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On this day: Crestfallen England exit Italia '90

On this day 25 years ago, England crashed out of the 1990 World Cup at the semi-final stage following a penalty shootout defeat to West Germany in Turin.

For a nation so starved of success on the big stage, many supporters still look back at Italia '90 with a great deal of fondness. Not since 1966, the year England won the World Cup on home soil, had this side achieved what can relatively be described as a successful showing at a major finals.

The odd performance aside, not much has followed in the quarter-century since, either, with the Three Lions only once more managing to progress beyond the quarter-final stage of a major finals - again on home soil at Euro '96. Things appeared to be different during that famous summer of 1990, though, as an England side containing plenty of spirit and drive caught the attention of a nation.

Poster boy of it all was one Paul Gascoigne, whose tears after receiving a booking in England's final game of that year's tournament provides a poignant reminder of how close Bobby Robson's men came to upsetting the odds. Of course, it could have been so different had Chris Waddle's penalty not flown high into the Turin sky.

Bryan Robson #7 of England looks on as Paul Gascoigne (centre) of England sneers at the referee during the World Cup match against the Republic of Ireland in Cagliari, Italy. The match ended in a 1-1 draw© Getty Images

It must be remembered that England were seven minutes from crashing out of the competition a round prior against Cameroon, requiring some Gary Lineker heroics to help see them through to the final four. Before that, David Platt's fine strike against Belgium in the first knockout round, which proved the difference in the end, came in the 119th minute of play.

The Three Lions certainly had to thank their lucky stars in that one, seeing the Red Devils hit the bar three times, while only four points from nine were taken in the group stages. Nonetheless, football is all about fine margins, and whether England had to ride their luck at times or not, Robson ultimately guided his men through to a semi-final clash with the relentless West Germans.

It was there, on this day 25 years ago, that the journey came to an end in front of a packed Stadio delle Alpi crowd, as the West Germans inevitably came out on top via a tense penalty shootout. Before any tears had been shed, hopes were high that this would at last be England's year to reign supreme on the biggest stage of them all.

Guido Buchwald of the Federal Republic of Germany challenges David Platt of England during the FIFA World Cup Finals 1990 Semi-Final match between West Germany and England played at the Stadio Delle Alpi, in Turin, Italy on July 4, 1990© Getty Images

A second-half strike by left-back Andreas Brehme edged Die Mannschaft ahead on the hour, but Robson's men were not willing to let their dreams end quite yet. Lineker, scorer of seven goals at the finals for England, popped up 10 minutes from time to set up extra time after coolly slotting the ball home on the end of Des Walker's right-sided cross.

Those late heroics earlier in the tournament were fresh in the mind heading into the additional 30 minutes of play, but there was to be no hero on this occasion. A goalless period of play ensured that penalties would be required to separate the sides, which would ultimately prove to be as close as the Three Lions have come to lifting the trophy in the past five decades.

Both teams scored their first three spot kicks, but Stuart Pearce's low attempt down the middle was easily kept out by Bodo Illgner. It was then left to Olaf Thon to edge his side ahead 4-2 and really put the pressure on Waddle to convert. The former Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United striker failed to do so, thus sparking scenes of joy at one end of the ground in Turin and agony in the half decked out with the St George's Cross.

West Germany went on to beat Argentina in the final to lift the World Cup for a third time. For England, on the other hand, the long wait still goes on.

ENGLAND XI: Peter Shilton; Paul Parker, Terry Butcher, Mark Wright, Des Walker, Stuart Pearce; Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne, David Platt; Gary Lineker, Peter Beardsley

WEST GERMANY XI: Bodo Illgner; Guido Buchwald, Klaus Augenthaler, Jürgen Kohler; Thomas Berthold, Thomas Hassler, Lothar Matthaus, Olaf Thon, Andreas Brehme; Jurgen Klinsmann, Rudi Voller

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The England players lift Bobby Moore up with the World Cup trophy on July 30, 1966.
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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

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