In early 1988, West Germany hosted a mini- tournament involving themselves and three other nations (Argentina, Sweden and USSR). The tournament was as part of their preparations for the UEFA European Championship Finals that they would be hosting in June.
The DfB and its President Hermann Neuberger had arranged for this Tournament to be hosted in West Berlin, as a form of political appeasement, since the city had not been selected as one of the European Championships venues.
The West Germans (managed by Franz Beckenbauer) saw this event as a last opportunity to face teams in a semi-competitive setting, after nearly two years of friendlies and experimentations.
Beckenbauer was putting the final pieces together in his team, Schalke’s young midfielder Olaf Thon was seen as the Germany’s hope and there was much hype surrounding him. Lothar Matthaus had also taken a different dimension since the Mexican World Cup and had become the leader in midfield that the Germans were looking for.
Captain Klaus Allofs and Rudi Voeller (though struggling at the time at AS Roma) were the starters upfront, despite threats from the young duo of Dieter Eckstein and Jurgen Klinnsman.
In the beginning of the year Beckenbauer had to contend with the International retirement of Olympique Marseille based Stopper Karlheinz Forster who bowed out preferring to concentrate on his club.
France had been one of the original invitees, but had withdrawn. Sweden were invited to take their place. Olle Nordin’s Sweden had failed to qualify for any major Finals for a decade, but had a strong potential for the future.
They were led by Captain Glenn Hysen, along with veterans like Robert Prytz and Glenn Stromberg and a younger cast including Johnny Ekstroem and Jonas Thern.
Since the re-appointment of Valeri Lobanovsky in 1986, the USSR’s backbone had been that of his club side Dynamo Kiev. That colony had increased with the recent transfers of Dnepr duo of Gennadi Litovchenko and Oleg Protassov.
The stars of the team were the former Ballon d’Or winner Igor Belanov and Alexander Zavarov (naturally both Kiev players), though the team was captained by Spartak Moscow veteran goalkeeper Rinat Dassayev.
Due to illness, Lobanovsky would be unable to manage his nation. In his absence, Yuri Morozov was tasked with managerial duty.
As far as the playing staff, Alexei Mikhailichenko was unavailable for the Soviets. In fact his participation for the Euro Finals was in doubt for some time as the Soviet Authorities wanted to retain him and Igor Dobrovolsky for the upcoming Seoul Olympics (In the end a compromise was reached and Mikhailichenko was allowed to participate in the Euros, we well as the Olympics, while Dobrovolsky remained with the Olympics squad).
The only South American participants were Carlos Bilardo’s defending World Cup Champions of Argentina. As always their fortunes rested on the shoulders and form of Diego Maradona. For Bilardo, this tournament was a rare opportunity to work with his strongest squad assembled with players from European clubs. One must remember that even then, the release of South American players for International duty was rare due to the distance, scheduling conflicts, etc.
The matches kicked off on March 31st with USSR taking on Argentina and the Germans hosted Sweden at West Berlin.
Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 99, June 1988(Diego Maradona and Alexander Zavarov, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, USSR 4-Argentina 2)
The Soviets started in impressive fashion and were up 2-0 after 15 minutes. First, Zavarov scored from a long range shot from outside of the box, after the Argentinean defense had headed out a cross.
Then a minute later, Vasily Rats crossed from the left side for Litovchenko to double their lead.
Just minutes later, Argentina pulled one back through Troglio. He scored from the edge of the box after Caniggia had lobbed back a cross into his path.
Photo From: El Grafico Number 3574), 1988(Pedro Troglio, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, USSR 4-Argentina 2)
The Soviets increased their lead in the 62nd minute. From the left side, Demianenko released Protassov who slotted past Pumpido. Five minutes later, Argentina scored through a free kick by Maradona (that was deflected by Bessonov). The Soviets scored their fourth and final goal with about ten minutes remaining from a penalty kick by Protassov. The spot kick was awarded after Sensini had fouled Zavarov in the box.
The Soviets had played many friendlies in the weeks leading to this match and were perhaps better prepared as a result.
Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 99, June 1988(Oleg Kuznetsov and Claudio Caniggia, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, USSR 4-Argentina 2)
Prior to the match vs. Sweden, Franz Beckenbauer had declared that he had decided on 10 of his 11 starters for the Euros and had implied that the lineup against Sweden would give such indication.
The West Germans wore for the first time their new home uniforms, which was a complete change from their traditional complete white strip. These new uniforms contained the colors of the German flag (Black, Yellow and Red) across the white uniform.
