Italy-France 2006, West Germany-England 1970 & the most famous international revenge missions

What better way to avenge European Championship final agony than by beating your rivals in the World Cup final? looks at football's most memorable pay-back results
By Sam Lee

It may not seem that long to English readers, but 10 years without winning a major tournament is a long old time for Germany. A decade after Oliver Bierhoff's extra-time winner sunk Czech Republic at Wembley, the Germans were confident of lifting the World Cup on home soil in 2006.

Having lost out to a Ronaldo double in Japan and South Korea, die Mannschaft were aching for glory. And after sailing through to the semi-finals, it was all looking good for Jurgen Klinsmann's side. But then Italy came into the picture.

A tense semi-final burst into life in extra time, but it was only with penalties looming that the Azzurri struck the fatal blow. Fabio Grosso bent home a superb curling effort to severely curb German hopes, before Alessandro Del Piero smashed them completely a minute later.

The Italians had shattered their old rivals, and reasserted their historical dominance on the fixture.

On Thursday, Joachim Low's side will be looking for revenge. Below, looks at some of the biggest pay-back missions in international football history.

West Germany - England
1966 & 1970

One of the goals may have been highly controversial, but Geoff Hurst became the first and, so far, only man to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final when England beat West Germany 4-2 at Wembley in 1966.

Bobby Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer had been instructed to mark each other closely, and had their poorest games of the tournament as a result.

But they were key figures in Mexico four years later in the quarter-final. The Three Lions went 2-0 up, but Beckenbauer pulled one back as die Mannschaft began to wrest control of the game. Charlton was substituted, Uwe Seeler equalised soon afterwards and the prolific Gerd Muller secured a famous comeback victory in extra time.

If that was not enough, just ask Chris Waddle and Gareth Southgate what happened in the '90s.

West Germany - France
1982 & 1986

In perhaps the greatest World Cup match of them all, West Germany took on France in the semi-finals of Spain '82. With the scores level after 90 minutes, by which point Patrick Battiston had been flattened by Mannschaft keeper Harald Schumacher, Les Bleus went 3-1 up in extra time thanks to goals from Marius Tresor and the incomparable Alain Giresse. But you can never discount the Germans.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Klaus Fischer made it 3-3, before Horst Hrubesch slotted away the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.

It caused a lot of bad blood between the countries, and France were out for revenge four years later.

They did not get it. Andreas Brehme and Rudi Voller scored the goals in another semi-final win for West Germany.

West Germany - Argentina
1986 & 1990

Shrugging off the close attentions of Lothar Matthaus, Diego Maradona weaved his magic to help Argentina to a 3-2 victory in the World Cup final in Mexico '86.

Bundestrainer Franz Beckenbauer had said ahead of the match that his West Germany side were not good enough to win the competition that year, but that Argentina should "wait for us in four years' time".

And, sure enough, the West Germans did have their revenge in Rome. The Albiceleste's Pedro Monzon became the first man in the history of the tournament to see red in the final, and team-mate Gustavo Dezotti followed him down the tunnel just minutes after Andreas Brehme had settled the match with a late penalty. Yes, Brehme. Again.

Netherlands - Brazil
1994 & 1998

A new generation of Dutch footballers headed to USA '94 looking for that elusive world title, but they came up against eventual winners Brazil in the quarter-finals. After cancelling out the Selecao's two-goal lead, the Dutch fell to a fine Branco free kick in the last 10 minutes.

In the France '98 semi-finals, the Dutch were out for revenge. Patrick Kluivert had notched a late leveller after Ronaldo opened the scoring, and the match went to penalties. But, thanks to misses by Phillip Cocu and Ronald De Boer, Oranje once again came up short.

At South Africa 2010, however, two somewhat fortuitous goals from Wesley Sneijder helped the latest generation of Dutch footballers to some form of revenge.

Italy - France
2000 & 2006

With the Azzurri seconds away from Euro 2000 glory, Sylvain Wiltord's low strike found its way past Francesco Toldo to force extra time. Galvanised, the French pushed on and claimed the title thanks to David Trezeguet's golden goal. With victory snatched away from them so cruelly, Italy were hurt.

But what better chance to get your own back than in a World Cup final? Six years after heartbreak in Rotterdam, Marcello Lippi's side triumphed in one of the most famous finals of all time. After giving away an early penalty, converted by Zinedine Zidane, Marco Materazzi levelled with a header. The game reached boiling point in extra time when Zidane, in what was his final act on a football field, headbutted Materazzi in the chest and was sent off.

The Azzurri went on to claim the sweetest revenge; victory in a World Cup final penalty shoot-out, thanks to Fabio Grosso's winning spot-kick.

England - Portugal
2000 & 2006

Oh England. For years, an heroic defeat was a prerequisite before the Three Lions could return home from a major tournament. And between 2004 and 2006, travelling supporters could fill their boots.

And defeats did not come much more battling than the Euro 2004 quarter-final in Lisbon. Michael Owen opened the scoring early on and, with a sparkling Wayne Rooney ready to fire them to victory, everything was looking up. But then Rooney got injured.

England clung on until Helder Postiga's late leveller, and then Rui Costa rifled home in extra time. Frank Lampard kept the fight alive, but Sol Campbell's header was ruled out. To penalties. Beckham missed, goalkeeper Ricardo scored. That was that.

But it would all be okay two years later, wouldn't it? Cristiano Ronaldo got Rooney sent off (what do you mean: Rooney stamped on Ricardo Carvalho's privates?!), and brave England held on, again, for spot-kicks. Revenge time now, surely? Nah. Steven Gerrard, Lampard and Jamie Carragher all missed, Ronaldo scored and that was that. Again.

Spain - Germany
2008 & 2010

If they are to get revenge over Italy on Thursday, Joachim Low's side may as well avenge previous defeats by La Roja too.

After reaching the final of Euro 2008 on a high following Philipp Lahm's late winner against Turkey, German dreams were once again destroyed in the cruelest fashion by Fernando Torres' solitary strike. It was Dortmund all over again.

No matter, the two sides met in South Africa two years later, and a free-scoring Mannschaft were in great shape to get the ultimate pay-back in the World Cup semi-final. The only problem was that they could not get the ball. Spain induced death by tiki-taka, and Carles Puyol powered home a header to send Vicente Del Bosque's side into the final.

Will it be third time lucky on Sunday in Kiev?

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