Euro 2004 rewind: BBC Sport to show England v Croatia - and here's what to expect

Does anyone fancy a rewind to when England thumped Croatia at Euro 2004?

It was the moment a nation dared to believe, with Wayne Rooney scoring twice and goals from Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard ensuring the Three Lions reached the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time on foreign soil.

And you can watch it in all its glory this Saturday (15:00 GMT) via the red button, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online, where you can get involved as we also give it the full live text commentary treatment.

Football will resume on the BBC this weekend with classic action from Euro 2004, the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Women's World Cup.

The moment Rooney became a world star

England’s win over Croatia suggested they could be a real threat at the tournament and it was also the moment an 18-year-old Rooney announced himself as a world star.

Two goals against Switzerland and another two against Croatia saw the nation swept up by Rooney mania.

Rooney, winning his 16th cap, rocketed a 25-yard drive past Croatia goalkeeper Tomislav Butina to give England a half-time lead.

His ninth international goal followed, with the forward calmly slotting past Butina into the bottom left corner after a neat one-two with Michael Owen.

But it was not just his goals that made it look as though England had unearthed a new star, it was his rampaging and fearless manner coupled with his range of skills.

It prompted Eriksson to call him the “complete footballer” and say he was the biggest talent to emerge since Pele.

Eriksson said: “He's absolutely fantastic, not only at scoring goals but he plays football - he's a complete footballer."

The star of the show for England in Portugal, Rooney’s performances helped convince Manchester United to pay £27m for him later that year.

He went on to enjoy a trophy-laden club career and scored 53 goals for the Three Lions, but Euro 2004 proved arguably the peak of Rooney’s international career.

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney starred for England at Euro 2004

England on the march

Unbeaten in qualification and coming off the back of a creditable World Cup campaign in Japan in 2002 - where they lost 2-1 to winners Brazil in the quarter-finals - England arrived in Portugal as one of several nations with genuine ambitions of winning Euro 2004.

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side took charge of their Group B opener against holders France, with Frank Lampard scoring before two injury-time goals from Zinedine Zidane delivered an unwelcome finale.

But, while the England players sunk to their knees after that defeat, they responded with resounding victories over Switzerland and Croatia.

In fact, by the time Lampard’s left-foot shot put the gloss on a fine win over Croatia, many had reinstalled them as potential tournament winners.

Deprived only of Rio Ferdinand - who was serving eight-month ban for missing a drugs test – Eriksson recently claimed the Euro 2004 side was “his best” during his five-year tenure as boss.

Ashley Cole, Gary Neville, Sol Campbell and John Terry provided one of Europe's most solid defences.

And then there was the burgeoning talent of Rooney, partnering Michael Owen in attack, which gave the sense of a team that had the necessary firepower to flourish.

A midfield in harmony

On paper David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes were comparable with any midfield quartet in the world but, in England’s opening two games, questions over the balance of the team had been raised.

Eriksson’s decision to deploy Scholes on the left wing appeared to place greater physical demands on England’s least athletic midfielder and main playmaker.

But it was a policy designed to fit the four into the same side and, against Croatia, there were signs it could work.

Drifting in off the left, Scholes was already influencing play when he headed in his first international goal for three years to level Niko Kovac’s early goal, in a move instigated by Lampard and involving Owen and Rooney.

Lampard, Owen and Scholes then combined to tee up Rooney’s first of the game.

And with Gerrard and Beckham also driving England forward at every opportunity, Lampard capped off a fine personal performance with England’s fourth goal.

England's Euro 2004 adventure came to an end with a quarter-final defeat on penalties to Portugal, but that earlier victory against Croatia really was a moment the nation started to believe.