The Four Times Italy Sent Germany Home From Major Tournaments


The meeting between Die Mannschaft and Azzurri at Euro 2016 in Bordeaux on July 2 will be the 34th meeting between the two-footballing heavyweights.

Interestingly, Germany have never beaten Italy at a major tournament where Italy’s record reads: P8 W4 D4 L0. Those four draws occurred at World Cup 62 and 78 and Euro 88 and 96.

The Panenka takes a closer look at those four Italian victories, three at World Cups and one at a European Championship.

1970 World Cup Semi-Final – Germany 3 Italy 4 (AET)


This match is known simply as “The Game of the Century.” With the scores at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Azzurri stole the spoils after five goals were scored in additional time at the Azteca in Mexico City on 17 June 1970 in front of 103,000 people.

The game started lifelessly under oppressive heat. Despite neither side able to find a rhythm, Italy took the lead on 8 minutes. Roberto Boninsegna exchanged a defense-splitting one-two with Luigi Riva before dispatching an unstoppable half-volley from 16 metres out, 1-0.

As the game ebbed and flowed its way into the second half, Germany began to take the game to their opponents with Gerd Muller beginning to make his presence felt. Germany though, failed to make chances pay in the brief moments of Italian lapses in defensive concentration.

Franz Beckenbauer went down under a challenge deemed to have been committed outside the area that injured his shoulder. The Germany captain played the remainder of the game with his arm in a sling.

Just as they had shown against England in the quarter-final, Beckenbauer and his team-mates just did not know when they were beaten. In injury time, the hard-working Grabowski swung in a cross from the left that was met by defender Karl Heinz Schnellinger at the penalty spot to head home and force extra-time.

At 1-1, so began the most memorable 30 minutes of football of all-time. Germany, with the bit between their teeth, took the lead through a Gerd Muller toe poke but their celebrations were short lived when Tarcisio leveled. Moments before the sides were due to swap ends in extra-time, Luigi Riva put Italy 3-2 Up.

The pace of the game had sped up dramatically under the searing Mexican heat and there was no let up in the final 15 minutes. After 110 minutes Gerd Muller scored his 10th goal of the tournament with yet another demonstration of his expert anticipation inside the box, 3-3.

The Italians were not to be outdone by this umpteenth German fight back. Almost immediately from the restart, Boninsegna reached the byeline on the left and knocked the ball back for Rivera who scored the winner in an unbelievable 2-hour spectacle. 

1982 World Cup Final – Italy 3 Germany 1


On 11 July 1982 at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid Italy shocked the Germans by taking a 3 goal lead in the second half in 24 devastating minutes, a Paul Brietner consolation did little to encourage a fight back.

On a warm Spanish evening the two sides exchanged opening blows in the first fifteen minutes. The first piece of action transpired when Bruno Conti was brought down in the box for a penalty.

Schumacher and Antonio Cabrini faced up, the German stopper visibly less tense than his opponent. Cabrini began his run-up, shot, and drove the ball just wide of the right-hand upright. Italy had spurned the opportunity to take the lead.

In the second half Marco Tardelli started a passage of play with a quick short free kick to find Claudio Gentile. His cross looped over its intended target Alessandro Altobelli to fall to golden boot winner Paulo Rossi. 1-0 Italy.

Italy doubled their lead through a Marco Tardelli shot from the edge of the area. The Italian showed his delight through a passionate celebration that is regarded as the most memorable moment of the tournament, possibly of World Cup history.

Die Mannschaft pushed forward to try to claw themselves back into the game and force extra time at best. However, the game was beyond doubt on 81 minutes when a Conti pass split an exposed Germany defense to find Altobelli who slipped the ball under an onrushing Harold Schumacher.

Paul Breitner scored Germany’s consolation goal seven minutes from time and his reaction spoke volumes about the mood in the German camp. No celebration and not even a smile, just the resigned look of a man who knew his side never had it in them to threaten his opponents’ grip on the match. 

2006 World Cup Semi-Final – Germany 0 Italy 2 (AET)


With the game destined for penalties, Azzurri broke German hearts with a late brace in Dortmund on July 4 2006. A young Germany team coached by former player Jurgen Klinsmann was in the process of blooding an array of young talent but fell short in the final minutes of extra-time.

After 90 absorbing minutes the game livened up in additional time where twice Lukas Podolski miscued opportunities that only added to the Italian strength of will. Italy also had their chances when Alberto Gilardino hit the post and a Gianluca Zambrotta shot clipped the top of the crossbar. Miroslav Klose missed the game’s best opportunity after being put through by Sebastian Kehl, however Italian man-mountain Gianluigi Buffon stood firm.

As penalties beckoned, Marcello Lippi’s team delivered a hammer blow to the host nation. From a corner Andrea Pirlo’s slipped a pass backward to Fabio Grosso for the full-back to curl home a beautiful shot from the right with his left foot. In the seconds that were left Alessandro del Piero broke away to gather a pass from a fellow substitute Alberto Gilardino and add a second with a delicate chip.

2012 European Championship Semi-Final – Germany 1 Italy 2


Mario Balotelli scored twice to once again prove Azzurri to be Germany’s nemesis in the Euro 2012 semi-final in Warsaw, Poland on June 28.

Cesare Prandelli’s Italy neutralized Germany’s dynamic approach, and found their No. 9 in clinical form when on 20 minutes the striker headed his side in front from close range. ‘Super Mario,’ who became something of a false prophet for the national team, doubled the advantage nine minutes before half-time after being played clean through and driving a powerful shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Germany threw everything at their opponents in the second half, but their breakthrough came too late, Mesut Özil converting an added-time penalty that only offered fleeting hope after Balzaretti handled in his own area.

Italy will play Germany in the quarter-final of Euro 2016 on July 2 in Bordeaux. Kick off is at 3:00PM ET.

Read the preview here.


One thought on “The Four Times Italy Sent Germany Home From Major Tournaments

  1. Pingback: The Panenka’s EURO 2016 Team of the Tournament | The Panenka

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