1942 Death Match back in the news

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Seventy years ago, on Aug. 9, 1942, the stadium became the site of one of soccer’s most infamous and disputed games, the so-called Death Match. With Kiev under Nazi occupation during World War II, a group of Ukrainian players defeated a military team of Germans thought to be from artillery and perhaps Luftwaffe units.

According to legend, the Germans warned the local team beforehand or at halftime that it had better lose the match, and when the Ukrainians ignored the threat and prevailed, key members of the team were killed in retribution.

The final score was 5-3. That much seems widely agreed upon. And four or five Ukrainian players did die within six months of the game, according to various accounts. Were they killed because they won a soccer match? All the participants are believed to be dead. The truth remains elusive. One player who popularized the legend seemed to tell as many versions of the story as there were goals in the match, both burnishing the myth and betraying it.

That long-ago game is gaining renewed attention as Ukraine serves as a co-host for Euro 2012....

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