National Team Statistics: England
English Team History:
The England national team, the Three Lions, is the joint oldest international side. They share this record with their bitter rivals and neighbours Scotland. Their first match took place in Scotland in 1872 and after this match, the England team would play matches against the four “Home Nations” which became a mini championship from 1883 and was contested until 1984 making it the oldest international tournament until its closure. The England national team finally joined FIFA in 1906 and finally played their first game outside of the British Isles in 1908. The Three Lions are synonymous with Wembley Stadium, often labeled as the home of football, but it wasn’t until 1923 that the famous old stadium was completed and England had a permanent home. Until that date the team moved around the country playing matches, as they would once again whilst the new Wembley Stadium was built between 2000 and 2007. In 1928, the Football Association of England’s strained relationship with FIFA broke down and the team withdrew from FIFA and did not reinstate until 1946.
In 1950 England qualified for their first ever World Cup finals. The team was strong and was considered a real prospect for the title and lead by the inspirational Stanley Matthews. Their first appearance turned into a sour affair as England was dumped out of the finals in the first round. It was in Brazil in 1950, that England suffered their one of their worst ever results as they were beaten 1-0 by the USA, a loss that summed up how poor their campaign had been. After this setback, the England team made massive strides in international football and then claimed to be the best football team in the world. This boast was put to the test in 1953 when Wembley welcomed the Magnificent Magyars of Hungary. In a display of football that will forever be remembered by all those who witnessed it, the Hungarian’s smashed the myth of English footballing supremacy by winning by 6 goals to 3. Talismanic figure Ferenc Puskas was the star of the show and the pick of the goals was an audacious drag back and ferocious finish that left England defender Billy Wright wondering where on earth his man had gone. England went to Hungary, eager to erase their Wembley nightmare, only to be thrashed even more heavily by seven goals to one.
In 1954, the Three Lions progressed past round one at the second time of asking. They were undefeated in their two group matches drawing with Belgium and then beating Switzerland to face off against reigning champions Uruguay in the quarter finals. The defending champions were too strong and sent England back home. In the subsequent two tournaments the England team failed to get past the group stage in 1958 and was knocked out in the second round in 1962 by the eventual winners Brazil.
It was in 1966 that the England team finally made their mark on the world stage. The 1966 finals were held in England and despite the tournament being negative in terms of defensive football and fouling tactics designed to stop the world’s best players. England was under the leadership of Alf Ramsey, who would go onto to be England’s most successful coach. Ramsey had taken over the role in 1963 and was determined to turn a talented bunch of players into world champions. Captained by Bobby Moore and inspired by Bobby Charlton, England recovered from a slow start to set up a final meeting with West Germany. The 1966 final is one of the most memorable to date that seesawed during the ninety minutes. The Germans took the lead to be pegged back by England’s Geoff Hurst. Martin Peters scored to give England a late lead only for Germany to grab a last gasp equaliser and send the game to extra time. It was in the extra thirty minutes that the final has become so memorable. England’s third goal is amongst the most disputed in football history. Hurst struck a ball towards goal that hit the cross bar and bounced down onto the line. England celebrated, the Germans cleared the ball away and the referee consulted his linesman Tokif Bakrhamov, who declared that the ball had indeed crossed the line. Replays have since shown that the Germans were correct but the goal stood. Hurst then wrote his and England’s name into the record books by scoring his third, the only man to score a final hat trick, England’s fourth and the England team became World Champions for the first time in their history.
Following their success in 1966, the England team followed it up with a third place at the 1968 European Championships and headed to the 1970 finals in Mexico as defending champions with arguably a better squad that four years previous. Preparation for the tournament was disrupted when Captain Bobby Moore was falsely arrested for shoplifting in Colombia. Moore was released on bail and all charges were dropped. England faced off against Brazil in a game dubbed “the battle of the champions” and produced a number of iconic moments. The first being the astonishing save made by Gordon Banks from a Pele header that seemed destined to be a goal and the second was the image that has been the backdrop to many an anti-racism campaign when Moore and Pele, a white man and a black man swapped shirts after the match. The defending champions progressed to the quarter finals where they would face 1966 runners up West Germany. England raced into a two nil lead and seemed to be cruising to another semi final. Reserve ‘keeper Peter Bonetti, drafted in due Banks suffering an illness, then made an error that gifted the Germans a goal. Manager Ramsey substituted Bobby Charlton which allowed the Germans to dictate the pace of the match. Uwe Seeler tied the score at two goals apiece and in extra time poacher extraordinaire, Gerd Muller struck to complete the German’s comeback and dump England from the competition.
