Things to Know:
Kahn was initially called for the German national team as a late back-up for the 1994 FIFA World Cup; however he made his first international appearance on 23 June 1995 in a 2–1 victory against Switzerland, two months after recovering from his cruciate ligament injury. Along with Oliver Reck, Kahn was a reserve keeper of the squad, which won the 1996 UEFA European Football Championship in England. He spent the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France on the bench, and it was not until Andreas Köpke announced his retirement at the end of the tournament that Kahn became the starting goalkeeper. Two years after the 2000 UEFA European Football Championship, in which defending champions Germany made an embarrassing exit in the group stage, Kahn received the squad’s captaincy, succeeding the strikerOliver Bierhoff. Kahn experienced one of his worst performances in his international career against England in Munich in 2001. Germany were favored to win as they had beaten England 1–0 in 2000 at the Wembley Stadium. However, they were routed 5–1, including a hat-trick by Michael Owen. Despite the defeat, Germany qualified for the World Cup after winning a playoff against Ukraine, and Kahn remained as Germany’s number one for the upcoming Cup. Kahn was named the best goalkeeper in the world by IFFHS for the second time in his career. Despite Germany’s comparatively low expectations when for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the team advanced to the finals; Kahn conceded only three goals in the course of the competition, two of which were in the Final. Playing the final match with torn ligaments in his right ring finger, Kahn conceded the first goal by fumbling a rebounded shot from Rivaldo to the feet of striker Ronaldo in the 67th minute. Once the game was over with Brazil as the new champion, he stood alone and disappointed in his goal; nevertheless he refused to blame his injury for his mistake. Germany’s new manager Jürgen Klinsmann, who replaced Rudi Völler, adopted the strategy of rotating the number one spot between Kahn and his longtime competitor, Jens Lehmann of Arsenal, to stimulate competition between the two. On 7 April 2006, after two years of dispute for the position Klinsmann announced Lehmann was his first-choice goalkeeper for the 2006 World Cup. Kahn decided to stay on as a backup for the competition; despite their acrimonious pre-tournament battle for Germany’s starting role, Kahn openly accepted Klinsmann’s decision. Kahn and Lehmann embraced and shook hands as the former offered words of encouragement before the quarter-final penalty shoot-out against Argentina. In the postgame conference, Kahn publicly praised Lehmann for his two decisive penalty saves. After Germany was eliminated in the semi-finals by Italy, Kahn was given the start for the third place play-off held on 8 July 2006, which Germany won 3–1 against Portugal. In what was his last international appearance for Germany, he also received the captaincy of the team in the absence of the injured Michael Ballack. Although overshadowed by Bastian Schweinsteiger’s game-winning performance in the match, Kahn played to a high standard, pulling off several saves. Kahn deflected a shot by Portuguese forward Pauleta after he beat the German defence, and later saved Deco’s shot made from just inside the penalty area. Following the match, Oliver Kahn announced his retirement from the German National Team. Throughout his international career he earned 86 caps for Germany, including 49 as team captain. He never won a World Cup, but finished as runner-up in 2002 and third in 2006.