Which is just…
Greece have won a European tournament before they even managed to qualify for a World Cup. In 52 years, England haven’t won this competition, but Greece…
What’s that? Bitter? Me? No.
Welcome to Portugal
Casillas and Torres are in the Spain squad – early makings of the team that will go on to be a real force.
Ronaldo has taped over his earrings – a sign of how much has changed in just 13 years. You would not get away with that today. He gives away a penalty as his team opens the tournament.
A young Zlatan Ibrahimovich scores a penalty for Sweden, and later goes on to score an equaliser against Italy.
Petrov gets sent off for Bulgaria after getting a second yellow for dissent.
And Totti for Italy ends up banned for three matches for spitting.
England Vs France
Our opening game was always going to be a tough one against a team lead out by Zinedine Zidane.
Beckham faithfully leads out our squad. A young and promising John Terry is injured, so Ledley King takes his place, and we have our number one keeper, David James, in goal.
Our number 10 is our everpresent Michael Owen.
But our number 9 is attracting attention. It is a speedy, young, fiesty player, by the name of Wayne Rooney.
Zidane has a shot, but its curled wide.
Beckham free kick, into the area, off Lampard’s head… and it’s in! We’re one up against France!
Beckham has been a constant feature in the last few tournaments. After looking back at these tournaments more closely, it became all the more apparent just how great he was for England. His free kicks resulted in so many goals, it was almost as certain as having a penalty.
Rooney speeds through, past defenders, into the box, and he’s taken out – it’s a penalty!
Beckham steps up and the shot is saved by the man who used to play alongside Becks at Manchester United – Barthez.
Rooney has so much energy and speed – this is what made him great. As he’s lost this dribbling ability and acceleration, that’s what’s made him less of a player today. When you watch him in this tournament, today’s Rooney is a shadow of this magnificient star. You get the feeling that all this potential should have created a player more reliable than he is today.
Heskey gives away a free kick, Zidane takes, and David James doesn’t even move. It’s an equaliser.
Then James takes out Thierry Henry from a poor backpass for Gerard, giving away a penalty, but somehow staying on the pitch. Zidane’s bald spot glints with a bead of sweat, and it’s in.
The goals came in the 90th and 93rd minute.
We lose 2-1.
England Vs Switzerland
Rooney goes in for the ball and the studs catch the keeper. Yellow card, and he does not stop arguing. This is a great player, but one that shows signs of needing to keep calm.
Owen chips, to Rooney’s head, and it’s a goal!
At 18 years, 7 months and 24 days, Rooney becomes the youngest scorer in Euro history.
The Swiss lose a player who gets his second yellow for taking out Ashley Cole. Cheryl Tweedy’s eyes sparkle.
Then Rooney passes the keeper and it’s in, it’s his second.
This is what Rooney could offer.
Gerard makes it 3.
England Vs Croatia
James saves a shot and Croatia get the rebound. Kovac puts them ahead in Lisbon after 5 minutes.
Rooney takes a shot which is saved, rebounding to Owen, who heads it to Scholes, who doesn’t miss.
Scholes to Rooney, shoots from farther out than he has the right to – goal.
Through to Rooney, forward run, sprints past everyone, goal.
An international star is born. And at 18 he will lead England to trophies.
Cole concedes a free-kick, which is chipped into the area and over the head of the static James.
Lampard dodges a sliding tackle on the edge of the box, shoots, and puts it in the bottom corner.
What a match.
Rooney is now the top scorer in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Germany knockout a Czech Republic shining with their promising young keeper – Petr Cech. The guy without a skull cap.
Quarter Final England Vs Portugal
Pass through to Owen, he turns, he shoots, he scores. We are one up straight away.
Rooney takes a knock, and he’s off for Darius Vassel.
Figo comes off for Postiga of Spurs, who comes on and scores.
Off bar and a head from Sol Campbell, it’s a goal – but it’s disallowed. Not sure why!
4 minutes into the second period, Rui Costa runs past, brushes the net, it’s in. England have 11 minutes to salvage their tournament ambitions.
Corner. Off Terry’s head, to Lampard, shot – it’s in! Goal! Yes!
Beckham takes the first, and it’s that infamous moment where the penalty spot is to blame. He skies it. He looks back at the mark on the floor.
This was the early days of the internet, but there were already images going around of photoshopped moles peering their head out from under the penalty spot.
James saves the third penalty.
It goes to sudden death.
Vassell, who came on for Rooney, has his shot saved.
Portugal’s keeper steps up, and puts it into the bottom corner.
England are out.
Greece knock out France 1-0.
They go into the final against Portugal – in the same game that opened the tournament. And they are the first team to beat both the host and the holder in the same tournament.
And they win it.
We couldn’t do that.
Still, it’s a young, promising team. And the future’s bright.