1. World Cup Win (1966)
This was obviously the pinnacle of our Footballing achievements. Not a very exciting team, and we were at home, but it was a wonderful achievement. Sir Alf Ramsey had said as early as 1962 that we would win the 1966 World Cup and he saw through his promise. The four-two extra-time win in the final will live forever in the memory of any Englishman who saw it. I did, but I was only four. I kid myself that I can remember it, but I don’t think I can.
2. Beating Holland in Euro (1996)
I do remember this one because I was there. What a night, what an atmosphere. Up to that point it was the best England performance I had ever seen. We destroyed the Dutch 4-1 by playing great football. Two goals each from Shearer and Sheringham wrapped up the game for the English. We conceded a late consolation goal which gave England fans the unexpected bonus of stopping Scotland from qualifying! A good night all round.
3. Man Utd Winning European Cup (1968)
I just about remember this game. United beat a Benfica side, containing the great Eusabio, 4-1 after extra time. Goals from Bobby Charlton 2, Brian Kidd, and George Best sealed the win which was the first European Cup win by an English team. Celtic had won the trophy before, but no other English team had managed the feat.
4. Man Utd Winning European Cup (1999)
I am by no means a Manchester United fan but I have included this game because of the wonderful achievements of that particular United side, and also the dramatic fashion in which they won the game. The team from Manchester had already won the English Premier League and the FA Cup when they arrived in Barcelona looking for a remarkable and unique treble. The signs were not good when they fell behind to an early Bayern Munich goal. The German team continued to dominate the game, and going into injury time at the end of the match the United dream was all but over. The, in the space of a minute, substitutes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham, scored to seal a famous victory.
5. Liverpool Winning European Cup (2005)
I am even less of a Liverpool fan, but this most amazing of all comebacks has to be included. Playing against the might of the AC Milan side, Liverpool found themselves 3-0 behind before half time. The game was over. Surely there was no way back. Slowly but surely Liverpool edged their way back into the game and goals from Gerrard, Smicer, and Alonso took the game into extra-time. With Liverpool clinging on, and Dudek making some incredible saves, they took the game to a penalty shoot-out. The great Shevchenko missed for Milan and Liverpool had one an almost impossible victory.
6. Beating Scotland in Euro (1996)
I am not anti-Scot at all, but most Scots appear to be pretty anti-English. The Tartan Army descended on Wembley and their optimism was high. A first half Shearer goal put England in control, but Scotland clawed their way back into the game. With the Scots on top in the second half they were awarded a penalty. I have no doubt in my mind that if they had scored they would have gone on to win the match. The penalty was driven to Seamen’s left, and he saved the ball with his elbow. Within a couple of minutes England had broken away to the other end and the genius that was Paul Gascoigne scored a sublime goal to make the game safe. Happy days.
7. Winning 5-1 in Germany (2001)
On the 1st September 2001 England travelled to Munich to play a World Cup qualifier against Germany. We all feared the worst when Germany took the lead on six minutes. The next eighty-four minutes will live forever as the finest England performance of all time. A hat-trick from Michael Owen and goals from Gerrard and Heskey meant that England had achieved the impossible and beaten Germany 5-1 in their own back yard.
8. Beating Argentina in World Cup (2002)
At the World Cup in 2002 England were drawn in the same group as the highly fancied Argentina side. This game would provide a chance for England’s David Beckham to exact some revenge against the nation against whom he had been sent off four years earlier. The celebrations of the Argentina players after that victory in 1998 had upset all of the English players, and this was built up into a serious grudge match. The script was perfectly written, and England won the game 1-0 with a scuffed penalty by David Beckham. A great win and a great moment for Becks.
9. Michael Owen’s Goal Against Argentina (1998)
The World Cup quarter final match between England and Argentina will be remembered for many things. David Beckham’s sending off, Sol Campbell’s disallowed goal, two penalties in the live skor bola, and the dramatic penalty shoot-out won by Argentina. The one thing that stands out however is an eighteen year old Michael Owen receiving the ball on the halfway line with the score at 1-1. He ran at the defence and took the ball past the Argentine defence before smashing an unstoppable shot past the helpless keeper. It was one of the great moments in sporting history.
10. Drawing 0-0 in Italy to qualify for 1998 World Cup
It might seem strange to include a 0-0 draw in my top ten, but this was a magnificent performance by a very good England team. Needing a draw in Italy to qualify for the finals was hardly ideal. With a bloodied Paul Ince and the mercurial Paul Gascoigne running the midfield England were holding Italy quite comfortably until the final couple of minutes. Suddenly England broke away and Ian Wright was presented with a glorious chance to win the game. His shot hit the post and rebounded to an Italian defender. Italy counter attacked quickly and a cross was met by the head of the Italian striker six yards from goal with only Seamen to beat. He made good contact and the hearts of millions of English fans stopped working there and then. The unrestrained joy of realizing the ball had gone wide was one of my happiest Footballing memories.