England will celebrate their 1000th senior international next week when they play Montenegro at Wembley in a Euro 2020 qualifier.
The Three Lions have thrilled and frustrated generations of their fans down the years, occasionally lifting the entire nation.
Here, the PA news agency looks back at some of their most memorable matches.
That unforgettable day at Wembley over 53 years ago remains England’s solitary World Cup triumph. Sir Geoff Hurst’s celebrated hat-trick goal in extra-time spawned the immortal “they think it’s all over” words of commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme and made household names of all Sir Alf Ramsey’s starting line-up. The match that marked the Three Lions’ finest hour had it all, including Wolfgang Weber’s late equaliser and Hurst’s famous second, when the ball was ruled to have crossed the goal-line after rebounding off the underside of the crossbar.
Four years later in the stifling heat of Guadalajara, world champions England took on champions-elect Brazil in a hugely-anticipated game that signalled the changing of the guard. Jairzinho struck the decisive second-half goal, but the Three Lions, brilliantly cajoled by the imperious Bobby Moore, pushed arguably one of the greatest-ever sides close. Pele, Rivelinho, Tostao, Carlos Alberto and Paulo Cesar were all in their pomp, while Ramsey’s side won plenty of admirers in defeat. The game also saw the ‘save of the century’ as Gordon Banks somehow kept out Pele’s towering header.
Sir Bobby Robson went mightily close to leading England to a second World Cup final in Italy before a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out defeat to West Germany. Gary Lineker’s late equaliser ensured a goalless period of extra-time after Andreas Brehme’s deflected shot had given the Germans the lead. Paul Gascoigne’s tears following his yellow card, which would have ruled him out of the final, only added to the drama before Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle both missed their penalties in the shoot-out. England’s World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia in Russia 28 years later was painful, but not so cruel.
Terry Venables was also denied the chance to lead England to a second major final and it was especially heart-breaking for Gareth Southgate, the manager behind the Three Lions’ semi-final heroics at Russia 2018. Stefan Kuntz equalised for Germany after Alan Shearer’s header had given Venables’ side a flying start and a second goal somehow evaded them. Darren Anderton’s shot hit a post and Paul Gascoigne was millimetres away from converting Shearer’s cross before Southgate’s penalty in the shoot-out, with the scores locked at 5-5, was saved, leaving Andreas Moller to slam home the winner.
The Three Lions went some way to avenging that painful defeat five years later when humbling their arch rivals in Munich. Michael Owen led the rout with a hat-trick after Carsten Jancker had given Germany an early lead, Steven Gerrard lashed home a trademark goal from outside the box and Emile Heskey sealed one of England’s finest displays in the modern era with their fifth. With David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gerrard orchestrating in midfield, Sven Goran Eriksson’s side inflicted on Germany their first-ever defeat in a World Cup qualifier on home soil and their first at the Olympic Stadium since 1973.