On This Day 2006 - McClaren's England 4-0 Greece

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren looks dejected in a 1-0 loss to Arsenal

On August 16 2016, England began the Steve McClaren era with a convincing 4-0 win over Greece at Old Trafford.

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren looks dejected in a 1-0 loss to ArsenalSteve McClaren was most recently sacked by Newcastle after less than a year in charge

The Guardian commented that "As a deflating World Cup showed, England suffer terribly from premature euphoria but only a curmudgeon would refuse to be gladdened by this performance."

What odds on the Guardian using that line again when Sam Allardyce takes charge of his first England match in a World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on 4 September?

McClaren's England started with tremendous intent and relent, with all four goals being scored in an exciting first half of football. 

John Terry captained England for the very first time, while Owen Hargreaves and Stewart Downing started in midfield. 

Chelsea's John Terry lines up before the matchJohn Terry went on to captain England on 34 occasions

Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland came on in the second half for his debut, enabling his father to collect the winnings placed on a bet that his son would represent his country, as reported by the BBC.

The captain himself opened the scoring with Frank Lampard getting the second. Peter Crouch scored goals three and four in quick succession just before half-time.

Bayern Munich man Hargreaves put in a man-of-the-match display at a time when he was being consistently linked with a move to Manchester United - a rumour that became reality when he eventually signed for the 2007/08 season.

Kaka - AC Milan in action against Owen Hargreaves - Bayern MunichOwen Hargreaves in action for Bayern Munich

Despite this performance, the 2006/07 season itself was not kind to Hargreaves as he broke his leg playing for Munich in September.

As it turned out, the following years weren't kind to McClaren either.

After the initial delight of the victory over Greece, England stuttered their way through qualification for Euro 2008. 

Defeats to Croatia and Russia and draws with Macedonia and Israel meant that England lay second in Group E as they entered the final round of matches, needing to beat Croatia to guarantee qualification.

It was not to be. A 3-2 defeat at home to Croatia coupled with Russia's 1-0 win over Andorra meant that Euro 2008 would take place without England. 

McClaren was sacked the following day. During his 18-match reign, England had a 50% win rate.

England manager Roy HodgsonEngland manager Roy Hodgson didn't find it any easier

The McClaren era began with a vast amount of hope and ended in disaster.

Plus ça change. 

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