England at the FIFA World Cup

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The England national football team has competed at the FIFA World Cup since 1950. The FIFA World Cup is the premier competitive international football tournament, first played in 1930, whose finals stage has been held every four years since, except 1942 and 1946, due to the Second World War.[1]

The tournament consists of two parts, the qualification phase and the final phase (officially called the World Cup Finals). The qualification phase, which currently take place over the three years preceding the finals, is used to determine which teams qualify for the finals. The current format of the finals involves thirty-two teams competing for the title, at venues within the host nation (or nations) over a period of about a month. The World Cup Finals is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the 2006 Final.[2][3]

England did not enter the competition until 1950, but have entered all eighteen subsequent tournaments.[a] They have failed to qualify for the finals on three occasions, 1974 (West Germany), 1978 (Argentina) and 1994 (United States), and have failed to advance from the group stages on three occasions; at the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the 1958 FIFA World Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Their best ever performance is winning the Cup in the 1966 tournament held in England, whilst they also finished in fourth place in 1990, in Italy, and in 2018 in Russia. Other than that, the team have reached the quarter-finals on nine occasions, the latest of which were at the 2002 (South Korea/Japan) and the 2006 (Germany).[b]


Brazil 1950[edit]

England's first qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup doubled as the 1950 British Home Championship. The series kicked off for England on 15 October 1949 at Ninian Park, Cardiff, against Wales. Stan Mortensen gave England the lead after twenty two minutes, and just seven minutes later, Jackie Milburn doubled the lead. This was the first goal of Milburn's hat trick, which left England 4–0 up with 20 minutes to play. Mal Griffiths scored a consolation goal for Wales ten minutes from time, but England held on for a comfortable victory.

A month later, England welcomed Ireland to Maine Road, and it began well for the home side as Jack Rowley scored inside six minutes. England were already 6–0 up, thanks to Jack Froggatt, two for Stan Pearson, Stan Mortensen and a second from Rowley, by the time Ireland struck back through Samuel Smyth after 55 minutes. Rowley added a third and a fourth to his tally in the three minutes following Smyth's goal, however, leaving the score at 8–1 at the hour mark. The frantic scoring rate calmed down after that, with only one apiece before the final whistle, with Stan Pearson completing his brace for England's ninth, and Bobby Brennan scoring for Ireland.

It was not until May 1950 that England travelled to Hampden Park to face Scotland, who were also undefeated after their games against Ireland and Wales. With the top two from the group qualifying, both teams were guaranteed progression to the finals, and the game was solely for the honour of winning the British Home Championship, and the seeding advantage to be enjoyed upon reaching Brazil. A solitary goal from Roy Bentley gave England the victory, the title and the top spot in the group.

1950 Finals[edit]

England were seeded in pot one for the finals, which meant they were the favourites to progress from Group 2, which also contained Spain, Chile and the United States. England's campaign kicked off against Chile in Rio de Janeiro, and, as was expected, England cruised to a 2–0 victory, courtesy of goals from Stan Mortensen and Wilf Mannion.[citation needed]

Their troubles began four days later when they faced the Americans in Belo Horizonte in what has become one of the most famous matches of all time. Joe Gaetjens scored the only goal of the match to give the United States an unlikely victory, which has gone down as one of the World Cup's greatest upsets. A myth arose that the English newspapers were so confident of an English victory that when the result was telegrammed back, they assumed a misprint and printed the score as 10–1 in England's favour. However, this has proven to be untrue.[4]

This left England in a sticky situation prior to their final match, against Spain in Rio. They needed to win, and for Chile to beat the United States to stand any chance of going through, and even then they would need the goal averages to fall in their favour. As it turned out, no such calculations were necessary, despite Chile's victory, as Spain's Zarra scored the only goal of the game, eliminating England from the competition.

Switzerland 1954[edit]

As with their first World Cup, England's qualifying for the 1954 edition also constituted the 1953–54 British Home Championship. They played Wales at Ninian Park as their first match once again, and the 4–1 result was the same. However, unlike four years earlier, it was the home side that went into the lead, after twenty two minutes through Ivor Allchurch. Despite being 1–0 down at half time, England scored four within eight minutes of the restart; two each for Dennis Wilshaw and Nat Lofthouse.

Goodison Park was the venue for England's home clash against Ireland, who were newly renamed Northern Ireland. Harold Hassall got England off to a good start with a goal after just ten minutes. Eddie McMorran put the Irish back on terms just before the hour mark, but Hassall completed his brace six minutes later. Lofthouse completed a comfortable 3–1 win for England.

With the top two in the group qualifying for the finals, the final game between England and Scotland, at Hampden Park, settled nothing except the placings within the group, despite Scotland having dropped a point with a 3–3 draw at home to Wales. Allan Brown put the home side ahead after just seven minutes, but it was all square again thanks to Ivor Broadis just four minutes later. Johnny Nicholls gave England the lead for the first time just after half time, and they began to extend a lead after Ronnie Allen's 68th-minute goal. Jimmy Mullen made the game all but certain seven minutes from time, and although Willie Ormond scored a consolation for Scotland with just 1 minute to play, England topped the competition for the second time in a row.

1954 Finals[edit]

England were drawn in Group 4 for the finals, with hosts Switzerland, Italy and Belgium. In an odd twist, unique to the 1954 tournament, England and Italy, as the two seeded teams in the group, did not have to play each other.

Equally, Switzerland and Belgium did not have to play each other. England's first game in Switzerland was against Belgium in Basel, and they suffered a shock as Léopold Anoul put the Belgians into the lead after just five minutes. Ivor Broadis put the favourites back on terms just over twenty minutes later, and although Nat Lofthouse gave England the lead 10 minutes later, it was proving to be tougher than they had expected against the Belgians.

Broadis scored his second just after the hour, but Henri Coppens hit back four minutes later to keep Belgium in the game at only 3–2 down. Anoul completed his brace another four minutes after that to level the scores again. In another oddity peculiar to this World Cup, drawn matches in the group stage would go to extra time, and as such the teams played on with the score at 3–3.

Just one minute into the added period, Lofthouse added a fourth for England and they seemed to have won it, but Jimmy Dickinson scored an own goal three minutes later to put the score back at 4–4. It stayed this way until the extra period was up, and as penalty shoot-outs were yet to be invented and replays were not used in the group, the match was recorded as a draw.

England's second and final group game was against the hosts in Bern. This proved to be an easier game for the Three Lions, and they scored one goal in each half (from Jimmy Mullen and Dennis Wilshaw respectively) to give them a comfortable win of 2–0. As Switzerland (against England), Italy (against Switzerland) and Belgium (against Italy) had all lost one game, England progressed as group winners, along with Switzerland, who won a play-off against Italy.

England faced the winners of group three and defending champions Uruguay in the quarter-finals. Carlos Borges gave the South Americans the lead inside 5 minutes, but Lofthouse put England back on terms ten minutes later. England were clearly struggling, but held on until just before half time, when Obdulio Varela gave the lead back Uruguay.

Juan Alberto Schiaffino doubled the lead just after the break, but Tom Finney kept England's foot in the door with his sixty seventh-minute goal. However, it was all over after Javier Ambrois restored the two-goal lead with twelve minutes to play. The score remained at 4–2, and England were eliminated from the cup.

Sweden 1958[edit]

For the first time, England had to play against countries other than the Home Nations to reach the Finals in Sweden. They were drawn against the Republic of Ireland and Denmark. In the qualifying round, England won three out of the four games and drew the other. Four months before the World Cup, Roger Byrne, Duncan Edwards, David Pegg and Tommy Taylor all lost their lives in the Munich air disaster while playing for Manchester United. At the finals, which is the only tournament to have seen all Home Nations take part, the Home Nations were all drawn in different groups.

England were drawn against the Soviet Union (2–2), Brazil (0–0) and Austria (2–2), who finished third in the 1954 World Cup. At the end of the group stage, Soviet Union and England each had three points, and had scored four goals and conceded four goals. This meant there was a play-off to decide the second-placed team in the group, the winner to qualify. England lost the play-off 1–0 and were thus knocked out. The only consolation for England was that they were the only team to play the eventual winners Brazil and not lose.

Chile 1962[edit]

The third World Cup which took place in South America, saw England qualify from the group, which contained Portugal and Luxembourg, defeating Luxembourg on both occasions, and defeating Portugal at home, and drawing in Lisbon.

At the finals, England were drawn in a group with Hungary, Argentina and Bulgaria. England defeated Argentina 3–1, thanks to goals from Ron Flowers, Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Greaves,[5] before playing out a goalless draw with Bulgaria, and a 2–1 defeat to Hungary.[6]

England finished in second place behind Hungary and played the winners of group 3, defending champions Brazil, in the quarter-finals. Brazil scored first through Garrincha, before an equaliser for Gerry Hitchens before half time. However, second-half goals from Garrincha and Vavá meant Brazil won the game 3–1, and eliminated England from the competition.[7] This defeat was manager Walter Winterbottom's last game in charge. Winterbottom had led England to four World Cup Finals. From May 1963, Alf Ramsey became the manager of England.

England 1966[edit]

In the 1966 World Cup Finals, England used their home advantage and, under Ramsey, won their first, and only, World Cup title. England played all their games at Wembley Stadium in London, which became the last time that the hosts were granted this privilege. England did not concede a goal in any of their first four matches at the tournament, starting with a 0–0 draw in the opening game against former champions Uruguay, followed by 2–0 wins over France and Mexico to see them finish top of their group and qualify for the quarter-finals.[citation needed]

There they faced Argentina, in a very fierce game that saw Argentinian Antonio Rattín sent off by German referee Rudolf Kreitlein. Geoff Hurst scored the only goal of the game, and only his second in international football, to give England the win and a place in the semi-finals, where they faced Portugal. Two goals from Bobby Charlton gave England the lead going into the final 10 minutes of the match, before Eusebio scored from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, the first goal England had conceded in the tournament. The final pitted England against West Germany, who took the lead in the 12th minute through Helmut Haller. Hurst equalised six minutes later, before Martin Peters gave England the lead with 12 minutes left to play; however, in the 89th minute, Wolfgang Weber levelled the scores again to take the match to extra time. In the additional period, Hurst scored twice more, the first crashing down off the crossbar before being given by linesman Tofiq Bahramov, who controversially deemed the ball to have entirely crossed the line. Hurst's three goals made him the first player to score a hat-trick in a FIFA World Cup final, a feat that (as of 2018) has not been matched since.[8]

Mexico 1970[edit]

1970 saw the first World Cup finals take place in North America and England qualified automatically for the tournament by winning the 1966 FIFA World Cup. England were drawn in a group with Romania, former world champions Brazil and Czechoslovakia. Each of the matches only saw one goal, with England defeating Romania and Czechoslovakia, and losing to Brazil, progressing them to the quarter-final second in their group. The quarter-final saw a repeat of the 1966 final, with England playing West Germany. England were hampered by the fact that first-choice goalkeeper Gordon Banks was ill, and Peter Bonetti played instead. England led 2–0 with goals by Alan Mullery and Martin Peters, but in the 70th minute, Franz Beckenbauer pulled one goal back for West Germany.

