Germany National Football Team had three national teams at one point in the early 1950s. These teams represented the Saarland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Federal Republic of Germany. The latter, known as West Germany, was the most successful. It has won three World Cups and two European Championships. Germany has won two more major titles after its reunification in 1990. It further established its reputation as one of the greatest national teams of all time.
The Origins and Early History
The German Football Association (DFB) was created in 1900 by delegates from 86 clubs. This played a significant role in consolidating different German regional tournaments. Further into a single national league, which occurred in 1902. In 1908, the national squad played its first official match. This is where they lost 3-5 against Switzerland. They competed in the 1912 Olympics football competition. This competition is famous for Gottfried Fuchs’ ten goals in a 16-0 win over Russia.
Post-world War Ii Schism
Germany conquered Austria on the eve of WWII. The Austrian national team was quickly dismantled. With Nazi leaders forcing some of their players to join the German squad. Germany then competed in the 1938 World Cup. But failed to proceed beyond the first round in front of a hostile audience. To this day, this is Germany’s poorest World Cup showing. In all subsequent editions, they reached the last eight.
Following WWII, Germany was divided into three states: West Germany, East Germany, and Saarland. They were all barred from international events until 1950. It further prevented them from competing in the 1950 World Cup. West Germany took over much of the country’s pre-war traditions and organizations, including the DFB. The DFB was admitted to FIFA after the World Cup as a full member.
Four years later, West Germany had minimal problems qualifying for the 1954 World Cup. They were assigned to a group with Hungary, Turkey, and South Korea. Following a decisive 4-1 victory against Turkey in the first round. The coach Sepp Herberger opted to rest his strongest players for the Hungary encounter. They lost 3-8, but they still qualified for the knockout stage by defeating Turkey 7-2.
The Germans then defeated Yugoslavia (2-0) and Austria (6-1). Further setting up a finals showdown with the Mighty Magyars. This Hungarian squad, coached by the renowned Ferenc Puskás. He is largely regarded as one of the best national teams in the sport’s history. They had not lost in 32 straight matches at that point. Given the thrashing in the first match. It’s reasonable to conclude they were heavy favorites to win the championship.
Hungary was already 2-0 up in the eighth minute. On the other hand, West Germany answered with goals from Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn. Further drawing the game before the halftime break. Hungary had perfect control of the game at that moment. But it was Rahn who scored the game-winning goal in the 84th minute. Further propelling West Germany to their first World Cup triumph. This shock, dubbed the Bern Miracle. He played a significant part in the country’s acquiring international reputation.
The two World Cups that followed were also pretty successful. They finished fourth in the 1958 tournament after losing to Sweden. It was in the semi-finals and France in the third-place match. The 1962 World Cup was a step back for West Germany. As they were ousted in the quarterfinals by Yugoslavia. In response to these defeats, the DFB established the Bundesliga in 1963. Further bringing professionalism to German football.
Germany National Football Team advanced to the finals of the 1966 World Cup. This is where they were poised to face hosts England. Though England led 2-1 until the last minutes of the game. West Germany equalized through Wolfgang Weber, forcing the game into extra time. After George Hurst scored a disputed goal off the crossbar, England took the lead. Hurst added another goal as fans rushed the field in the game’s dying stages. Further making the final score 4-2.
West Germany would exact its vengeance four years later. With further knocking England out in the quarterfinals. However, in the semi-finals against Italy, they suffered another painful defeat again. Germany National Football Team tied the game again just before the final whistle. This was done in a contest afterward dubbed the “game of the century.”
More Significant Trophies
West Germany competed in its first European Championship in 1972. They finished first in a group that included Poland, Turkey, and Albania in the qualifications. West Germany defeated England 3-1 on aggregate in the playoffs for the final four-team competition. They defeated Belgium (2-1) and the Soviet Union (3-0) in the competition, with Müller scoring four goals. It was their first major championship in 18 years.
West Germany played in the 1974 World Cup on home soil. It contributed to their status as favorites for the trophy. West Germany was paired with East Germany, Chile, and Australia in the first round. East Germany won the highly tense match-up 1-0. Ensuring that both German sides advanced to the last round. Following this defeat, West Germany altered their lineup and tactics. Further increasing its championship chances.
Success in the Future
Despite fielding strong teams in the following two major championships. West Germany could not defend either of their victories. They came back from a 2-0 deficit in the Euro 1976 finals. But ultimately lost on penalties. They failed to move from the second group stage of the 1978 World Cup. This was after losing 1-2 to Austria in the last match. This resulted in a fresh coaching transition. With longtime assistant Jupp Derwall taking over as head coach.
West Germany cruised to another major championship under Derwall at Euro 1980. This was the first European Championship with eight teams. West Germany had to finish first in their group to get to the finals. They accomplished this by overcoming Czechoslovakia (1-0) and the Netherlands (3-2). This was before drawing Greece in the last round. Horst Hrubesch’s brace helped them defeat Belgium 2-1 in the finals.
West Germany’s 1982 World Cup campaign got off to a shaky start as Algeria defeated them in the opening. They were able to rebound. Though, by defeating Chile and Austria. They drew 0-0 with longtime rivals England in the second round and overcame Spain 2-1. The semi-finals encounter versus France was a nail-biter, with West Germany winning on penalties. However, they didn’t have enough left in the tank for the finals against Italy. He is who defeated them 3-1.
Germany endured one of its biggest slumps in history. After winning its first trophy as a united nation. They were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the 1998 World Cup by Croatia. The next two European Championships (2000 and 2004) were particularly frustrating for supporters. Since they failed to move beyond the group stage.
Despite a difficult draw (England, Portugal, and Romania). The Euro 2000 tournament was one of the team’s least successful. In three matches, they have only one point. Lothar Matthäus, one of the best players in national team history. He made his final appearance in the game. Despite being 39 years old. His career came to an end with a heartbreaking 0–3 defeat to Portugal.
The 2002 World Cup didn’t inspire much optimism either. Especially given Germany’s narrow qualification for the competition. Nonetheless, a string of 1-0 triumphs in the elimination stages propelled them to a surprising appearance in the finals, where they were poised to face Brazil. However, the suspension of outstanding midfielder Michael Ballack significantly. It hampered their chances, and they lost the game 0-2.
Germany found itself in a similar situation four years later. They surpassed expectations once again. With winning three games in their group and defeating Sweden and Argentina in the knockout stages. They were ousted by two fast goals after extra time in a hard-fought semi-finals match. This match was against eventual champions Italy. They defeated Portugal in the third-place match. Further with Miroslav Klose winning the Golden Boot.
Results of the FIFA World Cup
Germany National Football Team has competed in the World Cup 19 times (FIFA World Cup qualification not included).