do not mention the war

England’s Goal Mystery

In Anglo-German Relations, England, Football, Germany, History on June 21, 2012 at 13:05

In a close game between the Ukraine and England, the latter managed to get a goal after 48 minutes to take the lead. However, it was 20 minutes later when Marko Devic scooped the ball over Joe Hart and into the English goal. Yet, John Terry got his foot on the ball and kicked it out. Ukraine understandably were infuriated by he decision not to award the goal as they thought the ball has clearly crossed the line. If they were sceptical of goal line technology, they will now be fierce supporters. A History.

1966 and all that

The World Cup played in England in 1966 was the only time England have ever won a major trophy and ever since have been chasing another success. It remains their sole appearance in a World Cup final. They had the advantage of playing all their games at Wembley and faced a West German side in the final featuring Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler, two of the most distinguished players in modern German football history. Yet, it was all about England; not just the game but also the aftermath.

Germany took an early lead through Helmut Haller just afer 12 minutes. Geoff Hurst equalized during the first half and Martin Peters added another to give England a win. However, the Germans were not to be written off that easily. They equalized through Wolfgang Weber, 15 seconds before full-time. Extra-Time.

Geoff Hurst's controversial second goal during...

Geoff Hurst’s controversial second goal during the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final is still not known to have crossed the goal line or not. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was during the following 30 minutes of extra time that one of football’s greatest controversies happened. Geoff Hurst received the ball inside the German box, turned his marker and shot the ball on the underside of the crossbar from where it bounced down. Weber headed the ball over for a corner, or he thought. The Russian linesman Tofiq Bahramov waved goal and the Swiss referee consulted him briefly before he awarded the goal.  Bahramov appeared to be sure that the ball had crossed the line but the tv coverage is not conclusive as to whether the ball was in or not.

2010: Lampard Not In

Between 1966 England and Germany met a few times and on most occasions there were no controversial decisions going against either of the teams. Germany had the better of the matches, winning when it matters: in 1970 in the World Cup quarterfinal in Mexico and in another quarterfinal in 1972, when Germany beat England for the first time at Wembley. Further, there was the semi-final at the 1990 World Cup and another semi at Euro 96 when Germany on both occasions beat England on penalties. Germany were the last team to play at the old Wembley Stadium and won the game 1-0 while England recorded a memorable 5-1 win in 2001 in Munich.

Ghost Goal during the England vs Germany game ...

Ghost Goal during the England vs Germany game at the FIFA World Cup 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the World Cup in South Africa 2010 England looked to play a German team that was not so sure where it was standing in world football. All this was turned upside down when Germany scored two goals inside the first 25 minutes, carving England open like they were not there. England got a goal back after 39 minutes but the biggest talking point came just before half time.  Frank Lampard got the ball just outside the German box and lobbed the German keeper Manuel Neuer. Just like in 1966 the ball hit the cross-bar from where it bounced down. This time however, it was a clear goal, yet Neuer was quick enough to get the ball out of the goal and start a counter attack while England’s players lamented the goal that was not given.

2012: John Terry’s foot saves England

The European Championship 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine have been a very positive tournament so far. Some of the favourites tumbled like Spain and Italy and some even fell such as Holland. England came to the tournament as underdogs and for some even as ‘dark horses’. Their opening draw with France seemed to justify this claim to some extent while the encounter with Sweden was one of the most exciting of the competition so far. There were five goals and England scored two very fine goals. In their final group game against the co-hosts Ukraine they were lucky, though.

The game was a one-sided affair. Ukraine enjoyed far more possession but their ideas seemed to run once they approached the England penalty area. However, they will the tournament with a feeling of being robbed by the match officials. Just after the hour mark Marko Devic’s shot has been deflected by Joe Hart, the English goalkeeper but nonetheless was going into goal. John Terry got a foot on the ball and kicked out of the goal as the picture shows.

Certainly there are more controversies about goals that have been given although the ball never crossed the line or the other way round. It is interesting however, that England just happen to play in those games. It always happens at major tournaments, never or rarely during a friendly or a qualifying match, where those ‘ghost’ goals might be forgotten as the games don’t count as much as a World Cup quarterfinal or final. The question is why England are happening to be involved those matches. Why not Germany or Italy or Spain? Is it pure coincidence? Or bad luck? What would have happened if all those goals mentioned had been given? Or, in Hurst’s case, had the goal not been allowed? Would have altered it the run of the game?

  1. Hi Christoph,

    Good article. Do you think if the goal had been given in the England v Ukraine match, Ukraine would have gone on to win? How about the Germany v England match two years ago?


  2. Hi Simon,
    This is a good question which is valid for all the three games mentioned in the article. I guess Urkaine would have been more motivated to go forward which in return could have opened counter possibilities for England. It would have altered the momentum of the game, certainly.

    The same must be said for the England Germany match two years ago. England were equal in the first half and were denied a clear goal. It might seriously have changed the game as England have come back from 2-0 down to 2-2 at half time.

    Are you aware that if both, England and Germany win their quarterfinals, there will be an England-Germany semi-final?


  3. […] England’s Goal Mystery ( […]


  4. […] England’s Goal Mystery ( […]


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