The 10 best England team performances in the Premier League era
England fans haven’t had a lot to cheer recently; knocked out of Euro 2016 by minnows Iceland and, eliminated during the group phase of World Cup 2014.
You have to go back over a decade to find the last time the 'Three Lions' won a knockout game at a major tournament, and a decade further than that to find the last time they advanced further than the Quarter-Finals.
Current boss Gareth Southgate seems determined to change that during this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
With a young, exuberant side containing the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, and Jesse Lingard, it finally seems possible.
Even with all the recent failures, though, England have put on some great performances since the dawn of the Premier League era, starting from 1992/93.
Encompassing ten major tournaments, qualifying games, and friendly fixtures, here are the 10 best performances from the 'Three Lions' since the EPL era began.
#10 England 3-2 Sweden – Euro 2012: Group Stages
Euro 2012 was an odd tournament for England for various reasons, none more so than the situation going on, that saw Fabio Capello unexpectedly resign from his post as England manager, following the FA stripping John Terry of his role as captain.
Roy Hodgson was quickly parachuted in to replace him before the tournament began in Poland and Ukraine, but many analysts were cynical about the appointment, feeling Harry Redknapp was a stronger candidate.
As it turned out, Hodgson’s side immediately looked much improved from the jaded team Capello had fielded in the 2010 World Cup and, gained a respectable draw with France in their opening game.
That left everything on the line in England’s second group game against Sweden, a side who they had never beaten in a competitive match before.
With striker Wayne Rooney suspended, Hodgson decided, that the best route to victory was Route One – pumping balls into the box towards battering ram forward Andy Carroll.
It was a tactic designed to fight fire with fire, as Sweden’s side contained powerful defenders like Olof Mellberg and Jonas Olsson. The tactic worked as the first half saw Carroll score a tremendous header from a long, angled cross from Steven Gerrard.
Some sloppy defending in the second half, both times from set-pieces, allowed Sweden to take a 2-1 lead, but Hodgson then decided to change things up, introducing speedy winger Theo Walcott to run at the tiring Swedish defense.
Again, the plan worked, as the former Arsenal man equalized from long-range just two minutes after coming on, and then dribbled into the box to set up a beautiful backheeled winner from Danny Welbeck.
This was a great, albeit flawed performance from England, as not only did they come from behind to beat an extremely tricky opponent, one who had always given England problems in the past, but Hodgson proved that he was more tactically astute than his detractors thought with his use of Carroll and the introduction of Walcott.
It was arguably the highest point of Hodgson’s reign, in fact.