England Football Online
Page Last Updated 2 July 2021
West Germany
Federal Republic of Germany
Deutscher Fußball-Bund
Foundation: 18 December 1904

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England vs. West Germany

England had played Germany three times before the Second World War. The partitioning of Germany at the end of the war had restricted the Deutscher Fußball-Bund to select players from only the western side of the country, but they continued to play in the same colours (white shirts, with black shorts and socks) as Germany had, thus resulting in a colour clash, whenever they met England, who had called on a blue change shirt against Germany before the war, whilst the Germans had a red change kit.

By the time of their first meeting with West Germany, in 1954, England were using a red change kit and, after unveiling a new lightweight white v-neck shirt against Wales in their previous fixture, they used this first post-war encounter with their former enemies to wear a new red equivalent of the v-neck. Although the game was played at Wembley, it was England, as the home team, in an air of cordiality, who were happy to change colours. They also wore the name of their opponents in a crescent beneath the emblem. Note that this appeared as GERMANY, without the 'western' prefix - they were not popularly referred to as 'West Germany' until the 1960s to distinguish the country from the German Democratic Republic, as East Germany's football team began to flourish. In essence, England were still playing a team representing the Deutscher Fußball-Bund, just as they had been before the war and this was considered to be their fourth meeting with Germany.

England's first trip to post-war Germany, to Berlin in 1956, surprisingly, saw the teams wearing exactly the same colours as at Wembley, almost eighteen months earlier, with two exceptions. England had temporarily discarded the crescents with the opposition team name underneath the emblem and their numbers were now gold, having been blue at Wembley.

Nine more years passed before England were back in Germany, and yet again, it was they who wore the change colours, as Nürnberg witnessed England's last appearance in a red v-neck shirt. This was also the last occasion that West Germany wore black socks against England, as by the following year, they had followed the trend of switching to lighter-coloured socks.

1966 was, of course, a momentous year for both countries, if a little more memorable for England. West Germany made two trips to Wembley, the first of which saw them wearing a change green shirt against England for the first time. However, as it was paired with white shorts and socks, it meant that England were obliged to change their socks to red.

When it came to the World Cup Final, the teams tossed a coin to decide who would wear white shirts on the big day and, once again, it was England who ended up playing in red. This might seem a familiar sight nowadays, but it was only the third time ever (and the first time in twelve years) that England had worn red shirts for a full international played at home. West Germany, meanwhile, had now settled on white socks, to go with their white shirts and black shorts.

The final firmly established red as England's preferred second-choice colour of shirt and when they met again in Hannover, in 1968, both sides appeared in the same colours.

1970 saw England relieved of their status of World Champions, in an epic quarter-final, by West Germany. This time, they were happy to change and must have thought it would be a good omen. Sporting a lightweight aertex red shirt with small holes for ventilation in the Mexican heat, England stormed into a two-goal lead, but extra time was to prove their downfall.

Two years later, they met again in the two-legged quarter-final of the European Championship, where, at last, in their eighth meeting, England got to wear their full first-choice kit of white shirts, navy shorts and white socks, against West Germany. Their opponents added green socks to their change kit and wore rounded collars for the first time against England. In all of their previous encounters, they had appeared in v-necked shirts. The other notable curiosity about the first leg at Wembley was that England's goalkeeper, Gordon Banks, was sporting a yellow collared jersey, without emblem or number on it.

The second leg, played two weeks later, in Berlin, saw England back in red, facing a 3-1 deficit to claw back, which proved to be too much.

England's Colours Against West Germany 1954-72
No. Date Shirts Shorts Socks Gk


Shirts Shorts Socks


1 December 1954         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      


26 May 1956         Olympiastadion, Berlin      


12 May 1965         Städtisches Stadion, Nürnberg, Bayern      


23 February 1966         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      


30 July 1966         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      


1 June 1968         Niedersachsenstadion, Hannover      


14 June 1970         Estado de Guanajuato, León, Mexico      


29 April 1972         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      


13 May 1972         Olympiastadion, Berlin      

Their next meeting saw England's outfit transformed by the new Admiral contract into a red, white and blue strip and from hereon in, the goalkeeper also had his own separate kit; a yellow jersey, with black shorts and socks. At Wembley in 1975, West Germany wore the same green kit they had worn three years earlier.

In 1978, in München, England's red Admiral change kit was worn against West Germany for the first time and, despite their opponents also wearing black shorts, Ray Clemence, in the England goal, wore his usual strip. West Germany's socks bore the three adidas stripes across the tops.

For their next meeting, in the 1982 World Cup, it was England, once again, in red, though this time, it was the second, more flamboyant Admiral design, albeit modified from the version they had worn in the opening game of the tournament. West Germany had also updated their kit and were curiously wearing shorts made by Errea, paired with adidas shirts and socks. The shirts had also acquired a winged collar with a v-neck and displayed the three stripes on the sleeves, for the first time against England. Both sides wore numbered shorts.

Four months later, at Wembley, West Germany chose to wear white socks with the green change uniform and, as in 1966, England had to pair red socks with their white shirts and blue shorts, which was the second Admiral design. West Germany, meanwhile, had updated their change shirt to include white pin-stripes. This was their last visit to England, before the re-unification of the country.

Their next meeting, in 1985, was their second in Mexico. England were now back in Umbro red aertex and Peter Shilton, who saved a penalty for the one and only time in his 125-cap international career, wore a strange combination of grey jersey, coupled with the same red socks as the outfield players, but the navy shorts from the white home kit. It was the same red kit design in Düsseldorf, in 1987, but Shilton was now in an all-grey outfit.

For their final meeting, in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, another epic encounter, England managed to wear white against the Germans for the first time in a major tournament. West Germany, meanwhile, had brought back the green socks for their change kit.

England's Colours Against West Germany 1975-90
No. Date Shirts Shorts Socks GK Opposition Shirts Shorts Socks
488 12 March 1975             Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
518 22 February 1978             Olympiastadion, München      
568 29 June 1982             Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid      
571 13 October 1982             Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
603 12 June 1985                 Estadio Azteca, Santa Úrsula, ciudad de México, Mexico      
627 9 September 1987             Rheinstadion, Düsseldorf      
663 4 July 1990             Stadio Delle Alpi, Torino, Italy