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Germany's Absurd World Cup Fake Free Kick Actually Worked In Practice

Illustration for article titled Germany's Absurd World Cup Fake Free Kick Actually Worked In Practice

Remember that absurd, failed free kick that Germany attempted against Algeria in the World Cup? In case not, we've embedded video of it below. In the 88th minute of a 0-0 game—Germany would eventually win 2-1 in a dramatic extra time period on Mesut Özil's 120th minute goal—Germany won a free kick about 30 yards away from the Algerian goal. Thomas Müller "accidentally" stumbled while lining up the kick, before getting up and running through the Algerian wall. Toni Kroos was supposed to flip the ball over the wall just before Müller ran into an offside position, leaving Müller one-on-one with the keeper.


But the play failed. Kroos only managed to chip the ball about five feet high, and it was easily cleared away from the wall. Germany blew one of their better chances at winning the game before extra time was required.

A few days later, Müller admitted to a German TV reporter what we all knew: the free kick was a designed play, not a bizarre looking accident. Via The Sydney Morning Herald:

When told that the interview would only be broadcast in Germany, Mueller smiled and said: "It almost worked."

Asked if he planned to try the trick again, Mueller said: "We'll see what happens in the next match."

Toni Kroos went on to explain that, while the play had "always" worked in practice, when it doesn't work it looks awful, which is what the entire world witnessed.

In November, the movie Die Mannschaft ("The Team" in English, and what everybody calls Germany's national team)—a documentary about Germany's World Cup journey, with plenty of behind the scenes footage—was released. One of those scenes is from a German practice, and guess what: the play works!

You can watch the entire movie (in German, without subtitles) on Vimeo.

h/t r/soccer

Photo via Martin Rose/Getty