Famous Five: England v Germany clashes at major finals

There always seems to be drama and excitement when these two old rivals meet, especially in the World Cup and European Championships.

Matthew Crist

From famous World Cup encounters to Gazza’s tears at Euro ’96, England versus Germany games at major finals never seem to disappoint each time they come around.

The first England v Germany match was actually a 3-3 draw in 1930 and another seven meetings took place between then and February 1966; all England victories, but all eight fixtures were friendlies.

That meant the World Cup final of July 1966 was actually the first competitive fixture between the two, one of just two victories for England over Germany at a major tournament – the second coming in Euro 2000 with a 1-0 win in Charleroi.

However, it is now 11 years since the last competitive meeting between the two – with England thumped 4-1 in the last 16 of the World Cup in South Africa.

So here is a look back at just a few ahead of Tuesday night’s clash at Wembley Stadium.

England 4 West Germany 2: 1966 World Cup final

George Cohen England

Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick in 1966 is part of football folklore in England, but will always be remembered for the controversy that surrounded the crucial third England goal.

After 90 minutes the sides were level at 2-2 thanks to Wolfgang Weber’s last-minute equaliser for the Germans and Hurst’s second goal came in extra-time when his shot bounced down off the underside of the bar and Tofiq Bahramov, a linesman from Azerbaijan, awarded the goal.

Hurst completed his hat-trick in the final minute of extra-time, a strike immortalised by Kenneth Wolstenholme’s iconic BBC TV commentary: “Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over… It is now, it’s four!”

West Germany 3 England 2: 1970 World Cup semi-final

England Germany 1970

England went into the tournament confident they could retain their title and after 50 minutes of their quarter-final, England looked to be on course to progress when Martin Peters added to Alan Mullery’s opener and made it 2-0.

But West Germany pulled a goal back when England keeper Peter Bonetti – playing in place of Gordon Banks, who had food poisoning – somehow dived over a Franz Beckenbauer shot and eight minutes later Uwe Seller equalised to take the game to extra-time.

Some might say karma intervened when Geoff Hurst had a perfectly good goal ruled out, four years after his controversial goal in the 66 final before legendary West German striker Gerd Muller volleyed in the winner to seal a dramatic comeback victory.

England 1 West Germany 1: 1990 World Cup semi-final

England v Germany 1990

The Three Lions lost in the World Cup semi-final against a side that has proven to be a constant thorn in their side at major tournaments over the years.

After a highly contested 60 minutes, Germany opened the scoring through an Andreas Brehme strike before Gary Lineker equalised late on to take the game to extra time.

Paul Gascoigne’s second yellow card of the tournament meant he would miss the final if England made it that far, leading to famous scenes of the young midfielder in tears on the pitch as the game went on around him.

But Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed their spot-kicks to ensure England bowed out to Germany, and it would be 28 years before they reached another World Cup semi-final.

England 1 Germany 1: 1996 Euros semi-final

England Euro 96

Six years after the heartbreak of Italia ‘90, they would once again fail from 12 yards after a stalemate between the two sides in the semie-final of Euro ’96 – a tournament that captured the imagination of the English public.

Both goals at Wembley that night came in the opening 20 minutes of the game through Alan Shearer and Stefan Kuntz but the game would go the distance, with Gazza inches away from converting what would have been a golden goal.

In the inevitable penalty shootout that followed, current England manager Gareth Southgate missed the crucial sixth spot-kick and England were eliminated in the semi-finals on home soil by their old enemy, who went on to win the tournament.

Germany 4 England 1: 2010 World Cup Last 16

Gary Neville England

Joachim Low’s Germany blew the Three Lions away, winning the game 4-1 thanks to goals from Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Muller.

England’s only goal came courtesy of a header from centre-back Matt Upson, a strike that reduced the deficit to just 2-1 but shortly after Upson’s goal, one of the most infamous incidents in footballing history took place as Frank Lampard’s effort crashed off the underside of Manuel Neuer’s crossbar and clearly landed behind the line.

But in the end, England were deservedly thrashed by Germany after a truly woeful showing in the final 45 minutes of the game in what was the last meeting between these two sides at a major tournament – until now.



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