Ashley Cole retires: His top-five matches for the Three Lions after he is left out of England World Cup squad

Cole has brought the curtain down on an excellent 107-cap career with his country after Roy Hodgson left him out of his World Cup squad

Ashley Cole announced his retirement from international football on Twitter after being told that he had been left out of England's World Cup squad on Sunday night.

Here, we looks back at five of his best matches in his 107-cap international career.

CAP NUMBER 5: GERMANY 1 ENGLAND 5 - World Cup qualifier, 1 September 2001

Sven-Goran Eriksson's elevation of a 20-year-old Cole to the England squad played a big part in their turnaround in fortunes during the qualifying campaign for the 2002 World Cup. But neither player nor manager could have predicted the spectacular thrashing of Germany in Munich on what was only Cole's fifth appearance.

CAP 10: ARGENTINA 0 ENGLAND 1 - World Cup group stage, 7 June 2002

Cole helped England and David Beckham avenge their 1998 World Cup defeat to Argentina with arguably their most complete performance since their Euro 96 thrashing of Holland. The left-back's display was all the more impressive after an early injury to Owen Hargreaves forced him to play behind the inexperienced Trevor Sinclair, who nevertheless made a huge impact.

Read more: Cole retires from international football
Walker out of World Cup with injury
Sam Wallace: Hodgson isn't exactly spoiled for choice

CAP 30: PORTUGAL 2 ENGLAND 2 (Portugal won 6-5 on penalties) - European Championship quarter-final, 24 June 2004

The game where Cole began to be talked about as the best left-back in the world. Up against Cristiano Ronaldo, he did not give the then-Manchester United winger an inch, and scored himself in the penalty shoot-out before being named in the team of the tournament.

CAP 51: ENGLAND 0 PORTUGAL 0 (Portugal won 3-1 on penalties) - World Cup quarter-final, 1 July 2006

Proving his performance two years earlier against Ronaldo was no one-off, Cole repeated the trick in England's next meeting with Portugal. And he had to do it for almost an hour while they were down to 10 men after Wayne Rooney's sending-off.

CAP 93: ENGLAND 1 SPAIN 0 - Friendly, 12 November 2011

England's first victory against the holders of the World Cup for more than 31 years was a magnificent backs-to-the-wall tactical triumph in which Cole played a massive part as part of an experimental defence.

PA

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