After Beckenbauer's goal, Ramsey substituted Bobby Charlton, who overtook Billy Wright as England's most capped player ever, with caps totalling 106. Uwe Seeler equalised for the Germans in the eighty first minute, thereby taking the game into extra time. During extra time, Gerd Müller scored the winning goal for West Germany which saw the German side win 3–2. This turned out to be Charlton's last game for England.[9]

West Germany 1974[edit]

For the first time, England did not qualify for a World Cup. In a group with Olympic champions Poland and Wales, England could not overtake Poland. After only drawing at home to Wales 1–1 and losing the first leg 2–0 to Poland, meant that England had to beat Poland at home, whilst Poland only needed to draw. Poland managed to withstand England's attacks in the first half, who had Martin Peters playing for them. Poland took the lead in the 57th minute with a goal from Jan Domarski.

England equalised six minutes later, with a penalty converted by Allan Clarke. England were unable to score any more goals with goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski keeping England at bay. Brian Clough had previously called Tomaszewski a "clown".[10] The commentator of the game then said "it's all over".[11] Poland took this good form to the finals and ended in third place. After failing to qualify, Alf Ramsey resigned from his post and after a time, where Ramsey and his predecessor had lasted a total of 29 years, no manager was able to last in the job for longer than eight years. This ended when Bobby Robson became England manager.[12]

Argentina 1978[edit]

England also did not qualify for the fourth World Cup which took place in South America. This time, England were denied by Italy, who had scored three more goals than England after both teams finished on the same points. Goals scored dictated who qualified after the head-to-head record between the two sides finished the same, following a 2–0 home win for each team. The lower-ranked teams in the group were Finland and Luxembourg, but the size of the wins against them proved to be decisive. Nevertheless, Ron Greenwood was given a second chance in charge of England, after taking the role in 1977.

Spain 1982[edit]

1982 saw the first time where the European Qualifying Rounds were divided into groups of five teams, where the top two teams qualify for the World Cup. Greenwood used his second chance and took England to Spain by finishing second behind Hungary and above Romania, Switzerland and Norway.

At the finals, England won all three group games for the first time, defeating France 3–1, with a brace from Bryan Robson,[13] before beating Czechoslovakia 2–0, with a Jozef Barmos own goal,[14] and World Cup newcomers Kuwait 1–0, thanks to a Trevor Francis goal.[15]

The next round saw a second group stage consisting of three teams, a first time event at the World Cup. England drew with West Germany 0–0 and after the Germans beat Spain 2–1, England then had to beat Spain with a two-goal difference to progress to the next round. England, however, only managed a 0–0 draw against the Spanish. England remained unbeaten at the end of the tournament. After the World Cup, Ron Greenwood's time as England manager ended, and he was replaced by Bobby Robson.

Mexico 1986[edit]

1986 saw the second World Cup to take place in Mexico. England qualified for Mexico 1986 by winning four games and drawing four times against Northern Ireland, who qualified in second place, Romania, Finland and Turkey. In Mexico, England lost their opening game to Portugal 1–0 and could only manage a goalless draw against Morocco. The final group game, however, saw England beat Poland 3–0, which is one of the three highest scores for England at the World Cup, with Gary Lineker scoring a hat-trick.

This result took England to second place and finished behind Morocco. England then also beat Paraguay 3–0 in the Round of 16. In the quarter-finals, England renewed their rivalry with Argentina in a game that has become notorious for the Argentina goals, both scored by Diego Maradona. Maradona's first goal, known as the Hand of God, was illegal and should not have counted, as he used his hand to punch the ball into the net. However, the referee missed this infringement, and ruled that the goal should stand. Maradona then made the score 2–0, famously dribbling from inside Argentina's half and around several English players before scoring. Gary Lineker pulled back the score to 2–1, but England ran out of time to equalise, and were eliminated. Nevertheless, Lineker finished with the Golden Boot by scoring six goals and thereby becoming England's first Golden Boot winner.

Italy 1990[edit]

By winning three and drawing three, England qualified for Italia '90, the second World Cup to be held in Italy, scoring ten goals and conceding none. England were unbeaten through qualification, winning three games, and drawing the remaining three, but still finished second to Sweden, whom they drew with twice.[16] England profited from Romania's 3–1 win over Denmark, who, had they won, would have qualified as the third-best second-placed team. West Germany and England were able to qualify for Italia '90 as the best second-placed teams in the groups with four teams.

