One of the biggest national football rivalries, as far as the English public are concerned, is any contest between England and Germany. A friendly between these two nations is usually anything but cordial due to the history that is attached to these two great nations. In total, England and Germany have played 28 official matches against each other since 1930, with Germany edging the contest 13-12.
The first ever full international was a friendly match played in Berlin with the score finishing 3-3, but as we approached the Second World War the matches bore greater significance, especially for Adolf Hitler as he used the games for his own propaganda. The final match they played together before World War II broke out saw one of the most shocking images of our time as England were forced by the foreign office to perform the Nazi salute in respect of their hosts. In 1966, however, England had their finest hour on a football field by winning the World Cup against Germany and ever since then, any game between the two has seen the English press whip the public into a frenzy.
There have been many great clashes between these two nations, but here are the top 5...
1. 1966: England 4-2 West Germany (AET)
England's greatest achievement in World football was the World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1966. Germany took the lead on 12 minutes when Helmut Muller capitalised on a mistake by Ray Wilson, but Geoff Hurst equalised shortly after.
With thirteen minutes remaining, England took the lead - Alan Ball's corner saw Hurst's deflected shot reach Martin Peters and he scored from eight yards. West Germany were not finished, however, and managed a last minute equaliser when Wolfgang Weber fired home from six yards. Extra time was eleven minutes old when "that" goal was scored by Hurst. He swivel hit a shot which hit the bar and bounced down over the line. Or did it? The linesman thought so and that's all that mattered.
The final goal resulted in one of the most famous sayings in English football from BBC commentator Ken Wolstenholme, who said, "and here comes Hurst. He's got...some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over, it is now, it's four!"
2. 2002: Germany 1-5 England
England and Germany were in the same World Cup qualifying group and Germany were clear leaders. They were also huge favourites as they had not lost at the Olympic Stadium in Munich since 1973 and had only lost one of their previous sixty qualification games.
Germany scored first when Carsten Jancker tapped home past David Seaman, but the lead didn't last long. Six minutes later, Michael Owen volleyed past Oliver Khan and shortly before half time England took the lead. Rio Ferdinand headed back to Steven Gerrard and he shot home from 25 yards out. Three minutes into the second half and Owen made it 3-1 from Emile Heskey's headed pass and the Liverpool striker completed his hat trick in the 66th minute. Emile Heskey wrapped up the victory on the counter attack and England had their biggest win ever against their old rival.
3. 1990: England 1-1 West Germany (Germany Win 4-3 on Penalties)
England had reached their first World Cup semi final since their 1966 triumph and faced an old enemy, West Germany. The first half was very tense, with both sides failing to create any chances of note, but on 60 minutes West Germany broke the deadlock. Andreas Brehme's free kick took a wicked deflection off Paul Parker and looped, almost in slow motion, over the head of Peter Shilton. With ten minutes remaining, Gary Lineker equalised, finding the corner of the net as he sent the game into extra time.
In the 99th minute, Paul Gascoigne received his second yellow card, which meant he would be suspended for the final and he wept in front of a nation. The game then went to the lottery that is a penalty shoot out and the rest is history. Lineker, Peter Beardsley and David Platt scored theirs, but Stuart Pearce and then Chris Waddle failed, sending West Germany through to the final.
4. 1996: England 1-1 Germany (Germany Win 6-5 on Penalties)
Football was coming home. England had reached the semi finals of Euro 1996 on home soil, but they had to face Germany again for a place in the final.
England made a great start when Alan Shearer headed home Tony Adams's flick on from a corner after only three minutes, but the lead was short lived as Kuntz equalised on 16 minutes. Chances were few and far between and the game went into extra time and England almost won it, but Paul Gascoigne could not add the final touch to Shearer's cross at the back post.
Inevitably, the game went to penalties and England matched Germany's efficiency toe to toe. Shearer, David Platt, Stuart Pearce, Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham all scored theirs, but so did the Germans. Enter Gareth Southgate.
5. 1970: England 2-3 West Germany
England were holders of the World Cup after winning the tournament four years earlier and faced West Germany in the Quarter Finals. Alan Mullery gave England the lead and Martin Peters added a second on 49 minutes. The England boss then made an error in judgement by taking off Bobby Charlton to rest him for the semi final.
German legend Franz Beckenbauer pulled one back from range in the 68th minute, beating Peter Bonetti who had replaced the ill Gordon Banks. Gerd Muller equalised for a galvanised West Germany, sending the game into extra time and England were denied a chance to retain their title when Muller scored his second and sent England crashing out of the tournament.
For all the latest news and rumours, please visitwww.FTBpro.com