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Germany National Football Team

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Wednesday November 23Germany vs Japan (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 2pm).

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Germany National Football

Germany National Football Team History and Highlights.

The Germany National Football Team lost access to half of its talent pool after WWII when the Soviet Occupation Zone split the nation in two. And while the country would not reunite for another 45 years, the political turmoil did not hamper the nation’s ascendency to a footballing juggernaut.

The four time world champions won only one of their World Cup titles as a united nation. Germany has also played in more World Cup finals than any other nation. Brazil (7) would be able to match Germany’s record if it progresses to the 2022 World Cup final and Germany exits the competition before the final. Die Mannschaft has also won the European championships three times.

Germany National Football Team History

Founding and Early Days

The Germany National Football Team played its first official international match on April 5, 1908. The Germans traveled to neighboring Switzerland to play the game, which they lost 5-3 to the hosts. Before that, a selection of German players would sometimes play in friendlies against other foreign teams. But those matches were not recognized by any official football body.

Switzerland has been involved in many landmark moments in German football. The Rossocrociati was the team Germany played in its first matches after WWI and WWII. The Swiss were also the first team that played against unified Germany after the Berlin Wall fell. 


Professionalism did not come to the Germany National Football Team before the post-WWII era. So, investments in the national team were not substantial by any means before this period. The Germans could not afford to travel to Uruguay to feature in the first World Cup in 1930. It did sign up for the 1934 edition of the tournament, which took place in Italy. In its first World Cup campaign, Germany finished third.


After the Anschluss, which saw Austria becoming a part of the German territory, Germany inherited many talented players from the Austrian national team, which was one of the best teams in the world back then. But the German side could not progress beyond the Round-of-16 in the 1938 World Cup as it lost to its familiar foe Switzerland. 

Post-War Years

The political landscape after the war led to the creation of three separate German teams; West Germany, East Germany, and Saarland. The latter became a part of the West German team in 1957 after the territory of Saarland acceded to become a part of the Federal Republic of Germany. East Germany played as a separate team for 38 years between 1952 and 1990.

East Germany made only one World Cup appearance in its history which came in 1974. It picked up a historic 1-0 victory over eventual winners West Germany in the group stage of that competition. East Germany was more successful in Olympic football as it won two bronze medals, a silver, and a gold medal.

The West Germany National Football Team was the only German side to qualify for the 1954 World Cup. After getting crushed 8-3 to Hungary in the group stages, the Germans faced the Mighty Magyars in the final again. It appeared to be another thrashing for the Germans in the final as Hungary went 2-0 up in the first 10 minutes, but the Germans made a spectacular comeback and won the final 3-2. Football historians recall the match as Das Wunder von Bern (The Miracle of Bern) since the Hungarians were clear favorites to win the tie. The win gave the war-devastated people in West Germany a massive morale boost.

The Late 1900s

The Germany National Football Team could not make it back to the final until 1966. Under Helmut Schön, the Germans took on hosts England in front of an electric Wembley crowd. Wolfgang Weber silenced the crowd as he denied England a regulation-time win with a late strike. But England won the match 4-2 following two controversial extra-time goals from Geoff Hurst.

Franz Beckenbauer lifted the Euro 1972 trophy as the West German captain. Two years later, Der Kaiser lifted the World Cup trophy in front of a euphoric Munich Olympic Stadium crowd. Germany beat Johan Cruyff’s Netherlands in the final to become World Champions for the second time.

West Germany would make three World Cup finals between 1982 and 1990. In its first two attempts, West Germany lost to Spain and Argentina. Beckenbauer was in charge of the West German side when it lost to Argentina in the 1986 final. Four years later, Beckenbauer stood by the sidelines again in a World Cup final confrontation with Argentina. This time the West Germans avenged their 1986 loss against La Albiceleste with a 1-0 win in the final.

After leading West Germany to its third World Cup title, Franz Beckenbauer became the first World Cup winner who won the competition both as a player and a manager since Mário Zagallo did it for Brazil.

German Reunification

The Germany National Football Team emerged as a more formidable side after the reunification since it could now select the best talents from the eastern part of the country as well. In its first major tournament after the unification, Germany made it to the Euro 92 final but could not get the better of a legendary Denmark team.

The 1994 World Cup was a more underwhelming experience for the Germans as they struggled to acclimatize to the US weather throughout the competition. As a result, it suffered a premature quarterfinal exit, losing to Bulgaria. Germany entered as one of the favorites in the 1998 World Cup following its Euro 96 triumph. But once again, the Nationalelf’s World Cup journey came to an end in the quarterfinal stage.

The Early 2000s

On the back of two consecutive quarterfinal exits, a humiliating group stage exit in the Euro 2000, and a below-par qualification campaign, Germany was somewhat of a dark horse rather than a favorite in the 2002 World Cup. But, the Germans defied expectations and set up a World Cup final meeting with Brazil. It was the first time the two sides had met in a competetive fixture, and the Brazilians had the last laugh.

Regardless of the 2-0 final loss, Oliver Kahn won the Golden Ball, becoming the first goalkeeper in World Cup history to be named the best player in the tournament.

Hosting the World Cup

Germany was the Word Cup host nation in 2006, and the home time produced some scintillating displays of football to make it to the semis. Fresh off after a quarterfinal victory against heavyweights Argentina, Germany was the favorite to get past Italy in the semis. But the hosts agonizingly conceded two extra-time goals in the game’s final minutes.

Germany National Football Team Today

After the heartbreak of the 2006 World Cup, Jürgen Klinsmann left the Germany National Football Team. The DFB appointed his assistant Joachim Löw as the new head coach, who would retain his position for 15 years. Germany would make it to the Euro 2008 final and the 2010 World Cup semifinal under him, but it had to wait until 2014 to win its first piece of silverware in 18 years. Germany beat Argentina in the final to claim the throne of world football for the fourth time in history.

The Germany National Football Team would head into the 2018 World Cup as hot favorites, having won the Confederations Cup in the previous year with a much weaker side. But, Germany got eliminated from the group stages for the first time in its World Cup history. Results did not improve after the competition, and Germany suffered another major tournament disappointment in 2021 when it lost to England in the Euro 2020 Round-of-16. Löw resigned after the competition, and ex-Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick replaced him.

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