Jonathan Wilson runs down the sensational schemers, stoppers and strikers of a star-studded World Cup.
Normally a goalscoring midfielder, Balakov failed to find the net at USA 94 and missed his penalty in the second-round shootout victory against Mexico, but he was also at the centre of everything the surprise semi-finalists did well – the schemer to Stoichkov’s spearhead. The two complemented each other perfectly on the field, despite often being at each other’s throats off it. Balakov moved to Stuttgart a year after the World Cup, where coach Joachim Loew – now in charge of Germany – hailed him the best playmaker in Europe.
Klinsmann was just as potent as he had been four years earlier; the difference this time was that Germany’s midfield lacked the same drive. Having got the only goal in the opener against Bolivia, he headed an excellent equaliser against Spain, scored two against South Korea – flicking the first up for a volley, taking down a cross on his chest for the second – and then got Germany’s second in a 3-2 win over Belgium after a slick one-two with Rudi Voller. Quick, mobile and deadly, he was arguably the best striker in the world at the time.
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