In the midst of a wretched World Cup campaign, one moment temporarily lit up England's tournament. With Michael Owen off injured, and Wayne Rooney far from fully fit, it was left to Cole to produce the moment of magic. The ball fell to him 35-yards out from goal, and after teeing the ball up he unleashed a dipping volley which looped past Andreas Isaksson.
This goal is so much more than just a rampaging run which culminated in one of the greatest solo England goals, it was a run that saw Barnes accepted, in some quarters, as a fully fledged international. Barnes had endured taunts, sometimes from his own supporters, because of the colour of his skin, but this effort saw his football ability come to the fore. It was the first time a player had given Brazil a taste of their own medicine, and proved that despite a low in England's international history, the country did poses some Brazilian magic.
What followed may have clouded our judgement, but at 1-1 in Munich, this crunch World Cup qualifier against Germany was on a knife edge, and like so often in big games, it takes a flash of brilliance to separate the two sides. After Rio Ferdinand had intelligently headed back David Beckham's wayward cross, Gerrard took one touch, before lashing home from 30 yards.
The type of goal that in recent years that England have rarely been able to score. Holland, the creators of total football, were handed a lesson in how to look after the ball. Paul Gascoigne's one-two with Steve McManaman allowed him to square the ball to Teddy Sheringham, with an unmarked Shearer thundering the ball into the top corner.
Cometh the hour cometh the man. Staring down the barrel of a two-legged play-off to reach the World Cup finals, England won a stoppage time free-kick. Beckham's previous efforts had sparked both goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis and many in the crowd at Old Trafford to sprawl this way and that. Despite numerous failures, the Manchester United man took the responsibility in the final minutes, and delivered in emphatic fashion.
England had barely got going in during Italia 90, but Platt's late volley appeared to be the catalyst for England's run to the semi-final. With penalties merely minutes away, Gascoigne's free-kick sailed all the way through to Platt, who took the ball first time over his shoulder and fired a volley into the far left-hand corner.
Another goal that was the catalyst for England's progress in the World Cup finals, and the first of their 1966 triumph. After a limp draw with Uruguay, England faced Mexico and the influence of one Bobby Charlton went a long way to deciding the outcome. Picking the ball up inside his own centre circle, Charlton began a typical swashbuckling run, twisting and turning his way through midfield, helping to develop room for a shot, which flew into the far corner. The rest is history.
Perhaps forgotten given the controversy that followed, but Owen truly burst onto the scene in St Etienne with one of the great World Cup goals. Owen had already given the Argentine defence a taster of his pace when he was denied a penalty earlier in the first half, but once he'd picked the ball up deep inside their half, no cynical challenge was going to stop him. By the time he slalomed past Roberto Ayala he'd made his way to the edge of the penalty area, where he produced the calmest of finishes to put England ahead.
Perhaps that last piece of brilliance we were able to enjoy from Gascoigne as injuries blighted his England career after Euro 96, but he left us with the fondest of memories. Shearer's header had given England the lead, but after David Seaman had saved Gary McAllister's penalty, Gascoigne lifted the ball over Colin Hendry, before smashing the ball home.
Perhaps the most watched goal in England football history, and he didn't even mean it. In the final minutes of extra time in the World Cup final against Germany, Geoff Hurst was meant to be running down the clock, but instead of firing the ball out of play, he miscued, and struck a venomous shot into the roof of the net to complete the only hat trick scored in a World Cup final to date. It confirmed England's first and only World Cup win, a moment which was the catalyst for the most famous pieces of football commentary.
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