In 1996 a wonderful Czech team came second to Germany in the European Championships. The team of Nedved, Berger, Poborsky and others became known as the "Silver Generation", and went on to thrill us at tournament after tournament.
This summer England's "Golden Generation" took to the fields in Germany and thrilled no one. At all.
Since then a change of coaches has seen a home draw with Macedonia, an away loss to Croatia, a draw with Holland, a loss to Spain, and a scoreless draw with Israel – England's worst run of results ever.
Looking at a team of multi-millionaire superstars struggle against the policemen of Andorra I got to thinking about the men that didn't make it into the England squad. The silvers.
Managed by Sam Allardyce, the coach that brought 4-5-1/4-3-3 to the Premiership (a formation that most of the first team play with their clubs), can we build a team that would qualify for the European Championship?
The first thing we have to do is rule out the first team, which currently reads: Robinson, Foster, Carson; Barry, Ferdinand, Terry, Woodgate, Carragher, Richards, Cole, Neville; Carrick, Lampard, Gerrard, Lennon, Downing, Hargreaves, Dyer, Parker; Defoe, Johnson, Rooney, Nugent.
I think to be fair Owen, Joe Cole and Crouch (and others) should be ruled out as well as the only reason they aren't in this squad line up is that they are injured/recovering from injury.
Building from the back who stands between the sticks?
Easy, the man with the most clean sheets in Premiership history. I give you David James. Robert Green and Chris Kirkland as back up.
Back four then. Glenn Johnson, Ledley King, Sol Campbell, Nicky Shorey. On the bench for the defence, Andrew Taylor of Boro, Joleneon Lescott, Laeighton Baines, Luke Young, and Paul Konchesky. Danny Mills didn't look too bad in the 2002 world cup, and Perry and Thatcher both captained the under-21s if we need a bit more experience.
The midfield central three, needing two defensive midfielders and a Gerrard/Lampard type.
Pretty simple really. In Nicky Butt we have one of the players of 2002 (according to Pele). He's in. Let's put a passer next to him in the Alonso role. Step forward Tom Huddlestone. The forward midfielder - Joey Barton is an excellent player, but I'm not picking that sort of a git in my team. Sorry, Sam's team. Assuming we can't coax Scholes out of retirement (and I would be on the phone, sorry, Sam would be), that leaves quite a few options.
Leon Osman is an underrated player, he could do a job. Nicky Barmby is still about, just because he's playing for Hull doesn't mean he's lost any of the ability 23 caps and pay £19.75 million for him across his career.
But with Big Sam in charge, it will have to be Kevin Nolan.
Bench pick between Jagilka, Harper, Sidwell, McCann, Reo-Coker and those mentioned above. Oh, and Beckham might make it. Perhaps ahead of Nolan in the starting 11, only if he can play the system that is, I'm not Sven here.
The two wide midfield/forwards next.
On the left Etherington could do a job, if a little lightweight. Kieran Richardson has pace to spare, and scored two goals on his England debut. Lita and Bent are full of running and would score plenty. But James Milner gets it. With Matty Taylor on if we need a more defensive option.
On the right there are more Options than in the hot-chocolate aisle of Sainsbury's.
Bentley, Pennant, and Smith are all good enough. Bowyer was top goalscorer in the Champions League from midfield. He's there or there abouts. Wenger plays Walcott from the right, and Bent and Lita are there again. But Bentley wins. He's really rather good.
So all we are left with is the line leader. The Drogba figure.
Smith has excellent first touch, and will hold the ball for the on-rushing midfielders well (remember the Roma game?), I've mentioned Lita, and I really rate him. Dean Ashton is not fit yet, but would get a run out in a friendly at least. Robbie Fowler would be on if we needed a goal in the final 30, and Sheringham is still playing and scoring with more cunning, touch and vision than anyone since Bergkamp did one to Holland. I won't mention Emile Heskey and his 43 caps.
But the best English line-leader is Kevin Davies. And he's the closest thing we have to Drogba to make this system work.
So there you have it: James; Johnson, Campbell, King, Shorey; Butt, Huddleston, Nolan; Milner, Bentley, Davies.
Managed by Big Sam.
Fight, flair, pace, technique, solidity at the back.
This silver second-choice team has the ability to comfortably qualify for the European championships, and they would probably have a decent shot at winning it, or at least beating Northern Ireland.
The question is, is silver better than gold?