The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is drawing ever nearer – with just 18 days to go! Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.
18 – Germany are undisputed penalty kings of the FIFA World Cup™, having won all four of their shootouts at the competition. In the course of those shootouts, they have taken 18 penalties and failed to find the net only once.
Die Mannschaft contested their first shootout in the semi-final of the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. Although Uli Stielike was unable to find the back of the net against France that day, Manfred Kaltz, Paul Breitner, Pierre Littbarski, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Horst Hrubesch all scored while Toni Schumacher made two crucial saves to book their place in the Final.
The last Germany game to be decided by spot-kicks was their quarter-final against Argentina on home soil in 2006. The hopes of a nation rested on Jens Lehmann, who had replaced legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn shortly before the tournament. In a gesture that will live long in the memory of German fans, Kahn shook his bitter rival’s hand before the shootout and whispered: “I wish you the best of luck. This is your thing now, you can do it.” Lehmann held his nerve in the biggest moment of his career to save penalties from Roberto Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso and help his team to reach the last four of the World Cup. The German shot-stopper’s performance became the stuff of legend thanks to a piece of paper that he pulled from his sock as each Argentinian penalty-taker approached the spot.