By: Nicholas Donadio
Population: 53,012,456 (2011 census)
Symbol: The Three Lions
National Anthem: God Save the Queen
Highest FIFA ranking: 3
Current FIFA ranking: 10
Lowest FIFA ranking: 16
First Match: 0-0 tie vs. Scotland November, 1872
The United Kingdom in general has always considered itself the father of football and especially England itself still holds onto the claim that it is the place where the sport was created. While there will always be debates as to who can claim to be the true father of football, there is no doubt that England received a very early start in this department. The English Football Association (History of the FA) was the first such association in the world founded in 1863, and for that reason many place this date as the beginning of organized football and England claims its spot as the founder. After the creation of this FA with a set of codified rules, clubs began to pop up and teams began to play under these “FA rules”. Eventually, having codified rules for the game, the FA wanted to create a competition for a national tournament that would determine the best team in the country, thus thanks to the brilliance of Charles Alcock, the FA secretary at the time, the FA Cup was born (History of the FA). At first only 13 of the 50 or so clubs in the country participated in the cup and there were many withdrawals and an overall low participation rate in the country. Nevertheless the creation of the first large tournament in football set the stage for future tournaments such as the World Cup itself. The early FA was not very interested in participating in these international tournaments however. England did not compete in the World Cup until 1950 in Brazil where they won their first game international game against Chile. However, their initial success was shortlived because their next game was a loss to the huge underdog United States. A further loss to the Spanish national team sent the English team much earlier than they had hoped.
Their first World Cup appearance was a hallmark of things to come with the English National team struggling in their early contests even though there were plenty of strong players being developed in the club system. It would take a decade for the English team to implement a coordinated system of player selection and team development that would allow them to transform their team from a group of 11 good players from varied clubs and techniques to a cohesive team unit (History of the FA).
Nevertheless, all of the efforts of national team creation would come to fruition in 1966, when England would host its first and only World Cup. The 1966 World Cup was won by the home team with a final 4-2 victory against West Germany that will forever be known for its controversial goal by Geoff Hurst which would give them a 3-2 lead in extra time eventually ending in a 4-2 victory to hoist the trophy. Footage of the goal shows just how close it was and later analysis with modern technology has determined that the goal should in fact of counted (Dailymail).
After this World Cup Final English Football was at an all time high and some would argue England has never quite been able to return to the greatness of this time. They have only made it past the Quarter-finals once since then which was the 1990 World Cup in Italy and they did not qualify for three World Cups since including two consecutive World Cups in the 1974 and 1978 World Cups. During this time of the international failure the struggles can be attributed to internal problems within the FA and the English system. First there was the issues of amateurism vs professionalism that were plaguing the club system, as many players were claiming to be amateur but were in fact being paid by their club team. Furthermore, this was a time period of heightened football hooliganism characterized by stadium issues with crowd riots and all sorts of other issues like rushing the fields and throwing objects at players and onto the fields. Finally, television was just starting to play a major role in the world and sports especially. The English FA had many difficulties in reconciling the development of this new technology with player contracts and with the distribution and recording of games so that people did not have to go to the game to see it live in action. Taken together, the combination of these issues led to a trubulent time for the English National Team, and it showed on the field with instability in the team formation and inability to rise to expectation in failing to qualify for the World Cup in consecutive years.
However, in 1980 things began to turn around when England successfully qualified for the World Cup. The English resurgence would culminate with their 1990 World Cup finish where they ended up in 4th place. Since then the National team has levelled out and the story of the English National Team of recently has been underperforming the extremely high expectations that their countrymen have for them as the “Father of Football”. Most recently in the 2014 World Cup the English national team again disappointingly failed to exit the Group stage even though a much lower ranked team, Costa Rica was present in their group and they were considered a favorite to make out of the group stage.
Euro Cup Preview:
Looking ahead to the Euro Cup 2016 is an interesting transition time period for the English National Team. The Stars of the mid 2000s are mostly fading with Wayne Roonye the only surviving star from the past decade who is still a fixture of the English National Team. However, outside of Rooney there is an interesting mixture of veterans and up and coming stars who will populate the coming national team.
Current English Squad:
It is difficult to predict the starting lineup because injuries and other factors including opponents and coaching decisions can drastically change these outcomes however we can provide a prediction for the final 23 on the Roster which will be determined in a few weeks time.
King, Dominic. “Geoff Hurst’s Goal against West Germany did cross line” Daily Mail 4 January 2016
“England” UEFA. January 2016
“Fifa Rankings” Soccerway. Perform Group, 2016.
“The History of the FA” The FA. TheFA.com, 2016
How to cite this page:
“Tournament Guide: England” by Nicholas Donadio (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog,(accessed on (date))