; aet; golden goal decisive)

Semi-finals

France 0 Czech Republic 0

43,877

(Czech Republic won 6-5 on penalties after extra time; at Old Trafford on Wednesday)

Penalty shoot-out details

France Czech Republic

Zidane scored Kubik scored

Djorkaeff scored Nedved scored

Lizarazu scored Berger scored

Guerin scored Poborsky scored

Blanc scored Rada scored

Pedros saved Kadlec scored

England (1) 1 Germany (1) 1

Shearer 3 Kuntz 16 75,862

(Germany won 6-5 on penalties after extra time; at Wembley on Wednesday)

Penalty shoot-out details

England Germany

Shearer scored Hassler scored

Platt scored Strunz scored

Pearce scored Reuter scored

Gascoigne scored Ziege scored

Sheringham scored Kuntz scored

Southgate saved Moller scored

Leading goalscorers

FIVE GOALS: Shearer (England).

THREE GOALS: Stoichkov (Bulgaria), B Laudrup (Denmark), Klinsmann (Germany), Suker (Croatia).

TWO GOALS: Bierhoff (Germany), Casiraghi (Italy), Sheringham (England), Sammer (Germany).

Discipline

SUSPENDED FROM FINAL: Reuter, Moller (Germany).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea