The Thursday Preview: Germany Vs England

Posted by on Jun 24, 2010 in The Thursday Preview | 3 Comments

David James is the one Coca Cola Championshipper due to play a part in Sunday’s apocalyptic clash, so a preview of the game suggesting that Mesut à–zil is the new Zidane and extolling the virtues of ex-Reading loanee Matthew Upson is probably surplus to requirements here. Hence, and more in the spirit of a blog than a website, I have decided to share my own memories of the fixture’s history.

With only a vague recall of a 2-1 friendly defeat in the run up to the Argentina World Cup, my solidest memory of all is of a game I actually attended — another defeat by the same scoreline at Wembley in 1982. As a wide eyed 13 year old, I remember the excellence of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s two goals — I’d still place “Kalle” alongside Ossie Ardiles, John Barnes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin Keegan and Alain Giresse as the best I have seen in the flesh. That was a vaguely experimental German side in the wake of a World Cup final defeat earlier that year, but the green shirted visitors won on merit.

From thereon in, my experiences of the West Germany-England and Germany-England encounters have been televisual. Kerry Dixon, another ex-Reading hero of mine, scored twice as the Three Lions triumphed 3-0 in a Mexican precursor of the Confederations Cup in 1985, but a 3-1 Littbarski inspired beating in Düsseldorf amidst a perfect qualifying campaign for Euro 88 proved to be a portent of the calamitous return trip to the Bundesrepublik a year later. Indeed, it wasn’t until the subject matter of One Night in Turin and 1990 that England were to recapture their self-respect: fresh out of university and jobless, I jumped on my Dad as Lineker scored, innocently unaware at that stage of how much I would later come to dislike him as a studio anchorman.

The Nineties were torrid for Albion, never more so than the moment that inspired a pizza advert; the roar in Camden Town’s Oxford Arms pub as Shearer put England in front causing bemused faces on a passing bus, a thinly populated one of course. England’s mini 15 years of hurt finally ended in a soul destroying tale of bald men fighting over a comb — both teams exiting Euro 2000 ignominiously as I argued with a mate over the aforementioned striker’s merits in a long closed Irish boozer in East Finchley.

The next two milestones were enjoyed abroad. Spitting bile at the pointlessness of BBC World, I enjoyed the pinnacle of Sven’s England career and, as our regular commenter Gerschenkron would have it, Germany 1 Liverpool 5 in another Emerald Isle inspired establishment, only this time amid expats in Geneva. A year previously, a youth hostel in the post-industrial New South Wales city of Newcastle was my vantage point as Didi Hamann put paid to KK on a rainsoaked deck: a not unfitting send off for the old Wemberlee.

So to the two most recent encounters that have left honours even: another Royals hero Nicky Shorey enjoyed his second and last cap as Christian Pander crowned the Nationalmannschaft’s only visit thus far to Kingsbury borders. Then, I saw Gabby Agbonlahor cause havoc in Berlin, bleary eyed in a Singapore hotel room at 4 in the morning. On Sunday, I’ll return to the very room where I witnessed Gazza’s tears, mysteriously confident given what’s been served up so far.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. gerschenkron
    June 24, 2010

    Germany 1 – Liverpool 5 is a corking memory – Germany going 1 up and everyone fearing the worst. The over-riding feeling as I watched the game in a poky flat near Finsbury Park was a negative one. The disbelief at the next four goals was palpable. So much so that I vaguely recall spending the remainder of the evening falling about in a bowling alley nearby.

  2. Lanterne Rouge
    June 24, 2010

    I neglected to mention the dispiriting 0-0 draw in Espana 82 – it's said that England get stronger as a competition lengthens, but that wasn't the case back then. Bryan Robson putting them ahead against the French in Bilbao was as good as it got.

  3. Stanley
    June 28, 2010

    After cursing the parentage of Ing-er-lund's finest yesterday, it occured to me that our major tournament campaigns are redolent of the film Memento. From the opening qualifier to the group stages, the evidence of our deficiencies increases, until the fateful knock-out moment when all is revealed to be a sham. But, just like Guy Pearce's character, we choose after the event not to change our ways, but to maintain the delusion.

    (Apologies to anyone who hasn't seen the film, by the way.)


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