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Saturday, June 26, 2010
Great England-Germany clashes

Michael Da Silva

English fans have long been accustomed to defeat to Germany - or rather West Germany - but the clash of the old foes never fails to get the heartbeat racing. On Sunday in Bloemfontein, England have a chance to end years of disappointment by adding to a rich history of one of football's classic fixtures. We look at some of the best. England 4-2 West Germany: July 30, 1966 (London, England) The original classic. England faced West Germany in the World Cup final and this was a matter of national pride as well as World Cup glory. Geoff Hurst - a replacement for the Jimmy Greaves, who picked up an injury earlier in the tournament - stole the show by scoring what is still the only ever World Cup final hat-trick. The debate over Hurst's second, however, still rumbles on, with West Germany adamant that the ball didn't cross the line after striking the underside of the bar. The protests were futile as Azerbaijani linesman Tofik Bakhramov awarded the goal and, in the dying seconds of extra-time, Hurst made sure England clinched the Jules Rimet Trophy with his final goal making it 4-2. West Germany 3-2 England: June 14, 1970 (Leon, Mexico) The England side of the 1970 World Cup was widely considered to be a stronger team than the one that was victorious four years earlier. Having reached the quarter-final, both sides were well fancied to go on to the final, but Germany had Gerd Muller, also known as Der Bomber. Having taken a two-goal lead through Alan Mullery and Martin Peters, England were in the driving seat but, as we know, things are never easy with England. Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler forced extra-time, and the prolific Muller then poached a winner. Germany seized revenge for '66. West Germany 1-1 England (4-3 on pens): July 4, 1990 (Turin, Italy) Having stuttered their way through Group F with an unimpressive four points, England reached the quarter-finals having scored just three goals but, after a last-gasp victory over Belgium and a hard-fought 3-2 win over Cameroon, the Germans were waiting in the semis. On a balmy night in northern Italy, West Germany took the lead with a deflected free-kick from Andreas Brehme, but Gary Lineker found an equaliser in the 80th minute. England forced the issue throughout extra-time when Chris Waddle struck the post, and Paul Gascoigne famously burst into tears after picking up the yellow card that would have ruled him out of the final. In the end, it wouldn't matter for England as they lost 4-3 on penalties, with Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle both fluffing their lines. Germany 1-1 England (6-5 on pens): June 26, 1996 (London, England) Just six years on from Turin, destiny was pear-shaped for England. Again. And penalties were the thorn in their side once more. This time, Gareth Southgate became the penalty-missing star of the new Pizza Hut commercials after England had battled throughout 120 minutes of thrills and spills in the European Championship semi final at Wembley. With the score level at 1-1, after Stefan Kuntz had cancelled out Alan Shearer's third minute header, Darren Anderton hit the post and Paul Gascoigne was inches away from connecting to a low cross in extra -time that would have given England a golden goal victory, but destiny lay in the form of a penalty shootout, which England lost 6-5. England 5-1 Germany: September 1, 2001 (Munich, Germany) England went to Munich needing a win to keep their hopes of topping their World Cup group alive. A defeat the previous autumn provided the old Wembley stadium with an unsatisfactory, rain-sodden farewell before its demolition. Kevin Keegan also threw in the towel after that 1-0 defeat, with another loss to the Germans seemingly too much for him to take. But it was a new England side that travelled to Munich less than a year later, under the management of their first foreign coach, Sven-Goran Eriksson, and it couldn't have gone better for the English (and the Swede). "5-1 and even Heskey scored" were the chants from the terraces of the Olympiastadion as the then-Liverpool striker scored the final goal in England's dismantling of the familiar foe, after a fresh-faced Michael Owen had bagged a memorable hat-trick.

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