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France v Germany: the favourite encounters

A 3-0 win in Gelsenkirchen is among France's favourite previous encounters with Germany, but as the sides meet again, German fans will recall two FIFA World Cup semi-finals with fondness.

France and Germany meet again in a friendly on Wednesday. To celebrate the occasion, UEFA.com's Christian Châtelet looks back at France's two favourite games against their neighbours and Steffen Potter reflects on Germany's finest hours against Les Bleus.

Germany 0-3 France, Gelsenkirchen
15 November 2003, friendly

Les Bleus ended 2003 in stunning style with their joint-largest win against their neighbours in 31 matches. David Trezeguet’s 27 and 28th international goals and one for Thierry Henry secured France's record 13th consecutive victory.

The holders were then regarded as favourites to win UEFA EURO 2004, but 2004 would not be so easy for Jacques Santini's charges. They lost their next game against Belgium, at Stade de France, and eventual winners Greece ended their title defence in Portugal in the quarter-finals.

"We wanted to win that game at all costs," Trezeguet said of the Germany triumph. "We did it in style in every part of the pitch. We showed real quality." Santini added: "We prepared well for that game. Our second goal dampened Germany's ardour. It's a great result against a great team."

West Germany 3-6 France, Gothenburg
28 June 1958, FIFA World Cup third-placed play-off
France concluded an impressive campaign in Sweden with their first medal at international level. Albert Batteux's side were eliminated by Brazil in the semi-finals, but the coach kept faith in his 4-2-4 formation and Raymond Kopa and Just Fontaine ripped West Germany apart, with the latter's four goals in the game increasing his tally to 13 for the tournament – still a World Cup record.

Fontaine, as always, gave "credit to Kopa" for his achievements. "Without him I would never have got to that total," he explained. "Our understanding was the key in this game and in the whole tournament."

West Germany 2-0 France, Guadalajara
25 June 1986, FIFA World Cup semi-final
Having eliminated Brazil and defending champions Italy, France came into the match as favourites, but an error by France goalkeeper Joël Bats allowed Andreas Brehme's low free-kick to creep into the net to give Germany an early lead. France should have equalised, but Maxime Bossis missed an open goal, and in an added-time counterattack, Rudi Völler supplied the killer blow, lifting the ball over Bats then prodding it into the empty net.

"We celebrated with a big bang after the semi-final," Völler recalled. "Felix Magath, Thomas Berthold, Matthias Herget and I had all reason to do so. We sat down in the hotel lobby in disguise, ordered champagne and celebrated until dawn. A great party."

West Germany 3-3 France (aet, Germany win 5-4 on penalties), Seville
8 July 1982, FIFA World Cup semi-final
It may be remembered elsewhere for goalkeeper Harald Schumacher's controversial challenge on Patrick Battiston, but in Germany this game against a gifted France side, led by future UEFA President Michel Platini, symbolised the national team's never-say-die spirit. Les Bleus went 3-1 up in extra-time after the game ended 1-1, but a strike from substitute Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Klaus Fischer's overhead kick made it 3-3, with Schumacher stopping efforts from Didier Six and Bossis as West Germany won the shoot-out.

"There were top players on the pitch that day who made a huge show out of this game," said Pierre Littbarski, scorer of West Germany's opening goal. "I had no time to stop the ball as two Frenchmen challenged me, so I hit it first time and it went in. I have never experienced a better and more exciting match."