Premier League

Is England’s Euro 2024 team better than the Golden Generation?

EURO 2020: England v Germany

England head to this summer’s European Championships among the tournament favourites, and for pretty good reason, you have to say.

The Three Lions not only boast among the world’s best players, but Gareth Southgate’s close-knit contingent have the battle scars from previous shortfalls that should make them stronger. It’s trophy or bust for Southgate at this point, essentially.

The stars of today have drawn a lot of comparisons with England’s ‘Golden Generation’ of yesteryear, led for the most part by iconic manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and featuring stars such as David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

Are Southgate’s squad better than Eriksson’s England, though?

First things first, let’s define when England’s Golden Generation ran from.

That crop of Beckham et al really rose to prominence in the aftermath of Euro 2000, so we’ll say that’s the starting point. A fitting end would be England’s 3-2 loss to Croatia which prevented them from reaching Euro 2008.

All in all, that team played together 89 times and won 49 games. For most teams, that’s an impressive record, but not when you consider the riches of talent the Three Lions had at their disposal in that time and when you consider they suffered shock losses to the likes of Northern Ireland in that time.

Southgate’s reign began in October 2016 following the departure of predecessor Sam Allardyce, whose one-game spell was brought to an abrupt end. After Monday’s win against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Southgate’s England side have tallied a mighty return of 58 wins in 84 games, and – as we will come to in a moment – they had more impressive victories to scream and shout about.

Note that games which were decided by penalty shootouts officially go down as draws. Hey, don’t blame me, I don’t make the rules.


Games played




Win %

Current team (2016 – 2024)






Golden Generation (2000 – 2007)






EURO 2020: England v Germany

England’s win against Germany at Euro 2020 was a landmark moment for the Three Lions / Anadolu/GettyImages

Alright, this is the record that we all really care about.

Simply put, the Golden Generation dare not have the right to hold a candle to today’s England. It’s an embarrassment. Roy Keane would be flabbergasted.

What’s more damning for the Golden Generation? The fact their best finish at a major tournament would rank as the current team’s worst, or that they straight up did not even qualify for Euro 2008 when most of their key players were at the peak of their powers?

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