France, Argentina and Spain are Germany’s biggest rivals – NOT England, claims Dietmar Hamann… as he dismisses rivalry ahead of Euro 2020 showdown because Three Lions have not challenged them on the biggest stage
Former Germany star Dietmar Hamann insists facing England is not the biggest game for his country due to the Three Lions’ lack of success on the international stage in recent years.
The two rivals are set to meet once again on Tuesday at Wembley, this time in the last 16 at Euro 2020, after Gareth Southgate’s men topped Group D while Joachim Low’s side finished runners-up in Group F.
There is a 91-year history of fixtures between the two sides, with the most recent meeting at a major tournament coming in England’s 4-1 defeat at the 2010 World Cup, 14 years after their loss to Germany on penalties at Euro 96.
England are not Germany’s biggest rivals because they have not challenged them at major tournaments, according to Dietmar Hamann
Joachim Low’s side meet Gareth Southgate’s men in the last 16 of Euro 2020 on Tuesday
Both sides have enjoyed iconic wins over each other, with the history adding to the rivalry, but England have yet to win silverware since the 1966 World Cup on home soil.
And former Liverpool midfielder Hamann therefore claims current world champions France and South American giants Argentina are bigger rivals for four-time world champions Germany, while Spain’s Euro 2008 and 2012 victories and their success at the 2010 World Cup has now brought them into the picture.
‘I would never describe England as Germany’s biggest rivals,’ Hamann told The Telegraph.
England have not won a major tournament since winning the World Cup back in 1966
Hamann therefore claims current world champions France are considered bigger rivals
‘Our big rivals have always been seen as the most likely to challenge us. That would be France, or over many years it has been Argentina, who we have played in finals, semi-finals and quarter-finals at the World Cup.
‘Then we would be looking at games against Spain. Obviously there is a history to the England games, and we all remember Euro 96 as being special.
‘I understand this is the game everyone was looking at the draw and waiting for. But England is one of the biggest games rather than the biggest game for Germany.’
Hamann also claimed Argentina are bigger rivals because they regularly appear in the latter stages of tournaments
Hamann also claims Spain’s dominance in the previous two decades has brought them into the fold
Die Nationalmannschaft’s most recent success came by winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while Euro 96 – which took place a year before Hamann became a Germany international – represents their most recent victory at a Euros.
Hamann – who won 59 senior caps for his country – was also the last player to score at the old Wembley, netting one of his five goals for Germany in a 1-0 win in a 2002 World Cup Qualifier against England that took place in October 2000.
But in the reverse fixture 11 months later, England’s greatest performance against a unified Germany arrived, winning 5-1 in Munich, with Michael Owen netting an unforgettable hat-trick and Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey also on the scoresheet.
However, the 47-year-old has downplayed the importance of that result for Sven Gran Eriksson’s men, hitting back that Germany would end up going further at the 2002 World Cup than England.
Germany have won the World Cup four times meanwhile, most recently in 2014 in Brazil
Germany reached the final of the 2002 World Cup before they were defeated 2-0 by Brazil in Yokohama. England meanwhile were knocked out by the same opposition at the quarter-final stage in Shizuoka.
Asked what he says when he is reminded about the game on its various anniversaries, he added: ‘My reply is, ‘what are you on about?.
‘It was a qualifier, not a semi-final or final. It was not one of the great games in international football. When it came to the World Cup we were still in Japan after the English players had gone home for their holidays two weeks earlier.’
Hamann also downplayed the significance of England’s 5-1 win against Germany in 2001