England football
Three Lions on a shirt

English football has a rich history that has captivated fans and players alike, becoming
an integral part of the sport today. Remarkably, its origins can be traced back to the late 1800s. In 1870, England had its first representation in football, although it wasn't officially recognized until two years later when they played against Scotland.

England was actually the first national team ever formed in the world of football. While the exact mastermind behind its formation remains unknown, one name that stands out is Ebenezer Morley, often referred to as the "Godfather of Football." Rugby and football were initially played as a single sport, but England and Scotland eventually took divergent paths, each focusing on their own version of the game.

Image Credit: Rugby pioneers blog, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Three Lions on a Shirt

The iconic "Three Lions" badge holds a significant place in English history as well as football, symbolizing the national team's pride and heritage. The emblem features three lions passant guardant, with one foot raised and their fierce gaze fixed upon the viewer.

The origins of the Three Lions emblem can be traced back to the 12th century, to the reign of King Richard the Lionheart. Richard, known for his valour and military prowess, adopted the lion as his personal emblem, becoming synonymous with the bravery and strength of the English nation.

In the late 19th century, the Football Association (FA) embraced the Three Lions badge as the official emblem for the England national football team. This choice captured the spirit of national identity and harked back to the storied heritage of England.

Over the years, the Three Lions symbol has become an iconic representation of English football, proudly displayed on the team's shirts and merchandise. Though the badge has undergone some modifications, the essence of the three lions walking forward remains steadfast.

The Three Lions badge serves as a powerful reminder of England's footballing legacy and their unwavering pursuit of success on the international stage. It unites fans and players alike, igniting a sense of pride and passion in all who wear or cheer for the emblem.
As tournaments unfold, the

Three Lions badge will adorn the chests of England's footballers, embodying their determination, strength, and the fervent support of an
entire nation. It is a symbol that will forever be entwined with the rich tapestry of English football, inspiring future generations to continue the pursuit of glory.

World Cup Winners

The 1966 FIFA World Cup was the eighth edition of the tournament and took place inthe host country of England. From July 11 to July 30, the world witnessed amesmerising display of football excellence. The pinnacle of this tournament came to beknown as the final showdown between Germany and England, a match that wouldforever etch itself into football history.

On July 30, 1966, the grand stage was set at the famous Wembley Stadium in thevibrant city of London. As tension and anticipation filled the air, the two footballinggiants clashed in a game that would determine who would be crowned the championsof the world.

The final whistle blew with England emerging victorious, securing a remarkable scoreof 4-2 in their favour after extra time.

Geoff Hurst, England's famous number 10, became the embodiment of heroism duringthe final, delivering an awe-inspiring hat-trick. His remarkable goals came in the 18th,78th, and 120th minutes, etching his name in football folklore. Hurst's outstandingperformance still resonates, as he remains the sole player to have achieved a hat-trickin a World Cup final to this date.

Martin Peters, another exceptional striker for England, joined in the heroics by findingthe back of the net in the 78th minute. Germany's Helmut Haller had initially put histeam ahead in the 12th minute, while Wolfgang Weber later equalized for Germany inthe 89th minute, ultimately leading the game into extra time.

The referee presiding over this momentous final was Gottfried Dienst, hailing fromSwitzerland. It is also worth noting that the 1966 World Cup final marked theintroduction of a new system of red and yellow cards, providing a means to denote andpenalise fouls by players.

For England, this victory on home soil in 1966 marked an unparalleled chapter in theirfootballing history, representing their first and only World Cup triumph to date. Thematch remains an iconic moment, renowned as the "Final that Changed Football," andcontinues to be celebrated fervently across England to this day.

Image: Alamy Stock - 30.07.1966. Wembley Stadium, London England. 1966 World Cup final England versus Germany (4-2) After Extra time. England team captain Bobby Moore hold the cup aloft supported by Nobby Stiles, Jackie Charlton, Alan Ball, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Bobby Charlton, George Cohen, Ray Wilson and Roger Hunt.
A Changing Landscape

The unpredictability of World Cup victories became apparent post-1966. A strong team
in one tournament could become a weak link in the next. This can be attributed to the
four-year gap between competitions, during which teams undergo significant changes.

Key players may retire or be dropped, making it difficult to anticipate which teams will perform well in subsequent tournaments.

Since their triumph in 1966, England has reached the quarter-finals multiple times, with their best result being in 1990 when they scored the most goals. Another notable performance came in 2018.

