Ashley Cole’s five best England performances
15:50 31 January 2013
Ashley Cole looks set to join England’s elite band of centurions after being named in the squad for the friendly against Brazil next week.
Here, we take a look at five of his best matches for his country.
CAP NUMBER 5: GERMANY 1 ENGLAND 5 - World Cup qualifier, 1 September 2001
Sven-Goran Eriksson’s elevation of a 20-year-old Cole to the England squad played a big part in their turnaround in fortunes during the qualifying campaign for the 2002 World Cup. But neither player nor manager could have predicted the spectacular thrashing of Germany in Munich on what was only Cole’s fifth appearance.
CAP 10: ARGENTINA 0 ENGLAND 1 - World Cup group stage, 7 June 2002
Cole helped England and David Beckham avenge their 1998 World Cup defeat to Argentina with arguably their most complete performance since their Euro 96 thrashing of Holland. The left-back’s display was all the more impressive after an early injury to Owen Hargreaves forced him to play behind the inexperienced Trevor Sinclair, who nevertheless made a huge impact.
CAP 30: PORTUGAL 2 ENGLAND 2 (Portugal won 6-5 on penalties) - European Championship quarter-final, 24 June 2004
The game where Cole began to be talked about as the best left-back in the world. Up against Cristiano Ronaldo, he did not give the then-Manchester United winger an inch, and scored himself in the penalty shoot-out to seal his own place in the team of the tournament.
CAP 51: ENGLAND 0 PORTUGAL 0 (Portugal won 3-1 on penalties) - World Cup quarter-final, 1 July 2006
Proving his performance two years earlier against Ronaldo was no one-off, Cole repeated the trick in England’s next meeting in Portugal. And he had to do it for almost an hour while they were down to 10 men after Wayne Rooney’s sending-off.
CAP 93: ENGLAND 1 SPAIN 0 - Friendly, 12 November 2011
England’s first victory against the holders of the World Cup for more than 31 years was a magnificent backs-to-the-wall tactical triumph in which Cole played a massive part as part of an experimental defence.