1998 France World Cup

England entered the France 98 World Cup full of promise. It was the first World Cup since going at to Germany in the Semi Finals of Italia 90 eight years previous. The England odds were 10/1 to win the torunament outright as the bookmakers fancied a squad that had so narrowly missed out on European glory at Euro 96 two years earlier to progress to the later stages of the competition and were the favourites in the world cup group betting. The likes of Alan Shearer and Teddy Sherringham were at the prime of their careers and together with rising stars liek David Beckham and Paul Scholes, the English were hopeful of cheering on their team to glory just across the channel.

The tournament couldn't have started any better for Glenn Hoddle's side with an easy 2-0 win over Tunisia in Marseille with goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes. However, a week later in Toulouse, England went down to a last minute goal from Romania's Chelsea defender, Dan Petrescu, getting beat 2-1, which meant they had to beat Colombia in Lens to qualify for the knock out stages.

Goals from Darren Anderton and David Beckham were enough to see off Colombia but the defeat to Romania meant they finished second in Group G and therefore had to face the winners of Group H, Argentina, in the last 16 knock out stage. Fabio Capello will be hoping that England do not suffer the same fate in South Africa and can win justify the odds of winning Group C.

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The game versus Argentina was the first time the two teams had meant since one of the most famous world cup moments of all time, the 'hand of God' incident in Mexico 86. Whilst Maradona wasn't on the pitch in St Etienne, the no love lost attitude from both teams was clearly evident. England were the better team through out the game and depsite going behind early, a Shearer penalty levelled the scores before Michael Owen announced himself to the World with a fantastic solo effort goal. However, the game was soon to be turned on to its head shortly after half time when Argentina equalised before the infamous David Beckham sending off incident saw England have to hang on for over 70 minutes with 10 men, hanging on for a 2-2 draw after extra time.

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England's world cup fate would once again be decided by penalty shootout and despite the spot kicks going to sudden death, luck was not to be with England after David Batty missed the deciding penalty.

France 98 saw a valiant effort from England allbeit coming to a premature end and leaving fans wondering what may have been.

England's 2010 World Cup Matches

Saturday 12th June, 19:30, England v USA
Friday 18th June, 19:30, England v Algeria
Wednesday 23rd June, 15:00, England v Slovenia