England national football team

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Template:National football team The England national football team represents England (not the whole United Kingdom) in international football competitions such as the World Cup and the European Championships. It is controlled by The Football Association, the governing body for football in England.

Largely thanks to historical accident, each of the four Home Nations of the United Kingdom possesses it own separate football association, domestic league and national team. Because the IOC does not accept regional representative teams, England, like the other three, does not compete in Olympic football.

England are by far the most successful of the Home Nations, having won the 1966 World Cup. In addition they have won the British Home Championship outright thirty-four times, as many as the other three nations managed altogether.



Early years

England played in the first ever international football match, against Scotland at Hamilton Crescent in Partick (now part of Glasgow), Scotland on November 30, 1872. The result was 0-0; England had to wait until the following year to record their first win, 4-2, over Scotland at the Kennington Oval.

England would only play the other Home Nations (Scotland, Wales and what was then Ireland) for nearly 40 years - partly due to the dominance of the UK in international football, as well as the problems of arranging internationals in the days before air travel was commonplace. England first played Continental opposition in a 1908 tour of Central Europe, recording easy wins over Austria and Hungary. England's first defeat to a team outside the British Isles came in 1929, when they lost 4-3 to Spain in Madrid.

The FA had joined FIFA in 1906, but the relationship between FIFA and the British associations was fraught, and the British nations withdrew from FIFA in 1928, in a dispute over payments to amateur players. This meant that England did not enter the first three World Cups. However many in England declared the team unofficial "World Champions" after they defeated 1934 World Cup winners Italy in the "Battle of Highbury" in November 1934.

Post-war England

After the Second World War, the FA started to modernise their approach; they rejoined FIFA in 1946, the same year they appointed the first dedicated team manager, Walter Winterbottom (before then, the team was picked by a committee). England's World Cup debut came in 1950; however, they suffered an infamous 1-0 loss to the United States and failed to get beyond the first group stage. England struggled in the 1954 and 1958 tournaments, and all the signs pointed to how far behind English football had fallen behind the rest of the world.

England's tactical inferiority was highlighted on November 25, 1953, when Hungary came to visit Wembley Stadium. Hungary, one of the best sides in the world and fielding legendary players such as Sßndor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskßs, outclassed the English 6-3 - this was England's first ever home loss to Continental opposition. In the return match in Budapest, Hungary won 7-1, which still stands as England's worst ever defeat.

By the 1960s English tactics and training had started to improve, and England turned in a respectable performance in the 1962 World Cup, losing in the quarter-finals to eventual winners Brazil. After Winterbottom retired in 1962, former captain Alf Ramsey was appointed; Ramsey boldly predicted that England would win the following tournament, which England were hosting.

1966 World Cup

Ramsey's prediction came true, and the 1966 World Cup was England's finest moment. Captained by Bobby Moore, England's "Wingless Wonders" dispatched Argentina and then Portugal to set up a final with West Germany at Wembley. England won 4-2 after extra time, with three goals from Geoff Hurst and one from Martin Peters. The game popularized the British catchphrase "They think it's all over... it is now!", which were BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme's words as Hurst scored his third goal in the 120th minute.

Decline in the 1970s

England came third in the 1968 European Championships, and were one of the favourites to win the 1970 World Cup; however, they fell in the quarter-finals to West Germany 3-2, having been 2-0 up. West Germany also beat England 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals of the 1972 European Championships. Worst was to come, as England failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, after only managing a 1-1 draw against Poland in a qualifier at Wembley, largely thanks to the heroics of Polish goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski. Alf Ramsey resigned as manager soon after.

Ramsey's successor, Don Revie, didn't fare much better; although he got England to the group stages of the 1976 European Championships, and resigned halfway through England's unsuccessful bid to qualify for the 1978 World Cup. At the same time, the team was attracting an ever-growing hooligan element in its support, especially on its matches abroad - at the 1980 European Championships, Italian police deployed tear gas during a group match with Belgium. England qualified for the 1982 World Cup but failed to progress from the second group stage in another tournament marred by violence.

Revival under Robson

Although at the time he was widely derided by the press, Bobby Robson is now looked upon as one of England's more successful managers. He took England to the 1986 World Cup, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Argentina in the quarter finals, thanks to two goals from Diego Maradona - the first the infamous "Hand of God" goal, where Maradona punched the ball into the net, the second after a 50-yard dribble past five England players that is widely regarded as one of the finest goals in history. As a small consolation, Gary Lineker won the tournament's Golden Boot.

