When England play football against Germany…

If you mention the word “football” to most Germans, then being English you are liable to be involved in a discussion about that goal.

Yes, the goal that took England 3-2 up against West Germany in extra time of the World Cup final at Wembley in 1966 thanks to a decision by a Russian linesman that most German football supporters have been disputing ever since.

German football fan - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / gubh83One lesser known fact about that match is that Helmut Haller who scored the first goal for Germany kept the ball, as is the tradition here, rather than Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick and by English tradition should have been allowed to keep it.  Haller returned the ball 30 years later.

But once you get past discussing whether it was a goal or not, the self-proclaimed German football experts like to remind you how often England have gone on to lose against their team, especially the last match at the old Wembley stadium and World Cup qualifier in 2000.

So it’s worth reminding them that in the return match in Munich in 2001 England beat them 5-1 – one of the worst ever defeats for the German national team – at which point the subject is usually quickly changed.

The strange thing is that the Germans actually like playing against the English side.  They even look forward to it, and call it one of the “classic” international games.

This week England and Germany were both playing to qualify for the second round of the World Cup in South Africa.  I was in Cologne and able to observe how many German fans were supporting England during their match.  They wanted them to get through to the next round.  They wanted to play them next.

There is, of course, no doubt about which team they will be supporting tomorrow evening, although I have heard the opinion expressed that they would rather lose to England now than to Argentina in the quarter final (with the added bonus of seeing another “classic”: England v Argentina).

I on the other hand will hopefully be cheering at the opposite moments to the rest of our building, and looking forward to further discussions and analysis with my clients in the coming week, however the game turns out.

When I was asked this week for my prediction, I always gave a diplomatic answer: “It’ll go to penalties”.


Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner
About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. Graham, nice try. BUT:

    – THAT goal WAS NOT a goal, scientists found out;
    – the Munich 5-1 was a friendly, wasn't it?

    However, I guess chances are 40:60 for Germany to win the match. It's a young team with not enough experience to face a team like England. Sometimes you have to bet against your own team. But if it comes to a penalty shootout… We will see! 😉

  2. The Munich game was a qualifying match for the 2002 World Cup (Group 9). England qualified directly and Germany went on to qualify through the UEFA play-offs.

  3. And who was second in 2002? 😉

  4. “THAT goal WAS NOT a goal, scientists found out”

    the one today definitely was – without any need for scientists!

  5. No Comment 🙂

  6. What about the new “that” goal? The one that never was, scored by Frank Lampard in the 2010 England vs Germany match?

  7. I think that even most people in Germany agree that it was over the line and therefore a goal. Shame the referee didn’t see it!


  1. Tweets that mention When England play football against Germany… | Sport | AllThingsGerman.net -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Graham Tappenden and A Brit Abroad, All Things German. All Things German said: When England play football against Germany… http://goo.gl/fb/Vc0ZS […]

  2. World Cup 1966 Final – England 4:2 Germany | Snafu Blog says:

    […] When England play football against Germany… | Sport | AllThingsGerman.net […]

Speak Your Mind


Please click on ACCEPT to give us permission to set cookies [more information]

This website uses cookies to give you the best browsing experience possible. Cookies are small text files that are stored by the web browser on your computer. Most of the cookies that we use are so-called “Session cookies”. These are automatically deleted after your visit. The cookies do not damage your computer system or contain viruses. Please read our privacy information page for more details or to revoke permission.