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Timeline of England’s Golden Generation

Remember when The Simpsons aired on BBC Two and then suddenly switched to Channel Four? When flip phones and text credit were important? When the England team tied stars like David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen?

Simple times. Not better, but easier, for sure.

Back in those days, the actors of Three Lions were celebrities in the list worthy of their position, but mainly because of the work done by their teams. It never clicked when you represented England.

Here is the full history of that side.

Sven Goran Eriksson

A man with a plan / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

Ironically, Kevin Keegan stepped down as England manager in late 2000, and the man the FA wanted to replace him was Lazio icon Sven-Goran Eriksson – one of the world’s greatest club managers.

Understandably, this appointment was seen as a coup, but the Swede was quick to learn that managing England was not as good a joke as it was portrayed in the 2001 football odyssey – Mike Bassett: England manager. Instead, it was a hellish and almost impossible task as depicted in the 2001 football odyssey – Mike Bassett: England manager.

England announced their new era on the world stage with a famous 5-1 victory over Germany in World Cup qualifying, and booked their place in the 2002 tournament with the final kick of that campaign, David Beckham’s 25-yard free-kick. .

The Three Lions roared again.

Paul Scholes of England

Lost winners / Ross Kinnaird/GettyImages

But results haven’t been seen for England ahead of the World Cup – just one win in their last seven games away to Japan and South Korea – and a slow start against Sweden in the group stage threatens their salvation.

A statement win against Argentina, with Beckham completing his arc back to heroism with one goal from the penalty spot, and another draw against Nigeria was enough to send them to the knockouts.

Denmark were easily knocked out of the Last 16, only for Brazil to come out victorious against England, despite playing most of the second half with just ten men.

It was back to the drawing board for Eriksson and others.


Ricardo didn’t even wear gloves, to be fair / Sportsphoto/Allstar/GettyImages

Euro 2004 and its qualifying campaign saw the rapid rise of Wayne Rooney, who seemed to be the last piece of a puzzle full of stars of the Golden Generation.

But even Rooney’s brace was not enough to stop England from going down.

Once again, a run of form – this time one win from six – set an unstable tone. Eriksson’s men led France 1-0 in their first group game, conceding twice in extra time to drop the three points.

Rooney led the way with show-stopping performances against Croatia and Switzerland, which restored momentum ahead of their crunch quarter-final against hosts Portugal.

But England’s oldest enemy – penalty kicks – reared its ugly head. The Three Lions are out, thanks in no small part to some heroics from Portugal’s gloveless goalkeeper Ricardo.

Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney

I’m getting embarrassed now, guys / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

At this time, the pressure surrounding the national team was at a high level. It was both a help and a hindrance that English clubs were thriving.

The arrival of Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez in 2004 saw England as a country accepting new ideas and cultures. The three Lions players were getting better football education every day and it was thought that this would help them in the 2006 World Cup.

However, it went in another direction. Party loyalty, if anything, became stronger. There was a chill in the pack that needed to be removed if England were to win.

They removed it. They advanced to a group that included Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden, and almost beat Ecuador in the last 16.

Then a new enemy. Portugal, too. Quarter-final, too. Punishments, too. England crashed, too.

Eriksson’s reign was over.

Steve McClaren

Wrong type of icon / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Eriksson was replaced by one of his assistants in Steve McClaren, arguably the best English manager in the game at the time.

But now, this group was very bitter. There was a lot of pressure at the national level and at club level as well. They couldn’t shake that competitive edge even when they walked through the doors at St George’s Park and Wembley.

McClaren’s appointment proved controversial, and after a 3-2 defeat at home to Croatia, England’s hopes of winning Euro 2008 ended at the qualifying stage.

The Golden Generation was over.

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