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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Germany count on history
EURO HISTORY
Hans Muller jumps on Horst Hrubesch, scorer of two goals in West Germany's 2-1 European Championship triumph over Belgium
Best performance: Winners as West Germany in 1972 and 1980 and as Germany in 1996
Recent performances:
1980 Winners; 1984 R1
1988 SF 1992 Runners- up 1996 Winners 2000 R1
Of all the teams participating in Euro 2004, Germany have the most impressive European Championship record, having won the tournament three times.

They romped to their first title in 1972, then playing as West Germany.

Led by Franz Beckenbauer, the West Germans coasted to a 3-0 win over the Soviet Union, thanks to a Gerd Muller brace and a Herbert Wimmer goal.

Four years later, West Germany also reached the final, only to surprisingly lose to Czechoslovakia on penalties.

In 1980 West Germany emerged from their group in the tournament in Italy after securing a key 3-2 win over rivals Holland in Naples.

In the final against Belgium, Horst Hrubesch settled any nerves with an early goal, only for the surprise package of the 1980 tournament to draw level when Rene Vandereycken converted a penalty.

But Hrubesch flicked home a header with two minutes remaining to secure West Germany's second European Championship title.

Twelve years later and now playing as Germany, the newly unified country was stunned by minnows Denmark in the 1992 final - the greatest shock the competition has ever produced.

Denmark got their noses in front thanks to a John Jensen strike 18 minutes into the game.

Peter Schmeichel then kept the Germans at bay and with 12 minutes remaining Kim Vilfort finished them off with a memorable strike.

Germany won the tournament for a third time in 1996 having reached the final after beating hosts England on penalties in a thrilling semi-final.

Berti Vogts' side had to come from behind against the Czech Republic in the final after Poborsky tumbled just inside the box and Patrik Berger scored from the spot.

With 18 minutes to go, a second unlikely result in consecutive finals seemed on the cards. Then German substitute Oliver Bierhoff rose to head home an equaliser to take the game to extra-time.

Four minutes later, Czech keeper Petr Kouba fumbled a mis-hit Bierhoff shot and it was all over as Germany won with a golden goal.

However four years ago, Germany's proud European Championship record took a battering as Erich Ribbeck's side crashed out in the group stage after losing to Portugal and England and managing just a 1-1 draw with Romania.





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