Looking back at England’s squad for Euro 2004, it’s hard to believe that Sven-Goran Eriksson’s squad could only reach the quarter-finals.
Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and John Terry all travelled to Portugal for the tournament.
England’s Golden Generation didn’t reach the heights expected of them but we saw glimpses of what could have been.
They played really well in the opening group game of the tournament against France, and should have won the game.
Lampard gave the Three Lions a 1-0 lead and Beckham missed a second-half penalty, before France scored two injury-time goals to leave England stunned.
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Scholes’ performance in the match, though, shouldn’t be forgotten.
The midfielder ran the show against Zinedine Zidane and co., displaying his excellent range of passing and continuously progressing play.
A video of his highlights has emerged and it’s seriously impressive.
Scholes was on it that day.
Unfortunately he couldn’t see out the remaining 15 minutes after suffering an ankle injury.
Who knows, had he stayed on then England may not have suffered that awful late collapse.
Scholes is regularly placed in the debate between himself, Gerrard and Lampard, but we should always consider what Zidane once said about the former Manchester United star.
“My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester,” Zidane has been quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
He is the complete midfielder. Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation.
Think of some of the players Zidane came up against. For him to call Scholes his toughest opponent says a lot.
Things might have been a lot different for England if Eriksson hadn’t persisted with playing him out wide.