How many times has Germany started a World Cup with a loss?

Germany is one of the most successful countries in the history of the World Cup.

They have competed in all but two World Cups in the past 92 years, opting out of the very first tournament in 1930 like most European nations. They were later banned from competing in the qualifiers for the 1950 finals in the wake of World War II.

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Following the post-conflict West-East split and the formation of East Germany, the German national team was commonly referred to as West Germany.

It was under the informal name that Germany won a first World Cup title in 1954, followed it up with a second in 1974. In 1990, Franz Beckenbauer became one of the few people to win a World Cup as a player and manager when he led Die Mannschaft to another title.

Political reunification took place in the fall of 1990, although it was 2014 before a reunited German national team won a World Cup for the first time.

Germany’s consistency in the World Cup over the decades has become legendary. From 1966 to 1990, they reached at least the semi-finals at six of seven tournaments and played in five finals. Again between 2002 and 2014 they made the last four or better each time.

But things haven’t exactly been business as usual for Germany of late. Their 2018 tournament as defending champions was a disaster and 2022 began in similarly disappointing fashion.

Germany won their first ever World Cup match in 1934, comfortably beating Belgium 5-2 in the first round of what was then a straight knockout. They were knocked out in the first round in 1938, but technically drew their opening match against Switzerland and only lost a subsequent replay.

After the Second World War, the Germans beat Turkey in their first match in 1954, followed by Argentina in their opening match in 1958. They were held to a 0-0 draw by Italy to start in 1962, before straight wins over Switzerland and Morocco in 1966 and 1970 respectively, before starting their first WC as hosts with victory over Chile in 1974.

Germany drew four of their six games at the 1978 World Cup, easily one of the worst of the 20th century, including their opening match against Poland. They reached the final in 1982 but actually started with one of the World Cup shocks of all time, losing 2-1 to first-time qualifiers Algeria.

Germany did not lose another World Cup opener until 2018. In the intervening years they had enjoyed many big wins at the start of tournaments, including an 8-0 drubbing of Saudi Arabia in 2002 and 4-0 victories over Australia and Portugal in 2010 and 2014 respectively .

The 2018 tournament was a disaster for Germany, starting with a 1-0 loss to Mexico – Hirving Lozano scoring the game’s only goal in the 35th minute. That set the tone as defeat to South Korea at the end of the group stage sent them home early.

2022 didn’t start any better, the loss against Japan. Germany had scored first through Ilkay Gundogan from the penalty spot, but two unanswered Japanese goals deep into the second turned the game around and condemned Die Mannschaft to a 2-1 defeat.

In total, Germany have lost three of their opening 20 World Cup matches, still a remarkable record.

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Grizz Khan and Jack Gallagher to look back at France ’98 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We’re taking a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the full episode!

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