Monday, September 26, 2022

East Germany captain at 1974 World Cup dies

HALLE, Germany ( Associated Press) — Bernd Bransch, the captain of the East German team at its only World Cup, which included a symbolic victory over West Germany during the Cold War, has died. He was 77 years old.

Hallescher FC, Bransch’s former club, said in a statement on Sunday that the player died on Saturday after a “long and serious illness.”

Bransch was the East German equivalent of Franz Beckenbauer, the West German star. They were the captains, performing in the libero position in both teams.

When they met at the 1974 World Cup in West Germany, Bransch’s team caused an upset by beating the Western team 1-0 with a goal from Jürgen Sparwasser. Both teams made it through the first round, but East Germany bowed out in the next round. West Germany defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in the final.

The crowning achievement of Bransch’s career came two years ago when he claimed the Olympic gold medal with East Germany, coming off the bench in a 3-1 win over Poland in the Montreal Games final. In those days, Olympic football was played solely by amateurs, although states allied with the Soviet Union like East Germany were sweeping squads packed with players registered as amateurs but playing full-time.

Hallescher FC, which was called HFC Chemie in the East German league when Bransch was a player, reported that Bransch retired in 1977 and later served as club president.

Nation World News Desk
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