• Germany's news in English

VIDEO: When a German 'flattened a Frenchman'

AFP/The Local · 3 Jul 2014, 08:00

Published: 03 Jul 2014 08:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Frenchman Patrick Battiston's place in World Cup folklore is not down to a goal or piece of skill but for being knocked unconscious by German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher in the 1982 World Cup semi-final.

Schumacher's brutal shoulder charge on Battiston became known in France as the 'Tragedy of Seville'.

Battiston, now 57 and in charge of Ligue 1 side Bordeaux youth academy, kept his own counsel for a long time over the incident which happened just seven minutes after he had come on as a substitute and saw him lose a couple of teeth, suffer bruised ribs and damaged vertebrae and eventually slip into a coma.

With France set to face Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday - the first meeting at the finals between the two European titans since the 1986 semi-final which the French lost 2-0 - interest has once again been reignited in the dramatic events of that evening in Spain.

Battiston, who appeared in three World Cup finals and was a member of the French side that won the 1984 European championships, said it would be wrong to solely remember the game for what happened to him.

His terrible injuries not only carried a personal cost but also to the team as with only two substitutes allowed in those days Michel Hidalgo was forced to send on his final one.

The importance of fresh legs was brought home when despite leading 3-1 in extra-time the French wilted while the German substitutes engineered a comeback which saw them draw 3-3 and win on penalties.

"Entrenched in our memories is this charge by Schumacher who flattened the little Frenchman," said Battiston.

"That's how things are. People talk to me about 1982 often. But it wasn't only about me."

Battiston, capped 56 times, says he had already noticed before he came on to replace Bruno Genghini five minutes into the second-half that Schumacher was very pumped up.

"I remember his attitude even when I was sitting on the substitutes bench," said Battiston, who sticks to the belief that Schumacher's action was not intentional.

"I observed his behaviour, the way he clashed with Dominique Rocheteau and Didier Six. I thought he was very hyped up, very excitable. I remarked on this to the other players on the bench."

Schumacher's only regret is that he didn't realise how seriously injured Battiston was and instead of paying attention to him he strolled off, without even a booking.

The referee Charles Corver claimed afterwards he failed to see the incident because he was 'following the ball'.

However, Battiston was less impressed by Schumacher's remark that 'I will pay for the crowns' at the press conference afterwards when a journalist informed him of the extent of the Frenchman's injuries.

"That was not a very wise remark. It was pretty gauche," Battiston said.

"Still to his day I have a cracked vertebra and broken teeth."

Indeed it is Corver not Schumacher who bears the brunt of Battiston's ire today.

"Recently I tumbled upon by accident images of the match on Arte (a German/Franco financed TV station).

"I paid more attention to what happened on the pitch, after I had been stretchered off, as I had never seen them before.

Story continues below…

Ten reasons why France is better than Germany

"The refereeing by Corver who did not whistle for obvious fouls when Germany went behind. That struck me as odd and we have the right to be astonished by that."

Battiston, little by little, regained some of the memories of that night.

Michel Platini holding his hand in the way someone holds a dying person's on the way to the hospital and worse the jokey discussion between Corver and Schumacher, both of whom appeared impervious as to the seriousness of what had happened and which revolted the whole of France.

A line was finally drawn under the incident at least on a personal front when Schumacher, shocked by the negative reaction to him back in Germany, asked his agent to organize a press conference between the two of them after the finals even though Battiston had already forgiven him.

"Maybe he did feel guilty, one can draw all sorts of conclusions as to what he did feel. All I know is that Schumacher was someone who wanted to win at all costs and he went way over the top that evening."

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd