Semifinals that live in our memory

Semifinals that live in our memory

Semifinals that live in our memory

With two potentially epic semifinals in prospect this week between Brazil and Germany and Argentina and the Netherlands, let’s take a look back at five classic World Cup last-four matches.

Stockholm, June 24, 1958
Brazil: 5 France: 2

Pele, who was 17-years-old, had scored his first World Cup goal in Brazil's 1-0 win over Wales in the quarterfinals but at a time when television was beginning to expand, his fame rapidly spread after his performance in the semifinal against France.


Pele scored a 23-minute hat-trick with goals in the 52nd, 64th and 75th minutes to secure Brazil's place in the final before Roger Piantoni scored a late consolation to make the score 5-2.

Mexico City, June 17, 1970
Italy: 4 West Germany: 3 (AET)

One of the greatest World Cup matches of all time remembered mainly for the astonishing extra time period that settled it and put Italy into the final for the first time since 1938.


Roberto Boninsegna's eighth minute goal looked like winning it for the Italians in front of a 102,000 crowd at the Azteca Stadium but as injury time drew to an end German sweeper Karl-Heinz Schnellinger equalised.


After four minutes of extra time West Germany struck again with Gerd Mueller putting them 2-1 ahead to start a frantic burst of five goals in 17 minutes.

Tarcisio Burgnich made it 2-2 before Gigi Riva put the Italians back in front later with a shot on the turn.


That lead only last six minutes before Mueller scored to make it 3-3.


The Italians went straight up the other end with Gianni Rivera striking in the 111th minute to make it 4-3.

Seville, July 8, 1982
West Germany: 3 France: 3 (AET, West Germany won 5-4 on penalties).


Twelve years after their defeat to Italy in the 1970 semis, West Germany triumphed in 1982 in one of the World Cup's most dramatic and controversial matches, featuring the infamous assault by German ’keeper Harald Schumacher on Patrick Battiston.

France though, appeared to be heading for their first World Cup final when they led 3-1 after eight minutes of extra time.


Although Pierre Littbarski had given West Germany a 17th minute lead, that had been cancelled out by a Michel Platini penalty soon after.

Marius Tresor and Alain Giresse struck to put France 3-1 ahead after 98 minutes, but with injured captain Karl-Heinz Rummenigge coming off the bench to lead the fightback, the Germans pulled level with goals from Rummenigge and Klaus Fischer before they won in the World Cup's first shootout.

Turin, July 4, 1990
West Germany: 1 England: 1 (AET, West Germany won 4-3 on penalties).


England reached the semifinals for the first time since 1966 but Germany triumphed in a highly emotional and dramatic clash.

Andreas Brehme put Germany ahead after an hour with a deflected free-kick before Gary Lineker equalised 10 minutes from time.

One of the more famous TV images of those finals, is a shot of Paul Gascoigne welling up in tears after a booking that would have kept him out of the final and the camera then focusing on Lineker, turning to the English bench, and mouthing "have a word with him" indicating they should try and keep Gascoigne calm for the remainder of the match.

Paris, July 8, 1998
France: 2 Croatia: 1

On a night of almost unbelievable tension France, playing at home in their capital city, came from behind to reach the World Cup final for the first time.

France fell behind to Croatia just after halftime when Davor Suker scored, although the match turned a minute later when defender Lilian Thuram equalised, before scoring what proved to be the winner 20 minutes from time. They were the only goals he scored in a 142-cap, 14-year international career.


The match was marred by the sending off of French defender Laurent Blanc 14 minutes from time for elbowing Croatian Slaven Bilic although TV replays proved that Bilic feigned the injury.


That kept Blanc out of the final which France won with a 3-0 victory over Brazil.

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