World Cup Rivalries: Germany

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup less than seven months away and the draw for Brazil set to take place in 3 days time, we look at some Socceroos rivalries.

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup less than seven months away and the draw for Brazil set to take place in 3 days time, we look at some Socceroos rivalries.

Germany and Australia have a strange affinity.

Perhaps it is the fact that, in the Socceroos first FIFA World Cup in 1974, they drew both East and West Germany in Group 1 in a World Cup hosted by West Germany.

Or maybe, it is because when they finally qualified again, 32 years later, their triumphant return to the world stage was the 2006 FIFA World Cup, hosted by a now-unified Germany.

The Socceroos went down 2-0 to East Germany and 4-0 to West Germany in 1974 and so they had to wait until that magnificent afternoon in Kaiserslautern in 2006, to score their first FIFA World Cup goal.

It may also be because, having qualified for back-to-back FIFA World Cups for the first time, the Socceroos ended up in Germany-s group in 2010, going down 4-0.

The Socceroos have played Germany on two other occasions, outside of the 1974 and 2010 tournaments.

The first was in the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2005, when the Socceroos went down 4-3, despite a brace from John Aloisi. The second was the most recent clash, a March 2011 friendly, when the Socceroos scored a 2-1 win in Moenchengladbach. David Carney scored the first goal and a penalty from Luke Wilkshire, gave Australia a famous victory.

The Germans are three time World Cup winners, though all were achieved as West Germany. “The Miracle of Bern” was their first win, in 1954, when they defeated the mighty Hungarian side, led by Ferenc Puskas. There were further successes at home in 1974 and at Italia 90.

Add to this the runners-up medals from 1966, 1982 and 1986, and their victory at Euro 96 and one can see why the Germans are so highly regarded.

That said, they haven-t won a tournament since that European Championship in 1996, but they have entered the last few tournaments as one of the favoured sides.

It will be no different in Brazil 2014, after Joachim Loew-s side qualified with remarkable ease in UEFA Group C.

This time around, their squad is a blend of youth and experience. Mesut Oezil, Mario Goetze and Thomas Mueller are the headline acts, but the Germans possess great experience in Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski, all with over 100 caps.

And then there is the extraordinary case of Miroslav Klose. The Lazio striker will be 36 by the time the tournament starts next year, but with 68 goals in 130 appearances, he is still the number one forward and has been since the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Germany dropped only two points in their qualification campaign, as they recorded nine wins and a draw from their ten games.

The draw was a scarcely believable 4-4 match against Sweden. Germany led 4-0 after 55 minutes, but Sweden somehow found four goals in the final half an hour to draw the match. They would eventually finish second, but lose out to Portugal in a play-off.

It was one way traffic for Germany, who scored 36 goals and conceded only 10, finishing eight points clear of Sweden.

Oezil was the top goal scorer in Group C with eight goals. Marco Reus scored five, while Goetze, Mueller, Klose and Andre Schuerlle all scored four times.

As ominous a task it may be, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is an opportunity for the Socceroos and Germany to renew their acquaintances.