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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
England flatter to deceive
Alan Shearer scores for England against Germany in the Euro 1996 semi-finals
Best performance:
Semi-finalists 1968, 1996
Recent performances:
1980 R1 1984 Did not qualify 1988 R1 1992 R1 1996 SF 2000 R1
England have never progressed past the semi-final stages in the European Championship and their record has been largely one of under-achievement.

In 1968, England took third place after beating the Soviet Union following a semi-final defeat against Yugoslavia.

However, the loss to Yugoslavia also saw defender Alan Mullery become the first England player to be sent off.

At Euro 1996 hosts England and Germany contested an epic semi-final before Berti Vogts' side won on penalties.

But more often that not, England have returned from the European Championship with their tails between their legs - in 36 years English teams have won only five games in the final stages of this competition.

In 1980 Ron Greenwood took a team to Italy which had played well enough the previous year to suggest it was capable of winning the tournament.

After being held to a 1-1 draw in Turin against Belgium in a game marred by crowd violence, England ultimately went out after losing 1-0 to Italy.

England failed to qualify under Bobby Robson for the 1984 tournament, but four years later the current Newcastle manager did guide them to the finals in West Germany.

Robson's team was also reckoned to have a strong chance of becoming European champions, but they lost all three games in the first round, never recovering from a surprise defeat to Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland in their opening match.

In 1992 England flopped so badly in Sweden that manager Graham Taylor was lampooned as a turnip in the tabloids.

Four years ago Kevin Keegan suffered just as miserable a time.

Having led Portugal 2-0 in their opening game, England lost 3-2 after an embarrassingly inept defensive performance.

England's hopes were revived by a 1-0 win over Germany, but Keegan's side then lost 3-2 to Romania, Phil Neville conceding a late penalty that Viorel Ganea converted.

History is not on Sven-Goran Eriksson's side, but the Swede can take comfort from the thought that he is hardly likely to do worse than some of his predecessors.

Links to more England stories



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