England

It was 25 years ago that England suffered defeat to Germany on penalties in the semi-finals of the Italia 90.

Since then England have never made to the last four of World Cup; have been knocked out of a major competition on penalties five times and constantly under-achieved. It’s been tough for England fans this past quarter of a century. Therefore, Loveaflutter, in a bid to raise spirits, is going to take a look at five moments from the last 25 years that have made being an England fan enjoyable.

Gazza vs Scotland.

England’s hero from Italia 90, produced a moment of magic as England played host to Scotland in the group stages of Euro 96. Having just seen Leeds United’s Gary McAllister miss a penalty, England broke up field with the score delicately poised at 1-0 to the home side.

Darren Anderton played a first-time pass into Gascoigne and he looped the ball over Scottish central defender Colin Hendry and then hit a volley past his Rangers teammate Andy Goram. The goal helped seal a 2-0 win for England and following a 4-1 success over Holland in their final group match, Terry Venables’ side went through to the knockout stages as group winner as their rivals Scotland crashed out of the competition. Watch here

Michael Owen vs Argentina.

It was a game that England ended up losing on penalties, but Owen’s goal in that match against Argentina remains one of the greatest ever scored by an Englishman in the finals of a major competition. At the age of 18, Owen had electrifying pace and picked up the ball in the centre circle before darting past two Argentina defenders and firing the ball into the top corner of the net to give England a 2-1 advantage with 16 minutes gone. Watch here

Germany 1 England 5.

This match remains one of England’s finest victories. Needing to beat Germany to stand a chance of finishing top of their qualifying group for the 2002 World Cup, England didn’t get off to the best of starts in Munich as Carsten Jancker gave the home side an early lead.

However, after that it was all England. Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard both scored first half goals to put England in front. Owen then completed his hat-trick in the second half to make it 4-1 before Emile Heskey got in on the act and added a fifth goal. England would go onto to win their game in hand, against Albania, four days later to go top of the qualifying group with one game to go. Watch here

David Beckham vs Greece.

Having put in abject performance against Greece at Old Trafford, England looked as though they were going to mess up their qualification for the 2002 World Cup. They were 2-1 down in stoppage time when, Beckham, the only player in an England shirt who had performed well up to that point stood over a free-kick.

“The one thing you can be sure of, there ain’t many chances coming along after this,” remarked the match summariser Andy Gray in commentary. It was virtually the last kick of the game and Beckham curled an unstoppable shot that swerved past the Greek goalkeeper and sent England to the World Cup.

England 1 Argentina 0.

Having been knocked out of the 1998 World Cup by Argentina it was time for retribution in 2002. David Beckham was the player blamed for England’s exit at the previous World Cup as it was his kick-out at Diego Simeone, and subsequent red card, that swung the game in Argentina’s favour.

Therefore it was fitting that, following a foul on Michael Owen, by Mauricio Pochettino, that Beckham should pick up the ball for the penalty kick. He smashed a shot right down the centre of the goal and gave England a crucial victory which was them qualify, with Sweden, out of the group as Argentina headed home. Watch here