Friday, December 16, 2011

16 December 2006 - An Expensive Sheet Of Stationery

On 16 December 2006, a note belonging to German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann sold at auction for €1 million. It was the cheat sheet that helped him guide Germany past Argentina in a quarterfinal shootout at the 2006 World Cup.

Although Lehmann made his national team debut in 1998, he spent the first several years stuck behind Oliver Kahn and did not play in the 1998 or 2002 World Cups. But he finally supplanted Kahn as Germany's number one for the 2006 tournament and had an impressive run, giving up two goals in their opening match, then keeping three straight clean sheets to set up the quarterfinal meeting with Argentina.

The Argentines took a 49th-minute lead with a goal from Roberto Ayala, but Miroslav Klose's 80th-minute equalizer sent the match into extra time, which finished 1-1 to set up a penalty shootout. In preparation, Germany's goalkeeper coach, Andreas Koepke, gave a note to Lehmann with a listing of some of Argentina's likely shooters and their tendencies. Lehmann kept it in his sock and checked it before every kick.

Argentina's Julio Cruz converted their first kick, but Lehmann stopped their second attempt, diving to his left to catch Ayala's shot (for Ayala, the note said "long wait, long run right"). He nearly stopped their third attempt, then--with Germany up 4-2--he again dove to his left to deny the shot from Esteban Cambiasso (whose name wasn't even on the list) and secure the victory.

Lehmann kept the note, then donated it to a charity auction where it was purchased by a German utility company, Energie Baden-Wuerttenberg.

[Click here to see the penalty shootout on YouTube.]

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