Because a few years previously saw English hooligans at European competition matches, England were forced to play their group games on Sardinia and Sicily. In group F, was the European champions Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and Egypt and England. After opening the tournament with a 1–1 draw against Ireland and a 0–0 draw against the Dutch, England then beat Egypt 1–0. This was Egypt's first appearance since the 1934 World Cup.[citation needed] England won the group with four points.[17]

In the next round, England had to play Belgium. The game went to extra time, and in the hundredth and nineteenth minute, David Platt scored the winning goal.[18] England also had to play extra time against Cameroon in the quarter-finals. Cameroon were the first African team to have reached the quarter-finals. England opened the scoring through David Platt, but Cameroon quickly turned around the game to lead 2–1. Lineker subsequently won and scored a penalty in the 83rd minute to ensure the game went to extra time. He then scored a second penalty, to see England reach the semi-finals.[19]

In the semi-finals, England met West Germany. There was no separating the two teams after 90 minutes, which made England the first team to have played extra time in three successive World Cup games. There was also no separating the two teams after extra time, thereby taking the game to penalties.[20]

Although English goalkeeper Peter Shilton dived the right way for every penalty, he was unable to save any. German goalkeeper Bodo Illgner, having failed to save any of England's first three penalties, saved England's fourth penalty, taken by Stuart Pearce. Olaf Thon then scored for Germany, meaning that England's Chris Waddle would have to score his fifth penalty and hope that Shilton saved the Germans' fifth penalty. However, Waddle's penalty missed completely, going high over the crossbar, thereby resulting in England's being knocked out of the competition.[20] The third-place playoff between England and Italy saw England lose their only game of the tournament in normal time. Even though this was England's best finish since the 1966 World Cup, Bobby Robson's time as England manager had come to an end.[21][22]

United States 1994[edit]

For the 1994 World Cup in the United States, under the leadership of new manager Graham Taylor, England surprisingly did not qualify for the tournament. In a group with six teams, England lost to Norway and the Netherlands, finishing third above Poland, Turkey and San Marino.

England went into their final game with San Marino knowing they would need a seven-goal victory and for Poland to beat the Netherlands in the other match in order to qualify. In the game against San Marino, Davide Gualtieri scored against England after nine seconds, taking the lead for the outsiders. England went on to win 7–1, which was too small a goal margin. Additionally, despite the half-time score between the Poles and the Dutch being 1–1, the Dutch went on to win 3–1, meaning that however many goals England scored, they could still not qualify. Taylor's tenure in charge ended and he was replaced by Terry Venables, who left after England lost the semi-final of Euro 1996, hosted in England.[12]

France 1998[edit]

After missing out on the World Cup in 1994, England, managed by Glenn Hoddle, qualified for the World Cup in France. England were drawn in Group 2 of UEFA qualifying with Italy, Poland, Georgia and Moldova. England beat Poland, Georgia and Moldova both home and away, but a home defeat to Italy in their fourth match meant they went into the final qualifier at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome just a point ahead of the Azzurri and only needing a draw to qualify automatically; defeat would see them have to navigate a play-off to secure qualification. The match finished as a goalless draw and England finished top of the group.

At the finals in France, England played in Group G. England defeated Tunisia 2–0 in the first game, with goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes.[23] Their second match saw England lose 2–1 to Romania; despite an 81st-minute equaliser from Michael Owen, Dan Petrescu scored a winner shortly before injury time. In their final group game, England defeated Colombia 2–0 in the decisive match, thanks to goals from midfielders Darren Anderton and David Beckham.[24] England finished second in Group G, which saw them qualify for the last 16 phase, and play the winner of 1998 FIFA World Cup Group H, Argentina.

In a fiery game containing six yellow cards and two penalties, David Beckham was controversially sent off in the 47th minute for what many felt was at most a yellow card offence, knocking over Diego Simeone.[25][26] Gabriel Batistuta opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the fifth minute of the game, before an equaliser also from the spot by Alan Shearer four minutes later. England took the lead through Owen, in the 16th minute. Argentina drew level through Javier Zanetti in injury time of the first half.

The game finished 2–2, and, as neither team were able to find a winner in extra time, penalties were needed to decide the team that qualified to the next round. While David Seaman did save one penalty, Argentine goalkeeper Carlos Roa managed to save two, including the vital one from David Batty, thereby knocking England out of the World Cup. Beckham subsequently received death threats and was sent bullets in the post.[27][28]

South Korea/Japan 2002[edit]

In 2002 the World Cup took place in Asia for the first time. England, under its first ever foreign manager in Swedish Sven-Göran Eriksson, were able to qualify for the tournament. England were drawn in Group 9, alongside Germany, Finland, Greece and Albania. In the last ever game in the original Wembley Stadium, (which closed after the match) England played Germany, losing 1–0, the only goal scored by Dietmar Hamann. The match was the last under the management of Kevin Keegan, who resigned at the end of the match, and was replaced by Eriksson.[29] By beating Germany 5–1 in Munich, England's qualifying campaign was revitalised, and they qualified automatically, by drawing 2–2 with Greece. Germany, who could only draw 0–0 with Finland, had to play a play-off game against Ukraine, with England qualifying ahead winning the group.

