Top 10 Most Significant Goals in England's History: Jude Bellingham's Amazing Goal Ranks Third - Who Claims First Place in OLIVER HOLT'S Ranking?


Jude Bellingham’s stunning overhead kick rescued England’s Euro 2024 campaign on Sunday, drawing the Three Lions level with Slovakia in stoppage-time.

Gareth Southgate’s side eventually overcame their last-16 opponents as Harry Kane struck in extra-time to set up a quarter-final against Switzerland.

Bellingham’s strike could ultimately prove a crucial moment with England still in the hunt for glory in Germany.

Here, Mail Sport‘s Chief Sports Writer Oliver Holt ranks the 10 most important England goals of all-time…

Jude Bellingham's overhead kick against Slovakia kept England's Euro 2024 hopes alive

Jude Bellingham’s overhead kick against Slovakia kept England’s Euro 2024 hopes alive

10. Stuart Pearce v Spain, 1996

You can quibble with the description of this as a goal if you want. And, yes, there will be another one from Euro 96 in this list. But there was something about Pearce’s penalty and his intensely emotional reaction to scoring it that seemed to sum up the pride, the joy and pressure of playing for England.

I still remember being at the old Wembley and the terror of seeing Pearce walk up to take his turn in the quarter-final shootout against Spain, knowing that he had missed a penalty against West Germany in 1990, and fearing the effect a second missed penalty might wreak upon him. But he scored it and in the years that have passed, the moment has come to symbolise the sheer, unadulterated joy and release that football can bring.

Stuart Pearce's celebration after his penalty against Spain summed up the pride, the joy and pressure of playing for England

Stuart Pearce’s celebration after his penalty against Spain summed up the pride, the joy and pressure of playing for England

9. Raheem Sterling v Germany, 2021

England’s only run to the final of a major men’s tournament since 1966 began uncertainly.

Even if this was not a vintage Germany side, England’s inferiority complex and the fact that we had not beaten them in a knockout game for 55 years, led to of trepidation. But England produced their best football of Euro 2020 against the Germans and 15 minutes from the end, Luke Shaw crossed for Raheem Sterling, who had the tournament of his life, to slot home the opening goal.

In the midst of Covid, with attendances restricted and many wearing masks, it felt like an amazing moment of catharsis as well as celebration. England went on to win 2-0.

8. Trevor Brooking v Hungary, 1981

I was 15 when I watched my first England match live, the 1-0 victory over Hungary at Wembley in November 1981 when a goal from Paul Mariner sealed qualification for the 1982 World Cup.

Six months earlier, though, it seemed England, managed by Ron Greenwood, would not make the tournament. They needed a result in the Nepstadion in Budapest to keep their chances alive and got it with a gutsy 3-1 win, inspired by Trevor Brooking and Kevin Keegan. Brooking’s second goal, with the scores level at 1-1, was the crucial moment.

Keegan laid the ball back beautifully into his path and Brooking smashed it into the top corner. It was hit so fiercely, the ball lodged in the stanchion. There was something special about winning in one of the great arenas of world football and taking a giant leap towards qualifying for a major tournament at the same time.

7. John Barnes v Brazil, 1984

Some may argue that this goal should not be deemed one of England’s most important because it was scored in a friendly. But the fact that a supremely talented England winger could slalom through the Brazil defence in the Maracana, an arena synonymous with the idea of the Beautiful Game, and slide the ball over the line remains of huge symbolic significance to English football.

It was a nod to the idea that England could be about more than long-ball football, that we could provide moments that took the breath away, too. The goal came only six years after Viv Anderson had become the first black player to represent England and even though Barnes would face racist abuse in years to come, the goal remains one of the great beacons for the joy of racial diversity in the England side.

6. Chloe Kelly v Germany, 2022

The FA banned women’s football for 51 years but after a couple of decades of unsung work by pioneers who built the game again, it has grown and grown in popularity and accomplishment.

England’s women caught the public imagination with their World Cup runs in 2015 and 2019 but at the 2022 Euros, in England, they did what the men have been trying and failing to do since 1966 and won a major tournament.

