Saturday, July 11, 2020

England – Our Grand-est Moments

This week, England will play their 1000th game when they take on Montenegro at Wembley as they continue their Euro 2020 Qualifying campaign. In honour, we at LazyFanSports have decided to put together a list of our favourite England memories from over the years.

Between us, we have writers as young as 17 all the way to in their forties, so there’s no shortage of variation between the memories. Let’s kick it off with our esteemed leader, Mr Raymond Burton.

Ray B – England 8-0 Turkey, 1984

November 1984, a big game for England as they look to secure qualification for the 1986 World Cup. The Three Lions head to Istanbul to take on Turkey in the first meeting between the two teams in that part of the world. The atmosphere was very hostile for the England boys, unlike much they would have experienced in the past – but it made no difference.

A (not as much as he’ll have you believe) young Raymond Burton rushed home to see the game, which was on in the afternoon. He watched on as Bobby Robson’s England battered Turkey 8-0, with a hat-trick from Ray’s childhood hero and favourite Man United player, Bryan Robson. Braces from Tony Woodcock and John Barnes as well as cherry on top from Viv Anderson sealed a huge victory for Robson’s men.

Dom – England v Italy, 2014

Honestly, I don’t even know where to start with this one. Brazil 2014, probably the worst World Cup showing in quite some time from England as they crashed out at the group stage without picking up a single win. Dom recalled how he watched on as England took on Italy out in Brazil.

Raheem Sterling, then of Liverpool, had been handed a massive opportunity by Roy Hodgson as the now Palace boss opted to play him over Adam Lallana. Early in the game, Sterling nipped past his man and smashed an effort at goal from 25 yards out. Salvatore Sirigu, deputising for the injured Gianluigi Buffon, was beaten all ends up. Cue pandemonium in Dom’s local pub…

It took them 20 minutes to realise that the shot had actually hit the side netting and it was still 0-0. Honestly – he actually said that. In case you’ve forgotten, we lost 2-1.

Daryl – Euro ’96 Quarter-finals

Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the only answer I’ve got that is, in some way, related to Euro ’96. One of the finest months of football in the history of English football as the star-studded team united the country behind them. Ultimately, it all ended in heartbreak but this memory is a happy one.

Daryl recalled the Quarter-final as England took on Spain – it was the first time a young Daryl had been present into a crowded pub for a football game. Crammed into this local watering hole, Daryl soaked up the atmosphere around him before taking part in the sheer euphoria that followed the unlikely event of England winning on penalties (I know…). We all have those moments in football we’ll never forget and for Daryl, this is one of his biggest.

Englands finest hour

Leigh – Euro ’96, Gazza’s glorious goal

Again, we flashback to Euro 96, this time back in the group stage as England were potentially staring at the prospect of dropping points for the second game in a row. Scotland are prodding and probing that defence, looking for an equaliser – then, up steps Paul Gascoigne and well… you know the rest. Just in case you don’t though, let me fill you in.

David Seaman stands in his net, with the ball placed on the penalty spot 12 yards in front of him. Gary McAllister stands over the ball, waiting to hit it. He runs up, smashes it towards goal BUT, Seaman was equal to it and turns it over the bar. From the subsequent corner, Seaman cleared the ball up the field and away from danger. It falls to Teddy Sheringham, who takes the ball down and sprays it wide to Darren Anderton who then lofts a through ball into Gazza.

The Geordie hero takes the ball in his stride, looks over his shoulder to see Colin Hendry steaming toward him and beautifully lifts the ball over the Scot’s head before slamming a volley underneath the goalkeeper. With his celebration, Gazza harks back to events before the tournament as the England lads made some rather unfavourable headlines with the infamous ‘Dentists Chair’ debacle – thus sealing his place in English folklore.

Seriously, who doesn’t love this one though? What a moment.

George – Germany 1-5 England, September 2001

I mean, it was only a matter of time before this one came up wasn’t it? Qualifying stages of the 2002 World Cup, England come up against the old enemy. We’d beaten Germany just once in a competitive match since the 1966 World Cup and to be honest, we weren’t overly expectant of a result here either having lost to them a year earlier in the final game at the old Wembley.

The whistle goes, tooted by the legendary Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, and less than seven minutes later, England fell behind to a goal from Carsten Jancker. Cue a collective sigh across the nation – not this sh*t again. However, after that, our luck somewhat changed as just six minutes later, a young Michael Owen pulled us back onto level terms. From then on, well, things got weird…

Oliver Kahn was forced into numerous good saves in the German goal but they simply couldn’t withstand the pressure. Right on the stroke of half-time, a very young midfielder by the name of Steven Gerrard popped up to give England the lead. In the second period, we all entered something of a trance as we watched Owen score another, then another AND THEN EMILE HESKEY BLOODY SCORED AS WELL! What a day, what a strike partnership, what a result. Here’s the full recap of the game.

63,000 Germans go home in tears. Perfect. What’s that old song? “Two *cough* *cough* and one World Cup, doo dah…”

Kieran (me) – Trippier free-kick v Croatia, 2018 World Cup

Don’t judge me, I’m young and England have been a little rubbish for most of my life. The World Cup in 2018 was the first time I’ve ever been able to watch England do well in a tournament. Thinking back about the way the country got behind the boys as well as the passion and commitment from the team all the way through – it just makes me feel incredibly patriotic.

I remember everything about the tournament and even though we would eventually lose the semi-final, the moment Trippier scored will live with me forever. Watching the TV, butterflies in my stomach chewing my nails like they were skittles, then we get a free-kick. Centre of the goal, 25 yards out, Trippier standing over it – BANG! Top bin, pandemonium in the Harm household and for the briefest of moments, I was convinced it was actually coming home. Obviously it didn’t come home, but that didn’t matter – the boys united the fans behind the team for the first time in years. English football has it’s spark back – the next generation have a lot to thank that team for.

It’s been an emotional roller-coaster watching England over the years, and I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon. For now though, we focus on the Euro 2020 qualifiers wherein Southgate’s men need just a point to qualify.

Here’s hoping the next 1000 games are as… enthralling? Yeah, enthralling… as the last.

For more like this, visit our dedicated football page here. Meanwhile, follow us on Facebook for more opinions and analysis right to your timeline.

Kieran Harm
Kieran hails from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and holds a degree in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton. He covers a range of sports, specialising in football and NFL. Kieran is a long-suffering member of the Toon Army as well as a very proud member of Broncos Country.

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