Image: 2018 England Squad v Belgium June 2018 - Кирилл Венедиктов, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

The "Golden Generation"

While the 1966 World Cup remains the pinnacle of English success, the 2000s are often referred to as the "Golden Generation" for English football. This era coincided with Sven-Goran Eriksson's tenure as the team's manager. Footballers became more than just players; they attained celebrity status, living luxurious lifestyles and becoming media icons. Beyond the game itself, supporters were fascinated by their personal lives, especially those of the players' wives, affectionately known as "WAGs."

The salaries of footballers skyrocketed, and becoming a professional footballer became a highly coveted luxury.

Eriksson's tenure as manager earned the label of the "Golden Generation" due to the notable talents he brought together. While they often fell short of expectations, the players showed immense dedication and teamwork. Under Eriksson's guidance, England suffered only five competitive match defeats. Unfortunately, their quest for a World Cup title during this period ended in disappointment.

The Heartbreaks
Southgate Penalty Miss

There are several moments in English football history that continue to haunt and
frustrate fans to this day. One such moment occurred in 1996 during the England vs.
Germany match, where Gareth Southgate missed a crucial penalty.

This heartbreakingm miss plagued Southgate for a significant period of time, and it remains one of the most vivid memories associated with the game.

Although other players have also missed penalties in crucial matches, this instance during the European Championship had a profound impact on England. It was an immense setback, despite their strong performance throughout the tournament.

The Heartbreaks
Beckham's Red Card

Another unforgettable event took place in 1998 when David Beckham received a red
card during the World Cup match against Argentina.

Beckham, regarded as one of the best players of his generation, retaliated in a way that resulted in his expulsion from the game. The media frenzy surrounding footballers, both on and off the pitch,
heightened the scrutiny and made Beckham the scapegoat for England's loss. The
team eventually suffered defeat in a penalty shootout.

This incident brought backlash
from both teammates and fans, and even Manchester United supporters turned against Beckham. A Netflix documentary later shed light on the personal torment he endured as a result.

Image: Alamy Stock

Euro 2021 Final

After Covid postponed Euro 2020, England and manager Gareth Southgate were finally able to unleash their young stars.

In the run up to the tournament, there was plenty of excitement surrounding England's players, their refreshing attitude and aggressive attacking style.

Making it all the way to the final, the score 1-1 after full time. Penalties would decide this one. Gareth Southgate determined to atone for past penalty misses. Unfortunately it was not to be, Italy finally running out Euro 2021 Winners, England taking Runners up.

Notable Achievements

Year Tournament Achievement
1966 FIFA World Cup Winners
1990 FIFA World Cup 4th Place
1996 Euros Semi Finalists
1998 FIFA World Cup Round of 16
2002 FIFA World Cup Quarter Finalists
2004 Euros Quarter Finalists
2006 FIFA World Cup Quarter Finalists
2010 FIFA World Cup Round of 16
2012 Euros Quarter Finalists
2014 FIFA World Cup Group Stages
2018 FIFA World Cup 4th Place
2021 Euros Runners Up

Player Hall of Fame

Most Capped Players

Player Appearances
Peter Shilton 125
Wayne Rooney 120
Steven Gerrard 114
David Beckham 115
Bobby Moore 108
Ashley Cole 107
Bobby Charlton 106
Frank Lampard 106
Billy Wright 105
Bryan Robson 90

Top Goal Scorers

Player Goals
Harry Kane 62 *
Wayne Rooney 53
Bobby Charlton 49
Gary Lineker 48
Jimmy Greaves 44
Michael Owen 40
Nat Lofthouse 30
Tom Finney 30
Alan Shearer 30
Frank Lampard 29
Vivian Woodward 29

*correct as of 17 November 2023

Euro 2024
The England Team Today

England continues to present itself as a formidable force in international football. Many current English players have honed their skills from a young age, dedicating their lives to the game. While the team consistently qualifies for major tournaments and performs well, they have often fallen short of ultimate victory.

The 2022 World Cup, hosted in Qatar, brought unique challenges as it shifted the tournament to a different time of the year and subjected players to unfamiliar extreme heat. Despite a valiant effort, England, led by manager Gareth Southgate and featuring talents like Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, exited the tournament in the quarter-finals, narrowly missing out on further glory.

With the upcoming Euro 2024 taking place in Germany, England fans eagerly await
their team's performance, hoping to clinch the title this time around.

Image: Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons