The Turning Tide: the 1960s
The 1960s were to see Germany take on England four times in the space of four years, including their first meeting in a competitive fixture – the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final at Wembley. It was a decade that would finally see the game in Germany finally turn professional, and not long afterwards they would record their first win against England in nine attemps – thirteen if you choose to include the four pre-1930 games not recognised by the FA.
With each match the two teams were slowly getting closer, with England recording a narrow one-goal win in Nürnberg in 1965 before achieving the same scoreline in the return fixture at Wembley the following year. When Germany travelled to Wembley again to meet England in the final of the 1966 World Cup, they would score a last-minute equaliser to take the game into extra-time – though once more England would emerge triumphant in what was to become the finest day in their long footballing history.
After England had dominated the fixture for close to forty years, Germany’s win in Hannover’s Niedersachsenstadion in the late spring of 1968 would signal the beginning of what would be an almost complete reversal of fortune for both sides. While it could be argued that the Mannschaft’s narrow victory against a poor England team in Hannover was scratchy and perhaps undeserved, it served to lift what had been an increasingly heavy millstone from the neck of German football.
The duck had been broken, and as the 1960s came to an end the tide had finally started to turn.