v Sweden - 20 June, 2000 BST, Cologne
How did they get to Germany: The hard way. Qualifying went down to the wire after a surprise defeat to Northern Ireland, but they ended up topping the group. What was all the fuss about?
Qualifying star: Dutch defender Barry Opdam. His 37th minute goal against the Czech Republic did not just secure a win for Holland, it secured England's place at the finals.
Manager: Sven-Goran Eriksson. An urbane, Swedish sophisticate with an ice-cool footballing brain when he took the job on in January 2001. Times, and opinions, change but he will look to go out with a bang before Steve McClaren steps up to the hot seat after the campaign.
Captain: David Beckham. Clothes horse, gay icon, pop-star husband... oh, and a multi-million pound galactico with a golden right-foot who likes nothing better than delivering on the biggest stage.
World Cup pedigree: Don't mention the 70s and the less said about Graham Taylor's 1994 effort the better, but while they invariably qualify they also invariably flatter to deceive. Their underachievement on the world stage is only "bettered" by Spain.
World Cup high: 1966 and all that.
World Cup low: The most recent effort - particularly with Turkey waiting in the last four. A goal up to Brazil in the quarter-finals, but Beckham & co failed to make that advantage tell even though they had 30 minutes against 10 men.
World Cup legend: Bobby Moore. The captain of England's 1966 triumph and a player who could glide through matches with ease due his extraordinary ability to read the game. Transferred those skills onto the silver screen as Terry Brady in 'Escape to Victory'.
Present star man: With the on-going saga of Wayne Rooney's injury worries there is a gap for someone to fill. Step forward Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard who has been in wonderful form for his club in recent months.
Strengths: The undoubted quality coursing through the team.
Weaknesses: Despite the talent, the team all too often fails to gel and Eriksson faces a continuing World Cup conundrum as to whether Gerrard and Frank Lampard can play in the same team.
Did you know? If Lampard was not a footballer he'd fancy his chances as a lawyer. The midfield maestro is the only member of the England squad who went to a private school.
World ranking: 10
Local view: "There's a good chance we'll have a good World Cup. They could win, but if you pushed me I think Brazil will win." Glenn Hoddle, former England manager.
Our verdict: It's now or never.
Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.