1. 1966 World Cup Final: England 4 Germany 2
There is only one place to start this trip down memory lane - by looking back at the one major trophy England has won. For all the failed attempts, this defeat of the Germans will live on forever in the hearts and minds of Three Lions supporters. Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick included one of the most talked about moments in football’s history to this day in an achievement that England will never forget.
2. 1970 Gordon Banks’ save: Brazil 1 England 0
England, jubilant from lifting the Jules Rimet trophy four years previous, faced arguably Brazil’s greatest ever team - and indeed football’s best ever team - in the heat of Mexico. Players like Pele, Jairzinho and Tostao shone in battle but the game will be remembered for two iconic images - Pele and Bobby Moore exchanging shirts and that save from Gordon Banks.
3. 1986 Hand of God: Argentina 2 England 1
Just four years after the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom, tensions were high as these two teams faced one another in the quarters. An intense football rivalry was heightened once more in a game that saw the good and the bad of Diego Maradona.
4. 1990 Penalty woes: England 1 West Germany 1
These two arch-enemies went head-to-head in Italy for a place in the final of the World Cup. Andreas Brehme saw his deflected shot give Germany the lead before England equalised through Gary Lineker ten minutes from time. The game ended 1–1 after extra time and penalties were required. Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed for England, though Pearce was to redeem himself against Spain six years later.
5. 1996 Crushing the Dutch: England 4 Holland 1
England’s greatest performance at Wembley for 30 years saw Terry Venables’ side emphatically defeat the Dutch for the first time since 1982. Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham both scored twice as England showed the world they were a force to be reckoned with backed by 60 million Three Lions in Euro 96. This win gave them confidence to take beat Spain and push Germany all the way on penalties in the semi.
6. 1997 Standing tall in Rome: Italy 0 England 0
Needing a point to qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France, Glenn Hoddle’s brave Lions claimed a goalless draw in Rome against a much-fancied Italy side. Italy had never dropped a point at home in World Cup qualifiers but England were confident and Paul Ince epitomised the spirit shown throughout that England squad as the midfielder played with a blood-stained bandage around his head.
7. 1998 Beckham sees red: Argentina 2 England 2
David Beckham was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Diego Simeone early in the second half in an incident filled second round clash in St Etienne. Gabriel Batistuta gave Argentina the lead before Alan Shearer equalised for England from the spot. Michael Owen announced his arrival on the world stage with a superb individual effort. But the Lions were caught sleeping just before the break when Javier Zanetti scored from a cleverly worked free kick. England held on despite Beckham’s sending off before penalty heartbreak returned.
8. 2001 Flying high in Munich: Germany 5-1
Michael Owen’s incredible hat-trick inspired England to a 5-1 defeat of Germany in their own back yard during the qualifying stages of the 2002 World Cup. The game had even extra spice than usual with Germany inflicting defeat over England in the last game played at the Old Wembley in 2000 but the Three Lions with Emile Heskey and Owen up front did the country proud in Munich.
9. 2002 Beckham averts Greek tragedy: England 2 Greece 2
In a one-man show David Beckham dragged his country through to the 2002 World Cup with an injury time free kick against Greece at Old Trafford. Beckham was everywhere and after five previous failed attempts found his range to secure qualification to Japan and Korea with a virtuoso goal.
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