The semi-final of the 1970 FIFA World Cup between Italy and West Germany is known as the "Game of the Century"[2] (Spanish: Partido del Siglo; Italian: Partita del secolo; German: Jahrhundertspiel). It was played on 17 June 1970 at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Italy won 4–3 after five goals were scored in extra time, a record number of scored goals during any 2x15 minute extra time during a FIFA World Cup game. The record is still standing after the 2014 World Cup. Four goals in extra time were scored in the 1982 semifinal between West Germany and France.

The match

Italy led for the majority of the match, after Roberto Boninsegna scored in the 8th minute. Germany's Franz Beckenbauer dislocated his shoulder[3] after being fouled, but stayed on the field carrying his dislocated arm in a sling, as his side had already used their two permitted substitutions.

Defender Karl-Heinz Schnellinger equalized for West Germany during injury time at the end of the second half. German television commentator Ernst Huberty exclaimed "Schnellinger, of all people!" (in German: "Schnellinger! Ausgerechnet Schnellinger!"), since Schnellinger played in Italy's professional football league, Serie A, at A.C. Milan (for whom he rarely scored) and previously for A.S. Roma and A.C. Mantova. It was also his first and only goal in 47 matches for the national team. The second half ended with the scores deadlocked at 1–1, and at this point the match became a battle of endurance during the two periods of extra time.

Gerd Müller put Germany ahead in the 94th minute, but Tarcisio Burgnich tied it back up four minutes later and Luigi Riva put the Italians back in front. Gerd Müller scored again for West Germany to tie up the score at 3–3. Yet, as television cameras were still replaying Müller's goal, Italy's Gianni Rivera scored the game-winning goal in the 111th minute. Being left unmarked near the penalty area, Rivera connected a fine cross made by Boninsegna, clinching the victory for Italy at 4–3.[4]

Match overview

Italy  4–3 (a.e.t.)  West Germany
Boninsegna Goal 8'
Burgnich Goal 98'
Riva Goal 104'
Rivera Goal 111'
Report Schnellinger Goal 90'
Müller Goal 94'110'
West Germany
GK 1 Enrico Albertosi
DF 2 Tarcisio Burgnich
DF 3 Giacinto Facchetti (c)
DF 5 Pierluigi Cera
DF 8 Roberto Rosato Substituted off 91'
MF 10 Mario Bertini
MF 15 Sandro Mazzola Substituted off 46'
MF 16 Giancarlo De Sisti
FW 13 Angelo Domenghini
FW 20 Roberto Boninsegna
FW 11 Luigi Riva
MF 14 Gianni Rivera Substituted in 46'
DF 4 Fabrizio Poletti Substituted in 91'
Italy Ferruccio Valcareggi
GK 1 Sepp Maier
RB 7 Berti Vogts
CB 15 Bernd Patzke Substituted off 66'
CB 5 Willi Schulz
LB 3 Karl-Heinz Schnellinger
CM 4 Franz Beckenbauer
CM 12 Wolfgang Overath
RW 20 Jürgen Grabowski
CF 9 Uwe Seeler (c)
CF 13 Gerd Müller
LW 17 Hannes Löhr Substituted off 52'
MF 14 Reinhard Libuda Substituted in 52'
MF 10 Sigfried Held Substituted in 66'
West Germany Helmut Schön


Germany won 1–0 against Uruguay for third place.

The energy expended in winning the hard-fought match may have tired out the Italian players in the subsequent final; the Azzurri were roundly defeated by Brazil four goals to one. Brazil thus became the first team to win three world football championships and, according to the rules set out by Jules Rimet they were permanently assigned the Jules Rimet Trophy, which from the 1974 world championship was substituted by the FIFA World Cup Trophy. Had Italy managed to prevail the inverse would have happened since both teams had two Rimet Cup wins under their belts.


Commemorative plaque at the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City

There is a monument commemorating this match in front of the Azteca. On a plaque the following sentence is engraved: El Estadio Azteca rinde homenaje a las selecciones de: Italia (4) y Alemania (3) protagonistas en el Mundial de 1970, del "Partido del Siglo" 17 de junio de 1970. English: The Azteca Stadium pays homage to the National Teams of Italy (4) and Germany (3), who starred in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, the "Game of the Century". June 17th 1970.

See also


  1. ^ a b Arturo Yamasaki was born in Peru, where he begun his career as referee. He moved from Peru to officiate matches in Mexico in 1968, and hence he attended this World Cup as a representative of the Mexican football federation.
  2. ^ Matt Wagg (28 June 2012). "Euro 2012: five classic tournament matches between Germany and Italy including the 'Game of the Century'". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "Der Kaiser, the brains behind Germany". FIFA. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  4. ^ 1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico. Match report. Italy - Germany FR FIFA.com

External links

Motson, John (2006) Motson's World Cup Extravaganza GREAT GAMES: ITALY 4-3 WEST GERMANY, 1970

Coordinates: 19°18′12″N 99°9′2″W / 19.30333°N 99.15056°W / 19.30333; -99.15056