Photo From: Foot Magazine , Issue 79, May 1988(Olaf Thon, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
Photo From: Chronik des deutschen fussballs, 2005(Robert Prytz and Michael Frontzek, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
The Germans went ahead just before halftime through a low free kick from Klaus Allofs. This turned out to be Allofs’ last match and last goal for his nation.
The Swedes tied up the match with a quarter an hour left. A corner from Prytz was headed down by Hysen and Truedsson put the loose ball past Immel.
The score remained unchanged and the match went into penalty kicks.
Photo From: Foot Magazine , Issue 79, May 1988(Rudi Voeller, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
Photo From: World Soccer, May 1988,(Rudi Voeller and Peter Larsson, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
Photo From: World Soccer, June 1989(Lothar Matthaus, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
The Germans who are famous for keeping their nerves during such events were let down and Matthaus and Voeller missed their attempts, while the Swedes scored all of their four attempts.
The German performance had been disappointing and their own fans jeered them.
Photo From: Foot Magazine , Issue 79, May 1988(Thomas Berthold, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
Photo From: Foot Magazine , Issue 79, May 1988
(Olaf Thon, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
Photo From: Mondial, new series, issue 98, May 1988(Peter Larsson and Rudi Voeller, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
A few days later on April 2nd, the third place and Final matches took place.
The hosts faced off vs. Argentina in a remake of the 1986 World Cup Final.
They had already met up a few months before in Buenos Aires (December 16, 1987) and Argentina had won that encounter (1-0).
Beckenbauer left out Frontzek, Buchwald, Littbarski and Allofs. In their place, Wolfgang Rolff, Uli Borrowka, Dieter Eckstein and Jurgen Klinnsman started.
In this more attacking (4-3-3) formation, Eckstein and Klinnsman partnered Voeller upfront.
Photo From: Chronik des deutschen fussballs, 2005(April 2, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Argentina 0)
Beckenbauer believed this change in lineup and formation would set a new approach and attitude for a more positive display.
In the absence of Allofs, Lothar Matthaus captained his nation. A role he would not relinquish for many years.
The Germans, eager to win back the home crowd, performed better and fought harder than the match vs. Sweden .
Photo From: El Grafico Number 3574), 1988 (1)
(Claudio Caniggia, April 2, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Argentina 0)
In contrast Maradona was disappointing for Argentina and had a forgettable match.
The Germans scored the winning goal in the 30th minute in a move started and finished off by Matthaus. He took control of the ball in his own half and ran all the way towards the goal. He then released Voeller on the right, who crossed into the box and Matthaus powerfully headed it in.
Photo From: Foot Magazine , Issue 79, May 1988(Lothar Matthaus, April 2, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Argentina 0)
Afterwards it was time for the unexpected Final between Sweden and USSR that was watched by many distinguished Managers, such as Bobby Robson, Rinus Michels, Jackie Charlton and Sepp Piontek.
For the Swedes, Hans Eskilsson started in place of the injured Ekstroem.
The Soviets were uncharacteristically ill at ease, especially in defense.
Sweden had many chances but failed to score in the first half.
Early in the second half (52nd minute), Eskilsson scored from a cross by Holmqvist from the right side. Later, Eskilsson had another goal that was disallowed for a handball.
Near the end, the Swedes scored their second goal from a free kick by Holmqvist that was deflected into the net.
Photo From: World Soccer, May 1990(Robert Prytz, April 2, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, Sweden 2-USSR 0)
The lessons learned from the tournament were that the hosts still had some adjustments to make. The Team Captain Klaus Allofs would miss the Euros through injury. This would pave the way for Klinnsman to partner Voeller as starting striker.
By the time of the Tournament, Andreas Brehme would reclaim his spot at left back to great effect.
For the Swedes this was an educational step in their bid to qualify for the 1990 World Cup, which they succeeded.
The Soviets recovered in time to finish runners-up in the Euros with Mikhailichenko back in the lineup.
As far as Argentina, everything started and ended with Maradona. Argentina was an ordinary team with a half fit or disinterested Maradona, despite the inclusion of other stars.
Four Nations Easter Tournament Squads
(Players who took part)
Eike Immel (Verein für Bewegungspiele Stuttgart 1893 e.V.)
Bodo Illgner (1. Fußball-Club Köln 01/07 e.V.)
