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DATELINE 2002 WORLD CUP / GERMANY

Walter, Captain of 1954 Champion, Dies at 81

June 18, 2002|Jim Barrero

Fritz Walter, the captain of the West German soccer team that won the country's first World Cup title in 1954, has died. He was 81.

Walter was born Oct. 31, 1920, in Kaiserslautern. Regarded as one of the best German players ever, he led the team that provided one of the pivotal moments in Germany's post-World War II history by stunning favored Hungary, 3-2, in the final in the Swiss capital of Bern.

Michael Novak, a spokesman for FC Kaiserslautern, said Walter died in his sleep Monday afternoon at his home in the western town of Enkenbach-Alsenborn.

Germany's national team will make its 14th appearance in the World Cup quarterfinals Friday, was granted permission by FIFA to wear black ribbons during the game against the United States.

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