Every country has its historic matches that will never be forgotten and England’s rich World Cup history provides many celebrated games. Say phrases like “1966 World Cup”, “hand of God”, “David Beckham free kick”, “Gazza”, or “losing to penalties” to an England fan and watch his eyes light up with pleasure or grief thinking about the matches that define the England National Team.
Sometimes these great, historic games are not the matches that you remember (for no other reason than maybe not being alive at the time). You may take these famous matches into historical perspective but you actually remember the games that, for some reason, speak to you in some way or other. It could be as simple as a goal that you find stunning, the debut of a player you particularly like, or your club players carrying the side. It could just be that the game represents to you a particular time in history for the team.
Here are five England matches (and an honorable mention) I find particularly memorable. While not necessarily a list of the best England matches I’ve seen, these are the ones I will never forget.
- Against Scotland in 1996
What I most remember about this match is Gazza’s flick over the Scottish defense that was followed by the famous celebration in this two goal win.
- Against Argentina in 1998
I fondly remember this match for a very young Michael Owen dribbling past the Argentine defense to score an inspired goal. Not so fondly remembered is the David Beckham red card and loss to penalties.
- Against Germany in 2001
If beating Germany wasn’t enough, this game featured three of my club’s players score five goals against the opposition.
- Against Greece in 2001
The amazing David Beckham spot kick merits this match an inclusion on my list of memorable matches.
- Against Argentina in 2005
I’ll never forget this back-and-forth match that resulted in a win over Argentina. By now, you can probably guess who my favorite England player was in the past.
- Honorable Mention – Against Croatia in 2010.
To relate this back to the approaching World Cup we’re all anticipating, I find this recent match memorable because it displays the goal scoring ability of the current crop of players.