As the winning goal went in, a deathly hush fell over the new Wembley Stadium in London. Croatia beat England 3-2 in the final qualifying match for the UEFA EURO 2008, dashing any hopes of the Three Lions making it to Austria and Switzerland and plunging the home of football into a deep depression.
A mere four days later, England were given a chance to set the record straight after the preliminary draw in Durban pitted the two teams together once more, this time in Group 6 of European qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. The 1966 winners are delighted to be taking on the Croatians again, and the users of FIFA.com are very much looking forward to it as well!
An incredible 48.24% of all voters chose England-Croatia as the most exciting match-up of the recent FIFA World Cup™ draw, well clear of the next European pairing of Spain and Turkey, which picked up some 15.78% of the votes. The top AFC tie, pitting Australia against Asian champions Iraq, came in just behind with 15.75%.
The derby between Korea Republic and Korea DPR came fourth with 12.88%, while the African showdown pitting Nigeria against South Africa came in fifth on 7.35% (the FIFA World Cup hosts are taking part in the qualifiers since they also count towards the Africa Cup of Nations). The heavyweight South American duel between record FIFA World Cup winners Brazil and two-time champions Argentina was not included in the survey as CONMEBOL teams were not involved in the draw and their preliminary phase is already well underway.
Spanish readers hungry forTurkey
The England-Croatia match-up came out well on top in three of the four language versions of FIFA.com. The only users to choose a different tie were those on the Spanish-language site, who unsurprisingly chose Spain versus Turkey, to the tune of 32.73%.
It will be very interesting to see how England perform when qualifying starts next September, after missing out on a major tournament for the first time since USA 1994. Former captain David Beckham has already underlined the players' determination to avenge that painful reverse against Slaven Bilic's men, which also brought Steve McClaren's brief spell as national team coach to an end.
Analysis, comment and exclusive video interviews
Whichever teams are playing, the route to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa will be an exciting one. If you want to relive the draw from Durban including analysis, comment and quotes from all the confederations and watch the many exclusive FIFA.com video interviews with some of football's biggest names - all absolutely free of charge - then simply click on "FIFA World Cup™" at the top of the page, where you will find everything you are looking for.