The England team didn’t fare much better in the second half of the decade. At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Sven-Göran Eriksson’s men were again succumbed to misery from 12-yards when, with a sprinkle of déjà vu, they were knocked out by Portugal at the quarter final stage. Italy went on to become World Champions for a fourth time.
It was to get worse. Eriksson’s contract was terminated and the FA opted to return to an English manager. Step forward Steve McClaren, whose CV included one Carling Cup victory and the mild-success of turning Middlesbrough into a steady mid-table team.
McClaren failed to qualify for Euro 2008 after a 3-2 Wembley defeat to Croatia, and the Wally with the Brolly packed his bags for Dutch side FC Twente.
The FA, learning from their mistake, returned to the continent and brought in incredibly decorated Italian Fabio Capello.
Don Fabio set about making his mark on English football and England cruised to World Cup 2010 qualification – exacting revenge on the Croatians in the process.
At club level, English clubs continued to dominate the Champions League, and 2005 started a run of five consecutive seasons with an English club in the final.
Firstly, Liverpool came back from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan in a shootout. A year later, Arsenal were beaten by Barcelona while 2007 witnessed the second Milan – Liverpool final in three years, only with a different outcome.
In 2008, Manchester United met Chelsea in the first ever all-English final. The Old Trafford came out on top in a shootout after a 1-1 draw. United returned in 2009, only to be outclassed by an in-form Barcelona side.
In the Premiership, Roman Abramovich’s millions paid off as Chelsea stormed to two Premier League titles in a row before a slightly irked Manchester United decided they didn’t like finishing second or third and retained the trophy for the following three years.
In tennis, Roger Federer continued his domination of the men’s game, winning it in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, with a runners-up medal in 2008 after succumbing to Rafael Nadal in one of the most anticipated matches in the sport’s history.
And the women’s game wasn’t much different, with the Williams sisters seemingly taking it turn to win at SW19.
But the most important emergence of the second-half of the decade was that of Scot Andy Murray. Henman Hill quickly became Murray Mound and the British had someone new to shout about.
At just 22 years old, Murray has made a glittering start to his career, reaching five ATP Masters Series finals, winning four, and progressing to the 2008 US Open final where he was beaten by Federer.
Murray finishes the decade ranked World Number 4, but has spent a number of weeks ranked 2 and 3 – making him the highest ranked Brit since Fred Perry in the thirties.
But the last word must be about Federer, who met American Andy Roddick in the 2009 Wimbledon final. A-Rod had Federer on the ropes before the Swiss star did what he’s done so effortlessly all these years by swooping to snatch a 16-14 victory in a thrilling five-set epic.
The victory was the 28-year-old’s 15th Grand Slam, overtaking America’s Pete Sampras and becoming the most decorated man in tennis history.
In athletics, Britain’s first victory was in 2005 when London won a two-way fight with Paris by 54 votes to 50 at the IOC meeting in Singapore, after bids from Moscow, New York and Madrid were eliminated.
On the back of this news, the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were also a huge success for Great Britain.
One of the surprise stories of the 2008 Olympics was swimmer Rebecca Adlington who won two gold medals. Her 400m freestyle success was Britain’s first Olympic swimming title since 1988, and the first swimming gold by a British woman since 1960.
Her second gold, in the 800m freestyle, meant she also equalled the best performance by a British woman, from any sport, at the summer Olympics and was the best swimming performance by a Briton at the Olympics for 100 years.
In cycling, Chris Hoy became Scotland’s most successful Olympic competitor ever and the first Brit to win three gold medals at a single Olympic games since Henry Taylor in 1908.
Also part of Team GB was 14-year-old Devonian Tom Daley, the 2008 European 10m champion and one of the youngest athletes to ever compete for Great Britain at an Olympics.