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LOTHAR MATTHAEUS (1961- )  
West Germany/Germany Midfielder
World Cup Record: 1982 (2nd), 1986 (2nd), 1990 (winner), 1994, 1998
  Matthaeus' driving midfield play propelled West Germany to the title in 1990. Allsport UK/Allsport

Matthaeus' record-breaking international career started at the 1980 European Championships and ended 22 years later at Euro 2000, taking in five World Cups in between.

In 1990, when West Germany won the World Cup in Italy, Matthaeus was at his peak as a driving midfielder.

In the opening game against Yugoslavia he scored two spectacular goals in a 4-1 win, bursting through the middle twice to fire in fierce shots, setting the tone for the West Germans' campaign. Matthaeus was outstanding against the Netherlands in the second round and scored the match-winning penalty against Czechoslovakia in the quarters.

West Germany needed a shootout to get past England but in the final Matthaeus again ran the show as his side avenged its defeat in the final by Argentina four years earlier with a 1-0 win.

In Mexico, Matthaeus had man-marked Diego Maradona, shackling the star of the tournament for most of the game only to let him wriggle free to lay on the winning goal in the final minutes. Nonetheless it had been an impressive competition for Matthaeus, confirming him as one of the world's great midfielders.

Matthaeus had also been in the West German squad that reached the final in 1982, but he only saw action in two early appearances as a substitute.

By 1994, he had dropped back to sweeper but Germany missed his presence in midfield and after its tame defeat by Bulgaria his German career seemed over.

But Matthaeus was called back into the 1998 World Cup squad as an experienced stand-in for the injured Matthias Sammer. The Germans again flopped in the quarterfinals, against Croatia, but Matthaeus took his tally of World Cup finals matches to a record 25.

In truth though, Matthaeus was living on past glories as became apparent at Euro 2000, when his poor contribution to Germany's shambolic campaign finally brought a celebrated international career to a bitter end.

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