In an attempt to rectify the past, and show that England’s lack of performance at tournaments isn’t a new thing, I have looked at each World Cup since we won back in 66.
The most notable performances are our semi-final appearance in 1990, and getting knocked out of the quarter final against Brazil in what was actually a good performance in 2002. (Plus semis in Euro 96 – but we’re looked at World Cups here!)
Recent performances have really dented people’s interest and belief in the England team. South Africa 2010 seemed like the tournament everything was set and we had a chance – yet we struggled through the group and went out at the first knockout. Brazil 2014 we didn’t even make it past the group stages.
But this isn’t anything new.
Since we lifted the Jules Remade trophy, there have been plenty of times England haven’t succeeded where they should. Here are but a few examples.
England defend their World Cup title for the first and only time, in the first tournament that saw yellow and red cards featured. England were seen as villains and, straightaway from their first game against Romania, they are booed and fouled.
But in 1970, footballers were still men, and they dealt with it – Hurst scored to win 1-0.
Later on we play Brazil, the previous remaining champions. A set of world class players on each side, including Pele, and passing that would make a modern day Spain proud. Banks makes a brilliant save from a Pele shot that goes down in history, but they finally beat our legendary keeper in the second half and win 1-0.
In the quarter final England play West Germany and, until full time, the scores turn out to be a replica of the previous final. England go two up, West Germany equalise.
However, this time history changes, and we concede two in the second half of extra time.
For those who don’t understand the German rivalry – this is where it starts. We let a two goal lead go and lost, something we would now expect as standard from an England side.
West Germany go on to come back against Italy again in the semis, but Italy return the comeback and win 4-3 – Brazil then beat Italy in the final.
Diego Maradona played the opening game against Spain – 21 years old and bought by Barcelona for four million. He ends up getting sent off later on in the tournament. Still, stranger things happen, as Northern Ireland beat holders Spain 1-0 and have to cancel their flight home.
Keegan is injured for England’s opening match and crowd trouble took centre stage. Bryan Robson scores the fastest goal in World Cup history against France.
Glenn Hoddle waits on the bench to burst into action – as do the riot police watching the England fans. France do equalise against Peter Shilton, who ends up becoming England’s most capped player – but Robson heads in a cross for our second goal as the crowd start fighting and the team have to ignore it. Luckily, the team do, and we score a third.
For some reason, England had to beat Spain by two goals to go through, but no one’s entirely sure why. They had lots of near misses, so many chances in fact, that we could have been out of sight. As it is, a 0-0 draw sees us go out of the tournament undefeated.
The final takes place at the Bernabou on 7th July. Germans lost to Italy in a flurry of second half goals, and Italy are world champions for the third time.
We get knocked out again four years later by the hand of God.
We don’t even qualify.
We reached the semis in 1990, and semis in Euro 96 – but for 94, we don’t qualify.
One of the first from my memory. I was ten years old and proudly wearing that famous England shirt that had the three lions badge in the middle.
France failed to qualify for the last two World Cups, but automatically take their place as hosts, with Zidane the greatest bald headed player to feature since Geoff Hurst – though sees red for a stamp on a Saudi Arabian. A young Thierry Henry steps up and scores in Zidane’s absence.
Scholes scores for us against Tunisia, Beckham scores a dead ball, and Owen, who is 18, scores against Romania.
England face Argentina in the first knockout stage, with one of the most famous moments of England history – yes, that moment, featuring David Beckham.
Diego Simeone wins a penalty, Batastuta scrores it – but Owen is also brought down in the box, and Shearer scores the equaliser.
Beckham passes to Owen, who paces through and scores it. England come close multiple times to going in front again, and there are so many if onlies.
A free kick sees Argentina equalise, then Beckham’s revenge kick on Simeone gets a red card, and manager Glenn Hoddle is unsympathetic. Following the World Cup, people in England would burn Beckham effigies.
England defend like their life depends on it. Sol Campbell scores but it’s disallowed for Shearer’s apparent foul on the keeper.
Penalties see David Batty miss and England go out.
So see, this is nothing new. But each in these incidents we saw England players putting everything in, and that’s what we need – and I truly believe we will see it again come Monday 7pm.
Let’s get behind them.
Maybe this could be different?
COME ON THREE LIONS!