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Erich Juskowiak

Personal information
Date of birth7 September 1926
Place of birthOberhausen, Germany
Date of death1 July 1983(age 56)
Place of deathDüsseldorf, West Germany
Playing positionDefender

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Erich Juskowiak (7 September 1926 in Oberhausen 1 July 1983 in Düsseldorf) was a former football (soccer) player for the German national team between 1951 and 1959. He earned 31 caps and 4 goals for Germany. His position was left back. He played in the World Cup Finals in 1958 where Germany reached the semi-final.

Juskowiak served in World War II where he got injured several times and even survived a shot in the head. After the war, Juskowiak joined Rot-Weiß Oberhausen where he began as an outside forward. It soon was discovered though that he was more useful as a defender. After switching to the right back position, he got the attention of German national team coach Sepp Herberger and debuted in the German national team on December 23, 1951, against Luxembourg.

Juskowiak's hopes of making the 1954 German World Cup squad however did not materialize, as it would take three years before he would play again for Germany (December 1954). Switching from right back to left back frequently in the next two years, Juskowiak finally settled as a left back in 1957. By that time, Juskowiak was rated as one of the best full backs in Germany. Based on his performances in 1958 and 1959, Kicker (sports magazine) rated him world class in their biennal Rangliste des deutschen Fußballs (ranking list of German football). He was mostly known for his very hard shot, which earned him his nickname "Hammer".

The pinnacle of his career came when he was a starter for West Germany in the 1958 FIFA World Cup. In the semifinal against hosts Sweden, his opponent was outside right Kurt Hamrin. After Juskowiak was fouled by Hamrin, he struck Hamrin down in revenge and was sent off in the 59th minute. He was the first German player to be sent off in a World Cup game.

After several injuries, Juskowiak ended his career in 1962. His last game for Fortuna Düsseldorf ended on a less laudable note: after a verbal dispute with spectators in the game against VfB Bottrop, he just left the pitch shortly before the end of the game without returning.

He died in 1983 from a heart failure while driving his car. A year earlier, in April 1982 he had traveled to Gothenburg to make up with Kurt Hamrin.

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