7. Germany 1-5 England.
World cup 2002 qualification had seen old foes England and Germany both vying for 1st place in the same group in order to secure an automatic passage to the tournament.
Sven Goran Eriksson had been handed the managerial reigns after Kevin Keegan’s dismal spell in charge of our national side, the first foreign managerial appointment in our history.
The match itself was crucial in terms of who would nail down that coveted first place, with the runner up to be consigned to the play off’s, which are always nervy and fraught occasions.
England would be stepping into the Lion’s den in Munich with a fairly bleak record against their German counterparts in recent times, with a 1-0 loss at Wembley earlier in the same campaign still fresh in the memory. It was a harrowing defeat that would be England’s last game under the old famous twin towers as shortly afterwards the stadium was demolished, whilst Kevin Keegan resigned as manager of the team.
The game itself began in familiar fashion with England falling behind after just six minutes, as Carsten Jancker turned in from close range. But what followed next was a scenario that had only ever been played out in our dreams as England fans, yet on this September evening in 2001 it became a thrilling reality.
England soon struck back through Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard before the break as they held a 2-1 lead at the interval. When the expected German onslaught never prospered in the second half, England took total control of the match with Michael Owen plundering a hat-trick, and his much maligned strike partner Emile Heskey rounding off proceedings with England’s fifth.
A shell shocked Germany team stood in disbelief at the final whistle as did many of us at home, for we had never witnessed such a thorough trouncing of a German football team in our lifetime.
England would indeed go on to top the group and qualify for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, where they would bow out to eventual Champions Brazil in Suzoka, led by a resurgent Ronaldo.
It was a huge moral boosting victory after spending a number of years floundering at major tournaments and being unable to garner any real excitement for our future in the sport.
This result turned those perceptions on their head and gave Sven Goran Eriksson’s appointment a major surge in popularity, it was a once in a lifetime moment for all passionate England supporters.