With just three days to go for the World Cup, 2014 World Champions, Germany, are the favorites to win the World Cup yet again.
The Germans have won the World Cup four times so far and they will be eager to match Brazil’s record as the five-time Champions. Die Mannschaft have dominated the World Cup tournament as both West German and unified Germany. In total, Germans have reached eight finals, winning four and missing the glory on four occasions.
There is a reason why Gary Linekar says, “Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win”. And Germany’s World Cup record might just be one of that reason.
Here we take a look at Germany’s five greatest moments in the World Cup history:
West Germany vs Italy, 1970, Match of the Century:
This game missed our list only because of its final result, otherwise, the semi-final of the 1970 World Cup between West Germany and Italy is one of the best matches ever played in the World Cup history.
After dramatically beating England 3-2 in the quarter-final, Germans faced Italy in the semi-final. Azzurri took the lead in the 8th minute and looked set to win the semi-final. Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer also dislocated his shoulder during the game but decided to continue playing by simply strapping his arm.
And his fighting spirit was a motivation for his team-mates. Germany equalized in the 90th minute to take the game in the extra-time. And what happened in the next 30 minutes was pure madness.
Gerd Muller scored in the 94th minute to take the lead for Germany but Italians hit back with two goals in the first half of extra time to finish 3-2. Muller again scored in the 110th minute to level the scores, only for Italy to score the winning goal a minute later.
The match was rightly tagged as the Match of the Century and the Italians were mentally and physically so drained after the game that they could not even put a fight in the final against Brazil where the South Americans won the game 4-1.
Miroslav Klose Breaks Ronaldo Nazario’s Record, 2014:
Scoring a goal in the World Cup is a huge achievement for any footballer. But Germany’s Miroslav Klose has not one, not two, but 16 World Cup goals in four tournaments. The striker broke Ronaldo’s record of 15 goals in 2014 Brazil World Cup playing against Brazil. Coincidence?
Playing in the first semi-final of the tournament, Klose scored from the close range to score the 2nd of the seven famous goals against the hosts. The striker scored 5 goals each in 2002 and 2006 World Cup and also won the Golden Boot award in 2006. Klose added four more goals to his tally in the 2010 World Cup and scored 2 record-breaking goals in Germany’s triumphant World Cup campaign in 2014.
Klose’s record might be broken one day and with Muller on 10 goals, that day might come very soon. But regardless, former German striker deserved to be on the top of the goal scoring list with his performances on the biggest stage. And Klose also managed to finally get his hands on the trophy after three unsuccessful campaigns. Is Patience the key to success? Indeed!
East Germany’s only victory against West Germany in World Cup, 1974:
After the Second World War, Germany was divided into East and West Germany. And those political issues had its effects on football as well. The division of both the countries started a fierce rivalry between both. But West Germany was easily the strongest team due to the presence of Bundesliga. They also won the World Cup on 3 occasions.
But for East Germany, beating West Germany on the football field would have one way of releasing their frustration after the unfair treatment for them, post Second World War. And East Germany got their chance in the 1974 World Cup when both countries were drawn in the same group.
The venue couldn’t have been any better for East Germany as they were facing their fierce rivals in Hamburg, West Germany – A perfect place for a perfect revenge. And they delivered for the first and only time in World Cup, with Jürgen Sparwasser’s sole goal in the 77th minute. East Germany won the game 1-0 and for them, it was as huge as a World Cup triumph, if not bigger.
Although West Germany went on to win the World Cup in 1974, the victory was a huge success for East Germany, at least emotionally after tragic few years post Second World War.
A comeback against England in 1970:
West Germany was pitted against the Three Lions in the quarter-final of the 1970 World Cup and they were eager to take the revenge? Which revenge do you ask?
Four years ago in the final of the 1966 World Cup final, England beat West Germany 4-2 to win the World Cup. And the Englishmen not only defeated the Germans but also humiliated them with Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick in the final.
West Germany was itching to change it all in 1970, but England was too good for them, again. The Three Lions took the 2-0 lead in the 49th minute and looked all set to seal their place in the semi-finals. But a certain warrior named Franz Beckenbauer wasn’t ready to go down once again.
Beckenbauer scored an incredible in the 68th minute to start an unlikely comeback. Germans equalized in the 82nd minute and took the match into the extra-time, where Gerd Muller scored the winning goal to complete one of the best comebacks in the World Cup history.
West Germany failed to win their semi-final against Italy, but England suffered a lot after allowing the 2-0 advantage to slip. The Three Lions have since won only one quarter-final out of four.
Mario Gotze’s 113th Minute Winner, 2014:
Not the one for Messi fanboys, Mario Gotze’s goal against Argentina was special in many ways for the Germans. With his goal, Germany won their first World Cup since their unification back in 1990. It was also a big victory for Die Mannschaft as they had finished 2nd, 3rd and 3rd in the last three World Cups.
Germany faced Argentina in the final of the 2014 World Cup after humiliating Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final. Surprisingly, Argentines had better chances to score the first goal of the game through Higuain, Messi, and Palacio but missed all three of them.
Then came the famous substitution – Mario Gotze in for Klose in the 88th minute. And in the 113th minute of the game, with scores 0-0, Gotze received a cross from another substitute, Andre Schurrle’s, controlled it beautifully and sent the volley flying past a helpless Sergio Romero. He broke Messi’s dream and Argentina’s heart as Germany won their 4th World Cup and first as Unified Germany.
World Cup 1954 Final against Hungary:
Hungary might not be the part of the 2018 World Cup but things were much different in 1954. Led by legendary Ferenc Puskás, Hungary’s team was known as the “Golden Team” and were favorites to win the World Cup.
Hungary thrashed South Korea 9-0 and West Germany 8-3 in the group stage. And after beating Brazil and Uruguay in the knockouts, Hungary was ready to lift their first ever World Cup against West Germany in the final. On the other hands, West Germany was in their first ever final after being banned from 1950 World Cup.
And Hungary made it 2-0 in the first 8 minutes. That’s it. The game looked done and dusted. There was no coming back from 2-0 against The Golden Team. But Germans have always been the warriors on the football field. And they came back to make it 2-2 after just 18 minutes.
In the 84th minute, Helmut Rahn scored his second and the winning goal of the match to seal the first ever World Cup for Germany. The fighting spirit of the Germans defeated the might Golden Team!
Moral of the Story: Never underestimate the Germans in any situation. They are capable of coming back from 2-0, they are capable of causing an upset and they are sure as hell capable of winning the World Cup in Russia!