The 12 greatest England vs Germany moments of all time
OK, we admit it: Germany don't take this rivalry as seriously as England do - they have a much richer historical beef with the Dutch, and as rivalries go, England's one World Cup final appearance doesn't really compare with Germany's eight. There have, nonetheless, been some terrific games between the two countries down the years - and the head-to-head record is closer than you think.
Indeed, the Three Lions have won 13, drawn three and lost 15 of their games against die Mannschaft. In this slideshow, we take a look at the 12 most memorable matches the pair have contested.
12. England 0-0 West Germany, 1982
Although by no means the most thrilling encounter, this goalless draw formed part of West Germany’s run to the 1982 World Cup final. Both teams had advanced to the second group stage after topping their respective sections in the first round, England finishing ahead of France, Czechoslovakia and Kuwait, and West Germany squeezing past Austria, Algeria and Chile.
Having been drawn alongside Spain in a three-team group from which only one team could qualify, both teams were aware that defeat would effectively mean elimination and this was a predictably cagey affair. Neither England nor West Germany were able to land a decisive blow, and the latter’s subsequent 2-1 victory over Spain was enough to see them through to the semi-finals after England were held to a second successive stalemate by the host country – sending Ron Greenwood's side home despite being undefeated in the five games and only conceding one goal.
11. Germany 3-3 England, 1930
The first ever meeting between the two nations was a six-goal thriller played in Berlin in May 1930. Joe Bradford gave England the lead after just eight minutes, but the Germans hit back through Richard Hofmann. Bradford then restored the visitors’ advantage, but two more goals widely credited to Hofmann – there is some confusion over the scorer’s identity, with other sources awarding them to similarly-surnamed team-mate Ludwig Hofmann – turned the game on its head.
England immediately went on the attack after falling behind on the hour mark, but they had to wait until the 78th minute for an equaliser. Arsenal forward David Jack, pictured above, was the man responsible, earning his country a draw at the Grunewald Stadion.
10. England 0-1 Germany, 2000
The final match at the old Wembley ended in defeat for England, with a rare goal from holding midfielder Dietmar Hamann – aided by an error from David Seaman – earning Germany victory in this World Cup qualifier.
England dominated possession after falling behind in the 14th minute, but their lack of attacking ideas was evident and piled the pressure on under-fire manager Kevin Keegan. Despite that, it still came as a major shock when the former Newcastle boss resigned in a Wembley toilet immediately after the game, before adopting the third person to say, “I just feel that for Kevin Keegan there is nothing more in football I want to do.”
9. England 3-1 West Germany, 1954
In the 1954 World Cup final, West Germany had delivered one of the biggest shocks in football history by recovering from going two goals down inside eight minutes to beat overwhelming favourites Hungary in what became known as the Miracle of Bern.
England were eliminated from the tournament by Uruguay in the quarter-finals, but they belatedly made their own statement by defeating the world champions in front of 100,000 fans at Wembley a few months later. Goals from Roy Bentley, Ronnie Allen and Len Shackleton helped Walter Winterbottom’s men to a 3-1 victory, with Alfred Beck netting for Germany in their third loss since the World Cup.
8. England 1-0 Germany, 2000
Four years on from a German-induced heartbreak at the European Championship (more on that later), England got a measure of revenge in Belgium. Drawn alongside Portugal and Romania in Euro 2000’s group of death, both sides needed all three points when they went head-to-head at the Stade du Pays de Charleroi after failing to win their opening games.
Alan Shearer scored the only goal, nodding home David Beckham’s free-kick to give England their first competitive triumph over Germany in almost three-and-a-half decades. Yet even in defeat it was die Mannschaft who had the last laugh: their shocking showing at Euro 2000 prompted a revolution in German football, which eventually led to the country’s fourth World Cup triumph in 2014.
7. England 1-3 West Germany, 1972
Giving what is regarded by many as the best performance in die Mannschaft’s history, West Germany swept England aside at Wembley in the first leg of their qualification play-off for Euro 1972. The match was essentially a quarter-final – only four teams advanced to the tournament proper in those days – and Helmut Schon’s side established themselves as favourites to lift the trophy after this superb showing in London.
