Football European Championship 2004

European Championship 2004

Under manager Sven-Goran Eriksson England entered Euro 2004 with high hopes and high things were expected of England following the poor showing of Euro 2000 when England could not get past the group stages.

Sven fielded a fairly young side with only keepers David James and Ian Walker being over 30 and England's forwards were the 18 year old Wayne Rooney and 24 year old Michael Owen backed up by the old and wise Emile Heskey aged 26!.

England were put into Group B along with the defending champions France and Croatia and Switzerland and started the competition well and were beating France 1-0 until injury time when France's Zidane claimed 2 goals and the match ended with a 2-1 loss against France. However they followed this with a 3-0 drubbing of Switzerland and the 4-2 win over Croatia to leave the group as runners up one point behind group winners France who had 7.

However England's good run turned to disaster in the quarter finals as they faced Portugal after 120 minutes the match ended 2-2 when the dreaded penalty shoot out began and the first spot kick from captain Beckham sailed over the cross bar, England were given some hope when Portugal's Rui Costa missed Portugal’s 3rd penalty, it was then left to Darius Vassell's on penalty kick number 6 but his shot was saved by Ricardo. To make things worse for England the goalkeeper Ricardo then took Portugal’s next penalty cleanly beating David James to win the match and progress to the semi finals.

Portugal would go on to defeat the Netherlands 2-1 in the semis but were surprisingly beaten 1-0 by Greece in the final.