Will England continue to disappoint at major tournaments?

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It's fair to say that England have disappointed at recent major tournaments, but is this set to change?

Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions are currently ranked fourth in the FIFA World Rankings, although in the last few years they have not been performing at the level their devoted fans are expecting.

Remember that 2004 team with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen? That team had some of England’s greatest players in their prime yet they were still knocked out by Portugal in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004.

Two years later, at the 2006 World Cup, England were again knocked out in the quarter-finals by a similar Portugal team - and, to top it all off, they failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

This was down to disappointing defeats to Russia and Croatia and unacceptable draws against Macedonia and Israel. The fans were left asking questions, especially as they were seeing some of the England players performing at their best for their club teams in the Premier League.

The 2010 World Cup saw a comedy of errors as Rob Green let slip Clint Dempsey’s measly effort on goal, as the campaign kicked off with a 1-1 draw against the USA. This was followed by a 0-0 draw to Algeria, and a 1-0 win against Slovenia, which saw them scrape through to the next round in second place of what should have been a relatively easy group.

England were then knocked out by Germany in the Round of 16 when Lampard’s stunning shot was ruled out by the referee after it had clearly crossed the line. England went on to lose by a three-goal margin which, even against a strong German side, was a disappointment.

England’s Euro 2012 campaign seemed to be one of their better tournaments as they topped their group without a loss. They were then beaten by Italy in the quarter-finals on penalties after being dominated by Cesare Prandelli’s team, which included the controversial Mario Balotelli and experienced Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon.

These disappointing exits in major tournaments may have been down to unlucky draws, refereeing decisions or unavailable players but, with a squad as strong as England’s, quarter-finals at best since the turn of the millennium is not the standard the England fans expect.

The future of England is looking very bright, but if the England of the last 13 years is anything to go by, then the nation's talented youngsters will only be another let down at international level.

Here are some of the players who will potentially be the future of the Three Lions:

Age 17: Luke Shaw, Will Hughes

Age 18: Raheem Sterling, Nathaniel Chalobah

Age 19: Andre Wisdom, Connor Wickham, Nick Powell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley, Harry Kane

Age 20: Jack Butland, Josh McEachran, Tom Carroll, Wilfried Zaha, Jon Flanagan, Benik Afobe, Sammy Ameobi

Age 21: Nathaniel Clyne, Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend, Steven Caulker, Phil Jones, Jack Wilshere, Tom Ince, Alex Nimely, Carl Jenkinson

Age 22: Jason Steele, Declan Rudd, Danny Rose, Jordan Henderson, Nathan Delfouneso, Marvin Sordell, Martin Kelly, Kyle Walker, Jack Rodwell, Danny Welbeck

Age 23: Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Daniel Sturridge, Ryan Bertrand, Kieran Gibbs, Jake Livermore

Age 24: Andy Carroll, Adam Lallana, Theo Walcott

Age 25: Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Aaron Lennon, Ryan Shawcross, Adam Johnson


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