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NIGHTS TO REMEMBER; WE'RE ON THE BRINK MEMORABLE MOMENTS.. AND SOME TO FORGET.

Byline: MARTIN LIPTON

From the failure to beat Poland and their goalkeeping clown Jan Tomasczewski in 1973, to David Beckham's last minute free-kick against Greece in 2001, England's World Cup qualifying campaigns have all had moments of extraordinary drama. Here, the Mirror's Chief Football Writer MARTIN LIPTON tracks the incredible highs and devastating lows of England's decisive matches

1974

England 1 Poland 1 (Wembley) Oct 17, 1973

THE day the world came crashing down on Sir Alf Ramsey, as England somehow failed to get the win they needed to make the Finals in West Germany.

Poland were battered but keeper Jan Tomasczewski kept them at bay despite 35 attempts on goal.

Norman Hunter's slip saw Jan Domarski to fire under Peter Shilton. Allan Clarke's penalty was too little, too late.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Shilton, Madeley, Hughes, Bell, McFarland, Hunter, Currie, Channon, Chivers, Clarke, Peters.

1978

England 2 Italy 0 (Wembley) Nov 16, 1977

REVENGE for the 2-0 thrashing under Don Revie in Rome but too late for new boss Ron Greenwood to get England to Argentina.

Trevor Brooking and Kevin Keegan each made a goal for the other but the inability to thrash the group minnows meant Italy only needed to beat Luxembourg 1-0 in their final match to qualify, a task easily accomplished. Greenwood, though, was confirmed as manager.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Clemence, Neal, Cherry, Wilkins, Watson, Hughes, Keegan, Coppell, Latchford, Brooking, Barnes.

1982

England 1 Hungary 0 (Wembley) Nov, 18 1981

HUMILIATING defeats in Switzerland and Norway should have spelled doom but the Romanians shot themselves in the foot and gave Greenwood's side a last shot at redemption.

Paul Mariner's goal, after good work by Brooking, was a mishit but nobody inside Wembley cared as England finally claimed a place at the World Cup for the first time since 1970.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Shilton, Neal, Mills, Thompson, Martin, Robson, Keegan, Coppell, Mariner, Brooking, McDermott.

1986

England 5 Turkey 0 (Wembley) Oct, 16 1985

BOBBY ROBSON'S side always looked in control of this group and Northern Ireland's shock win in Romania that afternoon meant England were guaranteed a place in Mexico with a game to spare after the Turks were put to the sword

Gary Lineker led the way with his first England hattrick with Bryan Robson and Chris Waddle adding.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Shilton, Stevens, Sansom, Hoddle, Wright, Fenwick, Robson, Wilkins, Hateley, Lineker, Waddle.

1990

Poland 0 England 0 (Katowice) Oct 11, 1989

ROBSON'S side travelled to the scene of Ramsey's biggest qualifying defeat knowing a draw would be enough to make Italia 90 and they just managed it - after a last-minute long-ranger smashed against Peter Shilton's bar.

It was revenge for Shilton, whose career would always be remembered for that Domarski moment 16 years earlier.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Shilton, Stevens, Pearce, McMahon, Walker, Butcher, Robson, Rocastle, Beardsley, Lineker, Waddle.

1994

Holland 2 England 0 (Rotterdam) Oct 13, 1993

GRAHAM TAYLOR'S nightmare came true as England were robbed blind by the Swiss officials, who scandalously let Ronald Koeman stay on after a professional foul on David Platt.

Koeman's free-kick minutes later twisted the knife, before Dennis Bergkamp killed a Gazza-less England off and even the 7-1 win in San Marino a month later could not save things.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Seaman, Parker, Dorigo, Ince, Pallister, Adams, Platt, Palmer, Shearer, Merson, Sharpe.

1998

Italy 0 England 0 (Rome) Oct 11, 1997

GLENN HODDLE'S finest hour as he plotted and planned to leave the Italians bewitched and befuddled. Ian Wright did go close in the last few minutes as England qualified directly for France, the defining image being the blood-stained head bandage of Paul Ince.

Even without the injured Alan Shearer this was a masterful display.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Seaman, Campbell, Le Saux, Ince, Adams, Southgate, Beckham, Gascoigne, Wright, Sheringham, Batty.

2006

England 2 Poland 1 (Old Trafford) Oct 12, 2005

THE scrappy 1-0 win over Austria four days earlier, coupled with the Czech Republic's defeat in Holland, meant Eriksson's side were guaranteed a place as best group runners-up but they went on to top the group.

Michael Owen scored a deserved opener only for Poland to equalise within seconds but Frank Lampard's finish 10 minutes from time ensured a top finish.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Robinson, Young, Carragher, King, Ferdinand, Terry, Wright-Phillips, Lampard, Rooney, Owen, J Cole.

2002

England 2 Greece 2 (Old Trafford) Oct 6, 2001

THE kick that made David Beckham "Goldenballs" and briefly cemented Sven Goran Eriksson's place in his adopted nation's hearts.

A month after winning 5-1 in Munich, England needed only to match Germany's result against Finland but trailed deep into injury-time when Beckham's free-kick sailed in to send them to the Far East. Unforgettable.

ENGLAND LINE-UP Martyn, Neville, Cole, Gerrard, Ferdinand, Keown, Beckham, Scholes, Heskey, Fowler, Barmby.

Follow England v Croatia LIVE including Tweets from our reporters at Wembley mirrorfootball.co.uk

See amazing pictures of Bobby Robson and Co's 4-1 thrashing of Yugoslavia at mirrorfootball.co.uk/archive
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 9, 2009
Words:817
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