World Cup Dossier - Germany
Australia's group opponent Germany has been one of the most consistent World Cup performers over the years having won the title on three occasions, made the final on four others and made the semi-finals in 10 of the 17 tournaments they have competed in.
Previous clashes with Australia
Previous clashes with Australia: 1974 World Cup Group Stage: Australia 0, West Germany 3 2005 Confederations Cup, Group stage: Germany 4 Australia 3
World Cup History
Best Result: 1954, 1974, 1990 Champions (as West Germany) Germany has been one of the most consistent World Cup performers over the years having won the title on three occasions, made the final on four others and made the semi-finals in 10 of the 17 tournaments they have competed in.
In 1934, Germany made the semi-finals in their first appearance, beating Austria 3-2 in the third-place playoff. After sitting out the 1950 Cup in the aftermath of World War Two, Germany (playing as West Germany) took its first World Cup title in Switzerland in 1954.
After defeating Yugoslavia in the quarters and Austria 6-1 in the semis, West Germany faced the legendary Hungary side in the final and trailed 2-0 after just eight minutes. But in one of the best comebacks in a final, West Germany rallied to prevail 3-2 thanks to an 84th-minute winner from Helmut Rahn.
West Germany made the final in 1966, losing out to host England 4-2 in extra time, and then made a semi-final appearance in 1970 before eventually claiming third. In 1974, West Germany would hold aloft the Jules Rimet Trophy again, this time on home soil. While it struggled in the first group stage, it dominated the second and progressed to the final unbeaten. Again, West Germany went behind in the final against the Netherlands, but won 2-1 thanks to goals from Paul Breitner and Gerd Mueller.
West Germany would then lose two successive finals in 1982 and 1986, losing to Italy 3-1 in 1982 and Argentina 3-2 in 1986. In Italy in 1990, West Germany would get some revenge defeating Argentina in the final thanks to a late penalty from Andreas Brehme.
The country was unified later that year and after failing to make the semi-finals in 1994 and 1998, Germany made the final in 2002, only to fall to Brazil 2-0. In front of their home fans in 2006, hopes were high as Germany played some of the most entertaining football in the tournament. But they fell to Italy 2-0 in extra time in the semi-finals, with third place after a 3-1 win over Portugal a mere consolation.
Road to the World Cup Finished top in UEFA Group 4 Germany drew one of the easiest groups in UEFA qualifying with Russia its only major challenger in a group which contained Finland, Wales, Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein.
A 6-0 win over Liechtenstein got proceedings underway before Finland held the Germans 3-3 in Helsinki despite a hat-trick from Miroslav Klose. A 2-1 win over Russia in Dortmund was very significant and they followed that up with further wins against Wales and Azerbaijan twice as well as Liechtenstein. A 1-0 win over Russia in Moscow secured Germany's place in the final 32, with Klose finishing with seven goals and Lukas Podolski six.
Star men Lukas Podolski - The darling of the German team, Polish-born Podolski shone on the big stage in the 2006 World Cup. He has a magnificent scoring record at international level with 37 goals, but has struggled to find the net on his return to play with his original club side Koln.
Phillip Lahm - Lahm has been a superstar in German football for the better part of the decade and forms a crucial aspect of both defence and attack for the national team. He scored a wonderful goal in the 2006 tournament, and is set to be at his peak in South Africa 2010.
Stranger than fiction Saarland, a breakaway German province which was its own protectorate from 1945 until 1957, competed in the qualification for the 1954 World Cup. They failed to make the World Cup, however, after finishing second in their group to West Germany, the country it would re-join a few years later.