Andreas Köpke (1.Fußball-Club Nürnberg - Verein für Leibesübungen e.V. )
Matthias Herget (Fußball Club Bayer 05 Uerdingen)
Thomas Berthold (Hellas-Verona / Italy)
Stefan Reuter (1.Fußball-Club Nürnberg - Verein für Leibesübungen e.V.)
Jürgen Kohler (1. Fußball-Club Köln 01/07 e.V.)
Guido Buchwald (Verein für Bewegungspiele Stuttgart 1893 e.V.)
Michael Frontzeck (Borussia Verein für Leibesübungen 1900 e.V. Mönchengladbach)
Hans Pflügler (Fußball-Club Bayern München e.V.)
Andreas Brehme (Fußball-Club Bayern München e.V.)
Ulrich 'Uli' Borowka (Sport Verein Werder Bremen von 1899 e.V.)
Lothar Herbert Matthäus (Fußball-Club Bayern München e.V.)
Pierre Littbarski (1. Fußball-Club Köln 01/07 e.V.)
Wolfgang Rolff (Turn und Sportverein Bayer 04 Leverkusen e.V.)
Olaf Thon (Fußball Club Schalke von 1904- Gelsenkirchen)
Manfred Schwabl (1.Fußball-Club Nürnberg - Verein für Leibesübungen e.V.)
Rudolf 'Rudi' Völler (Associazione Sportiva Roma / Italy)
Klaus Allofs (captain) (Olympique de Marseille / France)
Dieter Eckstein (1.Fußball-Club Nürnberg - Verein für Leibesübungen e.V.)
Jürgen Klinsmann (Verein für Bewegungspiele Stuttgart 1893 e.V.)
Frank Neubarth (Sport Verein Werder Bremen von 1899 e.V.)
Frank Mill (Ballspielverein Borussia Dortmund 1909 e.V.)
Coach: Franz Beckenbauer
Nery Alberto Pumpido (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires)
Luis Alberto Islas (Club Atlético Independiente Avellaneda)
Oscar Alfredo Ruggeri (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires)
Jose Luis Brown (Real Murcia Club de Fútbol / Spain)
Oscar Alfredo Garre (Club Ferrocarril Oeste-Buenos Aires)
José Luis Cuciuffo (Club Atlético Boca Juniors -Buenos Aires)
Roberto Nestor Sensini (Club Atlético Newell´s Old Boys –Rosario)
Hernan Edgardo Diaz (Club Atlético Rosario Central-Rosario)
Julio Jorge Olarticoechea (Asociacion Atletica Argentinos Juniors- Buenos Aires)
Nestor Rolando Clausen (Club Atlético Independiente Avellaneda)
Midfielders / Forwards:
Jose Luis Rodriguez (Club Deportivo Español -Buenos Aires)
Pedro Damian Monzón (Club Atlético Independiente Avellaneda)
Ricardo Omar Giusti (Club Atlético Independiente Avellaneda)
Claudio Paul Caniggia (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires)
Pedro Antonio Troglio (Club Atlético River Plate- Buenos Aires)
Diego Armando Maradona (captain) (Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli / Italy)
Oscar Alberto Dertycia (Asociacion Atletica Argentinos Juniors- Buenos Aires)
Sergio Daniel Batista (Asociacion Atletica Argentinos Juniors- Buenos Aires)
Coach : Carlos Salvador Bilardo
Jan Möller (Malmö Fotbollforening)
Thomas Ravelli (Östers Idrottsförening- Vaxjo)
Roland Nilsson (IFK (Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna) Göteborg)
Glenn Hysén (Associazione Calcio Fiorentina-Firenze / Italy)
Peter Larsson (Amsterdamse Football Club Ajax / Holland)
Dennis Schiller (Lillestrøm Sportsklubb- Skedsmo / Norway)
Roger Ljung (Malmö Fotbollforening)
Andreas Ravelli (IFK (Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna) Göteborg)
Midfielders / Forwards:
Jonas Thern (Fußball Club Zürich / Switzerland)