England's 1990 World Cup was their best since 1966; after a slow start in the group stage, England squeaked single-goal wins over Belgium and Cameroon in the knockout rounds, before being beaten on penalties by West Germany in the semi-finals, after drawing 1-1. The team's good performance, the relative lack of violence and the emergence of Paul Gascoigne - England's player of the tournament, who cried after being booked against West Germany (which would have ruled him out of the final had England won) - were all factors in the rehabilitation of football in British society in the 1990s.

Mixed 1990s

Robson's successor, Graham Taylor, was largely a failure - the team failed to win a game at Euro 1992 and missed out on qualifying for the 1994 World Cup altogether; the team infamously went down 1-0 to minnows San Marino in a qualifying match after just eight seconds, one of the fastest international goals of all time. Taylor was sacked in 1993 and replaced by Terry Venables, who oversaw a much improved performance at Euro 96. With the tournament hosted in England and it being the 30th anniversary of the 1966 World Cup victory, fans' expectations were high; however, after famous victories over Scotland and the Netherlands, and a rare penalty shoot-out win over Spain, England fans were treated to dÚjÓ vu as their side lost their semi-final on penalties to Germany after drawing 1-1.

Venables stepped down after Euro 96; his successor Glenn Hoddle oversaw England's successful qualification for the 1998 World Cup, but the team were knocked on penalties again, this time to old enemies Argentina after David Beckham had been sent off. Hoddle resigned the following year after stating his controversial beliefs about the disabled in a newspaper interview. Former captain Kevin Keegan took over, only just managing to get England into Euro 2000 (after a 2-1 playoff win over Scotland), where a lacklustre England failed to get beyond the group stage. Keegan resigned in September 2000, after England lost their very last match at the old Wembley Stadium, a World Cup qualifier against Germany.

The Eriksson era

In 2001, the Swede Sven-G÷ran Eriksson was appointed as Keegan's successor, becoming the first foreign national to manage England. Eriksson turned around the team's 2002 World Cup campaign with a 5-1 victory over Germany; England came from behind, with goals from Emile Heskey, Steven Gerrard and a Michael Owen hat-trick. England ensured qualification after a tense final game against Greece; David Beckham scored from a free kick in the last seconds of the game to make the score 2-2 and put England top of their group on goal difference. In finals in Japan and South Korea, England beat Argentina 1-0 in the group stage, and reached the quarter-finals before being beaten 2-1 by the eventual winners, Brazil.

In Euro 2004, England came top of their qualification group, after drawing 0-0 away to Turkey in their final qualifier. In the finals, despite a last-minute loss to France in the group stage, England were favoured to do well, but were knocked out in yet another penalty shootout, this time to hosts Portugal after a 2-2 draw in the quarter-finals.

Home stadium

For the first 80 years of its existence, the England team played its home matches at different venues all around the country; for the first few years it used cricket grounds, before later moving on to football clubs' stadiums. England played their first match at Wembley Stadium in 1924, the year after it was completed, against Scotland, but for the next 27 years would only use Wembley as a venue for Scotland matches; other opposition were still entertained at club grounds around the country.

In May 1951, Argentina became the first team other than Scotland to be entertained at Wembley, and by 1960 nearly all of England's home matches were being played there. Between 1966 and 1995, England did not play a single home match anywhere else.

England's last match at Wembley before its demolition and reconstruction was against Germany on October 7, 2000, a game which England lost 1-0. Since then the team has played at 14 different venues around the country, with Old Trafford having been the most often used. The FA have ruled that when the new Wembley is completed in mid-2006, England's travels will end, and the team will play all of their home matches there until at least 2036.

