Look back at five epic World Cup semi-finals

With two potentially epic semi-final face-offs between Brazil-Germany and Argentina-the Netherlands this week, it's time we flash back to five other classic World Cup semis.

Stockholm June 24 1958 BRAZIL 5 FRANCE 2

Pele, then 17, scored his first World Cup goal in Brazil’s 1-0 win over Wales in the quarter-finals. But it was his performance in the semi-final against France that spread his fame, thanks partly to the power of television.

The stage was set for a classic after Vava put Brazil ahead in the second minute and Just Fontaine equalised seven minutes later. Didi put Brazil back in front six minutes before halftime.

Pele then took over, scoring a hat-trick with goals in the 52nd, 64th and 75th minutes to secure Brazil’s place in the final.

Roger Piantoni scored a late consolation to make the score 5-2.

Brazil won the World Cup against Sweden by the same scoreline with Pele scoring another two goals to take his 1958 World Cup tally to six.

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 at Azteca Stadium looked to be the winning goal 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.

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. Gianni Rivera of Italy scored in the 111th minute to make it 4-3.

One of the lasting memories of the game is Franz Beckenbauer continuing to play even after dislocating his shoulder with his arm clung in a makeshift sling.

Seville, July 8 1982 WEST GERMANY 3 FRANCE 3 (AET)

West Germany won 5-4 on penalties

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.

That incident was crucial to the outcome, because although Battiston was badly injured by Schumacher, the goalkeeper was not even yellow carded. He kept his place in goal for the penalty shootout, which the Germans won.

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

Justice appeared to be done when Marius Tresor and Alain Giresse struck to put France 3-1 ahead after 98. But with injured captain Karl-Heinz Rummenigge coming off the bench to lead the fightback, the Germans pulled level with goals from him and Klaus Fischer before they won 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 semi-finals 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.

TV images showed Paul Gascoigne welling up in tears after a booking that would have kept him out of the final. Lineker was seen mouthing to the England bench to keep Gascoigne calm for the remainder of the match.

All extra time goals, so onto penalties. Stuart Pearce missed for England, Olaf Thon scored for West Germany which made the score 4-3 before Chris Waddle famously sent his penalty into orbit to give the Germans victory.

Paris July 8 1998 FRANCE 2 CROATIA 1

On a night of almost unbelievable tension, host France came from behind to reach the World Cup final for the first time.

Croatia had qualified for the last four in style beating Germany 3-0 in the quarter-finals.

France looked superb too, chalking up wins over South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Denmark and Paraguay before reaching the semis with a penalty shootout win over Italy.

But they fell behind to Croatia just after halftime when Davor Suker scored.

A minute later, 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.

- Reuters

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