When Carsten Jancker put Germany ahead in Munich’s Olympic Stadium after just six minutes in 2001, it looked like it could be a repeat of what was becoming an all-too-familiar story.
However England, and particularly the Liverpool contingent thereof, were having none of it.
Six minutes after Jancker’s goal, Michael Owen equalised by giving Nick Barmby’s exquisite flick-on the finish it so richly deserved. Then, in first-half injury time, Steven Gerrard put England ahead with a trademark 25-yarder into the bottom corner.
Soon after the restart, Emile Heskey set Owen up for his second goal and England’s third. Then, just after the hour, Owen added another – his 13th goal in 31 games for England.
16 minutes from time, the unthinkable happened when Heskey himself completed the rout after being played through by Paul Scholes.
England coach Sven-Goran Erikson said afterwards: “I couldn’t believe 5-1. It was too much, the difference between the teams was maybe not so great but we played very, very well.”
England and their fans were delighted and made much of a famous victory. In the aftermath, the Germans went away, immediately put the result behind them and set about thoroughly overhauling their youth and training systems, subsequently spawning considerable strength in depth and eventually producing an exciting side that won the World Cup some 13 years down the line.
Still we’ll always have the memories…