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How do England’s current stars in Qatar compared to the Three Lions’ best ever sides?

As England dominated Iran in their opening match of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Gareth Southgate’s side were showing they had longevity in tournament football. Having come within touching distance of the final four years ago, the Three Lions jetted off to the Middle East as one of the favourites to win the competition with World Cup betting, alongside Brazil and defending champions France.

Southgate has restored faith in the nation’s football team after years of underachievement, and while it’s still unclear how far England can go, it will be interesting to see how they compare to some of the greatest teams of all time. Read on, as we look at the sides that are widely regarded as England’s best and see how they compared to Southgate’s current crop of players in Qatar.

World Cup winners – 1966 

While it might be before our time for the majority, England’s best ever side was the one that ultimately delivered success in the 1966 World Cup. Bobby Moore’s band of ragtag stars beat West Germany at Wembley to lift the trophy on home soil, writing their legacy in the history of British sport forevermore. Sir Geoff Hurst became the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, a record that still stands to this day, as the Three Lions triumphed over Argentina and Portugal in the knockout stages to set up that famous afternoon 56 years ago. 

Robson’s men at Italia ‘90

It was ultimately a step too far for Bobby Robson’s England at the 1990 World Cup. One that still leaves a sombre feeling for many fans to this day. Having reached a semi-final of a World Cup for the first time since 1966, England ultimately lost to Germany on penalties after a 1-1 draw. It was a talented dressing room, with the likes of Gary Lineker, the only other England player to win a Golden Boot at a World Cup alongside Harry Kane, who tops this year’s World Cup Golden Boot odds, as well as Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley and David Platt. Two missed penalties denied England’s date with destiny, but they are a side that is still looked upon so memorably given how they made a nation dream again during that summer at Italia ’90. 

The Golden Generation – 2006 

This was an England side that had so much potential, but ultimately Sven-Göran Eriksson’s proposed Golden Generation proved to be a false dawn. It was a strange time at the turn of the millennium, as England possessed genuinely world class players in every position, yet could never seem to yield the right results when it came to tournament football. Indeed, the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney were formidable spearheading the attack, and when you pair them with a defence that consistent of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Ashely Cole, you wonder where things went wrong. 

However, a lack of identity and inability to score from the spot saw the Three Lions crash out at the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup, with Fabio Capello then taking over in 2010 but unable to elicit a better response in South Africa when they were dumped out in the Round of 16. 

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