8 Days To Go - World Cup 2018
Only 8 days to go and we’re back with the Germans again. The German national team is a superpower of international football and they’ve appeared in the World Cup Final an incredible eight times, winning four and losing four. To honour our German friends let’s take a closer look at the ones they won!
Just a bunch of amateurs
It wasn’t always so clear cut that the Germans would become the powerhouse we know them as today. For the first World Cups between 1930 and 1950 they only managed to register one third place win in 1934, and were banned from entering in 1950 due to Fifa’s post-war sanctions.
Players who wanted to play football at the highest level had to prove they had a day job
Amateurism and regionalism was the name of the game for German football for much of the 20th century. Germany didn’t even have a national league until 1963 when the Bundesliga was first created. Instead regional championships were played and the winners of each region would enter into a knockout tournament at the end of the season.
The formation of the Bundesliga in 1963 finally brought professionalism to German football. Up until then professionalism was frowned upon, and players who wanted to play football at the highest level in Germany for the big teams such as Bayern Munich, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund even had to prove they had a day job to be eligible.
- Switzerland 1954
- West Germany 1974
- Italy 1990
- Brazil 2014
Against all odds
Incredibly, under such conditions West Germany managed to win their first World Cup in 1954 and still remain the first non-professional team to do so. Their manager at the time Sepp Herberger was a big advocate for turning German football professional but his team’s success actually hindered his campaign after the World Cup. It was argued that if the team could triumph already then there was no need to change anything.
One of the most tense World Cup finals of all time
The West Germany team were by no means favourites and managed to overcome a Hungary team that many considered to be the world’s greatest at the time. The Germans came from behind to beat the Mighty Magyars 3-2 in one of the most tense World Cup finals of all time.
On home turf
Fast forward twenty years later when Franz Beckenbauer’s marauding West German side once again overcame the odds to beat a Netherlands team that people still say should’ve won the World Cup that year. With the likes of captain Johan Cruyff in their side, displaying the perfect ‘total football’ philosophy, the fans’ favourites were without a doubt the Oranje - but alas, it wasn’t to be.
The Germans just managed to edge it
Captains Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff were at the heads of two of the greatest European teams of their age in Bayern Munich and Ajax. Both teams dominated in Europe, winning the European Cup every year between 1971 and 1976. In many ways then it was the perfect final, but the Germans just managed to edge it 2-1 in the end in front of a home crowd at the Olympiastadion in Munich.
Italia '90 will always be remembered for that incredible intro song and Gazza’s tears, but it was the Germans who would be singing all the way back over the Alps. Once again not many thought Germany would be the ones to lift it, many pointing to the flair of the Italian hosts, or the genius of Maradona.
The final itself will go down in history as a shocker
In fact the defending champions Argentina were downright awful throughout the tournament. And despite making it to the final it took them two penalty shootouts to seal it in the end. The final itself will go down in history as a shocker and remains the only World Cup final in history to have a man sent off.
The Argentinians showed themselves up with a lack of sportsmanship and a bad attitude, and for once the Germans had many peoples’ sympathy. Aside from that many will want to forget the final itself, and Germany just edged it by converting a penalty on 85 minutes. It was the last time West Germany would appear at a World Cup tournament with reunification on the way. What a way to usher in a new era!
For once Germany were actually considered favourites. How could they not be? For the Brazilians the semi-final was a day that will go down in infamy after the Germans delivered them a 7-1 drubbing on home soil.
Germany cruised to the final in 2014 and once again met Argentina for a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 final. Once again Die Mannschaft were against an Argentinian who was at the height of his powers, from Maradona to Messi. We all held our breath and for those who are old enough to remember they certainly didn’t want a repeat of the final in ‘90. For the English it was an impossible choice - Argentina or Germany.
It was a cagey, tense and enthralling final, and it took extra time to sort it out. Mario Götze being the difference. Super sub, super Mario scored a deafening volley, controlled superbly on his chest to silence the Argentinians. That was it. Done. The Germans kept their composure to win their first title as a unified nation and became the first European team to win on South American soil.
- England 1966
- Spain 1982
- Mexico 1986
- Korea-Japan 2002
So there we have it! We’ve wanted to celebrate Germany’s victories and not dwell on their defeats. Making it to eight finals is an incredible feat and a 50% win rate is not too shabby either. Well, not if you're English - they have the honour of having a distinguished 100% success rate in World Cup finals.
See you tomorrow for number 7! All the best, Jools.