Euro 2016: England's 50 years of hurt and counting

England's Daniel Sturridge (back) and England's defender Gary Cahill reacts after losing 1-2 to Iceland in the Euro 2016 round of 16 football match.
England's Daniel Sturridge (back) and England's defender Gary Cahill reacts after losing 1-2 to Iceland in the Euro 2016 round of 16 football match.PHOTO: AFP

England arrived in France as the only European team to have won the World Cup but not the European Championship. They left the Stade de Nice on Tuesday morning (Singapore time) knowing that anomaly will not be fixed this year.

Debutants Iceland stunned Roy Hodgson's men 2-1 in the round of 16 to mark a new low for English football.

The smallest country to ever qualify for the continental showpiece saw off the biggest underachievers. Twenty-five major tournaments have now come and gone for England since they lifted the World Cup in 1966.

The England team celebrate with the World Cup trophy in 1966. 

The Straits Times looks at how England have disappointed their fans since 1968.

1968 Euros, Italy

In the semi-finals, Dragan Dzajic scored in the 87th minute to put Yugoslavia 1-0 up. It got worse two minutes later, when Alan Mullery became the first Englishman to be sent off in a full international. Angered by a bad challenge, the midfielder kicked Dobrivoje Trivic where it hurts. But the world champions were the ones reeling at the full-time whistle.




1970 World Cup, Mexico

England were 2-0 up in their quarter-final against West Germany after 50 minutes. But Franz Beckenbauer pulled one back in the 69th minute and Uwe Seeler equalised seven minutes later. The match went into extra time, with Gerd Muller scoring an 108th-minute winner. Back-up goalkeeper Peter Bonetti, who filled in for an unwell Gordon Banks, was the scapegoat.

1972 Euro qualifying

Like the previous edition of the continental tournament, only four teams made the Finals. In the last round of qualifying, England fell 1-3 at home to West Germany in the first leg. Both sides played out a goal-less draw in the return leg in Berlin. Die Mannschaft went on to win the title and the class of '72 are widely regarded as one of the best Germany sides ever.

1974 World Cup qualifying

England were grouped with Poland and Wales, with the winners earning a berth in West Germany. It came down to the final game, with the Three Lions needing a home win against the Poles. They were overwhelming favourites and clearly felt like the superior side. Leading up to the match, Brian Clough called Polish goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski "a clown" and advised those watching on television to enjoy the upcoming victory. Team-mate Peter Taylor labelled the Poles "donkeys". England drew 1-1.

1976 Euros qualifying

England were drawn with Czechoslovakia, Portugal and Cyprus in Group 1. Again, a win in their final qualifier - against Portugal - would have seen them make the Finals in Yugoslavia. Again they drew 1-1.

1978 World Cup qualifying

England were grouped with Italy, Finland and Luxembourg. Despite winning five of their six games, England missed out on goal difference. Italy scored three more goals, in part due to their 6-1 rout over Finland.

1980 Euros, Italy

England were back in a major tournament again, and they were among the favourites in the expanded eight-team Finals. After all, this team led by two-time Ballon d'Or winner Kevin Keegan had 19 European Cup winners' medals between them. But England finished third in their group behind Belgium and Italy.

1982 World Cup, Spain

England got off to a flyer in the first round, winning their matches against France (3-1), Czechoslovakia (2-0) and Kuwait (1-0) to top Group 4. The goals dried up in the second round. Goal-less draws against West Germany and Spain saw them finish second in Group B, failing to qualify for the semi-finals.

1984 Euro qualifying

Confidence was high the moment the draw was unveiled: England's  Group 3 company were Hungary, Greece, Denmark, and Luxembourg. "England on easy street," wrote British newspaper the Daily Express. "England could not have hand-picked more favourable opposition." There were indeed some whipping boys in the pack. England trounced Luxembourg 9-0 at home and 4-0 away. Sandwiched in between, however, was a 1-0 home loss to Denmark. The Danes finished group winners on 13 points, one ahead of England.

1986 World Cup, Mexico

England lost to Argentina 2-1 in the quarter-finals, with Diego Maradona's infamous Hand of God goal giving the South Americans the lead. While the midfielder did score the opener with his hand, there were no doubts over the validity of his winner. From inside his own half, he took on - and beat - a host of English players before putting the ball past Peter Shilton.

1988 Euros, West Germany

England were grouped with the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and the Soviet Union. They lost all three matches to finish rock bottom on zero points, with a goal difference of -5.

1990 World Cup, Italy

West Germany were all that stood between England and another appearance at a World Cup final. Andreas Brehme's 60th minute free kick deflected off Paul Parker and looped into the net. Gary Lineker equalised in the 80th minute, and it remained 1-1 after extra time. Lineker buried the first penalty, and Peter Beardsley and David Platt also made no mistake. Stuart Pearce was the first to blink, shooting straight at goalkeeper Bodo Illgner. With Germany converting all four attempts, Chris Waddle had to score to keep England in it but he blazed over the bar.

