11 years ago today Gerrard error dents England hopes at Euro 2004

Steven Gerrard takes a question during a pregame press conference

It's 11 years since England lost 2-1 to France at Euro 2004 following a Zinedine Zidane brace, but that doesn't really tell the full story...

Even the most ardent England supporter will admit that the Three Lions have underwhelmed in recent tournaments, but there was a time when the national team looked capable of beating the world's best – not least at Euro 2004.

It's 11 years since Sven Goran Eriksson's side kicked-off their campaign with a tricky group encounter with France and it still hurts – because, were it not for that game, England may well have gone all the way.

Such a declaration remains purely hypothetical, but few who watched the game all those years ago can disagree that England were the better side.

Leading through a Frank Lampard header, David Beckham should have made it 2-0 from the spot but was denied by a decent, but not spectacular, penalty save by Fabian Barthez.

An Emile Heskey foul allowed Zinedine Zidane to equalise from the resulting free-kick but that should have really been that.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but a point against a decidedly average France side would have most likely been enough to finish top of the group.

As it was, Les Bleus took top spot, despite picking up only a point more than England after a 2-2 draw with Croatia – a side the Three Lions would later beat 4-2 – and boasting an inferior goal difference to Eriksson's side.

They went on to be dumped out by Greece, while England exited on penalties to hosts Portugal.

Had England finished top, there is a strong chance, with a young Wayne Rooney enjoying his best ever international tournament, that they could have gone all the way.

In the end, it came down to one moment of pure madness from Steven Gerrard.

Yes, Beckham missed a penalty and Heskey committed the foul for the free kick, but the former Liverpool captain's sin was far worse.

A bizarre pass back to David James from the immediate kick-off, Gerrard's ball to the 'keeper was short, ugly and resulted in a penalty to France.

England need only have wound down the clock, disappointed but happy to have avoided defeat and a course, potentially, to at least the final of Euro 2004 would have been theirs.

Instead, 11 years on and with four more tournament disappointments behind them, fans are left with memories of Zidane and a dark day for Gerrard.

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