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MEMORIES

Remembering England’s embarrassing exit at the group stages of the 2022 World Cup

Once again the defending champions failed to make it to the knockout stages

Here’s one to really test your memories!

We’re revisiting the 2022 World Cup, more specifically, England’s embarrassing group stage exit.

The Three Lions famously continued the tradition of defending champions crashing out before the knockout stages as Sir Gareth Southgate’s men crumbled before our Google-goggled eyes.

Weekdays = water; weekend = a few beers

PA:Press Association
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Weekdays = water; weekend = a few beers

England began the defence of their crown against Australia at the Coca-Cola Stadium in the newly-built city of X374, on the moon’s northern hemisphere.

The tournament had been re-located away from Qatar due to practicality reasons.

England fans on an Easyjet shuttle to the moon

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England fans on an Easyjet shuttle to the moon

Hope was high among England fans on the eve of the first game.

Those without tickets gathered at the main creator, as thousands of fans threw cafe chairs and belted out their anthem ‘It’s staying at home’ — a considerably less catchy remix of the popular original.

However, seconds after captain Phil Foden and co had finished belting out ‘God Save the King’, it all went pear-shaped.

Captian. Leader. Legend

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Captian. Leader. Legend

Barcelona legend Harry Maguire lost his concentration in the third minute and was dispossessed by Aaron Mooy in the centre-circle with no cover behind him.

The Huddersfield midfielder made no mistake with the one-on-one and gave the Socceroos an early lead.

England thought they had grabbed an equaliser when Jadon Sancho wriggled past two men before slotting into the bottom corner.

But the Australians struck back through substitute Tim Cahill.

Still going

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Still going

The 42-year-old headed home a corner to spark delirious scenes as the Aussie fans celebrated wildly in the hover-stands.

It would be the last we saw of Cahill at a World Cup… until 2026.

At the post-match press conference, Southgate accused the Australian players of tampering the ball in an attempt to deflect criticism from his players.

But pressure grew as the media hounded the star players.

Raheem Sterling was heavily criticised for throwing a mini blimp around in training a mere 85 years after the Hinderburg disaster.

Have you no shame?!

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Have you no shame?!

England then faced the lowest-ranked team at the tournament — Germany.

Critics of the World Cup had lambasted officials for devising a system that allowed such a weak team to qualify in the first place.

Similar insults were aimed at the other minnows, such as USA, Netherlands and Italy.

However, a Serge Gnabry brace gave Die Mannschaft an historic victory in what was the tournament’s most memorable upset.

Experienced veteran Mesut Ozil produced a Man of the Match display despite covering less than a kilometre over the course of the 90 minutes.

What’s the German word for scapegoat?

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What’s the German word for scapegoat?

Despite two defeats, England would still have qualified for the round of 16 if they had beaten North Korea convincingly.

It all started well enough when Harry Kane converted an early penalty.

The spot-kick was given in controversial circumstances when the robotic referee was advised to consult the pitchside human after initially allowing play to continue.

After conversing with Mike Dean, the metallic official changed his ‘mind’ and awarded the penalty.

The 2018 Golden Boot winner failed repeat his Russian form

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The 2018 Golden Boot winner failed repeat his Russian form

But England switched off and allowed North Korea to score twice from set-pieces.

And just like that, the defending champions were eliminated.

Did you keep the receipt?

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Did you keep the receipt?

The World Cup winners’ curse wouldn’t come to an end until the year 2046 when Scotland triumphed in the first ever 96-team tournament.

Just kidding of course, Scotland mercifully gave up football for good in 2026.