In Japan, England had to play against Eriksson's homeland, Sweden, and both settled out for a 1–1 draw. England and Beckham gained a measure of revenge for their previous 1998 defeat in defeating Argentina 1–0, thanks to a Beckham penalty. However, England could only manage a disappointing 0–0 draw against Nigeria, meaning that although they were able to qualify for the second round, where they played Denmark, they qualified as runners up, which meant that they would meet favourites Brazil in the quarter-finals if they qualified.

England played Denmark in the round of 16 defeating Denmark 3–0, thanks to goals from Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand, and Emile Heskey.[30] England played four-time World Cup winners and 1998 runners-up Brazil in the quarter-finals. Despite leading through a Michael Owen goal, a mistake by David Seaman saw England lose 2–1, and Brazil won their fourth World Cup match against England, and went on to win the tournament.[31]

Germany 2006[edit]

England were drawn into Group 6 of European qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. The group featured other home nations in Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as Poland (who had eliminated England the last time the World Cup took place in Germany), Azerbaijan and Austria. England won eight of the 10 games, and qualified as group winners, in front of Poland, despite drawing to Austria in Vienna, and losing to Northern Ireland in Belfast.[32]

In Germany, however, England were less convincing. England played in Group B, alongside Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Sweden. England started with a 1–0 win against Paraguay; which was won due to a 3rd minute own goal.[33] The second game against first time qualifiers Trinidad and Tobago saw England have to wait until the 83rd minute for England to take the lead, with Peter Crouch opened the scoring with a goal many felt was illegal, and the second goal of the game coming in added time from Steven Gerrard.[34][35] The last group game saw England play against Sweden, where an eventual 2–2 draw saw them qualify for the next round as group winners, thereby avoiding playing hosts Germany.[36]

In the last 16 stage, a free kick from David Beckham saw England win 1–0 against Ecuador and reach the quarter-finals, where they faced Portugal.[37] The game finished goalless, and England once again were knocked out on penalties and Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo became the first goalkeeper to save three penalties in a penalty shoot-out. Ricardo saved from Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Jamie Carragher; the only England player who converted his penalty was Owen Hargreaves. Portugal won the shoot-out 3–1, despite misses from Petit and Hugo Viana. This game was also Eriksson's final match as England manager.[38]

South Africa 2010[edit]

Qualification for the first African World Cup went successfully for new England manager Fabio Capello, after previous manager Steve McClaren was unable to secure qualification to the Euro 2008. By winning nine times and only losing to Ukraine, England qualified ahead of Croatia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Andorra. England's group was seen as a favourable one, containing comparatively much weaker teams.[39] However, England opened up their campaign with a 1–1 draw against the United States, thanks to a major error by goalkeeper Robert Green. They then drew 0–0 against Algeria and were booed off the field by their own fans, drawing the ire of striker Wayne Rooney.[40] England eventually qualified for the next round by beating Slovenia 1–0, but only qualified as runners up to the United States, thereby meaning they would draw favourites Germany.

In the second round match, Germany took the lead after 20 minutes after goalkeeper Manuel Neuer played the ball down the pitch to Miroslav Klose, who opened the scoring. The score became 2–0 to Germany after 32 minutes. Shortly after, England defender Matthew Upson scored a header. Later, Frank Lampard had a shot at goal which was disallowed despite crossing the line; which was confirmed on replays. Neuer admitted subsequently he knew the ball had crossed the line, but decided to deceive the referee.[41] The German media reported it was "revenge for Wembley", while the English media criticised FIFA's refusal to implement goal-line technology. Ironically, despite his earlier opposition to goal-line technology, Sepp Blatter said that it should be introduced after a Ukrainian goal against England at UEFA Euro 2012 was ruled out.[42][41][43] As England tried to equalise, Germany used this to their advantage and scored two more goals. This became Germany's biggest win against England in a World Cup, winning 4–1.[44]

Brazil 2014[edit]

Under Roy Hodgson, who replaced Fabio Capello after Euro 2012 after a disagreement between Capello and The FA, England qualified for the second World Cup to be held in Brazil. Ukraine were again one of the opponents in the qualifying rounds. The other opponents included Montenegro, Poland, Moldova and San Marino. After winning six games and drawing four, England qualified unbeaten.[45]

The draw for the finals saw England have to play against Italy and Uruguay, both former world champions, which meant that it was the first ever time three World Champions were drawn in the same group, along with Costa Rica. England lost to Italy and Uruguay, and were thus knocked out after two games. The final match against Costa Rica finished as a goalless draw. This performance was statistically their worst ever performance at a World Cup, ending up with just one point after two losses to Uruguay and Italy and a goalless draw with Costa Rica in the dead rubber match, their lowest points total in the group stage of a World Cup.[45]

Russia 2018[edit]

England played in UEFA Group F in qualification for the 2018 World Cup, in a group of six with Slovakia, Slovenia, Scotland, Lithuania and Malta, with only the winner of the group guaranteed qualification. England went into the qualification process under manager Sam Allardyce, only for Allardyce to leave the post after just one game due to controversy regarding discussing breaking FIFA rules.[46]

Under Allardyce's replacement, Gareth Southgate, England went undefeated throughout qualification, winning eight matches out of 10, drawing with Slovenia 0–0 in Ljubljana, and drawing 2–2 with Scotland in Glasgow thanks to a 90th-minute equaliser from Harry Kane.[47] This was the third successive major tournament that England were undefeated, having been undefeated in 2014 World Cup, and Euro 2016 qualifying.

