Euro 2016: Quick look at France’s half-century of pain vs Germany

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July 07, 2016 11:12 PM

In beating Italy at the Euro 2016 (European Championship), Germany conquered its bogey man, a team it had never defeated in eight previous encounters at the tournament and the World Cup.

In beating Italy at the Euro 2016 (European Championship), Germany conquered its bogey man, a team it had never defeated in eight previous encounters at the tournament and the World Cup.

Can France now do the same against its nemesis – Germany?

Only those of retirement age remember the last French victory against Germany in a major tournament, back in 1958.

Ahead of their Euro 2016 semifinal on Thursday night, here is a quick look at the last 58 years of French pain:


Match for third place at the World Cup in Sweden.

The first 20 minutes are tight. Just Fontaine opens the score for France in the 15th minute, with Hans Ciesclarczyk equalizing for West Germany two minutes later.

Then France hits overdrive. A Raymond Kopa penalty followed by another goal from Fontaine sees France lead 3-1 at half-time. Yvon Douis makes it 4-1 just five minutes into the second half.

Helmut Rahn quickly gets one back for Germany only for Fontaine to complete his hat trick in the 77th minute. Hans Schaefer adds a third German goal with seven minutes left to play, but Fontaine scores again six minutes later to complete the 6-3 victory.

This would be the last French win over Germany at a major tournament.


World Cup semifinal in Seville, Spain.

An infamous, scarring encounter still painfully remembered by French fans as the day when their butterfly of a team led by Michel Platini was crushed on the wheel of German aggression.

Even today, video images of Harald Schumacher’s bodily assault on France second-half substitute Patrick Battiston have lost nothing of their shock value.

Through on goal, fed by a defense-splitting pass from Platini, Battiston is flattened and knocked out by the German `keeper just 10 minutes after replacing Bernard Genghini.

Equally shocking is the fact that Dutch referee Charles Corver didn’t send Schumacher off or even book him.

Showing great mental strength, France regroups. Goals from Marius Tresor and Alain Giresse give France a 3-1 lead in the first eight minutes of extra time, after the first 90 minutes ended in a 1-1 stalemate. The final seems to beckon.

But West Germany scores twice in six minutes, through Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Klaus Fischer, to take the game to a penalty shoot-out, which Germany wins, 5-4.

French players were said to be so distraught that some had to be carried into the showers, still wearing their kit, to try to snap them out of their pain.


World Cup semifinal in Guadalajara, Mexico

Again, Platini leads France out against the Rummenigge-captained West Germany, with Battiston starting for France. But this time the score isn’t even close. Andreas Brehme opens Germany’s account with a goal after nine minutes. Rudi Voeller seals the victory in the 90th minute. Germany loses the final 3-2 to Diego Maradona’s Argentina.


World Cup quarterfinal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In many ways, an appetizer for their Euro 2016 semifinal. Germany, on its way to winning the title, scores early, with Mats Hummels heading home in the 13th minute off a free-kick taken by Toni Kroos.

One-handed saves from `keeper Manuel Neuer, to block shots from Mathieu Valbuena and Karim Benzema, along with solid German defending seal the 1-0 victory.

Many of the players that day in the Maracana Stadium will take the pitch Thursday night in Marseille.

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