After a period of relative success the England team fell into the doldrums failing to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 World Cups despite having a number of talented players at their disposal. The team also failed to qualify for the European Championship’s that took place in 1972, 1976 and under performed in 1980 as England’s fall from grace was spectacular. In 1982, under the leadership of Ron Greenwood, the Three Lions qualified for the finals in Spain. Their campaign was hit with problems from the start as star players Trevor Brooking and most noticeably Kevin Keegan were struck down by injury before the tournament began. For Keegan, possibly the world’s top player at the time, it was a devastating blow. The team progressed through the group stage to a second group stage by winning all three matches. In the second round a nil all draw with Germany left England requiring a 2-0 win against host nation Spain. Brooking and Keegan managed to return despite the fact that the latter was out of sorts, but they were unable to inspire England to victory. Keegan missed a chance that he would normally convert during the match and his exasperation at this miss was evident to all. The England team was on its way home despite not losing a single match.
After Spain 1982, Bobby Robson was appointed England manager and the team struggled to begin with and failed to qualify for Euro ’84. In 1986 at the World Cup finals in Mexico the team performed well in reaching the quarter finals where they were eliminated by a combination of blatant cheating and incredible skill. The finals began slowly for England. A defeat by Portugal was followed by a draw with Morocco. Under pressure in their final group game, star striker, Gary Lineker, struck a hat trick in the first half to send England through to the second round. A further brace from Lineker and another from Peter Beardsley ended Paraguay’s hopes to set up a match with Diego Maradona’s Argentina. This match will forever be remembered for two moments from the Argentine. Maradona scored twice in the match. His first goal rivaled that of Geoff Hurst’s second against Germany in 1966 for controversy. A clearance from the England defence looped into the air towards ‘keeper Peter Shilton. Maradona ran towards the ball and leapt into the air with Shilton. The diminutive Argentine got there first and with his fist knocked the ball past the stunned goalkeeper. England screamed foul play and despite this blatant piece of cheating the referee awarded the goal. His second goal was as brilliant as his first was controversial. Picking the ball up inside his own half, Maradona turned brilliantly away from two England players, slalomed through the England defence, rounded Peter Shilton and finished to leave fans and commentators alike speechless. England struck back through Lineker but once again England failed.
In 1990 England produced their second best World Cup performance and reached the semi finals under Robson and finished fourth. They were beaten by Italy in the third/fourth place match after a campaign brought to life and made iconic by Paul Gascoigne who became a superstar. England was only a penalty shootout away from contesting a second final but succumbed to old foes West Germany who would go onto lift the title. The remainder of the ‘90s was a mixed bag for the England team. An early exit from Euro ’92 was followed by failure to qualify for the World Cup in 1994. This failure cost Graham Taylor his job and he was replaced by Terry Venables. English football was given a boost it needed as it was awarded Euro ’96 and qualified as hosts. In the build up to the finals the team was struggling to produce performances on the pitch and was attracting a number of negative headlines in the press off the field. A slow start against Switzerland was followed by a match with Scotland that ignited England’s campaign. The soundtrack to the tournament and indeed the summer was provided by David Baddiel and Frank Skinner. The two British comedians along with the Lightning Seeds recorded the hit Three Lions. Before the Scotland match, the Wembley DJ played the track to the crowd which ignited their passion and the team responded in kind. Paul Gascoigne was once again the star of the show as his wonder goal kept the momentum going. A four one demolition of Holland followed and a quarter final victory against Spain set up another semi final with old foes Germany. Another tense encounter ensued and at 1-1 after extra time another penalty shootout was required and as in 1990 the Germans emerged victorious.
Since the high of 1996, England have failed to progress beyond the quarter finals. In 2001, for the first time in English football history, a foreign coach was appointed to take charge of the England National team. Swede, Sven Goran Eriksson became national coach to the outrage of many England supporters. Despite his cool, laid back demeanour and failure to go beyond the quarter finals with England’s “Golden Generation”, Eriksson was ultimately a success as England reached three consecutive quarter finals for the first time in their history and only lost 5 competitive matches.
