WATCH: Germany-Italy often provides classics... and in the end the Italians always win

The two giants of European football meet in a Euro 2016 quarter-final

Germany, Italy, Mario Balotelli, Daniele De Rossi

Italy's Mario Balotelli, center, celebrates with teammates his second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

The way England's media go on, you'd think Germany are their foremost bogey team in major tournaments.

Yes they have lost to the Germans on penalties at World 1990 and Euro 96, and more recently a thrashing in the 2010 World Cup.

They did also lose to West Germany in a 1970 epic but the only time the Three Lions won a major tournament, it was a young Franz Beckenbauer and co that they beat in a final. I've heard that took place in a year called 1966.

But then again, nearly every team England has had the fortune to meet at the knockout stage of major tournaments has turned out to be a bogey team of sorts as Iceland proved.

Italy's Marco Tardelli (right) celebrates scoring the second goal. Picture by: Peter Robinson / EMPICS Sport

Plus England beat one of the worst Germany generations of them all 1-0 at Euro 2000 thanks to Alan Shearer's header.

Anyway, point is every team runs into a side or nation that almost always finds a way to turn them over and Germany are not immune even though as Gary Lineker has oft been quoted, "Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win."

If Germany are the epitome of winners in European football, then Italy come close with the stereotype of outstanding defenders and cynicism when it is required to get over the line.

And when it comes to major tournaments, Germany have fallen victim to their rivals time and again, even if they did beat Italy 4-1 in a March 2016 friendly.

Indeed it's come to a point that Germany have fared well enough in non-competitive games but have never beaten the Azzurri in a major tournament despite numerous attempts. Fortunately those games have produced classics and memorable encounters.


One of the greatest matches ever played. West Germany were yet to become the European and world champions of'72 and '74, although Beckenbauer had already been joined in the national team by prolific goal predator Gerd Muller among others.

They came up against Italy in the 1970 World Cup semi-finals - after the aforementioned classic against England - and it proved to be one of the greatest tournament games ever played.

The first 90 minutes themselves only produced a 1-1 draw, although there was the drama of a last minute equaliser by Karl-Heinz Schnellinger. But it exploded into life in the heat of Mexico during an extra-time period which yielded five goals and the sight of Beckenbauer playing in a sling after dislocating his shoulder earlier in the match.

A classic match went the way of Italy 4-3 thanks to Milan legend Gianni Rivera on 111 minutes, just 60 seconds after Muller had equalised.


After a 0-0 draw in 1978, West Germany and Italy would meet again in the 1982 World Cup final which would leave us with many memories including another Paolo Rossi goal in the 3-1 result as well as Marco Tardelli going nuts as he celebrated netting the second Italian goal.


A modern classic despite being 0-0 after 90 minutes. But a young German team against an Italian team guided by a mission of destiny would only go one way.

First Fabio Grosso curled in a beautiful goal into the far corner of the net with a minute of extra-time to go sparking wild Tardelli-like celebrations. And then shortly after that, a classy Alessandro Del Piero finish put salt in Germany's wounds as Italy advanced to a World Cup final they would go on to win.


Four years ago, we witnessed what could well prove Mario Balotelli's most successful performance as a footballer as his two goals led Italy to a 2-1 win and a place in the Euro 2012 final...