The best and worst England World Cup moments

As England prepare to do battle with Italy in the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Ben Dowell selects some of his favourite (and least favourite) World Cup moments that will excite and upset Three Lions fans in equal measure

Hurst’s goal in 1966


Let’s start with the best. That goal. The one that won us the World Cup in 1966, a year when it was always sunny, our team was ever youthful and England were on top of the world. That can happen again, right?

Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over…. it is now! You know what we’re talking about (and if you don’t – here’s the video…)

Gazza’s tears

Most Englishmen would agree that Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne was the player of Italia 1990. He was superb in England’s semi-final against Germany and his tears after being booked and therefore ineligible to play in the final (were we to get there) brought him close to the nation’s hearts….

Michael Owen’s wonder-goal against Argentina in 1998

Remember when Michael Owen had pace? This wonder goal from the 18-year-old against England’s World Cup nemesis Argentina in 1998 has to go down as one of English football’s greatest moments. We still lost the fixture though. On penalties, of course…

England and penalties

Well, it’s too painful to dwell on so here’s a collection of all those World Cup penalty misses down the years. Yes, it’s quite a long one…

Ronaldo’s wink

Yes it was hard to love the then Manchester United and Portugal player when he seemed very pleased about the sending off of his club team-mate Wayne Rooney at the 2006 World Cup….

David Platt’s goal against Belgium in 1990

England avoided the pain of penalties to progress to the Italia 90 quarter-finals thanks to this great goal by David Platt. And what a grin…

Bryan Robson in 1982

Injury meant that Bryan Robson was an unlucky World Cup campaigner but he got England off to a flyer against France in 1982 with this goal in the first 27 seconds

Maradona beats England in 1986

One of the World Cups most controversial – followed by one of its best – goals saw Maradona help sinko England 2-1…

Ronaldinho’s goal against England


We bet David Seaman has gone over and over his ill-fated decision to stand off his line in the the crucial 2002 World Cup quarter-final against Brazil… It proved decisive.