When Eriksson left the team, Steve McLaren was appointed as head coach, a move that England would come to regret. Failure to qualify for Euro 2008 was the consequence and a foreign manager was called upon once again. England turned to Fabio Capello, the legendary Italian manager, to restore England’s reputation as one of the world’s premier footballing nations. As the Three Lions head into World Cup qualifiers, it remains to be seen if he is the man for the job.
Nickname: The Three Lions
Most Appearances: Peter Shilton
Leading Goalscorer: Bobby Charlton (49)
World Ranking: 14
World Cup Performances:
12 Appearances, Winners: once 1966
UEFA European Performances:
7 Appearances: semi-finalists twice: 1968 & 1996
Sir Bobby Moore: 108 Caps, 2 goals
Sir Bobby Charlton: 106 Caps, 49 goals
Gary Lineker: 80 Caps, 48 goals
Sir Alf Ramsey: 1963-1974, played 113, won 69
Sir Bobby Robson: 1982-1990, played 95, won 47
Theo Walcott: (Arsenal) 16/03/1989
|Paul Robinson||Blackburn Rovers||October 15, 1979 (age 28)||41 (0)||v Australia, 2003|
|David James||Portsmouth||August 1, 1970 (age 38)||39 (0)||v Mexico, 29 March 1997|
|Joe Hart||Manchester City||April 19, 1987 (age 21)||1 (0)||v Trinidad & Tobago, 1 June 2008|
|Rio Ferdinand||Manchester United||November 7, 1978 (age 29)||68 (2)||v Cameroon, 15 November 1997|
|Ashley Cole||Chelsea||December 20, 1980 (age 27)||64 (0)||v Albania, 28 March 2001|
|John Terry||Chelsea||December 7, 1980 (age 27)||44 (4)||v Serbia and Montenegro, 2003|
|Wayne Bridge||Chelsea||August 5, 1980 (age 28)||30 (1)||v Netherlands, 13 February 2002|
|Wes Brown||Manchester United||October 13, 1979 (age 28)||17 (0)||v Hungary, 1999|
|Glen Johnson||Portsmouth||August 23, 1984 (age 24)||8 (0)||v Denmark, 18 November 2003|
|Matthew Upson||West Ham United||April 18, 1979 (age 29)||8 (0)||v South Africa,|
|Jonathan Woodgate||Tottenham Hotspur||January 22, 1980 (age 28)||7 (0)||v Bulgaria, 9 June 1999|
|David Beckham||Los Angeles Galaxy||May 2, 1975 (age 33)||102 (17)||v Moldova, 1 September 1996|
|Steven Gerrard||Liverpool||May 30, 1980 (age 28)||67 (13)||v Ukraine, 31 May 2000|
|Frank Lampard||Chelsea||June 20, 1978 (age 30)||61 (14)||v Belgium, October 10, 1999|
|Joe Cole||Chelsea||November 8, 1981 (age 26)||50 (7)||v Mexico, 25 May 2001|
|Gareth Barry||Aston Villa||February 23, 1981 (age 27)||20 (1)||v Ukraine, 31 May 2000|
|Stewart Downing||Middlesbrough||July 22, 1984 (age 24)||18 (0)||v Netherlands, 9 February 2005|
|Jermaine Jenas‡||Tottenham Hotspur||February 18, 1983 (age 25)||18 (1)||v Australia, 12 February 2003|
|David Bentley||Tottenham Hotspur||August 27, 1984 (age 24)||6 (0)||v Israel, 8 September 2007|
|Emile Heskey||Wigan Athletic||January 11, 1978 (age 30)||45 (5)||v Hungary 1999|
|Wayne Rooney||Manchester United||October 24, 1985 (age 22)||43 (14)||v Australia, 12 February 2003|
|Jermain Defoe||Portsmouth||October 7, 1982 (age 25)||28 (5)||v Sweden, 31 March 2004|
|Theo Walcott||Arsenal||March 16, 1989 (age 19)||2 (0)||v Hungary, 30 May 2006|
Current Manager: Fabio Capello
Steven Gerrard: 67 Caps, 13 goals
Wayne Rooney: 43 Caps, 14 goals
John Terry: 44 Caps, 4 goals
Latest Results: England 2 (Brown, Cole) Czech Republic 2 (Baros, Jankolowski)