Team profile – Germany

With three world titles to their name, Germany are one of the great football nations of the world. A German team has played in every FIFA World Cup finals, except the 1930 and 1950 tournaments, and they boast an outstanding record of success.

In 1954, the famous ‘Walter’s Eleven’ raised the trophy for the then West Germany for the first time, defeating Hungary 3-2 in the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland. Fritz Walter, Helmut Rahn and the rest of the team became idols and standard bearers for a whole country.

Twenty years later Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller led the West Germans to glory again, this time on home turf.

Beckenbauer captained the hosts in a riveting final against Netherlands. Johan Neeskens put the Dutch ahead, but Paul Breitner equalised, paving the way for Muller, the greatest German striker of all time, to score the winning goal in a 2-1 victory. It was magical stuff for German supporters and football fans everywhere.

Germany’s third World Cup triumph came in 1990 in Italy after successive defeats in the finals of 1982, when they lost 3-1 to Italy in Spain, and 1986, when Argentina saw them off 3-2 in Mexico. Beckenbauer played a key role again, this time as coach to the squad captained by Lothar Matthaus. In final, Andreas Brehme converted a penalty against Argentina, giving Germany a 1-0 win and restoring honour after their defeat by the Gauchos four years ago.

An unremarkable decade on the world stage followed before Germany bounced back with a vengeance at the 2002 World Cup, battling to the final only to go down 2-0 to Brazil. The runners-up spot still represented a sensational achievement for Rudi Voller’s men just two years after a dismal EURO 2000 campaign in Belgium and the Netherlands.