They beat the Germans in the final of the 2022 Euros, too. Chloe Kelly’s scrambled 110th-minute winner in front of more than 87,000 fans at Wembley was not the greatest goal but the strike, and Kelly’s celebration, felt like moments, not of arrival, but of establishment, for the women’s game in this country.

Chloe Kelly's goal to win Euro 2022 felt like a moment when the women's game was established in England

Chloe Kelly’s goal to win Euro 2022 felt like a moment when the women’s game was established in England

5. David Beckham v Greece, 2001

It may come as a surprise to a generation that thinks Gareth Southgate has underachieved because England have not won the last two World Cups and only got to the final of Euro 2020, but there was a time when England struggled even to qualify for tournaments.

Much was expected of the Golden Generation at the 2002 World Cup but when they trailed Greece 2-1 in their last qualifier at Old Trafford, it appeared they might not make it to the finals.

Defeat would have left them facing a play-off but then, in the 93rd minute, England won a free-kick on the edge of the area. David Beckham curled a quite brilliant free-kick over the wall, it bulged the back of the net and the stadium erupted in an explosion of joy and relief.

David Beckham's free kick against Greece ensured England qualified for the 2002 World Cup

David Beckham’s free kick against Greece ensured England qualified for the 2002 World Cup

4. Paul Gascoigne v Scotland, 1996

It was a summer when football brought the nation together, when football came home at Euro 96 and flags seemed to fly from every car window and England, under Terry Venables, played the kind of football we dream of.

It almost finished before it had begun, though. England had drawn their opening group game against Switzerland and were clinging to a nervous 1-0 lead over Scotland at Wembley when David Seaman saved a penalty from Gary McAllister. A few seconds later, Gascoigne was flicking a ball high over Colin Hendry’s head, running on to it and smashing a volley past Andy Goram. It was the goal that got the party started.

Paul Gascoigne's moment of magic against Scotland was the goal to get the party started at Euro 1996

Paul Gascoigne’s moment of magic against Scotland was the goal to get the party started at Euro 1996

3. Jude Bellingham v Slovakia, 2024

The greatest rescue act in England’s football history. All hope seemed lost in this last-16 tie as the game went into the fifth minute of added time. With England trailing Slovakia 1-0 and playing like drains, fans had resigned themselves to the inevitable. Many had left the stadium.

Gareth Southgate was staring down the barrel, it would almost certainly be his final game in charge of his country and an awful end to a reign which brought so much achievement. It would have been a defeat to scar England’s new Golden Generation.

Instead, Bellingham’s irrepressible star quality came to the fore. He made a yard of space for himself in the box and when Marc Guehi headed on a long throw, Bellingham dispatched it into the goal with a bicycle kick.

2. David Platt v Belgium, 1990

England didn’t win the 1990 World Cup but their run to the semi-finals under Sir Bobby Robson inspired the nation and helped create the great football boom that can still be felt today. England struggled in the group games and were outplayed by Belgium for much of their last-16 tie in Bologna.

Then, with the score goalless in the last minutes of extra time, Paul Gascoigne floated a free-kick into the box, Platt watched it drop over his shoulder and then spun and volleyed it past Michel Preud’homme. It saved England from penalties and cleared the path to our best performance at a World Cup since 1966.

1. Geoff Hurst v West Germany, 1966

Geoff Hurst’s second in the 1966 World Cup final has to top the list. West Germany had scored a last-gasp equaliser to take the game into extra time but in the 101st minute, Hurst controlled a cross from Alan Ball, spun sharply and crashed a shot against the underside of the bar to put England 3-2 up.

Debate still rages about whether the ball crossed the line but Azeri linesman Tofiq Bahramov advised the referee that it had and, in that moment, the game swung decisively England’s way. It bestowed immortality on the Boys of 66 and provided England with the greatest moment in our sporting history, a moment we are still trying to emulate 58 years on.

Geoff Hurst¿s second goal against West Germany swung the 1966 final England's way

Geoff Hurst’s second goal against West Germany swung the 1966 final England’s way



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