EURO Classics: Germany vs England

Read up on this EURO '96 semi-final and then watch the game in full on UEFA.tv.

Home nation England were riding the crest of a wave at EURO '96 – at least until they met Germany in the semis.

WATCH THE GAME IN FULL ON UEFA.tv

Context

The best goals of EURO '96
The best goals of EURO '96

'Football's Coming Home' – so went the song reverberating around England with ever increasing belief as EURO '96 unfolded. The hosts opened with a nervy 1-1 draw with Switzerland but a 2-0 win against Scotland followed by a barnstorming 4-1 success over the Netherlands sent them through to the quarter-finals in style. Victory over Spain on penalties only served to reinforce the view that this was their time.

Germany's path to the last four had been serene enough, group stage wins against Czech Republic (2-0) and Russia (3-0) preceding a goalless draw with Italy. They edged Croatia 2-1 in the quarter-finals to set up another meeting with England, against whom they had needed a penalty shoot-out to prevail at the same stage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Key players

Andreas Möller: The man who struck the winning spot kick, Möller was one of the most talented playmakers of his generation. He made his name mostly with Borussia Dortmund and Juventus, winning European honours with both. A World Cup and EURO winner with Germany to boot, he's now involved in youth development.

Wembley down the years: Bierhoff, Shearer and more
Wembley down the years: Bierhoff, Shearer and more

Stefan Kuntz: Coach of his country's Under-21s since 2016, Kuntz was a prolific scorer in his playing days although his goal in this game was one of only six he registered for Germany. He holds the record for most German caps (25) without ever suffering defeat.

Gareth Southgate: The centre-back was reunited with Kuntz while coaching England U21s but has since been promoted to the senior job and widely praised for bringing through perhaps his country's most exciting crop of talent for years. His volunteering to take a spot kick underlined his character; subsequently he featured in a TV advert mocking that miss.

What happened

When Alan Shearer headed Terry Venables' side in front after three minutes, it seemed their momentum was such that nothing would stop them. It was not long, though, before Kuntz poked Germany level from close range. Teddy Sheringham, Shearer and Thomas Helmer all went close but extra time was required. Cue agony for England.

EURO '96 top scorer: All of Alan Shearer's goals
EURO '96 top scorer: All of Alan Shearer's goals

Darren Anderton hit a post and Paul Gascoigne was just centimetres from connecting on the goal line with Shearer's cross. Both teams had a 100% record in the ensuing shoot-out by the time Southgate stepped up for England's sixth penalty; it was saved, allowing Möller to win it for Germany.

Reaction

Andreas Köpke, Germany goalkeeper: "None of us could walk straight. The fight over 120 minutes was insane. England deserved it just as much as we did. Luck was on my side to save one of the penalties. All the previous ones had been taken really well."

Fredi Bobic, Germany striker: "I had goosebumps when the English fans were singing the anthem before the penalty shoot-out. It was an unbelievably tense atmosphere. We had so many injured players and we witnessed that not the best team wins, but the best squad."

Stefan Kuntz, Germany goalscorer: "England usually don't reach the fifth set of penalties. When they did, my heart was in my pants. I wanted to shoot it low but it went in high."

EURO '96 final highlights: Germany 2-1 Czech Republic
EURO '96 final highlights: Germany 2-1 Czech Republic

Terry Venables, England manager: "The players can be very proud of themselves, as can everyone who has been involved in the past five weeks. It's a shame not to get to the final, we've done our very best. I thought our performance in the second half was excellent and really we had the chances to finish it off in extra time. But it wasn't to be."

Aftermath

Oliver Bierhoff came off the bench to draw Germany level with Czech Republic in the final before winning them the trophy with a 95th-minute golden goal. The tournament marked the end of an era for England, with Glenn Hoddle already lined up to replace Venables regardless of how the team fared.

Related Items