PORTO SEGURO, Brazil (AP) — There won't be friendly phone calls, there won't be any dirty deals. That's the promise from both sides ahead of Germany's final Group G match against the United States.
A draw on Thursday in Recife would see both teams advance to the knockout stage at the expense of Portugal and Ghana, who play at the same time in Brasilia.
Both sides have been answering questions about a possible conspiracy, or as the Germans call it, a "non-aggression pact," and both have sharply rejected any suggestions of a deal.
No wonder the questions are being asked, since the Germans were jointly responsible for one of the more shameful episodes in World Cup history. Germany scored after 10 minutes against Austria at the 1982 World Cup in Gijon, Spain, and the two teams just knocked the ball around for the next 80 minutes since the outcome guaranteed a slot in the next round for both. It also eliminated Algeria, which had stunned Germany 2-1 in their opener.
After that match, FIFA made sure that final group matches are played simultaneously, to reduce the possibility of a 'gentlemen's agreement.'
Germany and the United States are linked in many ways. Five players on the U.S. team have American fathers and German mothers, with four of them playing in the Bundesliga.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was a star of the Germany team that won the last of its three World Cup titles in 1990. He also scored when the two teams last met at a World Cup, a 2-0 victory for Germany at the 1998 tournament in France.
In 2006 at home, Klinsmann guided Germany to a third-place finish as coach, with assistant Joachim Loew, who is now Germany's coach. Berti Vogts, one of Klinsmann's staff, was the coach of Germany when it won its last title, the 1996 European Championship.