Wednesday Wisdom Understanding The England Germany Rivalry

England take on Germany tonight, and despite it being a friendly, there is always huge interest around the fixture. We all know where the rivalry stems from (don’t mention the war), but we’ll give you the history lesson from on the pitch.

There have been several matches over the years to go down in the footballing history books. We look at some of the key meetings between the two nations that make the rivalry so special. 

1966 World Cup Final: England 4-2 West Germany

Where else could you start this list? The 1966 World Cup Final will always be remembered by both teams - in particular England - as it is still their only ever triumph at a major tournament. 

The match was the first time the two countries had ever met in a competitive match and it couldn’t have been on a greater stage. Played in front of a crowd just under 100,000, England defeated West Germany 4-2 after extra-time, in controversial fashion. 

Geoff Hurst was the hero with a hat-trick, but there was much debate around his second goal that came back off the underside of the bar. It has since been proven that it never crossed the line, but you can’t take England’s sole World Cup success away from them! 


1990 World Cup Semi-Final: West Germany 1-1 England – Germany won on penalties

The sides met in the semi-finals of the 1990 Italy World Cup in another classic encounter. Germany had strolled their way to the last four, whereas England had required two after extra-time victories to make it there. 

Both nations were expectant going into the match, it was a time when both had star-studded line-ups. Andreas Brehme gave Germany the lead on the hour mark, but Gary Lineker equalised with ten minutes to go. Neither side could find a winner in extra-time, so the match would go to penalties. 

The Germans were relentless; netting all four of their spot-kicks. England faltered under the pressure, with Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missing as Germany progressed to the final and eventually won the tournament. This wasn’t to be the end of Germany and England’s penalty battle, though.


1996 European Championships: Germany 1-1 England – Germany won on penalties

Six years later, it was to be a case of déjà vu as the two sides met in the semi-finals of the European Championships at Wembley. 

Alan Shearer sent the home crowd into hysteria with an early goal, but Stefan Kuntz soon levelled things up. No winner could be found from either side, so it was to be decided on penalties again. England matched Germany for the first five spot-kicks, but after Andreas Moller scored Germany’s sixth, current England boss Gareth Southgate missed, ending England’s dream of ending 30 years of hurt. 

As happened six years previous, Germany went on to win the tournament, defeating Czech Republic in the final. 


2001 World Cup Qualifier: Germany 1-5 England

England’s greatest performance ever against their arch rivals came back in 2001 as they thumped Germany in Munich. 

Carsten Jancker opened the scoring for the hosts, but it was all England thereafter; with Michael Owen scoring a famous hat-trick, along with goals from Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey. 

It was a win that ultimately allowed England to finish ahead of Germany in their qualifying group, and got England fans on board with their first ever foreign manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson. 


2010 World Cup Round of 16: Germany 4-1 England

It was to be another nine years before the two met in a competitive match. The stage was the 2010 South Africa World Cup and it was to be yet another controversial clash. 

No-one can deny Germany were the far superior team and took an early two-goal lead through Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski. Matthew Upson gave England a lifeline, before the big talking point took place. 

Frank Lampard’s effort came back off the bar and bounced over the line, but the officials didn’t award it. The Germans argued that it was karma, 44 years on from the 1966 World Cup Final, but England had every right to feel aggrieved. 

Two further goals from Thomas Muller embarrassed England, but one thing that did come from the match was the introduction of goal-line technology.


Title image credit: Evening Standard

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Date Posted: Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Author: George Crewe