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“RIP Legend” – Soccer World Mourns Tragic Death of World Cup Hero Who Crushed Diego Maradona’s 1990 FIFA WC Dream

Published 02/20/2024, 5:03 AM EST

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In the 1990 World Cup final, West Germany sealed the victory over Diego Maradona’s Argentina in the 85th-minute penalty when Andreas Brehme scored the winning goal. Hours ago, the German legend passed away at the age of 63 in Munich, apparently from a cardiac arrest. Brehme will be remembered for being a modern full-back who wasn’t afraid of pushing forward to cross or shoot and he boasted a good goal record for a defender.

It was reported that Brehme had been deeply affected by the death of his former coach and mentor Franz Beckenbauer last month. Beckenbauer was Germany’s biggest World Cup hero, having won the honor as both a player and a manager. Der Kaiser’s World Cup triumph as a manager in 1990 would not have been possible without Brehme. Back in the days, Beckenbauer had admitted that he never worked out whether the ambidextrous Brehme was left or right-footed.

Brehme’s partner Susanne Schaefer confirmed the news in a statement and said he died “suddenly and unexpectedly” in the night. Brehme was reportedly admitted to the emergency room of a clinic on Ziemssenstrasse, close to his apartment, but couldn’t be saved.

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Andreas Brehme was part of the West Germany team that lost the 1986 World Cup final to Argentina but scored the 85th-minute penalty that decided the game when the teams met again four years later at the same stage of the tournament in Rome. The defender took the penalty with his supposedly weaker foot, his right, although he was extremely two-footed.

A German newspaper Bild recalled the story of how Brehme was not even supposed to take the penalty but that Lothar Matthäus was playing in his replacement boots and “did not feel comfortable taking it”. To increase the pressure Völler walked up to his teammate just before he was taking the penalty and said: “If you score this we are world champions.” Brehme was unaffected, though, and dispatched the spot-kick to the right of the Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea. Reacting to Brehme’s death, ­Germany newspapers referred to the spot-kick as a “penalty for the ages”.

Brehme was born in Hamburg and played for Barmbek-Uhlenhorst throughout his youth. In a conference post the WC win, Brehma said, “My dad [Bernd] made sure I was two-footed and when your dad is your coach you have to do more than the others in the team.”

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Technically, Andreas Brehme played as a versatile defender. He was deployed as a left-back and also played as a defensive midfielder. But he was one of those rare defensive player who always had an eye for the goal. Before scoring the winner against Argentina in 1990 Brehme powered Germany’s semi-final win against England with a stellar free-kick.

Back in 1986, France had a taste of Brehme’s free-kick skills in the World Cup final stage. After an eventful career with the German national team and clubs such as Bayern Munich, Andreas Brehme ventured into coaching. He managed Germany’s second-tier soccer club SpVgg Unterhaching. Given this profound influence Brehme had on the beautiful game, his tragic passing has left fans and soccer institutions alike in deep mourning.

Soccer world pays final respects to Germany’s hero, Andreas Brehme

His World Cup heroics with Germany aside, the late legend had a storied stint with the legendary German club Bayern Munich. He was instrumental in Bayern’s European Cup win in 1987. “FC Bayern are extremely saddened by the sudden passing of Andreas Brehme. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” Bayern Munich said in a tweet. Andreas won 86 caps and played for clubs such as Bayern and Inter

“I can’t believe it,” Brehme’s former international teammate Rudi Völler said. “The news of Andreas’s sudden death makes me incredibly sad. Andi was our World Cup hero, but for me he was much more. He was my close friend and companion to this day. I will miss his wonderful love of life.”

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Another West Germany teammate, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said, “The news has hit me hard and I am shocked. We played at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico together and Andi was a great team player, extremely loyal and reliable. His joy of life was always infectious and the fact that he has left us at the age of 63 is very sad.”

The German football federation president, Bernd Neuendorf said, “He was one of Germany’s greatest and best players of all time. German football owes him a lot.” Germany’s National team was quick to lament Brehme’s loss. “Rest in peace Andy,” it wrote on an Instagram post that featured a series of Brehme’s old pictures.

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Having faced the German icon in Spain, Real Madrid club rushed to mourn Brehme’s passing. “Real Madrid C. F., its President, and its Board of Directors deeply lament the death of Andreas Brehme, a legend of German and world football,” the Spanish club said in an official Instagram post.

Meanwhile, a user commented, “What a legend of a player. I still remember the winning he scored. RIP Legend,” on an Instagram post confirming the news of Brehme’s passing. Andreas Brehme also played for Italy’s Inter Milan in the late 80s. In Milan, he won the Serie A, the Italian Super Cup, and the UEFA Europa League.

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The soccer world has lost yet another icon of the game this year. This year began sadly for soccer fans with Brazil veteran Mario Zagallo’s loss on January 05. Two days later, Franz Der Kaiser Beckenbauer would meet his demise. Just a month later, Andres Brehme leaves the world on a sad note. Notably, all three legends have been World Cup heroes for their respective nations.

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Written by:

Krishna Prasad M

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Krishna Prasad is Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. Unlike others, his journey as a sports enthusiast was not colored by soccer initially. The 2006 FIFA World Cup, however, changed his perspective, as the beautiful game took up a small space in his heart.
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Edited by:

Sreeda U M