Gerd Muller scored two and Herbert Wimmer grabbed the other, but captain Franz Beckenbauer was the star of the show in his attacking sweeper role. This was Germany’s first victory over England away from home since 1908.
6. Germany 1-5 England, 2001
Sven-Goran Eriksson wasn’t a universally popular appointment as England boss in 2001, but this sensational success against Germany helped the country’s first ever foreign manager win over the sceptics. The Three Lions trailed die Mannschaft by three points ahead of this qualifier for World Cup 2002, and the Germans knew that victory in Munich would effectively wrap up top spot in Group 9.
They got off to the perfect start, Carsten Jancker firing the hosts ahead after just six minutes, but Michael Owen’s hat-trick and further efforts from Steven Gerrard and Emily Heskey left Germany stunned. After climbing into first place on goal difference, England secured automatic qualification with a 2-0 victory over Albania and nervy 2-2 draw with Greece.
5. Germany 4-1 England, 2010
Although their performances in the group stage were painfully laboured, England’s return of five points from meetings with the United States, Algeria and Slovenia was enough for a place in the round of 16. Optimism was high despite the Three Lions’ early struggles, largely because their opponents’ 2010 offering wasn’t considered a vintage German squad.
Yet it soon became clear that Joachim Low’s charges were a cut above Fabio Capello’s, even if things could have been different had Frank Lampard’s ‘goal’ not been wrongfully disallowed; indeed, England had more possession and more shots, for what it's worth. In truth, though, England were outclassed and out-thought by a German team who ran riot on the counter-attack.
4. West Germany 3-2 England, 1970
While Italy’s 4-3 triumph over West Germany in the last four was undoubtedly the best game at the 1970 World Cup and one of the most entertaining of all time, the Germans’ quarter-final wasn't without its fair share of thrills and spills.
Defending champions England may have lost to Brazil in the group stage, but they were still widely fancied to retain their crown in Mexico as the knockout rounds got under way. Alf Ramsey’s side had one foot in the semi-finals after Alan Mullery and Martin Peters gave them a two-goal lead at the Estadio Nou Camp, but West Germany hit back through Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler, before Gerd Muller completed a magnificent comeback in extra time.
3. West Germany 1-1 England, 1990
England had left it late before overcoming Belgium in the round of 16 at the 1990 World Cup, with David Platt’s strike in the 119th minute proving decisive. They again required extra time to edge past Cameroon in the last eight, setting up a semi-final clash with West Germany in Turin.
An additional 30 minutes were required once again, but this time England couldn't find the goal they needed following efforts from Andreas Brehme and Gary Lineker in regulation time. After Paul Gascoigne had shed tears after receiving a yellow card that would rule him out of the final, spot-kick shootout failures from Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle sent Franz Beckenbauer's side through to the final.
2. England 1-1 Germany, 1996
England may have failed to qualify for the World Cup two years previously, but victories over Scotland (2-0) and the Netherlands (4-1) in the group stage of Euro 1996 made many believe the Three Lions could do something special on home soil.
That feeling was only strengthened when Spain were defeated on penalties in the quarter-finals, but Germany were always likely to provide a stiffer test in the last four. Alan Shearer’s opener was cancelled out by Stefan Kuntz in the 14th minute; the remainder of the game, including extra time, featured no more goals, at least until the shoot-out’s first 11 penalties were finished with aplomb. Gareth Southgate, stepping up for the 12th, couldn’t convert, however, and England were out.
1. England 4-2 West Germany, 1966
The greatest day in the history of English football featured a victory over the Germans in the final of the 1966 World Cup. Narrow wins against Argentina and Portugal earned the Three Lions a place in the Wembley showpiece, with West Germany defeating Uruguay and the Soviet Union in the knockout stage to reach their first final since 1954.
Helmut Haller gave die Mannschaft the lead in the 12th minute, but Geoff Hurst levelled the scores soon after. Martin Peters and Wolfgang Weber both then found the net in the second half, before two more goals from Hurst – the former of which remains contentious to this day – in extra time made England champions of the world.
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