FIFA World Cup

Ranking England's Top 10 World Cup Moments

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2014

Ranking England's Top 10 World Cup Moments

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    England have often promised so much yet delivered so little when it comes to major tournaments. Their record at recent World Cups leaves much to be desired, something Roy Hodgson is hoping he can change at this summer's event in Brazil.

    Expectations may have plummeted this time around, but England typically leave behind a frenzied atmosphere at home where the nation truly believes it could be their year when they head to major competitions.

    A reduction in expectation may well work in Hodgson's favour this time around.

    Here we look back at some of the high points of England's World Cup campaigns gone by.

2002: Owen Puts England Ahead Against Brazil

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    England's 2002 squad looked on paper to be one of the best they've ever taken to a major tournament. A quarter-final place against Brazil had been secured after a thumping won over Denmark, and when Michael Owen put them ahead after 23 minutes, the belief that England could lift the trophy increased further still.

    However, Rivaldo's goal on the stroke of half time and Ronaldinho's winner early in the second half ended their hopes.

    There was no shame in the result, though; the Brazil side of 2002 was one of the finest in the tournament's history and went on to win a record fifth World Cup.

2006: England 1-0 Ecuador

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    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    It may have been a narrow win, but the 1-0 win over Ecuador saw England progress to the quarter-final of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

    It felt like a big moment.

    It was a David Beckham free-kick, a goal that saw him become the first England player to score in three World Cups, which separated the two sides.

    England moved into the quarter-finals, where they went out on penalties to Portugal.

1982: Bryan Robson Scores England's Fastest World Cup Goal vs. France

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    Associated Press

    England's 3-1 win over France at the 1982 World Cup brought about one of the most memorable moments in their history: Bryan Robson's goal after just 27 seconds, a half-volley at the backpost after a long throw in.

2002: England 3-0 Denmark

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    England's 2002 World Cup campaign began with huge expectation given the quality of their squad. A 3-0 round of 16 win over Denmark only served to increase the excitement.

    Goals from Michael Owen and Emile Heskey, as well as an own goal from Thomas Sorensen made for an easy passage into the last eight. However, a defeat to Brazil saw England return home disappointed once more.

1986: England 3-0 Poland

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    Associated Press

    After a defeat to Portugal and a draw with Morocco, England needed a positive result against Poland to make it through the group stages at Mexico '86. A Gary Lineker hat-trick secured a 3-0 win and booked his side's place in the round of 16, where they faced Paraguay.

    With England's participation in the tournament hanging by a thread, it's doubtful Lineker scored many more important goals in his entire career.

    The result saw England finish second in Group F, ahead of Poland on goal difference.

1982: England 2-0 Czechoslovakia

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    An odd format featuring two group stages was employed at the World Cup in 1982. England the exited tournament undefeated after two draws in the second group stage, but they powered through the first phase with three wins from three.

    One of those was a 2-0 over Czechoslovakia, with a goal from Trevor Francis and an own goal from Jozef Barmos sealing the win.

1986: England 3-0 Paraguay

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    England booked their place in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in emphatic style with a 3-0 win over Paraguay in Mexico City. Just days after looking likely to exit the competition at the group stage before their win over Poland, England were now dreaming of success.

    After Paraguay had created chances early on, it was that man Lineker who gave England the lead from close range, before Peter Beardsley made it 2-0 in the second half. Lineker's second made it 3-0 and wrapped up a great win.

1990: England 3-2 Cameroon

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Other than the '66 World Cup, England's best campaign came in Italy in 1990 under the guidance of the great Bobby Robson.

    It was a squad full of genuine world-class players: Peter Shilton, Des Walker, Bryan Robson, Gary Lineker, Paul Gascoigne and John Barnes were just some of the stars that graced Italia '90 with the Three Lions on their shirts.

    They made it to the semi-finals, with a 3-2 win over Cameroon in the quarter-final ratcheting up the excitement back home.

    David Platt gave England the lead with a fine header from a Stuart Pearce cross, before Emmanuel Kunde and Eugene Ekeke put Cameroon in front. However, Lineker's 83rd-minute penalty took the game into extra time, during which period another penalty from Lineker secured a dramatic and vital win.

    It was a match full of talking points that set up a semi-final with England's great rivals, West Germany, which they lost on penalties.

1966: England 2-1 Portugal

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    Associated Press

    Two goals from Bobby Charlton put England 2-0 up with ten minutes to go and on the brink of their first ever World Cup final. A Eusabio penalty with eight minutes remaining saw a few nerves shredded, but England held on to move into the final at Wembley.

    England have never made it beyond the semi-final stage since.

1. 1966 World Cup Win

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    Associated Press

    There could only be one winner.

    England's only World Cup triumph came on home soil in 1966, when side managed by Alf Ramsey and captained by Bobby Moore defeated West Germany 4-2 to lift the Jules Rimet trophy and make history for their nation.

    The game finished 2-2 in normal time, with goals from Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. Hurst sealed the victory and secured his hat-trick with goals in each half of extra time in what it is undoubtedly the greatest moment in England's long World Cup history.

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