One of the biggest days in World Cup history was one of the worst for two soccer powers. And one of the best for two others.
Brazil, a three-time winner of the world title, was eliminated 1-0 by defending champ Argentina as Diego Maradona once again was the deciding factor. The Netherlands, champions of Europe, lost to West Germany 2-1 in a wild, wide-open shootout that nearly included a fistfight.Sunday was not exactly another day of soccer. It featured the most impressive lineup so early in any World Cup. Only one game lived up to the advance billing, however.
The Germans and Dutch played a scorcher. In the first half, Rudi Voeller, West Germany's best attacker, and Frank Rijkaard, the top Dutch defender, were given yellow cards for separate incidents. When they collided near the Dutch goal a minute later, a short shoving match ensued and both players looked ready to carry it further when they were handed red cards and ejected by referee Juan Loustau.
"We talked later in the dressing room," Voeller said. "We've always had an excellent relationship on the field."
Meanwhile, the teams played 10 aside and were in excellent form - the Dutch for the first time in the event, the Germans continuing their strong play of the opening round.
Even without Voeller, Juergen Klinsmann, West Germany's other striker, was giving the Netherlands fits. In the 50th minute, Klinsmann took a pass from Guido Buchwald and flicked it past goalie Hans Van Breukelen.
Buchwald later set up Andreas Brehme for a wickedly curving 25-yard shot to make it 2-0, offsetting Ronald Koeman's penalty kick with two minutes to go.
"You saw for yourself that it was a great experience," said West German coach Franz Beckenbauer. "The Netherlands is always strong, they were strong now and it was a good match."
It was better than that for Klinsmann, who called it "perhaps my best match ever."
"I was able to exploit my speed through wider spaces," Klinsmann said. "Of course, it was extremely tough playing alone in front. I did all I could, took it to the limit, because I knew that the coach had the men on the bench for replacing me once I was overly tired."
"Klinsmann made the difference between West Germany and the Netherlands," Dutch star Ruud Gullit said.
Dutch and West German police this morning dispersed several hundred brick-hurling soccer fans in a cross-border riot.
Hundreds of Dutch and West Germans threw bricks and beer bottles at each other in a street where the two nations' border runs exactly down the middle, according to a police spokesman Hein Quaedflieg in Kerkrade, the Netherlands. At least four people were injured by flying glass.
There were nine arrests in the Netherlands and an unknown number in West Germany, Quaedflieg said.
Next up for the Germans is Czechoslovakia in the quarterfinals.
Brazil was considered a daunting favorite over Argentina and looked it for much of the game. The Brazilians pushed forward and had a dozen good scoring opportunties. But poor marksmanship and, sometimes, one attacker too few hurt them.
Maradona then killed them. With nine minutes left in regulation time, he drew three defenders toward him and sent a perfect pass to a breaking Claudio Caniggia. Goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel came out, Caniggia faked him to the ground and hit the open net.