2018 Finals[edit]

England national team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Under Gareth Southgate, the England team began their tournament in group G against Tunisia. The game started well for England with a goal from Harry Kane in the 11th minute. Tunisia equalised through Sassi from the penalty spot in the 35th minute following a foul by Kyle Walker. Some controversy followed as various potential offences against Harry Kane, inside the penalty area were ignored by the referee and no VAR checks were carried out. England persevered and scored a second goal in the 91st minute, again by Harry Kane, resulting in a 2–1 victory.[48]

In the second group stage match, England surpassed their record for goals scored in a World Cup match by beating Panama 6-1. Jesse Lingard scored the third goal, John Stones scored the first and fourth goals and Harry Kane scored a hat-trick with the second, fifth and sixth goals.[49]

In the final group stage match, England narrowly lost 1–0 to Belgium. Adnan Januzaj scored the sole goal of the game; but with both teams having fielded reserve teams, with England specifically making nine changes. Before the game, media outlets stated that a loss could potentially become beneficial, as the winner would be in the half of the draw with four of the top seven sides in the world.[c][50][51] The result meant Belgium topped the group and England finished second, setting up a last 16 clash with Group H winners Colombia.[52][53]

England played their last 16 match in the Otkritie Arena, Moscow, with the same team as against Tunisia. Harry Kane scored his sixth goal of the tournament, and the third penalty, after once again being fouled in the box from a corner, similarly as against Panama.[54] The score remained at 1–0, until stoppage time, where a header from Yerry Mina beat Jordan Pickford in goal to bring the game to extra time. Neither team managed to score in extra time, and the match went to penalties, which England won 4–3.[55] As well as being the first knockout match England had won at a major tournament since 2006 (last defeating Ecuador in the last 16); it was the first time England won a World Cup penalty shoot-out.[d][57] The match was notable for the heated atmosphere the game was played in, with a total of eight yellow cards being shown in the match.[e][58]

England played against Sweden in their quarter-final at Cosmos Arena, Samara on 7 July 2018.[56] They won the match 2–0, with defender Harry Maguire scoring his first England goal, a header scored from a corner, and Dele Alli a second header from close range. This would send them through to their third World Cup semi-final and their first since 1990, and third overall.[59] The team played Croatia in the semi-final, resulting in a 2–1 loss after extra time.[60] England would later finish fourth in the competition, the best result since 1990. England would lose again to Belgium in the third place play-off, thanks to goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard, despite an Eric Dier shot being cleared off the line by Toby Alderweireld.[61]

The tournament would see England score nine goals from set-pieces – the most by a team in a single World Cup tournament since 1966.[62]


FIFA World Cup finals record Qualification record Manager(s)
Year** Round Pos Pld W D* L GF GA Squad Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay 1930 Not a FIFA member Not a FIFA member None
Italy 1934
France 1938
Brazil 1950 Group stage 8th 3 1 0 2 2 2 Squad 3 3 0 0 14 3 Winterbottom
Switzerland 1954 Quarter-finals 7th 3 1 1 1 8 8 Squad 3 3 0 0 11 4
Sweden 1958 Group stage 11th 4 0 3 1 4 5 Squad 4 3 1 0 15 5
Chile 1962 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 1 2 5 6 Squad 4 3 1 0 16 2
England 1966 Champions 1st 6 5 1 0 11 3 Squad Qualified as hosts Ramsey
Mexico 1970 Quarter-finals 8th 4 2 0 2 4 4 Squad Qualified as defending champions Ramsey
West Germany 1974 Did not qualify 4 1 2 1 3 4
Argentina 1978 6 5 0 1 15 4 Revie
Spain 1982 Second group stage 6th 5 3 2 0 6 1 Squad 8 4 1 3 13 8 Greenwood
Mexico 1986 Quarter-finals 8th 5 2 1 2 7 3 Squad 8 4 4 0 21 2 Robson
Italy 1990 Fourth place 4th 7 3 3 1 8 6 Squad 6 3 3 0 10 0
United States 1994 Did not qualify 10 5 3 2 26 9 Taylor
France 1998 Round of 16 9th 4 2 1 1 7 4 Squad 8 6 1 1 15 2 Hoddle
South Korea Japan 2002 Quarter-finals 6th 5 2 2 1 6 3 Squad 8 5 2 1 16 6 Keegan, Wilkinson, Eriksson[63]
Germany 2006 Quarter-finals 7th 5 3 2 0 6 2 Squad 10 8 1 1 17 5 Eriksson
South Africa 2010 Round of 16 13th 4 1 2 1 3 5 Squad 10 9 0 1 34 6 Capello
Brazil 2014 Group stage 26th 3 0 1 2 2 4 Squad 10 6 4 0 31 4 Hodgson
Russia 2018 Fourth place 4th 7 3 1 3 12 8 Squad 10 8 2 0 18 3 Allardyce, Southgate[64]
Qatar 2022 To be determined
Canada Mexico United States 2026 To be determined
Total 1 title 15/21 69 29 21 19 91 64 112 76 25 11 275 67
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

**Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil. ***England played all of their 2002 matches in Japan.

By match[edit]

