We know you have your FIFA Ultimate team on lock. You know the current England squad better than anyone, but what do you really know about England’s heartbreaking love story with football? Do you know the highs and lows? The blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the world’s favourite sport?
Well, never fear, because we got your back.
Let’s take a look at some of England’s best and worst moments in history.
1966: The Year That England Actually Won the World Cup
Yep, that’s right: Never forget this date – 1966 – because that’s the year that football actually came home. The year that Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick led the England squad to victory against Germany in the final of the World Cup. Despite the fact that a lot of England fans weren’t alive in 1966, everyone has been living off this achievement ever since – even though we only won it once and it was over half a century ago.
1998: Beckham’s Red Card
The year was 1998, England were squaring off against our arch enemies – Argentina – in the second round of the tournament hosted by France. We got off to a decent start, the score was 1-1 following a couple of early penalties. Two minutes into the second half, however, David Beckham was sent to the floor by a sharp tackle from Diego Simeone. Then he made his big mistake, a move he would live to regret: He lashed out with a petulant back-heeled kick as he lay on the floor. He was shown the red card, England went out of the tournament and the general public hated Beckham… for a couple of weeks then we loved him again.
2014: The Year That People Fell in Love with England’s Women’s Team
In 2014, England’s women’s team attracted a record crowd of 45,619 people for their first ever match at the new Wembley Stadium against Germany. This signaled the beginning of an increased global interest in England’s international women’s team. And it wasn’t the only record for the Lionesses that year: Fara Williams set a new England appearance record, when she helped them smash Sweden 4-0 in Hartlepool, picking up her 130th cap in the process. Great stuff.
1990: When Paul Gascoigne Cried During a Semi-Final Defeat
In 1990, we reached the semis against West Germany. The iconic moment that most people remember from that match was Paul Gascoigne’s lip wobbling and his eyes welling up when he was booked for a salty tackle – a decision that would have ruled him out of the final if we’d have got that far. Gazza’s tears captured the hearts of England fans and showcased the passion that we are known for. “I was giving it 110 percent,” he told the Guardian. “It was the World Cup semi-final. To this day I honestly don’t think I touched him, but down he went, rolling around as if in agony. Then everything turned to slow motion.”
1996: When We Crushed the Dutch Team
In what was described as ‘England’s greatest performance at Wembley for 30 years’, Terry Venables’ side beat the Dutch for the first time since 1982. As Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham both netted a couple of goals it looked like England was a force to be reckoned with that year. And they were; they took their streak of good luck all the way to a victory against Spain and a showdown against Germany from the penalty spot in the semis.
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