Glenn Strömberg (Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio-Bergamo / Italy)
Robert Prytz (Fußball Club Bayer 05 Uerdingen / West Germany)
Hans Holmqvist (Berner Sport Club Young Boys ./ Switzerland)
Johnny Ekström (Empoli Football Club / Italy)
Joakim Nilsson (Malmö Fotbollforening)
Mats Gren (Grasshopper -Club Zürich / Switzerland)
Peter Truedsson (Östers Idrottsförening- Vaxjo)
Stefan Rehn (Djurgårdens Idrettsförening- Stockholm)
Hans Eskilsson (Hammarby Idrottsförening- Stockholm)
Coach: Olle Nordin
Rinat Fayzrahmanovich Dassayev (captain) (Spartak Moskva)
Viktor Viktorovich Chanov (Dinamo Kiev)
Sergey Pavlovich Baltacha (Dinamo Kiev)
Vladimir Vassilievich Bessonov (Dinamo Kiev)
Oleg Vladimirovich Kuznetsov (Dinamo Kiev)
Anatoli Vassilievich Demianenko (Dinamo Kiev)
Tengiz Grigoriyevich Sulakvelidze (Dinamo Tblissi)
Midfielders / Forwards:
Viacheslavas Vassilievich Sukristovas (Zhalgris Vilnius)
Gennadi Vladimirovich Litovchenko (Dinamo Kiev)
Gennadi Vladimirovich Litovchenko (Dinamo Kiev)
Sergei Anatoliyevich Gotsmanov (Dinamo Minsk)
Pavel Aleksandrovich Yakovenko (Dinamo Kiev)
Vasili Karlovich Rats (Dinamo Kiev)
Alexander Anatolyevich Zavarov (Dinamo Kiev)
Oleg Valeriyevich Protasov (Dinamo Kiev)
Igor Ivanovich Belanov (Dinamo Kiev)
Viktor Vassilievich Pasulko (Spartak Moskva)
Sergei Yuriyevich Rodionov (Spartak Moskva)
Sergei Yevgenyevich Aleinikov (Dinamo Minsk)
Coach: Yuri Morozov (standing in for Valeri Vasilevich Lobanovsky)
Four Nations Easter Tournament Matches:
March 31, 1988- West Berlin - Olympiastadion
Referee: Joel Quiniou(France)
USSR 4-Argentina 2 (Alexander Zavarov 14, Gennadi Litovchenko 15, Oleg Protassov 62, 79 pen / Pedro Troglio 18, Diego Maradona 67)
USSR : 1-Rinat Dassayev (captain) , 3-Sergey Baltacha, 2-Vladimir Bessonov, 4-Oleg Kuznetsov, 5-Anatoli Demianenko, 7-Tengiz Sulakvelidze (14-Pavel Yakovenko 72nd ), 8-Gennadi Litovchenko (13-Sergei Gotsmanov 84th ), 6-Vasili Rats, 9-Alexander Zavarov, 10-Oleg Protasov, 11-Igor Belanov (15-Viktor Pasulko 75th )
Booked: Pavel Yakovenko 75
Other Subs: 12-Viacheslavas Sukristovas, 16-Viktor Chanov
Argentina: 1-Nery Alberto Pumpido, 6-Oscar Alfredo Ruggeri, 3-Jose Luis Brown (15-Oscar Alfredo Garre 53rd ), 9-José Luis Cuciuffo, 7-Roberto Nestor Sensini, 4-Hernan Edgardo Diaz, 5-Ricardo Omar Giusti, 16-Julio Jorge Olarticoechea (14-Nestor Rolando Clausen 46th ), 11-Claudio Paul Caniggia, 8-Pedro Antonio Troglio, 10- Diego Armando Maradona (captain)
Other Subs: 12-Luis Alberto Islas, 17-Oscar Alberto Dertycia, 2- Sergio Daniel Batista
1-Julio Olarticochea replaced Batista in the starting lineup, just prior to kickoff
2-For More Detail about this match, see:
March 31, 1988- West Berlin - Olympiastadion
Referee: Lajos Hartman (Hungary)
West Germany 1-Sweden 1 (Klaus Allofs 42 / Peter Truedsson 74) (Penalty Kick shoot-ou : 2-4 )
West Germany: 1-Eike Immel, 5-Matthias Herget, 2-Thomas Berthold (15-Stefan Reuter 75th ), 4-Jürgen Kohler, 6-Guido Buchwald, 3-Michael Frontzeck, 8- Lothar Herbert Matthäus, 7-Pierre Littbarski (16-Wolfgang Rolff 75th ), 10-Olaf Thon, 9-Rudolf 'Rudi' Völler, 11-Klaus Allofs (captain) (18-Dieter Eckstein 46th ) ,