Year Round Against Score Scorers
Brazil 1950 Group 2  Chile 2–0 Mortensen, Mannion
 United States 0–1
 Spain 0–1
Switzerland 1954 Group 4  Belgium 4–4 (aet) Broadis (2), Lofthouse (2)
  Switzerland 2–0 Mullen, Wilshaw
Quarter-final  Uruguay 2–4 Lofthouse, Finney
Sweden 1958 Group 4  Soviet Union 2–2 Kevan, Finney
 Brazil 0–0
 Austria 2–2 Haynes, Kevan
Play-off  Soviet Union 0–1
Chile 1962 Group 4  Hungary 1–2 Flowers
 Argentina 3–1 Flowers, Charlton, Greaves
 Bulgaria 0–0
Quarter-final  Brazil 1–3 Hitchens
England 1966 Group 1  Uruguay 0–0
 Mexico 2–0 Charlton, Hunt
 France 2–0 Hunt (2)
Quarter-final  Argentina 1–0 Hurst
Semi-final  Portugal 2–1 Charlton (2)
Final  West Germany 4–2 (aet) Hurst (3), Peters
Mexico 1970 Group 3  Romania 1–0 Hurst
 Brazil 0–1
 Czechoslovakia 1–0 Clarke
Quarter-final  West Germany 2–3 (aet) Mullery, Peters
Spain 1982 Group 4  France 3–1 Robson (2), Mariner
 Czechoslovakia 2–0 Francis, Barmoš (o.g.)
 Kuwait 1–0 Francis
Group B Round 2  West Germany 0–0
 Spain 0–0
Mexico 1986 Group F  Portugal 0–1
 Morocco 0–0
 Poland 3–0 Lineker (3)
Round of 16  Paraguay 3–0 Lineker (2), Beardsley
Quarter-final  Argentina 1–2 Lineker
Italy 1990 Group F  Republic of Ireland 1–1 Lineker
 Netherlands 0–0
 Egypt 1–0 Wright
Round of 16  Belgium 1–0 (aet) Platt
Quarter-final  Cameroon 3–2 (aet) Platt, Lineker (2)
Semi-final  West Germany 1–1 (aet)[f] Lineker
Third-place play-off  Italy 1–2 Platt
France 1998 Group G  Tunisia 2–0 Shearer, Scholes
 Romania 1–2 Owen
 Colombia 2–0 Anderton, Beckham
Round of 16  Argentina 2–2 (aet)[f] Shearer, Owen
South Korea Japan 2002 Group F  Sweden 1–1 Campbell
 Argentina 1–0 Beckham
 Nigeria 0–0
Round of 16  Denmark 3–0 Ferdinand, Owen, Heskey
Quarter-final  Brazil 1–2 Owen
Germany 2006 Group B  Paraguay 1–0 Gamarra (o.g.)
 Trinidad and Tobago 2–0 Crouch, Gerrard
 Sweden 2–2 Cole, Gerrard
Round of 16  Ecuador 1–0 Beckham
Quarter-final  Portugal 0–0 (aet)[f]
South Africa 2010 Group C  United States 1–1 Gerrard
 Algeria 0–0
 Slovenia 1–0 Defoe
Round of 16  Germany 1–4 Upson
Brazil 2014 Group D  Italy 1–2 Sturridge
 Uruguay 1–2 Rooney
 Costa Rica 0–0
Russia 2018 Group G  Tunisia 2–1 Kane (2)
 Panama 6–1 Stones (2), Kane (3), Lingard
 Belgium 0–1
Round of 16  Colombia 1–1 (aet)[g] Kane
Quarter-final  Sweden 2–0 Maguire, Alli
Semi-final  Croatia 1–2 (aet) Trippier
Third-place play-off  Belgium 0–2

By opponent[edit]

Country Played Won Drawn Lost GF GA GD
 Argentina 5 3 1 1 8 5 +3
 Germany 5 1 2 2 8 10 -2
 Brazil 4 0 1 3 2 6 -4
 Sweden 3 1 2 0 5 3 +2
 Belgium 4 1 1 2 5 7 -2
 Portugal 3 1 1 1 2 2 0
 Uruguay 3 0 1 2 3 6 -3
 France 2 2 0 0 5 1 +4
 Paraguay 2 2 0 0 4 0 +4
 Tunisia 2 2 0 0 4 1 +3
 Czechoslovakia 2 2 0 0 3 0 +3
 Colombia 2 1 1 0 3 1 +2
 Romania 2 1 0 1 2 2 0
 Soviet Union 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1
 United States 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1
 Spain 2 0 1 1 0 1 -1
 Italy 2 0 0 2 2 4 -2
 Panama 1 1 0 0 6 1 +5
 Poland 1 1 0 0 3 0 +3
 Denmark 1 1 0 0 3 0 +3
 Chile 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2
  Switzerland 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2
 Mexico 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2
 Trinidad and Tobago 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2
 Cameroon 1 1 0 0 3 2 +1
 Kuwait 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1
 Egypt 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1
 Ecuador 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1
 Slovenia 1 1 0 0 0 0 +1
 Austria 1 0 1 0 2 2 0
 Republic of Ireland 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
 Bulgaria 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
 Morocco 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
 Netherlands 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
 Nigeria 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
 Algeria 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
 Costa Rica 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
 Hungary 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1
 Croatia 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1

Last update: 14 July 2018

Players' honours[edit]

