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Germany

Germany

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Team Profile: Germany

GettyImagesWest Germany triumphed in 1974 led by Franz Beckenbauer

Appearances at finals:
(As East Germany)
1974 - Second round

(As West Germany)
1954 - Winners
1958 - Fourth place
1962 - Quarter-finals
1966 - Runners-up
1970 - Third place
1974 - Winners
1978 - Second round
1982 - Runners-up
1986 - Runners-up
1990 - Winners

(As Germany)
1934 - Third place
1938 - First round
1994 - Quarter-finals
1998 - Quarter-finals
2002 - Runners-up
2006 - Third place

Overall record at finals: Played 58, Won 37, Drawn 9, Lost 12.

Best performance: Winning the tournament in 1954, 1974 and 1990.

Most appearances at finals: Lothar Matthäus (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998) - 25.

Most goals at finals: Gerd Müller (1970, 1974) - 14.

World Cup high: Winning the World Cup on home turf in 1974 with a 2-1 win in the final to beat Johan Cruyff's Netherlands, who were famed for their 'total football' and widely acknowledged as one of the greatest sides in history.

World Cup low: Losing in the 1966 final to England after a contentious goal from Geoff Hurst that may or may not have crossed the line at Wembley, depending on your geographical location. It was the opinion of Azerbaijani linesman Tofik Bakhramov that counted, though.

World Cup legend: Franz Beckenbauer was perhaps the finest sweeper in football history. Der Kaiser captained Germany to glory in 1974, managed the team that won the 1990 tournament and, for good measure, helped bring the World Cup to German soil as the key figure in the 2006 bid team.

The story so far: 'Never write off the Germans' is the old refrain - and with good reason. Reaching seven finals in their history, five times as West Germany before the reunification of the country, the Germans have reached the quarter-finals in every tournament since 1982 and are the very model of consistency.

Their first triumph came in the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland courtesy of a shock victory over the 'Magical Magyars' of Hungary, despite going 2-0 down to the team of Ferenc Puskas. The odds were upset once again in 1974 when Johan Cruyff's Netherlands went a goal up in the final only to lose 2-1 as West Germany triumphed on home turf. A hat-trick of titles was complete when Andreas Brehme struck with five minutes remaining to defeat Argentina in the final of Italia 90 and confirm Germany as a nation with outstanding World Cup pedigree.

Qualification: Germany enjoyed an unbeaten qualifying campaign under Joachim Loew as they held off the challenge of Guus Hiddink's Russia to secure top spot in Group Four. After starting their campaign in ominous fashion with a 6-0 hammering of Liechtenstein, the key to Germany's qualification was their two victories over Russia, the second of which was a 1-0 win in Moscow in October that guaranteed their participation in the finals in South Africa.

Qualifying record: P10, W8, D2, L0, F26, A5, Pts26.

Most appearances: Philipp Lahm, Mario Gomez (10).

Top goalscorer: Miroslav Klose (7).