England v Germany: a little history
England take on Germany this Sunday in their Round of 16 World Cup tie at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, or Mangaung to give the city its Sesotho name, and renew a rivalry that spans a century with origins possibly away from the football field - but we're not going to mention that.
It was actually England who struck the first significant blow in the footballing rivalry when Sir Alf Ramsey's side defeated West Germany 4-2 in 1966 at Wembley to win the World Cup on home soil.
Of course there was help from a certain Russian linesman before Geoff Hurst struck the decisive goal when many fans were already on the pitch and thought it was all over.
It was not until two years later in 1968, in a friendly, when Germany finally managed to beat England. It was at their ninth attempt and it was the start of three consecutive wins.
This run included a 3-2 victory in 1970 World Cup quarter-finals. Germany trailed 2-0 before levelling the scores at 2-2. Gerd Muller then notched an extra-time winner to gain revenge for the defeat four years earlier.
Two years later and the sides met in the second round of the 1972 European Championships where Germany came out on top and progressed to be the eventual winners.
Spain '82 saw the next competitive meeting between the sides when a 0-0 draw was played out in the second group stage match. No penalties were required; they were to come eight years later in that famous night in Turin during Italia '90.
The semi-final in 1990 is memorable for a number of reasons.
Firstly Andy Brehme opened the scoring for Germany from a free-kick after the ball took a wicked deflection off Paul Parker's backside to loop over Peter Shilton into the net.
Then 20 minutes later Gary Lineker equalised with one of my favourite goals of all-time.
This set up extra time and the 30 minutes of play is most memorable for Gazza's tears following his yellow card which ruled him out of a possible final.
After a goalless extra time the dreaded penalties were next up and unfortunately, with Stuart Pearce's effort being saved and Chris Waddles' blazing over the bar, Gazza was not the only Englishman in tears that night as Bobby Robson's England tenure ended in the cruellest possible fashion.
It is this defeat that was the catalyst for the increasingly bitter and increasingly unilateral rivalry as English fans hankered for a return to the glory days, or rather day, of '66.
Six years went by before the sides could battle once again in a competitive fixture, in Euro '96. Once again the teams met in the semi-finals and yet again it was a German triumph via a penalty shoot-out.
Gareth Southgate was the guilty man this time of failing to convert his spot-kick. The penalty heartbreak came after England, and Stuart Pearce especially, looked to have exorcised their penalty demons with a shoot-out victory over Spain in the quarter-finals. Football was obviously not ready to come home just yet.
The sides did not play each other for another four years until they were drawn together in the group stages of Euro 2000. The championships though were poor for both teams but at least England could come away with bragging rights as they beat their old rivals 1-0 courtesy of Alan Shearer's header.
That win in Charleroi was England's first over Germany in a competitive fixture since the 1966 World Cup final.
Just four months later the rivalry was renewed as the sides were drawn in the same group for 2002 World Cup qualifying .
On a wet afternoon in North West London, the teams met in the last ever international fixture at the old Wembley stadium, the scene of England's greatest football triumph. Germany picked up a crucial 1-0 win which resulted in Kevin Keegan resigning as England manager immediately after the match.
But boy how did England get revenge and then some!
By the time of the return match in September 2001 Sven Goran Eriksson was in charge of England and he led the Three Lions to a famous 5-1 victory as Michael Owen fired in a hat-trick in Munich.
Since then the two nations have only met in two friendlies - in 2007 and 2008, with a win for each team.
Overall in 27 matches between the sides the record reads:
England wins - 12
Germany wins - 10
Draws - 5
However, seven of England's 12 victories came before 1966 World Cup final and in the 10 competitive matches played England have three wins to Germany's five (this includes the two wins via penalties).
So there is the history and this is the present: Germany v England for a place in the quarter-finals in this year's World Cup, anyone for penalties?
Come on England!