“Germany against England was the real final of Euro 96. That is why the competition now seems over even though the last game is still to come.” The words of Der Kaiser himself, Franz Beckenbauer.
But it wasn’t over and whatever Germany fans might have thought about the trophy being theirs to lose after dispatching England in the semi-final, they still had to actually go and beat the impressive Czech Republic, who had got to the final in their first Euros since the breakup of Czechoslovakia.
The two teams lined up at Wembley on this day in a match that, as Beckenbauer said, felt like something of an anticlimax after the latest chapter of the England/Germany rivalry.
After a goalless first hlf, it was the underdog Czechs who drew first blood when Patrick Berger converted a penalty with an hour played.
They held on to the lead for less than a quarter of an hour and with just minutes remaining Bierhoff equalised for the Germans.
The teams could not be separated in 90 minutes and so the match went into extra time. On this occasion however, the Germans had no need for their legendary nerves of steel in penalty shoot-outs, as Oliver Bierhoff scored again to win the match, and the tournament, with a golden goal just five minutes in to the extra period. It was the first time a golden goal had been scored in any major tournament and it handed the Germans a third European Championship trophy.
If you’re English, there’s a good chance you couldn’t bring yourself to watch the match so have a look at the key moments below. If you’re German, you’ve almost certainly seen the goals before, but it never hurts to have another look does it?
Guess what England fans? This was also the day of yet another heartbreaking defeat in a major tournament for the Three Lions! Read all about it right here you lucky old lot.