Posted: 8/12/2008


     It was in the OLYMPIASTADION, the revolutionary new, iconic glass and steel main stadium in Munich, West Germany that I witnessed the total annihilation of the USA Olympic soccer team, 7-0 on August 31,1972, five days before Black September climbed over the Olympic village fence to capture and murder the Israeli delegation.

    In the previous week I was in Augsburg when the USA tied 0-0 with Morocco in front of a sparce crowd of 4,000 and a couple of days later in Ingolstadt when Malaysia, of all countries, beat the Americans 3-0 with only 3,000 fans. The third and final match was in front of 65,000 spectators against a team of 'secret professionals',West Germany. Due to Olympic regulations all players were supposed to be 'amateurs'. Of course the Eastern Europeans claimed that all their players were unpaid, and took time off from their 'jobs' or 'studies' to train and play. Most of the USA team were collegians, coached by Southern Illinois- SIU's Bob Guelker and since many were on scholarsips, what was the difference between them and the communists, except that many were in air conditioned dorms and had nice cars? Four goals from Bernd Nickel headed the route. My future friend Marco Antonio Dorantes, who I wasn't to meet until a couple of years later in Mexico, was the referee.

    It was 'alleged' that the West Germans who included future star players and coaches such as Uli Hoeness, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Manfred Kaltz and was coached by Jupp Durwall, were paid into secret Swiss bank accounts, and we shouted Profi, Profi, Profi as they scored at will past substitute goalie Shep Messing of Harvard. After two poor performances and no chance of advancing, Guelker fielded a mostly reserve squad held together by captain Al TrostUSA returned home without scoring a goal. I had attended the try outs in St. Louis and could see that the team never stood a chance.

    West Germany didn't fare too well in the next round and tied one and lost twice in a second round three match round robin, including a loss to East Germany 3-2, a team their World Cup team would lose to a couple of years later at the FIFA World Cup in 1974, before winning the final in the same Olympiastadion against Holland..

    The first Olympic tournament I watched was the Rome Olympics of 1960 when I witnessed Hungary play in Stadio Fluminio. This was the last time that Great Britain entered a team due to the chance that FIFA's membership might cancel their unique membership of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  Sepp Blatter has assured the 4 home associations that in London 2012 that a Great Britain team would not compromise the 4 separate nations. In 1964 I was in Tokyo and watched a couple of matches and four years later I was in the Aztec Stadium for the remarkeable 3rd place match when Japan, coached by Dettmar Cramer beat hosts Mexico to take the bronze medal. refereed by my friend Abraham Klein. In 1976 in Montreal I watched one match in the Olympic Stadium.

    Back in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics, Adolph Hitler left early during Germany's humiliating loss to Norway in the second round and never attended a soccer match again. One of the most remarkable results was in 1952 when Soviet Union were losing 5-1 and came back to tie 5-5 in Tampere.and Luxembourg knocked out Great Britain 5-3. 'The Magic Magyars', Hungary scored 20 goals against 2 on the way to a 2-0 gold medal win over the Yugoslavs with goals by Ferenc Puskas and Czibor in front of 60,000 at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium.

    Many people feel that soccer should not be in the Olympic Games. but it normally has the highest attendances, and I think sometimes 50% of the total. Now that it is a U23 tournament for the men, it doesn't 'challenge' the FIFA World Cup.