Controversy, penalties and a resignation: Best England vs Germany games remembered

The two rivals have met in some famous games over the years

Carl Markham
Thursday 24 June 2021 14:46
England fans celebrate goal against Czech Republic

England’s last-16 draw against Germany in Euro 2020 conjures up memories of some classic encounters down the years.

Here we look at some of the most significant meetings during the 91-year history of fixtures between the two.

Germany 4 England 1, Bloemfontein, June 2010

England’s Frank Lampard puts his hands to his head

It is 11 years since the pair met at a major finals and, like many of their encounters, this World Cup last-16 tie did not end well for England. The match is memorable for Frank Lampard’s goal that never was after his shot cannoned down off the crossbar, clearly crossing the line before being grabbed by Manuel Neuer That would have made it 2-2 just before half-time after Matthew Upson’s header had halved the deficit following goals from Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski. Thomas Muller then scored twice in three minutes midway through the second half to take the game away from Fabio Capello’s side.

Germany 1 England 5, Munich, September 2001

England’s greatest performance against a unified Germany team, accomplished on their own turf. Carsten Jancker gave the hosts the lead in Munich but then Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Liverpool trio came to the fore.  Michael Owen netted a hat-trick and Steven Gerrard fired a superb half-volley to give the visitors control, before Emile Heskey rounded off the scoring, It was only Germany’s second home World Cup qualifying defeat.

England 0 Germany 1, Wembley October 2000

Kevin Keegan scratches his head

England’s final match at the old Wembley ended in double disappointment with the defeat immediately followed by manager Kevin Keegan’s resignation, a decision made in a dressing room toilet cubicle. Wet weather played a part in Dietmar Hamann’s free-kick winner but there were other significant factors; namely England’s failure to assemble a defensive wall and the 35-yard shot squirm through the grasp of goalkeeper David Seaman Within minutes of leaving the pitch, Keegan had also left his job.

England 1 Germany 1 (Germany win 6-5 on penalties), Wembley, June 1996

Gareth Southgate stands with his hands behind his head after missing a penalty

The greatest heartbreak comes in the biggest moments and this was probably the most difficult to take, coming at a European Championship England were hosting. The mood of a nation was shattered by a penalty shoot-out defeat in which current boss Gareth Southgate missed the decisive spot-kick. Alan Shearer’s header was cancelled out by Stefan Kuntz’s goal and when Paul Gascoigne now famously failed to connect with Shearer’s cross by a matter of centimetres the game went to penalties, with Southgate the first to miss.

Germany 1 England 1 (Germany won 4-3 on penalties), Turin, July 1990

Another penalty hard-luck story for England, this time in a World Cup semi-final. Gary Lineker’s 81st minute goal had cancelled out Andreas Brehme’s wickedly-deflected free-kick and led to another 30 minutes of extra time. Gascoigne’s tears after a booking which would have ruled him out of the final were soon replaced by widespread weeping as Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle both blazed wildly over in the shoot-out.

Germany 3 England 2, Leon, June 1970

Germany secured their revenge four years earlier in their World Cup quarter-final in Mexico. Food poisoning ruled out Gordon Banks and second-choice Peter Bonetti had an afternoon to forget. For 69 minutes England were in command thanks to goals from Alan Mullery and Martin Peters but when Franz Beckenbauer’s shot squirmed under Bonetti the dynamic changed and 5ft 7ins Uwe Seeler’s backheader took the match into extra time, when Gerd Muller volleyed home for Germany’s first competitive win over England.

England 4 West Germany 2, Wembley, July 1966

England’s Geoff Hurst shoots past shot German goalkeeper Hans Tilkowsk

England’s solitary World Cup triumph came on home soil but the final against a then post-war West Germany was not without controversy. Geoff Hurst became the first player to score a hat-trick in the final, his third strike to make it 4-2 in extra time prompting the famous line from commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme: “Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over. It is now.” Goals from Martin Peters and Hurst, cancelled out by Helmut Haller and Wolfgang Weber, in the 90th minute, took the game into extra time, in which Hurst’s shot bounced down off the crossbar. Azerbaijani linesman Tofiq Bahramov gave the goal despite German protests.

Germany 3 England 6, Berlin, May 1938

It may have only been a friendly but there were much wider implications from the match in the Olympic Stadium watched by 110,000 which formed part of Adolf Hitler’s propaganda strategy. Under Foreign Office orders the team gave a Nazi salute during the playing of the German anthem – a moment which remains a contentious topic – and anecdotal stories claim the players were ready to mutiny. England won the game thanks to goals from Cliff Bastin, Jackie Robinson (two) Frank Broome, Stanley Matthews and Len Goulden but the real victory was a PR one for the Fuhrer. World War Two was declared a year later.

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