A special match-up in the second round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup means a special edition of "The History" where England’s four previous meetings with Germany in the World’s premier sporting competition are remembered.
Sunday afternoon’s match in Bloemfontein will see the sides compete for the fifth time in World Cup Finals matches, but this will be the earliest stage at which the two have ever met.
The first of the four previous encounters, as any England supporter will quickly tell you, was in World Cup Final in 1966 and represented The Three Lions’ greatest ever success as they lifted the Jules Rimet trophy on home soil.
England had still yet to lose against Germany, racking up six wins in seven previous games, dating back to the sides' first ever meeting in 1930, and they eventually added another victory to the list but only after extra time.
Helmut Haller had given West Germany an early lead in 13 minutes, only to see Geoff Hurst level the match within five minutes.
With just more than 10 minutes left on the clock, Martin Peters then put the cup within touching distance for England before Wolfgang Weber’s last gaps equaliser sent the game into an additional half-hour.
Geoff Hurst ensured his name would enter English and world football folklore by netting twice in extra time to wrap up the only ever hat-trick in a World Cup Final and seal a 4-2 win for the hosts.
However, controversy still reigns over his second and England’s third goal as the debate as to whether the ball did actually cross the line continues to rumble on almost 50 years later.
West Germany earned their first ever win over England at the ninth attempt in 1968 thanks to a late Franz Beckenbauer winner in a friendly in Hanover, but two years later they would truly avenge their controversial defeat at Wembley.
The sides lined up in the quarter finals of the 1970 World Cup in Guanajuato, Mexico, and for a long time, it looked like England would once again prevail as Martin Peters found the German net once again early in the second half to add to Alan Mullery’s first half goal to give England a 2-0 lead.
However, this time, West Germany would have the last laugh, pulling two goals back from Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler to send the game to extra time once more at the end of a 2-2 draw.
England, now without Bobby Charlton who was substituted with 20 minutes remaining with one eye on a probable semi-final, and, toiling with Peter Bonetti in goal as a replacement for the ill Gordon Banks, eventually succumbed to defeat as Gerd Muller pounced early in the second-half of extra time to give West Germany a memorable come-back victory.
West Germany won two and drew one of four friendlies played before the sides clashed once again in Spain in the second group stage of the 1982 World Cup.
It was the first game of the three-team second stage and a 0-0 stalemate at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid gave both sides a chance to progress to the semi-finals and it was a chance that West Germany grasped with both hands, beating the hosts 2-1 whilst England could only manage a second goalless draw as they crashed out.
West Germany would edge France on penalties in the semi-final before losing to a Paolo Rossi inspired Italy in the Final.
Eight more years passed in which West Germany again got the better of the intervening friendlies with two victories to England’s one before the nations met for the fourth time on football’s greatest stage, this time at the semi final stage in Italy.
England had rather stumbled through to the last four with extra time wins over both Belgium and Cameroon and would be pushed even further still in Turin.
Andreas Brehme's free-kick on the hour deflected up off Paul Parker’s back and up over Peter Shilton in the England goal to give West Germany the lead.
England struck back, however, with ten minutes left when Parker’s hopeful cross into the German box eventually fell for Gary Lineker who worked the ball onto his left foot before rifling it into the bottom corner to send the match to extra time.
Paul Gascoigne picked up a yellow card, which would have ruled him out of the World Cup Final—prompting his famous tears—and Chris Waddle hit the post, but the game finished 1-1 after 120 minutes and went to penalties.
Stuart Pearce saw his kick saved by Bodo Ilgner’s legs before Waddle fired high over the crossbar whilst West Germany scored all four of their kicks to triumph 4-3 on penalties and take their place in the final, which they would win against Argentina.
The sides have met eight times since then, Germany claiming four wins to England’s three and also progressed on penalties after the 1-1 draw in the Euro ’96 semi-final.
England have won three out of the last five matches, including a famous 5-1 win in Munich in 2001. The sides have traded 2-1 away friendly victories in the two most recent games.
England’s record vs. Germany in the World Cup
P4 W1 D2 L1 F7 A6
England’s overall record vs. Germany
P27 W12 D5 L10 F47 A34