Germany against France is one of the biggest games in international football. Here are five of the best clashes between the pair.
5. France 1-0 West Germany -- Feb. 23, 1977 Friendly
Not many French fans will remember this friendly, although the win was their team's first over West Germany in almost two decades. The reason this match has some significance in German football history is that it was Franz Beckenbauer's last game for his country. Three months after the defeat in Paris, he joined the New York Cosmos and although there were initial plans to call him up to the 1978 World Cup squad that move ended his international career.
It was not a nice farewell. In the early stages, Beckenbauer brought down France's most coveted youngster, a certain Michel Platini, and from that point on was constantly booed by the Paris crowd. The only goal of the game came seven minutes into the second half: Hamburg's veteran Peter Nogly -- making his international debut at 30 years of age -- deflected a ball into the path of Nancy's Olivier Rouyer, whose scored with a great looping shot from almost 20 yards. Cologne's Dieter Muller then had a great chance to equalise, but goalkeeper Andre Rey blocked his shot and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge put the rebound wide.
4. France 6-3 West Germany -- June 28, 1958 World Cup
This was the match for third place at the World Cup in Sweden. France had lost against Brazil in the semis, while title holders West Germany were beaten by the hosts in front of a famously hostile crowd. So not much was at stake when the Germans and the French met in Gothenburg, yet the match still made history.
On 16 minutes, a 24-year-old striker by the name of Just Fontaine put France ahead. It was his 10th goal of the tournament, good enough for second place on the all-time list behind Sandor Kocsis, who had scored 11 goals four years earlier. However, there was plenty of time left for Fontaine in a game that quickly became an entertaining free-for-all.
With nine minutes remaining in the first half and France nurturing a 2-1 lead, Fontaine knocked the ball across the line from close range after the German defence failed to clear a corner. With 78 minutes gone, he received the ball at the halfway line, ran past three opponents and fired home from the edge of the box to make it 5-2. In the final minute, Fontaine finished off another solo run for the final score of 6-3. It was his 13th goal of the World Cup -- a record that stands to this day.
3. Germany 1-0 France -- July 4, 2014 World Cup
Since that 1958 goal-fest in Gothenburg, Germany have a perfect record against France in competitive games -- P3, W3. The most recent of these matches should still be fresh in most fans' memory, as it was staged only two years ago, at the World Cup in Brazil.
During the group stage and then also for a tense round of 16 game against Algeria, Germany coach Joachim Low used a formation not everybody at home was happy with. Centre backs -- Benedikt Howedes, Shkodran Mustafi and even Jerome Boateng -- were all used at either left-back or right-back, while Philipp Lahm played in central midfield and Thomas Muller was used as a false No. 9 upfront.
For the quarterfinal against France, Low finally went back to a more conventional line-up. Lahm was pulled back into his classic role at right-back, Muller moved over to the wing and Miroslav Klose came into the side as a classic centre-forward. Yet it took a set piece (and a defender) to win the game: after 12 minutes, Mats Hummels headed home from a Toni Kroos free kick cross to set up Germany's date with Brazil in the semis, while the French went home.
2. West Germany 3-3 France (8-7 on penalties) -- July 8, 1982 World Cup
This is the game most people immediately associate with Germany vs. France, one of those unforgettable matches that spawned a thousand debates (and has its own Wikipedia entry in four languages). We covered this semifinal in quite some detail two years ago, so let's cut directly to the moment the game is more famous for than for any of the goals, though some were beauties.
On 57 minutes, with the score 1-1, France's playmaker Platini released substitute Patrick Battiston, who was clear through to goal. Germany's goalkeeper Harald Schumacher left his line, hoping he would get to the ball before Battiston could. He didn't. Yet he never broke stride. Schumacher crashed with full force into his opponent, who had his eyes on the ball. For reasons known only to him, the Dutch referee Charles Corver didn't whistle for a foul, let alone penalise the goalkeeper. And so Schumacher was still on the pitch when the unconscious Battiston was stretchered off.
Germany came back from two goals down in extra time and then won the first penalty shootout in World Cup history, but many fans at home were shocked rather than elated. What came to be known as the "Battiston incident" not only soured German-French relations, it also cost Germany a generation of fans.
1. West Germany 2-0 France -- June 25, 1986 World Cup
Four years after the Battiston game, France lost another World Cup semifinal to West Germany, and this second defeat was even more painful. The French went into the game not only as reigning European champions but also as overwhelming favourites. They had eliminated Italy and Brazil, while a German side sorely lacking in individual class had reached the semis after playing Morocco and Mexico. What's more, Platini had blossomed into one of the most exciting players in the world and everybody was looking forward to a France vs. Argentina final -- Platini vs. Diego Maradona.
But the Germans rose to the occasion. New national coach Beckenbauer surprised the pundits by playing Hamburg midfielder Wolfgang Rolff, who was told to man-mark Platini. And after only nine minutes, France's goalkeeper Joel Bats let an Andreas Brehme strike slip through his hands. The goal rattled the French, who seemed strangely nervous and uncomfortable. Germany wasted a few chances to double their lead and so the game was still close going into the final minute. Suddenly an unmarked Maxime Bossis had a great opportunity to tie the game. But he mistimed his volley, Schumacher collected the meek shot and, with a tremendous throw, instigated the deciding counter attack. Rudi Voller finished off the move to make it 2-0 and deny the French yet again.