Montreal ’76 : Games of Group A


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The national select side of tournament-winning BRAZIL line-up prior to the start of a match at the 1975 Pan-American Games hosted by Mexico :

Left to right, ’76 Olympians with club listed — TECAO (FC Sao Paulo), CARLOS (AA Ponte Preta), ROSEMIRO (SE Palmeiras), CARLINHOS, TIQUINHO, MARCELO, CLAUDIO ADAO, ALBERTO LEGUELE (EC Bahia), BATISTA (SC Internacional Porto Alegre) and EDINHO (FC Fluminese)
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BRAZIL and EAST GERMANY, who had met in Hanover to start the second round at the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany, would face one another again at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium to kick things off iin Group A of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Canada.

The Brazilians had triumphed on the strength of a Rivelino free kick two years previously but all of their World Cup players were, of course, ineligible at the Olympics. The East Germans, on the other hand, fielded six players in their Startelf at Varsity Stadium who had also competed against always-skillful Brazil in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Three of those veterans — LOTHAR KURBJUWEIT and KONRAD WEISE of FC Carl Zeiss Jena along with GERD KISCHE of FC Hansa Rostock — comprised a solid backline for the Deutsche Demokratische Republik while JUERGEN CROY of FC Sachsenring Zwickau provided world-class goalkeeping between the sticks.

The youthful South Americans had a quality defense, too, anchored by both the would-be captain and first choice for Brazil’s 1986 World Cup side, 21-year-old defender EDINHO of FC Fluminese and 20-year-old goalkeeper CARLOS of AA Ponte Preta. Neither FC Magdeburg attacker MARTIN HOFFMANN, who headed a goal against Chile at the 1974 Weltmeisterschaft, nor 21-year-old HANS-JUERGEN RIEDIGER of FC Dynamo Berlin would be able to bulge the back of the net. And so the two sides ground out a 0-0 draw in Toronto.

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CHICO FRAGA of SC Internacional Porto Alegre
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Brazil next encountered Spain at the newly-constructed Olympic Stadium in Montreal. A sizeable crowd of 30,693 turned out to see diminutive 22-year-old right back ROSEMIRO of SE Palmeiras score the Brazilians’ first goal of the competition just seven minutes in. But the Spanish struck back just seven minutes later with a goal from 23-year-old forward SANTIAGO IDIGORAS of Real Sociedad, who later picked up a solitary cap against Ireland in 1977 and then returned to North America to spend the 1981/82 season with FC Puebla in Mexico. Less than two minutes after the restart, however, left back CHICO FRAGO of Internacional Porto Alegre beat Spain goalkeeper LUIS ARCONADA of Real Sociedad from the penalty spot to give Brazil the lead permanently.

This left Spain, who had eliminated West Germany in the first round of Olympic qualification, in a must-win situation facing East Germany in the final match of the first round in Group A. The East Germans would clinch a quarterfinal spot with a tie but could win the group outright with a victory by two or more goals. All this in mind, D.D.R. trainer GEORG BUSCHNER made one change to the Startelf by dropping Riediger in favor of Hoffmann, the World Cup veteran who had come on late in the second half against Brazil for the Dynamo Berlin striker.

Spain never did find a way to breach the formidable East German defensive wall as Croy and company put together back-to-back shutouts on the Olympic stage. 25-year-old HANS-JUERGEN DOERNER, the Dynamo Dresden defender who had taken over the Libero (sweeper) position for the national team and would go on to become the second-most capped player in the history of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, scored the only goal of the game in the first minute of the second half to give the D.D.R. victory at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal but by the minimum 1-0 result. And so it was Brazil, the three-time FIFA World Cup champion who had never before won an Olympic medal of any sort, that finished in first place for Group A at the ’76 Summer Games.

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Attack-minded sweeper HANS-JUERGEN DOERNER of SG Dynamo Dresden, who helped his club win five Oberliga titles in the 1970s and was named East German Footballer of the Year in 1977, 1984 as well as 1985, made 96 ‘full’ international appearances and scored six goals for the Deutsche Demokratische Republik over the course of his distinguished career.
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1976 Summer Olympic Games
First Round, Group A

7/18 … 21,643 … Varsity Stadium, Toronto ……… Brazil 0 – East Germany 0
7/20 … 30,693 … Olympic Stadium, Montreal ….. Brazil 2 – Spain 1
7/22 … 26,204 … Olympic Stadium, Montreal ….. East Germany 1 – Spain 0

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