Over the years, England has been one of the most dominant countries in shaping and developing the football world, producing some world-class players, and hosting one of the most prestigious domestic leagues around.
Both on an international and club level, England has seen some incredible football moments, and we’ve listed four of our all-time favourites.
England wins the World Cup in 1966
Back in 1966, England was widely considered to the best national team in the world.
The fact that the tournament was held in England made the national team outright favourites. Despite an uninspiring draw in the first group match, England looked almost unstoppable for the rest of the tournament.
The final itself against West Germany was held at Wembley and was a thrilling match. Finishing 2-2 after 90 minutes, the match exploded in the half an hour of extra time. A dubious second goal from Geoff Hurst – the source of controversy ever since – put the hosts 3-2 in front.
Finally, a third from Hurst in the dying seconds of the game made England world champions for the first – and as yet – only time. Hurst remains the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.
Nottingham Forest wins back-to-back European Cups
While Manchester United became the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968, Nottingham Forest remains the only club in the country to achieve the feat twice in a row (1979 and 1980).
What makes the feat even more remarkable is the fact that Nottingham Forest was a relatively small, provincial club that had only won promotion to the top tier of the domestic league in 1977.
This period of unprecedented success means that Brian Clough can lay claim to be one of the greatest English club manager of all time.
Manchester United wins the treble 1999
Manchester United have dominated English football for most of the Premier League era, and the club achieved its greatest feat in 1999: the year it won the league title, FA Cup and Champions League in a single year.
The thrilling FA Cup semi-final match against then arch-rivals, Arsenal, saw Dennis Bergkamp miss a penalty. Most memorably, it was the match in which Ryan Giggs scored a wonder goal that made a mockery of one of the best defences in the game.
In the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, the Red Devils trailed 1-0 for most of the match. It wasn’t until the last few minutes that substitute Teddy Sheringham equalised at short range, before Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored the winner less than a minute later.
United were the first club to achieve this treble. Such was the scale of this feat that some pundits predict that it is one that will never be repeated.
Liverpool wins the Champions League for a fifth time
After dominating European football in the 1970s and early 1980s, Liverpool FC was a shadow of its former self by 2005.
Having not won the domestic league title since 1991, the Reds got into the Champions League by the skin of their teeth, after finishing fourth in the 2003-04 season.
Liverpool’s form in Europe in 2004-05 contrasted sharply with that in the league. But after getting to the semi-final, they managed to scrape past Premier League champions Chelsea to face AC Milan in the final.
During the final, Liverpool were trailing 3-0 at half-time and it didn’t look good for the then four-time champions. But after clawing three goals back over a thrilling six-minute period, Liverpool went on to win the match in a penalty shootout.
As this was the fifth time that Liverpool were crowned champions of Europe, they were allowed to keep the European Champion Clubs’ Cup permanently.