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When Jens Lehmann Pulled The 'Cheat Sheet' From His Shin-Pad For Every Penalty Of Shoot-Out

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When Jens Lehmann Pulled The 'Cheat Sheet' From His Shin-Pad For Every Penalty Of Shoot-Out

Picture the scene; it's the 2006 World Cup and hosts Germany face their toughest test yet - a quarter-final tie against two-time winners Argentina.

After a close affair in the first half, José Pekerman's side silence the Olympiastadion when Roberto Ayala powers home a bullet header from a Juan Roman Riquelme corner to give La Albiceleste a slender lead after the restart.


Argentina try and sink the hosts but the ever-reliable Miroslav Klose levels with ten minutes remaining after heading in a Tim Borowski flick on.

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Germany, who had beaten Sweden a week previously thanks to a Lukas Podolski brace, continue to press for a winner but despite chances throughout, both teams cannot be seperated in extra time.

As doubts started to creep in from German fans around the world, goalkeeper Jens Lehmann steps up.

The infamous 'cheat sheet' is born.

Image: FIFA World Cup/YouTube
Image: FIFA World Cup/YouTube
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Image: FIFA World Cup/YouTube
Image: FIFA World Cup/YouTube

With the help of a crumpled note stuffed down his moist shin-pad, the former Arsenal keeper unnerved the Argentines and the rest is history.

Lehmann said at the time the note was hard to read because it was written in pencil and damp with sweat but as you can see in the footage below, the veteran goalkeeper guessed right each time.

He went on to save Esteban Cambiasso's low effort after keeping out Roberto Ayala's miserable shot earlier on, helping the Germans progress into another semi-final.

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It was a stroke of genius from the shot-stopper.


Germany celebrated another shoot-out success thanks to the clever thinking of Lehmann and his sweaty notes but Jürgen Klinsmann's side could not lift the World Cup that year after being beaten by eventual winners Italy in the semi's.

Here's what those notes looked like:

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  1. Riquelme left high
  2. Crespo long run/right, short run/left
  3. Heinze left low
  4. Ayala long wait, long run right
  5. Messi left
  6. Aimar long wait left
  7. Rodriguez left

Months after the infamous 'clean sheet' incident, someone actually paid a whopping $1.3 million for that crumpled piece of paper after Lehamnn decided to auction it off for charity.

"I didn't realise the importance of the note at the time but after the match I saw it lying on the locker room floor next to my socks and thought I should hold on to it." he told German television, moments after it was sold.

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Thoughts on Lehmann's tactics during the shoot-out in 2006?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: FIFA

Topics: Football News, Football, Germany, Argentina, World Cup

Jack Kenmare
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