In recent years this was the greatest football (soccer) result for the English National side. It was a winter's night in Munich, Germany where the England national side exceeded all expectations. We needed a win to qualify for the world cup of 2002 in South Korea and Japan, and we were up against the German side. There has been allot of history between England and Germany in recent years, with the 1966 World Cup final at Wimberley where England triumphed against West Germany 4-2 after extra time, finishing with a Geoff Hurst hat-trick, the only ever hat-trick in a World Cup final. Then a whole 24 year's later England faced Germany again in the World Cup. This time it was a semi-final. Garry Lineker, the all time leading scorer for England in competitive matches until recently when he was surpassed by Michael Owen, equalised an Andreas Brehme goal to take England into extra-time and eventually penalties, which ultimately cause the ultimate hart ache for all England fans. After six successful penalties, three for each side. Stuart Pearce steps up to take a penalty. A defender by trade, an unlikely penalty taker, but never was there a man to don the three lions with so much pride and determination. However he failed to beat the German goalkeeper. Shortly after Olaf Thon scored a fourth German penalty leaving the score at 4-3. Up stepped Chris Waddle. He had to score, or England would be out of the tournament. The left-footer struck the ball high and wide to end his England carrier, and shattered the hopes of a nation. Six years later we found ourselves in the same situation. It was the semi-final of a major competition. Euro '96 was held in England. After 40 years without success on a world stage England hosted a major competition. Reminiscent of the 1966 World Cup, England found their form progressing to another semi-final against Germany after dispatching Spain in the quarter-finals 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw. England Drew with Germany 1-1 again. England took the lead this time through an Alan Shearer header, this however was short lived when the German Kuntz equalized on the 16th minute and the game was a stalemate for the rest of the match. The penalty shoot out went all the way, it was 5-5, and Stuart Pearce (nicknamed psycho) had redeemed his penalty miss of 1990 by unleashing a thunderbolt from the spot, then proceeded to expel all his frustration and anger that had built up inside of him for the last six years to permanently win the hearts of every English man. The rules of football for penalty shootouts are that you nominate five players for each side to, in turn take a penalty. If a result has not been settled after that you go into a sudden death situation where each team takes a penalty in turn and if one team succeeds in converting that penalty where the other team doesn't the successful team wins the match. After you get passed the first ten penalties you get to the players that were not confident enough in their abilities to take a penalty in the fist case. Then up stepped Gareth Southgate. Another defender. He missed. It had happened again. In another semi-final. England was out. Now we return to September 2001 in the Olympic Stadium, Munich, Germany. England after a bad start to the World Cup Qualifiers needed a win and a draw to get to the World Cup Finals in South Korea and Japan, and they didn't want to face Greece in the last match needing a win. However in the first few minutes of the game England were loosing 1-0 after a Carsten Jancker goal. From then on it was all England. A Michael Owen hat-trick, a Stephen Gerrard wonder strike, and Emil Heskey rounding things off, left England fans delirious, after a match that was hailed England's greatest achievement since the summer of 1966. This is a match that still warms the heart of any England fan and is one that I could happily watch over and over again until my dieing day.
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