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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK

Germany's golden age

Germany have an enviable record in the World Cup.

The three times champions and three times runners-up are always worth a flutter when it comes to the big event.

They did not take part in the first World Cup in 1930, but qualified four years later as the tournament moved from Uruguay to Italy.

There, West Germany as they were known until just after the 1990 World Cup, performed wonders, making it to the semi-finals only to be beaten by Czechoslovakia, 3-1.

But the Germans bounced back to clinch third place after a 3-2 win over Austria.

Much of their success in that tournament was owed to Edmund Conen, who scored four goals.

The Second World War took its toll on Germany and they did not take part in the World Cup again until 1954 in Switzerland.

During that time the Germans managed to produce a squad that was capable of frightening any defence, although they were just as susceptible to conceding as many.

They won their first game 4-1 at the expense of Turkey, but found favourites Hungary overwhelming, losing by an amazing scoreline of 8-3.

Germany history

  • World Cup Finals

  • 1934 - third place
  • 1938 - first round
  • 1954 - winners
  • 1958 - fourth place
  • 1962 - quarter final
  • 1966 - runner up
  • 1970 - runner-up
  • 1974 - winners
  • 1978 - second round
  • 1982 - runner up
  • 1986 - runner up
  • 1990 - winners
  • 1994 - quarter final
  • 1998 - quarter final
  • Hungarian Sandor Kocsis, who ended the tournament with 11 goals, scored four in the match.

    But Germany showed their class and breezed through the quarter final against Yugoslavia and the semi final against Austria to play Hungary, again, in the final.

    German coach Sepp Herberger had fielded a weakened team when his team played Hungary earlier, but it was a different proposition for the opposition now.

    Despite going 2-0 down, the Germans fought back to record a memorable 3-2 win.

    It was not until 1966 when Germany made it to the final again, this time they faced the task of playing hosts England.

    Germany took the lead through Helmut Haller before Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters scored to give England a 2-1 lead.

    Germany, were on the brink of defeat until Wolfgang Weber popped up to score and take the match into extra time.

    England took the lead once more, in what is widely regarded as one of the most controversial goals seen in a World Cup final.

    England eventually won the match 4-2.

    The Germans finished third in 1970 before they triumphed again in 1974, when they themselves hosted the event.

    Germany's super striker of Mexico 1970, Gerd Muller scored four goals in the competition including the winner in the final against Holland, which Germany won 2-1.

    Muller took his total to 14 World Cup goals in total - a record that stands to this day.

    They were losing finalists to Italy in 1982 and Argentina in 1986, so it was a relief when they finally won their third title in 1990.

    A penalty from Andreas Brehme settled the tie, in what was a bitterly fought match against Argentina.

    Germany failed to reach the great standards they set themselves, by failing to make it past the last eight in the 1994 and 1998 tournaments.

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