------by FIFAworldcup.com


07-05-2006 09:39

On 9 July, in Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Germany hope to become the first team to win the FIFA World Cup™ as hosts for a second time. Regardless of whether or not Jurgen Klinsmann’s side succeed, they have already made history on one count. In eliminating Argentina in the quarter-finals, Germany were guaranteed a record 11th top-four finish in the tournament, surpassing Brazil’s total of ten.

Germany now have the chance to outrank their Korea/Japan 2002 conquerors on another level. Should they emerge triumphant from today's semi-final with Italy, they will reach their eighth FIFA World Cup final, becoming the outright holders of an honour they currently share with seven-time finalists Brazil.

The Germans have recorded top-four finishes at eight of the last 11 FIFA World Cups. During this same period, Brazil have been placed in the top four on six occasions. However the South Americans possess the record for most titles - five to Germany’s three.

Germany first qualified for the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1934, but lost out to Czechoslovakia. Their first appearance in the tournament’s deciding game came in 1954, when they defeated Hungary 3-2 to become only the second European champions. In 1958, Sweden ended their participation at the semi-final stage, before Germany lost a close final against England in 1966.

On home soil, FIFA World Cup win number two arrived in 1974. In 1982, Germany progressed to the first of three consecutive finals, though they had to wait until 1990 to claim gold for the third time. After missing out on a top four finish at the next two tournaments (beaten at the quarter-final stage by firstly Bulgaria 2-1 and then Croatia 3-0), Germany qualified for the concluding match in 2002, but lost 2-0 to Brazil.

As a footnote to Tuesday evening's game Germany have a near-100 per cent record in Dortmund. Fourteen games have produced 13 wins for the home team with only Wales managing to emerge unbeaten with a 1-1 draw in a friendly international on 14 December 1977. Italy would rather concentrate on their record against Germany in FIFA World Cup matches - no defeats in four games. Two have ended 0-0 with the others going Italy's way by 4-3 (1970 semi-final) and 3-1 (1982 Final).