Other Subs: 12-Bodo Illgner, 14- Hans Pflügler, 17-Manfred Schwabl
Sweden: 1-Jan Möller, 2-Roland Nilsson, 3-Glenn Hysén (Captain), 4-Peter Larsson, 5-Dennis Schiller, 6-Jonas Thern, 7-Glenn Strömberg, 8-Robert Prytz, 9-Hans Holmqvist, 10-Johnny Ekström (14-Joakim Nilsson 68th ), 11-Mats Gren (16-Peter Truedsson 61st )(15-Stefan Rehn 82nd )
Other Subs: 12- Thomas Ravelli, 13- Roger Ljung
Sequence of penalties:
Sweden: 1-0 Prytz, 2-1 Larsson, 3-2 Strömberg, 4-2 ThernWest Germany: 1:1 Olaf Thon, 2:2 Dieter Eckstein, 2:3 Lothar Matthäus (missed), 2:4 Rudolf 'Rudi' Völler (saved)
Photo From: (Magazine Source unknown) / Contribution From a blog viewer(West Germany squad, March 31, 1988, The Four Nations Easter Tournament, West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
Third Place Match
April 2, 1988- West Berlin - Olympiastadion
Referee: Kurt Röthlisberger (Switzerland)
West Germany 1-Argentina 0 (Lothar Herbert Matthäus 30)
West Germany: 1-Eike Immel, 5-Matthias Herget, 2-Thomas Berthold (14-Andreas Brehme 46th ), 4-Jürgen Kohler (13-Hans Pflügler 60th ), 3-Ulrich 'Uli' Borowka, 8- Lothar Herbert Matthäus, 10-Olaf Thon, 6-Wolfgang Rolff, 7-Jürgen Klinsmann, 9-Rudolf 'Rudi' Völler, 11-Dieter Eckstein (16-Frank Neubarth 81st )
Booked: Hans Pflügler
Other subs: Andreas Köpke, Frank Mill
Argentina: 1-Nery Alberto Pumpido, 6-Oscar Alfredo Ruggeri, 3-Jose Luis Brown, 2-Sergio Daniel Batista, 7-Roberto Nestor Sensini (17-Jose Luis Rodriguez 74th ), 9-Pedro Damian Monzón, 4-Hernan Edgardo Diaz, 5-Ricardo Omar Giusti, 11-Claudio Paul Caniggia, 8-Pedro Antonio Troglio, 10- Diego Armando Maradona (captain)Booked: Jose Luis Brown 27-, Ricardo Giusti 62, Pedro Monzon
April 2, 1988- West Berlin - Olympiastadion
Referee: Marcel van Langenhove (Belgium)
Sweden 2-USSR 0 (Hans Eskilsson 52, Hans Holmqvist 84)
Sweden: 1-Thomas Ravelli, 2-Roland Nilsson, 3-Glenn Hysén (Captain), 4-Peter Larsson, 5-Dennis Schiller (14-Roger Ljung 78th ) , 6-Jonas Thern (15-Glenn Strömberg 46th ), 7-Stefan Rehn, 8-Robert Prytz, 9-Joakim Nilsson, 10-Hans Eskilsson, 11-Hans Holmqvist
Booked: Hans Eskilsson
Other Subs:12- Jan Möller, 13-Andreas Ravelli, 16-Mats Gren
USSR : 1-Rinat Dassayev (captain), 2-Tengiz Sulakvelidze, 3-Sergey Baltacha, 4-Oleg Kuznetsov, 5-Anatoli Demianenko (14-Sergei Rodionov 74th), 7-Pavel Yakovenko (15-Sergei Aleinikov 69th), 8-Gennadi Litovchenko, 6-Vasili Rats, 9-Alexander Zavarov, 10-Oleg Protasov, 11-Viktor Pasulko (13-Sergei Gotsmanov 39th)
Booked: Oleg Kuznetsov
Other Subs:12-Viacheslavas Sukristovas, 16-Viktor ChanovNote: Rinat Dassayev had started the match wearing a yellow jersey. However, he later changed his yellow jersey to a gray one to avoid confusion with the Swedish players
Top Goalscorer- Peter Truedsson (Sweden), Oleg Protassov (USSR) 2 goals
Chronik des deutschen fussballs, 2005
El Grafico Number 3574), 1988 (‘No Basta con ser Campeon, Hay que Parecerlo’ By Aldo Proietto)
Foot Magazine , Issue 79, May 1988 (‘Olaf Thon, Sera -t-il le Messi Allemand?’ By Henri van der Steen)
World Soccer, May 1988 (‘Sweden win in West Berlin’ By Hentti Pietanen)