Premier League

A timeline of England’s Golden Generation

Sven Goran Eriksson

Remember when The Simpsons was broadcast on BBC Two and then abruptly switched to Channel Four? When flip phones and text credit were essential? When England’s team was lined with stars like David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen?

Simpler times. Not necessarily better, but simpler, for sure.

Back in those days, the cast of the Three Lions were A-list celebrities who were deserving of their status, but primarily because of the work undertaken with their respective clubs. It never quite clicked when representing England.

Here’s the full history of that side.

Sven Goran Eriksson

The man with, well, some sort of plan / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

The enigmatic if flawed Kevin Keegan stepped down as England boss towards the end of 2000, and the man the FA wanted to replace him was Lazio icon Sven-Goran Eriksson – one of the world’s greatest managers at club.

Understandably, this appointment was seen as quite the coup, but the Swede was quick to learn that managing England was not the great comedic adventure as portrayed in 2001’s football odyssey – Mike Bassett: England Manager. Rather, it was the hellish and almost impossible job as portrayed in 2001’s football odyssey – Mike Bassett: England Manager.

England announced their new era to the world with a famous 5-1 win at Germany in World Cup qualifying, and booked their place at the 2002 tournament with essentially their final kick of that campaign, with David Beckham scoring a 25-yard free-kick.

The Three Lions were roaring again.

Paul Scholes of England

Beaten by the winners / Ross Kinnaird/GettyImages

But results didn’t really pick up again for England leading up to the World Cup – only one win from their last seven games heading to Japan and South Korea – and a slow start against Sweden in the group stage threatened to derail their redemption.

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

Denmark were easily dispatched with in the last 16, only for eventual winners Brazil to come from behind to knock out England, despite playing most of the second half with only ten men.

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


Ricardo didn’t even wear gloves, for goodness sake / Sportsphoto/Allstar/GettyImages

Euro 2004 and its qualifying campaign saw the rapid rise of Wayne Rooney, who seemed to be the final piece of the Golden Generation’s star-studded puzzle.

But even Rooney’s integration…

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