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Where does England's win over Germany rank in greatest ever tournament wins for the Three Lions?

The Three Lions are one step closer to finally bringing football home.
The Three Lions are one step closer to finally bringing football home.

England have made it through to the quarter-finals of the European Championship after beating Germany in the last 16. Yes, you read that right. Drink it in, savour it, bottle it up. Go mental. Stay sane. Do what the hell you want. I don’t care, to be honest. I’m still on cloud nine after it all.

Last night’s monumental win over a country who have continually gotten the better of us for the last 50 years provided the entire nation with yet more hope and belief that this year could actually be the year football comes home. But where does it rank among the Three Lions’ greatest ever tournament wins? Here, we take a look at five of the best.

5. England 1-1 Colombia, World Cup 2018 - Last 16

England’s journey at the 2018 World Cup ended in heartbreak, but the memories collected along the way will never be forgotten. Gareth Southgate’s first major tournament as manager saw the Three Lions finish second behind Belgium in Group G before beating Colombia on penalties in the last 16. 

Harry Kane put England in front from the penalty spot just before the hour mark, before Yerry Mina’s towering header broke hearts right at the death to see extra-time introduced. After a goalless additional 30 minutes, penalties would settle things in Russia with Southgate's young side prevailing 4-3. That picture of John Stones and Harry Maguire will live long in the memory. What a day. 

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4. England 2-1 Wales, Euro 2016 - Group Stage

England and Wales hadn't met since 2011 ahead of their group stage clash at the 2016 European Championships, and naturally the two were desperate to get one over on their UK neighbours. England have dominated this particular fixture throughout recent history, winning all but one of the pair's previous seven meetings, so naturally another routine victory was expected in France four years ago.

That plan took a nosedive three minutes before half-time, however, when Gareth Bale's long-range free-kick decimated the chocolate wrists of Joe Hart and found the bottom corner of the net to put the Dragons in front. Jamie Vardy hit back 10 minutes after the restart but a 1-1 draw looked as if it would be the final result for Roy Hodgson's men as the clock ticked closer to full-time.

That was until Daniel Sturridge popped up in the last minute to clinch a memorable 2-1 victory for the Three Lions, landing the 8/1 correct score football bet in the second minute of added time, whilst restoring bragging rights across the UK for the foreseeable future. Let’s not mention what happened next.

3. England 4-1 Holland, Euro 96 - Group Stage

The emphatic demolition job handed to the Netherlands at Euro 96 was probably made better by the fact that literally nobody - not even England's most optimistic, St. George's flag-wielding patriot - would have expected this group stage clash to be settled in such a resounding manner. 

The Dutch dominated possession, took eight corners and had more shots on goal than England in the first-half, prompting commentator Barry Davies to utter the words "England really need half-time here". Alan Shearer's penalty midway through the first 45 had put the Three Lions ahead, though they were lucky to take a slender lead into the interval with Netherlands forward Dennis Bergkamp unusually squandering a number of chances in front of goal.

The second half saw an invigorated England side re-enter proceedings in style and before long the hosts' 1-0 lead was quadrupled thanks to a brace from Teddy Sheringham and second from Shearer, who hammered home to make it four. Patrick Kluivert did manage to score a consolation for the visitors late on, but it mattered not for a rampant Three Lions side who absolutely steamrolled their way through one of European football's heaviest hitters at Wembley.

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2. England 2-0 Germany, Euro 2021 - Last 16

Last night’s win over Germany is the best in recent history. Fact. The stars aligned for Sir Gareth and his Lion-hearted men, and the fact it was played out in front of 45,000 supporters at Wembley after 18 months of sofa-bound confinement made it even sweeter. 

We defended perfectly, attacked with purpose, beat a team who we are so used to losing to; it really did have it all. A sore head this morning is worth it a million times over. We’re going all the way and we’re not going to concede a single goal in the process, aren’t we?

1. England 4-2 Germany, World Cup 1966 - Final

The pinnacle of England’s brilliance at a major tournament remains the victory over West Germany in the final of the 1966 World Cup. It is the only trophy the Three Lions have ever won and, like last night’s victory, was made better by being played out on home soil at a packed out Wembley Stadium.

Geoff Hurst stole the show, scoring a hat-trick in the six-goal thriller, writing his name in folklore for the rest of history, while Martin Peters also got on the scoresheet late on. More of the same this year, please, we’re literally begging. 

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