Start Believing: Beckenbauer sings when he's winning

Germany's 1990 World Cup musical rituals features in the latest of our series chronicling the extraordinary power of belief
In contrast to his moody approach to the 1986 World Cup tournament – when he openly criticised his players on occasions – West German coach Franz Beckenbauer was full of beans at Italia '90. Perhaps it was because of Germany's imminent unification (this would be the last time West Germany played in an international tournament, and 'Der Kaiser' claimed – mistakenly as it turned out – that a unified Germany would dominate world football for decades).

Perhaps it was because he now had a group of players who "are together as a group and not out for their own gain". Or possibly it was because Beckenbauer encouraged his players to sing raucously at every available opportunity during the tournament. Sometimes, they belted out folksy German songs, sometimes the national anthem.

"Singing and clapping together has become part of our routine. I'm convinced that it contributes to our overall feeling of strength and unity"

But whatever the tune, Franz waxed lyrical about the galvanising effect that music was having on his team. "It's become part of our routine after games that we sing and clap together to make us feel strong and united. I'm convinced that it contributes to our overall feeling of strength and unity." Striker Jurgen Klinsmann concurred with his coach, adding: "It gives us a feelgood factor. It's become part of our matchday routine. It gives us a wonderful feeling of a team that's rock solid. Sometimes we sing at the team hotel too."

Fortunately for World Cup song enthusiasts, the West German penchant for singing raucously under Beckenbauer is preserved on YouTube, where Udo Jurgens' Italia 90 theme 'Wir sind schon auf dem Brenner' is there in all its schmaltzy glory. The Kaiser looks a bit uncomfortable with the whole thing, while Klinsmann's fake sax playing has to be seen to believed. Beckenbauer's belief in the power of song clearly worked though, with Andreas Brehme's penalty enough to defeat holders Argentina in the final.

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