Highs and Lows of Chelsea Midfielder Frank Lampard's England Career
It's been a big week or so for Frank Lampard.
Before that, he had been on international duty with England, being presented with a special cap ahead of the Three Lions' clash with Chile to mark his 100th appearance for his country.
Lampard captained England that night, too, ensuring it would be one to remember for him.
Indeed, there have been many moments throughout his international career that he will struggle to forget—some of them good, while others equally painful.
Bleacher Report takes a look at the highs and lows of Lampard's time playing for England.
Lampard Makes His England Debut Against Belgium
Aside from most things a football player achieves in their career, making their international debut will always be an occasion to remember, ranking among their highest achievements.
For Frank Lampard, this came against Belgium in October 1999 as England defeated Belgium 2-1 at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.
It proved a real family occasion, too, as Lampard's cousin, Jamie Redknapp, scored England's winner.
Such has been Lampard's longevity on the international stage, his current Chelsea teammates Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne were aged just eight at the time.
Misses out on 2002 World Cup
After making his debut in 1999, it took a while for Lampard to establish himself on the international stage.
He joined Chelsea in the summer of 2001 but narrowly missed out on England's squad for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea 12 months later.
It was a bitterly disappointing for Lampard, with the likes of Danny Murphy and Nicky Butt being selected ahead of him.
Scores His 1st England Goal
Having been overlooked for Sven Goran Eriksson's 2002 World Cup squad, Lampard began to make an impression on the Three Lions' coach ahead of the next major international tournament, Euro 2004.
The Chelsea No. 8 was slowly becoming a regular goalscorer for the Blues and soon transferred his club form to the international stage, scoring his first England goal against Croatia at Portman Road in August 2003.
Start as you mean to go on, they say. That's certainly what Lampard did, with his debut England goal a trademark long-range effort that gave the goalkeeper little chance, sealing England's 3-1 victory.
Euro 2004 Impact
Driven by the disappointment of 2002, Lampard boarded the plane to Portugal with England as they competed at Euro 2004.
And while the Three Lions' journey would end in disappointment, the competition marked the arrival of Lampard as a world-class talent.
He scored England's opening goal—a header in the 2-1 defeat to France—before also finding the net against Croatia in another group match.
England faced Portugal in the quarter-final and, trailing 2-1 in extra time, it was Lampard who helped force penalties, equalizing in the 112th minute.
The Three Lions lost in the penalty shootout as Portugal marched on, eventually making the final, where they lost to Greece.
As for Lampard, his three goals saw him named in UEFA's Team of the Tournament.
Leads Goalscoring En Route to Germany 2006...
The goals continued to flow for Lampard as England qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
By now, Lampard was becoming a 20-goal-a-season midfielder for his club side, Chelsea, with England also feeling the benefit of his goal-scoring prowess.
En route to Germany, Lampard led the scoring charts for England, hitting five goals in qualifying.
...But Struggles at World Cup Without a Goal, Missing a Penalty Against Portugal
After being red hot in qualifying, it proved a different story altogether at the 2006 World Cup for Lampard who, along with the rest of his teammates, struggled to hit top form.
England reached the quarter-finals where, for the second tournament running, they were eliminated by Portugal.
Lampard hadn't found the back of the net throughout the entire World Cup, and things got worse when he missed his spot-kick in the shootout, helping the Portuguese on their way to a 3-1 victory after the game had finished goalless.
England Fail to Qualify for Euro 2008
Being eliminated in successive tournaments to Portugal was a bitter swallow for England, but failing to reach Euro 2008 was an altogether greater tragedy.
Despite being in a qualification group that included Russia and Croatia, England were expected to finish in at least the top two places to ensure their participation at the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland.
It never worked out that way, however, with poor performances on the road proving the downfall of Steve McClaren's men.
Facing Croatia at Wembley Stadium on the final matchday of qualifying, England needed just a point against a team that already sealed their place at Euro 2008.
England fell apart, though, losing the match 3-2 and their place in the competition.
Goal Against Germany Is Chalked off at 2010 World Cup
Having missed out on Euro 2008, England made the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, cruising through their qualifying group with nine wins and one defeat.
It was seen as a show of strength from the Three Lions, and it seemed they had turned the corner and were ready to take on the world. Not quite.
As in 2006, England's World Cup campaign was fraught with drama and controversy, and Fabio Capello's team never really put themselves in a position to play their best football.
Facing Germany in the second round, tragedy would strike once more—a calamity of errors putting their rivals into a 2-0 lead.
England looked shell shocked, but a goal from Matthew Upson to halve the deficit on 37 minutes gave them some hope. Until Frank Lampard's "goal" just moments later, that is.
Lampard's long-range effort had Manuel Neuer well beaten in the Germany goal, hitting the bar and bouncing yards over the line. The referee and his linesman didn't see it, however, and play continued.
England were distraught and never quite recovered from their sense of a perceived injustice, going on to lose the game 4-1, crashing out of the World Cup as a result.
Had Lampard's effort been awarded, would it have changed the outcome of the game? We'll never know, but as the YouTube clip above shows, there's no doubting Lampard's strike should have counted.
The referee's failure to award the goal also means Lampard has never officially scored at a World Cup—something he'll be hoping to put right in Brazil next summer.
Wins His 100th England Cap...
After 14 years of service, Frank Lampard became only the eighth Englishman to reach 100 caps for his country, when the Three Lions faced Ukraine in Kiev in September.
Lampard's achievement was officially recognised ahead of England's friendly against Chile at Wembley on 15 Nov., with the Chelsea man being honored with a golden cap ahead of kick-off.
Lampard also captained his country that night, yet it wouldn't prove to be the fairytale he would have hoped for.
...But England Lose Against Chile When His Success Is Commemorated
With Lampard celebrating his 100th cap against Chile, England lost the game 2-0 thanks to two goals from Alexis Sanchez.
It may have been a night to remember for him on a personal level, but as captain, there's no doubt Lampard would have been reeling in defeat.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes
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