'Defeating Germany 5-1 in their backyard was unreal'

Saturday 26 Jul 2014
Gerrard fires home in the 5-1 win over Germany
Despite admitting his frustration at not having reached the latter stages of a tournament with his country, Steven Gerrard says his England career has been “a proud journey”.

The 34-year-old decided to call time on his international career on Monday, 14 years and 114 caps since his debut against Ukraine.

And although there are no trophy successes to look back on with England, the former Three Lions captain has plenty of highlights from his time with the national team – with one match in particular a standout for Gerrard.

Steven Gerrard celebrates his goal against Germany in Munich in September 2001

Gerrard celebrates in Munich after his goal against Germany


During an exclusive interview with TheFA.com, Gerrard cast his mind back to September 2001 to recall his memories from the unforgettable 5-1 World Cup qualifying victory in Munich against Germany.

"It was certainly one of the highlights of my career to score against Germany, away from home, and to win the game 5-1," said Gerrard. "It was a top, top performance from the lads.

"It was such an important qualifying game and we were underdogs, everyone thought the Germans were going to run all over us, especially with them having home advantage. I remember the starting eleven being named and it was full of top players."

Carsten Jancker had put the hosts ahead after only six minutes, but Sven Goran-Eriksson’s men were not to be denied their moment of glory.

Gerrard soon equalised before Michael Owen’s hat-trick and another strike from Emile Heskey secured one of the greatest results achieved by an England team.

"Germany started strongly but we got control pretty quickly," recalled Gerrard. "I remember us getting a set-piece, it was cleared, got put back in and was cleared out. I just remember thinking to myself 'just get a good touch on it, try and set it for a strike on goal'.

Watch the full 14 minutes of the interview with Gerrard


"My touch was perfect for once and I got fantastic contact - the pitch was wet and I put enough power on it to slide past a top keeper in [Oliver] Kahn."

His goal and the performance of his team-mates that night still ranks among the highs of Gerrard’s career.

"I'd like to be sitting here and talking about finals and semi-finals, real success as an England player, but I'm really proud of the journey I've been on," he said.

"It's been full of ups and downs, but to sit here on 114 caps and be able to say I beat Germany 5-1 in their backyard, also scoring a very important goal to help England qualify for this recent World Cup - in amongst a lot of frustration and negatives, there are some unbelievable highs that I'll live with for a very long time.

"I've played with some world class players at England level, I've worked with some world class managers. I'm really proud to say I've been a first-choice England player for 14 years and also worked so hard and fought in every single game to fulfill a lifelong dream of captaining my country, it's a very proud feeling sitting here doing this interview."

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer