Formerly Confusing Business Of “Full” International

Deutsche Demokratische Republik goalkeeper JUERGEN CROY (center) of FC Sachsenring Zwickau shakes hands with a counterpart from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at the conclusion of the Bronze Medal Match of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games; the East Germans and Soviet Union finished level 2-2 after extra time at the Olympiastadion in Munich, West Germany, and ultimately shared the set of bronze medals that year.

It was all a baffling mystery, really, once upon a time — trying to differentiate between a “full international” and an Olympic football match. The Eastern Bloc had collectively succeeded in making a total joke of the International Olympic Committee’s hallowed principle of Amateurism and, in the process, also made a complete mess of bookeeping over at FIFA Headquarters in Switzerland. For decades, some Olympic qualification and final tournament matches were, in fact, officially recognized by FIFA as full internationals even if the standards for attaining such status oftentimes appeared to vary depending upon, well, probably only God knew what.

In 1999, the governing body of world football announced a major policy shift with respect to their official records regarding the Olympic competition. Quite simply, it was decided that all Olympic matches contested from 1908 up until 1956 would be counted as full international matches by FIFA without exception. And all Olympic matches from 1960 onwards are not to be counted in the sanctioned historical totals.

Obviously, it was the former Warsaw Pact nations that were affected most by the change with the Union of Soviet Social Republics, the 1956 Olympic champion, having sixteen matches altogether removed from their official list of full internationals maintained by FIFA.


Poland captain KAZIMIREZ DEYNA (left) of army club Legia Warsaw, who had scored an Olympic tournament-topping nine goals while leading his country to the footballing glory at the 1972 Munich Summer Games, wears a genuine look of disbelief as East Germany midfielder HARTMUT SCHADE of police club Dynamo Dresden raises both arms in celebration after scoring in only the seventh minute of the Gold Medal Match at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games hosted by Montreal.

The ten Olympic qualification / final tournament matches for the old DETUSCHE DEMOKRATISCHE REPUBLIC (German Democratic Republic) that are no longer recognized by FIFA as a “full international” would be :

11/18/1967 …. East Berlin ……. 1-0 ….. Romania
12/06/1967 … Bucharest ……… 1-0 ….. Romania
08/28/1972 … Munich ………… 4-0 ….. Ghana
09/01/1972 … Nuremberg …… 1-2 …… Poland
09/03/1972 … Passau …………. 0-2 …… Hungary
11/19/1975 …. Brno …………….. 1-1 …… Czechoslovakia
04/07/1976 … Leipzig …………. 0-0 ….. Czechoslovakia
07/27/1976 …. Montreal ……… 2-0 ….. Soviet Union
07/31/1976 …. Montreal ……… 3-1 …… Poland

The three D.D.R. national team players affected most, perhaps, by FIFA’s decision to adjust the official tables were goalkeeper JUERGEN CROY as well as defenders BERND BRANSCH and KONRAD WEISE, all of whom had each appeared in eight of the ten East German Olympic football matches that had their ‘full international’ status revoked.

Two others, striker JOACHIM STREICH and sweeper HANS-JUERGEN DOERNER, each saw four full international appearances instantly vanish and were, therefore, summarily tossed out of the mythical ‘100 Caps Club’.

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