List of England players with the most appearances at World Cups[edit]

No. Name Matches World Cups
1 Peter Shilton 17 1982, 1986, 1990
2 Terry Butcher 14 1982, 1986, 1990
Bobby Charlton 14 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970
Ashley Cole 14 2002, 2006, 2010
Bobby Moore 14 1962, 1966, 1970
6 David Beckham 13 1998, 2002, 2006
7 Steven Gerrard 12 2006, 2010, 2014
Gary Lineker 12 1986, 1990
Michael Owen 12 1998, 2002, 2006
10 Chris Waddle 11 1986, 1990

List of England top goalscorers at World Cups[edit]

No. Name Goals World Cups
1 Gary Lineker 10 1986 (6) and 1990 (4)
2 Harry Kane 6 2018
3 Geoff Hurst 5 1966 (4) and 1970 (1)
4 Bobby Charlton 4 1962 (1) and 1966 (3)
Michael Owen 4 1998 (2) and 2002 (2)
6 Nat Lofthouse 3 1954
Roger Hunt 3 1966
David Platt 3 1990
David Beckham 3 1998, 2002 and 2006
Steven Gerrard 3 2006 (2) and 2010 (1)
11 Nine players 2

Current as of 3 July 2018 after the match against Colombia

List of England goals by tournament[edit]

World Cup Goalscorer(s)
1950 Wilf Mannion, Stan Mortensen
1954 Nat Lofthouse (3), Ivor Broadis (2), Tom Finney, Jimmy Mullen, Dennis Wilshaw
1958 Derek Kevan (2), Tom Finney, Johnny Haynes
1962 Ron Flowers (2), Bobby Charlton, Jimmy Greaves, Gerry Hitchens
1966 Geoff Hurst (4), Roger Hunt (3), Bobby Charlton (3), Martin Peters
1970 Allan Clarke, Geoff Hurst, Alan Mullery, Martin Peters
1982 Trevor Francis (2), Bryan Robson (2), Paul Mariner, Own Goal
1986 Gary Lineker (6), Peter Beardsley
1990 Gary Lineker (4), David Platt (3), Mark Wright
1998 Michael Owen (2), Alan Shearer (2), Darren Anderton, David Beckham, Paul Scholes
2002 Michael Owen (2), David Beckham, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Emile Heskey
2006 Steven Gerrard (2), David Beckham, Joe Cole, Peter Crouch, Own Goal
2010 Jermain Defoe, Steven Gerrard, Matthew Upson
2014 Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge
2018 Harry Kane (6), John Stones (2), Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier

List of England players playing abroad at a World Cup[edit]

Historically, very few English World Cup squad members were playing for a club in a foreign league at the time of their selection to the national squad.[65]

Year Number (Country) Players (Apps)
1950–1958 0
1962 1 (Italy) Gerry Hitchens (2)
1966–1970 0
1982 1 (West Germany) Tony Woodcock (2)
1986 2 (Italy) Mark Hateley (3), Ray Wilkins
1990 5 (4 in Scotland, 1 in France) Terry Butcher (5), Trevor Steven (3), Gary Stevens (2), Chris Woods (0); Chris Waddle (7)
1998 0
2002 1 (Germany) Owen Hargreaves (2)
2006 2 (1 Spain, 1 Germany) David Beckham (5); Owen Hargreaves (4)
2010 0
2014 1 (Scotland) Fraser Forster (0)
2018 0

Team awards and records[edit]

Team Awards

Individual Awards

Team Records

  • Most penalty shoot-outs lost: 3 (shared with Italy and Spain)
  • Biggest World Cup victory: 6-1 vs Panama, 2018 Group Stage [66]

Individual Records

  • Only hattrick in a final: Geoff Hurst (1966 v West Germany)
  • Oldest captain: Peter Shilton (age 40 years and 292 days, 1990 v Italy)
  • Most clean sheets: Peter Shilton (10, 1982-1990) (shared with Fabien Barthez)


Four FIFA World Cup finals were officiated by English referees, more than by any other football association. The first Englishman to officiate a final, George Reader, is also the oldest World Cup referee to date, as he was 53 years and 236 days old at the 1950 decisive match between Uruguay and Brazil. The other final referees are William Ling (1954), Jack Taylor (1974) and Howard Webb (2010).

Arthur Ellis, who was a linesman at the 1950 final, is part of an elite group of referees who has been called up for three consecutive World Cups (1950–1958).

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ England declined the chance, created and given to them when Austria withdrew from the tournament following the Anschluss, to take part in the 1938 FIFA World Cup.
  2. ^ Excluding the 1982 FIFA World Cup, which did not have formal quarter-finals, but instead had a second group stage that determined who would qualify for the semi-finals.
  3. ^ Belgium were ranked third, and Germany had already been eliminated. Only Switzerland (6) and Spain (10) would be on the loser's half of the draw from the top 10 of the FIFA World Rankings
  4. ^ England had previously lost World Cup penalty shoot-outs in 1990 to West Germany, 1998 to Argentina and Portugal in 2006. England's penalty shoot-out record before the match was 1–6, with their only win against Spain in EURO 96.[56]
  5. ^ A total of six yellow cards for Colombia, and two for England.[58]
  6. ^ a b c England lost the penalty shoot-out
  7. ^ England won the penalty shoot-out


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