England’s historic original Wembley Stadium celebrates it’s 100th anniversary on April 28th. After the ‘home of English’ football staged it’s first-ever match (the famous ‘white horse’ FA Cup final) in 1923, the hallowed stadium witnessed some classic matches down the years before being demolished and replaced with the new Wembley in 2002. The German national team was involved in more than a few Wembley classics and here we bring you five of the best from down the years.
1st December 1954: England 3 West Germany 1
Germany’s first ever visit to Wembley saw them arrive in December 1954 as World champions having lifted the World Cup for the first time following the ‘Miracle of Bern’ five months previously. The side that coach Sepp Herberger sent out however contained just three members of the team that had beaten Hungary in to lift the Jules Rimet trophy in Switzerland.
Max Morlock, Helmut Rahn and Ottmar Walter were suffering from jaundice, Horst Eckel had a broken leg, while Karl Mai was out with a liver complaint. Only Jupp Posipal, Werner Kohlmeyer and Werner Liebrich remained. There were four players making their debut and three others playing for the national side for just the second time (Uwe Seeler being one of them).
The inexperienced side were given a lesson by England, whose key players Stanley Matthews, Len Shackleton and Tom Finney all lined-up. England led 1-0 at half time through a Roy Bentley goal and doubled their lead just three minutes into the second half when Ronnie Allen scored. Germany did pull one back through St. Pauli’s Alfred Beck on 77 minutes, but England sealed the win with Len Shackleton scoring just a minute later.
100,000 spectators witnessed this first clash between the ‘Old Enemy’ and brought record gate receipts of £51,716.
30th July 1966: England 4 West Germany 2
The 1966 World Cup final still remains the most talked about clash between the two countries at Wembley (at least amongst the English), but that afternoon in North London could have turned out so differently with Germany by no means inferior to England on the day.
The pressure was all on the hosts to win and for large parts of the game the Germans had the upper hand. A nervous England went behind in the 12th minute when Helmut Haller scored, but a headed equaliser from Geoff Hurst on 18 minutes calmed Alf Ramsay’s men. A 78th minute goal from Martin Peters looked to have won it only for a scrappy goal from Wolfgang Weber to force extra-time.
Then came the controversial Hurst goal that the Azerbaijan linesman Tofiq Bahramov deemed had crossed the line (if only VAR had been in operation!). 3-2 up England added the famous fourth with the crowd already on pitch celebrating the win. A sore defeat for Germany, but they would have their revenge.
29th April 1972: England 1 West Germany 3
The birth of Germany’s first Golden Generation can be traced back to their clash with England in 1972 as the two nations clashed in a two-legged match to secure progression to the final stage of the European Championships to be held in Belgium. Germany had beaten England in the 1970 World Cup quarter-final in Mexico to slightly avenge the ghost of 1966 and were looking for a third successive win after also winning a friendly in Hannover in 1968 to record their first win over the English.
A rainy London welcomed the German side now coached by Helmut Schon and a Günter Netzer-inspired performance saw the Nationalmannschaft triumph with an impressive 3-1 victory.
Uli Hoeneß opened the scoring in the 26th minute and Germany largely dominated with Bobby Moore and Norman Hunter struggling against Gerd Müller and with Netzer majestically controlling the flow of the game. Francis Lee equalised against the run of play on 78 minutes, but a Netzer penalty restored the visitors advantage. The icing was put on the cake in the 88th when Müller swivelled a shot past Gordon Banks for his customary goal.
The defeat saw the end of England’s 19-game unbeaten run at Wembley and with a goalless draw in the second leg, Germany went through to the European Championship finals where they beat the USSR in the final to clinch a first continental title.
26th June 1996: England 1 Germany 1 (5-6 on penalties)
Euro 96 was yet another occasion when football was meant to be ‘coming home’ with Terry Venables side seemingly marching towards the promised land of England winning another major trophy. It all looked good until they came up against Germany in the semi-final.
With England still haunted by their World Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out loss to Germany at the 1990 World Cup revenge was on the cards and when Alan Shearer scored his fifth goal of the tournament after just five minutes, all looked good.
An equaliser on 16 minutes from Besiktas striker Stefan Kuntz levelled things and when Paul Gascoigne missed a late chance by mere centimetres, the game went to penalties. When both sides scored all five of their regular spot kicks it went to sudden death. Current England trainer Gareth Southgate missed their sixth penalty and then Andreas Moller stepped up to confidently convert and send Germany into the final at England’s expense.
Berti Vögts’ side would ultimately beat the Czechs in the final.
7th October 2000: England 0 Germany 1
The last-ever game played at the original Wembley was one to forget for the home side as Germany ran out 1-0 winners in their World Cup qualifier. The only goal of the game was scored by Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann with a long-range direct free-kick after fourteen minutes,
The game was also the last under manager Kevin Keegan, who resigned from the England hotseat following the defeat. He was succeeded by Sven-Goran Eriksson, who led England to a 5–1 victory over Germany in the return fixture in Munich. England ended up topping the group on goal difference forcing Germany to win through to the World Cup via a play-off with Ukraine.