World Cup Renews Classic England-Germany Rivalry

The July 30, 1966 file photo shows England's soccer captain Bobby Moore, carried shoulder high by his team mates, holding aloft the World Cup trophy. England defeated Germany 4-2 in the final, played at London's Wembley Stadium. From left to right, goalkeeper Gordon Banks (partially obscured), Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Moore, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Charlton. Flux Books

Another Germany vs. England confrontation looms at the World Cup and that will bring back memories of classic moments that include a disputed goal in the final, the English losing a 2-0 lead, and a dramatic penalty shootout win for the Germans.

The two teams meet in the last 16 on Sunday and could well write another chapter in one of World Cup football's most famous rivalries.

The first memorable meeting was at the 1966 final at Wembley, which England won 4-2. The game was famous for Geoff Hurst becoming the first - and still the only - scorer of a hat-trick in the final.

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England came from behind to lead 2-1 going into the final few minutes only for Wolfgang Weber to scramble an equalizer for the Germans and send the game into extra time.

Then it was Hurst's hotly disputed second goal that became one of the World Cup's most famous incidents. The England striker hit the underside of the bar and the ball bounced downwards. To the eyes of the England players, the ball crossed the line and they turned away to celebrate a goal. The Germans were convinced it didn't and appealed to the referee to consult his linesman.

He did and, to England's delight and the Germans' astonishment, he awarded a goal.

It is a goal the Germans still dispute 44 years on, and even though Hurst scored a fourth in the final few seconds they maintain the game could have swung either way if it had not been given.

Four years later, they gained some kind of payback.

The two teams met in the quarterfinals in Mexico and defending champion England led 2-0. The Germans pulled a goal back and England manager Alf Ramsey surprisingly took off one of the team's most creative players, Bobby Charlton, to put on a more defensive player.

With Charlton off, England lost its attacking edge and the Germans scored two more, punishing some shaky goalkeeping by England's Peter Bonetti - a replacement for the reliable but sick Gordon Banks - to end England's reign.

Another 20 years later, they met again in the semifinals in Turin, Italy.

After a close and tense 1-1 draw, the game went to extra time and then penalties. With a place in the final beckoning, the Germans began what has become an amazingly consistent record in shootouts, winning it 4-3.

Away from the World Cup finals, they have also had famous meetings in qualifying.

Chasing places in the 2002 finals, Germany won 1-0 in the last ever game at the old Wembley, a result that led Kevin Keegan to quit on the night as England coach.

Sven-Goran Eriksson took over and, when the two teams met in the return in Munich, England outplayed the Germans 5-1.

The 2010 version of this famous matchup has England climbing out of a surprisingly poor spell of form to reach the last 16 with an encouragingly better performance in beating Slovenia 1-0 at Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

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Fabio Capello's team finished second in Group C while the Germans got there by finishing top of Group D with a 4-0 victory over Australia and a 1-0 triumph over Ghana, losing in between 1-0 to Serbia.

If the Germans recapture the form they showed against the Australians, however, England's defense is in for a tough time at Bloemfontein.

England's main attacking threat Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, is struggling for form and fitness and reports of unrest within the squad, though denied by the coach and the players, have taken away much of the team's pre-World Cup confidence.

England returned to training Thursday the day after the victory over Slovenia with Rooney restricted to fitness work indoors rather than kicking balls out on the field.

The Manchester United striker picked up a new injury to the right ankle he hurt against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in April.


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