The Malta Independent 21 January 2021, Thursday

Malta’s 1-12 Defeat against Spain ‘the third dodgiest football game ever’

Malta Independent Thursday, 12 August 2004, 00:00 Last update: about 8 years ago

Many will probably remember the game; that’s right, it was the famous 12-1 drubbing against Spain in the qualifying run-up to the 1984 European Championships.

Authors Lawrence Booth and Rob Smyth write, “There was also a whiff of suspicion about Spain’s path to the finals of the 1984 European Championship in France. Having lost 2-1 in an earlier qualification game to Holland, the Spanish went into their final match needing to beat Malta by 11 clear goals, a feat that appeared unlikely when they went into half-time with a tenuous 3-1 lead.

“But, suddenly, the floodgates opened in the second half, and Spain got the nine goals they needed to win 12-1 and qualify for the finals. There were few neutral fans weeping for them when they lost 2-0 in the final to France,” they said.

Malta was mentioned only after what Messrs Booth and Smyth described as the dodgiest game of all, which took place during the 1982 World Cup in Spain, when West Germany and Austria met in the final match in Group B.

Both were well aware that a

1-0 win for the Germans would ensure that both sides would qualify for the next round ahead of Algeria. Sure enough, a Horst Hrubesch goal gave West Germany the lead after only 10 minutes, at which point the game ground to a virtual halt.

Despite catcalls from the crowd and the sight of one German fan burning the national flag in disgust, the pat-a-cake continued for a full 80 minutes, at which point both sides walked off congratulating themselves on a job well done. Reasonably enough, Algeria protested to FIFA, but to no avail.

Number two on the list happened during the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, where the hosts, under serious pressure from the ruling military junta, needed to beat Peru by four goals in the last of the second-round group matches to pip Brazil to a place in the final. Amid allegations of match-fixing – which remain unproved to this day – Argentina thumped the Peruvians 6-0 to squeeze out their arch

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