1992 Euros, Sweden

England began their campaign with goal-less draws against Denmark and France, and needed to avoid defeat in their last group game against Sweden to progress to the semi-finals. With the game tied at 1-1 in the 62nd minute, manager Graham Taylor substituted captain Gary Lineker in what proved to be his last game for England. They went on to lose 2-1. The Sun newspaper depicted Taylor's head as a turnip on their front page the next day, with the headline: Swedes 2 Turnips 1.

1994 World Cup qualifying

England were grouped with the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, and Turkey, with the with winners and runners-up earning berths to the USA. England finished third behind the Norwegians and the Dutch.

1996 Euros, England

Arch-rivals Germany were England's semi-final opponents at Wembley. Alan Shearer's header inside the six-yard box gave the hosts a dream start after three minutes. But Stefan Kuntz equalised just 13 minutes later. The match finished 1-1 after extra time and had to be settled by penalties. After the first 10 players converted their attempts, Gareth Southgate's sudden-death effort was saved by Andreas Kopke. Andreas Moller then blasted the next penalty into the roof of the net to dump England out of the tournament.

1998 World Cup, France

After Michael Owen picked up the ball near the half-way line and slalomed past two Argentina defenders to score, England led the last-16 clash 2-1. But they conceded to Javier Zanetti in first-half stoppage time, before David Beckham was sent off early in the second half for kicking Diego Simeone. Ten-man England held out for a penalty shootout, only for Paul Ince and David Batty to have their spotkicks saved by Carlos Roa. Argentina won 4-3 on penalties.

2000 Euros, The Netherlands and Belgium

England were grouped with Portugal, Germany and Romania. Their three-point haul from a 1-0 win over Germany was not enough to progress to the quarter-finals.

2002 World Cup, South Korea and Japan

Owen had put England in front against Brazil in the quarter-finals. But Rivaldo equalised in first-half stoppage time, and Ronaldinho's outrageous 42-yard free kick looped over Seaman.

2004 Euros, Portugal

Wayne Rooney, with four goals to his name at Euro 2004, was substituted in the first half of England's quarter-final against Portugal because of a broken foot. From the sidelines, he saw Helder Postiga cancel out Owen's opener with seven minutes to go. Rui Costa gave Portugal the lead in extra time but Frank Lampard forced the match to go to penalties. Rooney's replacement, Darius Vassell, had his spotkick saved by Ricardo. The goalkeeper then stepped up to take the next penalty, sending the hosts through 6-5.

2006 World Cup, Germany

England's Wayne Rooney receives a red card from referee Horacio Elizondo. 

England and Portugal locked horns in another quarter-final. Rooney was sent off after 62 minutes for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho. But Portugal could not make their numerical advantage count in regulation or extra time, with the match finishing 0-0. Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all failed to convert their penalties. Cristiano Ronaldo put Portugal's final penalty away to earn his side a 3-1 shootout victory.

2008 Euro qualifying

England were in Group E with Croatia, Russia, Israel, Macedonia, Estonia and Andorra. The top two teams booked a berth in the tournament jointly-hosted by Austria and Switzerland and England were not one of them, finishing behind Croatia and Russia. England needed to win their last qualifier against Croatia at Wembley, but fell 3-2 to Slaven Bilic's men.

2010 World Cup, South Africa

England had a moment of misfortune in this last-16 clash with Germany. Down 1-2, Lampard's goal was not given even though his effort had crossed the line. A second-half brace by Thomas Muller ensured there would be no way back for England, and the superior Germans triumphed 4-1.

2012 Euros, Poland and Ukraine

Gianluigi Buffon of Italy (right) saves England's Ashley Cole's penalty during the penalty shootout. 

Hodgson's men did well to secure top spot in a group that included France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine. Their reward was a quarter-final with Italy. Neither team could find a goal in 120 minutes of play in what was a cagey contest, and penalties loomed. Ashley Young struck the bar and Ashley Cole's spotkick was caught by Gianluigi Buffon, giving Alessandro Diamanti the chance to send Italy through. The midfielder sent Joe Hart the wrong way and Italy prevailed 4-2.

2014 World Cup, Brazil

England's Steven Gerrard (2nd from left) and Wayne Rooney look dejected after the match. 

England were drawn into the Group of Death alongside Italy, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. Hodgson's side were under pressure to beat Uruguay after losing their opener to Italy 2-1. But then-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez struck twice to condemn England to another 2-1 loss. England's misery was complete when they were held to a goal-less draw by Costa Rica. They finished bottom of their group with just one point.

2016 Euros, France

England's Joe Hart reacts after Iceland's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scores their second goal. 

Iceland's defender Ragnar Sigurdsson and Iceland's defender Kari Arnason celebrate their team's win after the Euro 2016 round of 16 football match between England and Iceland on June 27, 2016. 

England were favourites to top their group, which also consisted of Russia, Wales and Ukraine. Despite a last-gasp win over Wales, draws against Russia and Ukraine meant England finished runners-up behind their neighbours. Still, they were overwhelming favourites to make the quarter-finals at the expense of Iceland. Rooney gave England an early lead from the penalty spot, but Iceland turned the match around with goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.