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Saturday, 1 September, 2001, 20:31 GMT 21:31 UK
A legendary win
Michael Own scores his third goal in England's 5-1 win over Germany
Unstoppable: Michael Owen completes his hat-trick
BBC Sport Online chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Olympic Stadium.

Michael Owen stood in the shadow of sporting legends as he wrote a new chapter in England's football history.

Owen was in the same Olympic setting that was the backdrop for legends Mark Spitz and Olga Korbut as they performed their wondrous deeds in 1972.

Munich's Olympic Park was not a scene of celebration for rain soaked German fans.

They watched in disbelief while Sven Goran Eriksson's resurgent England decimated their in-bred confidence and footballing credibility.

Owen's brilliant hat-trick will inevitably evoke memories of 1966 - with Liverpool replacing West Ham as the club whose players swept aside a German side supposedly invincible on their own turf.

For Moore, Hurst and Peters read Owen, Gerrard and Heskey - the comparison is stretched, but it was that sort of night.

Giant stride

Owen was the spearhead for a stunning triumph, easily England's most outstanding display and result of the modern era. The best since that 1966 World Cup Final.

But he was joined by others who announced themselves as major players on the world soccer stage with England as they took a giant stride towards next summer's World Cup.

Steven Gerrard scored the sort of goal that has become his trademark at Liverpool.

But his brilliance and the confidence of youth came to the fore when he took time out to humiliate Anfield team-mate Dietmar Hamann in the second half.

Steven Gerrard celebrates
Gerrard celebrates his crucial goal
England were cruising, but it still took an iron will and special talent to deliberately go back and hoodwink Hamann a second time for show.

Eriksson will hope and pray the injuries that have plagued Gerrard in recent times are a thing of the past, because he is a key element of England's plans.

The Swede has exuded an air of calm into England's team, an ambience reflected by the measured response to Carsten Jancker's early strike.

England had Owen - and the Germans had no answer.

It was the sight of Owen bearing down that reduced Oliver Kahn, regarded as the world's best goalkeeper, to blind panic when he inexplicably picked up a back pass in the first half.

But England had other heroes, with Manchester United duo Paul Scholes and David Beckham a potent creative driving force alongside Gerrard.

Ashley Cole is a defender with rare attacking ambition, while occasional defensive lapses in concentration can be overlooked when the whole picture is examined and the influence of Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand grows.

The German pitch announcer told us - to the point of tedium - that we were all at a giant party and were witnessing the match of the year.

He was right about the party, unless you were German, but he was wrong about the match.

Owen may not yet stand sporting comparison with Spitz and Korbut, but he looked at ease in the home of sporting greatness in Munich.

Is England's 5-1 victory over Germany their finest victory ever? Munich magic
Was this England's finest ever win?
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