Although Terry Yorath’s Cymru were undefeated in their previous three games, few could have predicted what would happen as the side prepared for the challenge of taking on the reigning world champions Germany in EURO qualifying in Cardiff.

On a June evening in 1991, a capacity crowd at the Arms Park came out to see the side that had triumphed over Argentina in Rome a year before.

Andreas Brehme scored the decisive goal in the 1990 World Cup final from the penalty spot for Franz Beckenbauer’s side to confirm his place in German football folklore. However, Der Kaiser had since been replaced by Berti Vogts as manager by the time Die Mannschaft arrived in the Welsh capital. Germany had not lost a match in over 15 months and 16 games, but all good things must come to an end.

Captains Kevin Ratcliffe and Lothar Matthäus exchanged pennants and pleasantries ahead of kick-off, but there was no fear in the Cymru side despite Germany including the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Rudi Voller, Matthias Sammer and other established stars of the European game in their starting line-up.

Cymru countered their illustrious opponents from the start with Mark Aizlewood assigned no-nonsense marking duties on Klinsmann, and Andy Melville tasked with keeping Voller in check. Both defenders ensured their opposite numbers were left frustrated and rattled, and with Ian Rush, Mark Hughes and Dean Saunders all starting, Cymru always had a chance at the other end of the field.

And it was Rush who would prove to be the difference on this famous night. Enjoying his club football again having returned to Liverpool after his brief spell in Turin with Juventus, Rush found himself in space in the area, and made no mistake as he finished past goalkeeper Bodo Illgner. It was the ninth meeting between the two nations, and Rush’s goal would earn Cymru their first win.

Cymru repeated the feat in May 2002 when Robert Earnshaw scored the only goal of the game as Germany were again defeated 1-0 in Cardiff in an international friendly. However, the kudos of beating the world champions in a competitive match in 1991 should not be underestimated. Yorath deserves credit for what was an extremely disciplined and well-organised display, as few nations have made things that difficult for the reigning World Cup holders.

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