Matthaus: a world classic

11/20/2022 at 10:10 p.m.


With five participations, there is no one who has played more than him, but, above all, no one who has played more World Cup matches

As captain and Ballon d’Or winner at Italia 90, he led Germany to their third title sixteen years after their second

Lottar Matthaus was in charge of taking the penalties for the German team that won the World Cup in Italy in 1990.. However, when the Uruguayan referee Edgardo Codesal signaled the eleven meters in the Argentine area five minutes from the end of the final, he went to Brehme and gave him the ball. Obviously, for one of the best german footballers of all time it was no problem to cast it.

Years later he would explain why: “In the first half one of my boots had broken and at half-time I decided to change them. I put on new ones and they bothered me the whole second time. I didn’t feel safe to take such a decisive penalty and I told Brehme that he should go”. Matthaus’s goal was glory for his country, not personal. Nevertheless, In that World Cup he scored four goals, an important figure for a midfielder, and won the Ballon d’Or.

The truth is that that was his third World Cup final after Spain and Mexico. In 1982 he was still too young and only played two games, while in Mexico he was already a German reference, a position that he confirmed in Italy as an essential part for Germany to achieve its first World Cup after sixteen years of drought. Beckenbauer made him the leader of the team by giving him the bracelet and Lottar did not disappoint.

After Italy came USA 94, where Germany fell in the quarterfinals against Bulgaria, and France 98, being eliminated in the same round, this time against Croatia. His five appearances in a World Cup is a record that he shares with Carbajal and Rafa Márquez (Mexico) and Buffon (Italy). They will be joined in Qatar by Ochoa y Guardado (Mexico), Cristiano (Portugal) and Messi (Argentina). Leo, in fact, would need to fight, at least, for third place, to surpass the 25 World Cup matches of Matthaus, the footballer who has played the most.

Matthaus: a world classic