World Cup record

European Championship record

Distinguished players

As of June 2005, the 21 most capped players for England are:

# Player England career Caps
1 Peter Shilton 1970-1990 125
2 Bobby Moore 1962-1974 108
3 Sir Bobby Charlton 1958-1970 106
4 Billy Wright 1947-1959 105
5 Bryan Robson 1980-1992 90
6 Kenny Sansom 1979-1988 86
7 Ray Wilkins 1976-1987 84
8 David Beckham* 1996- 81
9 Gary Lineker 1984-1992 80
10 John Barnes 1983-1995 79
11 Stuart Pearce 1987-1999 78
12 Terry Butcher 1980-1990 77
13 Sir Tom Finney 1947-1959 76
= Gary Neville* 1995- 76
15 David Seaman 1989-2002 75
16 Gordon Banks 1963-1972 73
17 Alan Ball 1965-1975 72
18 Michael Owen* 1998- 70
19 Martin Peters 1966-1974 67
20 Tony Adams 1986-2000 66
= Paul Scholes 1997-2004 66

Other notable players who have represented England include (note, this is not a comprehensive list):

Player England career Caps
Sol Campbell* 1996- 65
Dave Watson 1974-1982 65
Kevin Keegan 1973-1982 63
Alan Shearer 1992-2000 63
Ray Wilson 1960-1968 63
Emlyn Hughes 1969-1980 62
David Platt 1990-1996 62
Chris Waddle 1985-1992 62
Ray Clemence 1972-1983 61
Peter Beardsley 1986-1996 59
Paul Gascoigne 1988-1998 59
Des Walker 1989-1993 59
Jimmy Greaves 1959-1967 57
Gareth Southgate* 1995- 57
Johnny Haynes 1954-1962 56
Sir Stanley Matthews 1935-1957 54
Glenn Hoddle 1979-1988 53
Paul Ince 1992-2000 53
Trevor Francis 1977-1986 52
Phil Neal 1976-1984 50
Sir Geoff Hurst 1966-1972 49
Sir Trevor Brooking 1974-1982 47
Mick Channon 1972-1977 46
Gary Stevens 1985-1992 46
Steve Coppell 1977-1983 42
Mick Mills 1972-1982 42
Ashley Cole* 2001- 41
George Cohen 1964-1967 37
Jack Charlton 1965-1970 35
Alan Mullery 1964-1971 35
Roger Hunt 1962-1969 34
Viv Anderson 1978-1988 30
Nobby Stiles 1965-1970 28
Wayne Rooney* 2003- 25
Steve Bloomer 1895-1907 23
Duncan Edwards 1955-1958 18

Members of the 1966 World Cup-winning team are in bold. * denotes a player still playing or available for selection.

Top England goalscorers

# Player England career Goals (Caps)
1 Sir Bobby Charlton 1958-70 49 (106)
2 Gary Lineker 1984-92 48 (80)
3 Jimmy Greaves 1959-67 44 (57)
4 Michael Owen 1998-present 32 (70)
5 Tom Finney 1946-58 30 (76)
= Nat Lofthouse 1950-58 30 (33)
= Alan Shearer 1992-2000 30 (63)
8 Viv Woodward 1903-11 29 (23)
9 Steve Bloomer 1895-1907 28 (23)
10 David Platt 1989-96 27 (62)
11 Bryan Robson 1979-91 26 (90)
12 Sir Geoff Hurst 1966-72 24 (49)
13 Stan Mortensen 1947-53 23 (25)
14 Tommy Lawton 1938-48 22 (23)
15 Mick Channon 1972-77 21 (46)
= Kevin Keegan 1972-82 21 (63)
17 Martin Peters 1966-74 20 (77)
18 George Camsell 1929-36 18 (9)
= Dixie Dean 1927-32 18 (16)
= Johnny Haynes 1954-62 18 (56)
= Roger Hunt 1962-69 18 (34)

England managers

Manager England career
Sir Walter Winterbottom 1946-1962
Sir Alf Ramsey 1963-1974
Joe Mercer (caretaker) 1974
Don Revie 1974-1977
Ron Greenwood 1977-1982
Sir Bobby Robson 1982-1990
Graham Taylor 1990-1993
Terry Venables 1993-1996
Glenn Hoddle 1996-1999
Howard Wilkinson (caretaker) 1999
Kevin Keegan 1999-2000
Howard Wilkinson (caretaker) 2000
Peter Taylor (caretaker) 2000
Sven-G÷ran Eriksson 2001 - present

See also

External links

Football in England

League competitions

The FA

Cup competitions

FA Premier League FA Cup
The Football League (Champ, 1, 2) England
League Cup
Football Conference (Nat, N, S) FA Community Shield
Northern Premier League (Prem, 1) (women) Football League Trophy
Southern League (Prem, 1W, 1E) List of
FA Trophy
Isthmian League (Prem, 1, 2) FA Vase
English football league system Records FA NLS Cup

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