England’s national team are controlled by the Football Association, or the FA, the governing body of English football. It is a new era for England with the emergence of fresh young talent such as Marcus Rashford and Dele Alli coming through the ranks to fill the nation with hope of a bright future.
England were founded in 1870, along with the Scottish national team and they are the joint oldest international football sides. Both countries also happened to be involved in the first ever recognised international match in 1872, despite playing each other two years earlier – but that was when both sides were then independently selected and operated, rather than controlled by a single football association.
England officially joined FIFA in 1906 and at the time had no permanent home ground, so other than playing against the home nations, toured Central Europe in 1908 for their matches. Wembley Stadium opened in 1923 and later became the home ground of the national team so it wouldn’t be knocked down and wasted.
Relations between England and FIFA soon became strained however, and subsequently parted ways in 1928, only to re-join in 1946, which meant they were unable to compete in the World Cup until 1950, where things didn’t go to plan as Walter Winterbottom’s men crashed out to the US in the first round.
A committee picked the England team up until 1963, but once this changed, showed that it would be an effectively instant success when it came to the 1966 World Cup as hosts England, went on to win the tournament under the management of Alf Ramsey – England’s first and only World Cup success.
After high expectations, but no success alongside England failing to qualify for the next two World Cups, Ramsey was sacked. Ron Greenwood was his successor but also had no luck, after England famously were knocked out of the 1982 World Cup despite not losing a game.
Bobby Robson took over soon after and reached the quarter-finals over the 1986 World Cup where England were controversially knocked out by Argentina after conceding the famous Maradona ‘Hand of God’ goal, which would go down in footballing history all over the world.
The next time England made any progress was in the 1990 World Cup, where they finished fourth, losing once again to West Germany in the semi-final but matching their previous best finish. The 1990s saw the England team have four managers who all only stayed for a very brief period.
Under Glenn Hoddle, England again reached the knockout stages of the 1998 World Cup but failed to do so in Euro 2000s under Kevin Keegan. However, under Sven Goran-Eriksson, England began to make progress, reaching the quarter finals of 2002 and 2006 World cup, as well as the 2004 UEFA Euro 2004, rising England to fourth in the FIFA world rankings during his tenure.
England moved to the new Wembley stadium in 2007, and with a capacity of 90,000, plays host to more than just the national team, but other footballing tournaments such as the FA Cup final as well as hosts concerts. It is now seen as one of the most attractive stadiums in football and always brings a large number of people through the door, no matter what the occasion is.
After a few managerial changes, England reached the knockout stages of the 2010 World cup, before being controversially beaten by Germany after Frank Lampard’s effort was deemed not to have crossed the line, although football fans all over the world saw it clearly was, eventually leading to the introduction of goal line technology.
Roy Hodgson took over and guided England to the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals but were beaten by Iceland in the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16, leading to his departure. Sam Allardyce stepped in shortly afterwards to undertake what was vastly known as his dream job.
It all turned into a nightmare though, as it was revealed the former West Ham manager had severely breached FA rules leading to his resignation just 67 days later – making him the shortest reigning England gaffer of all time. He was replaced by under-21 boss at the time Gareth Southgate on the same day as his departure, and Southgate was awarded a four-year contract at the end of November 2017.
England qualified for the 2018 World Cup under his guidance after going through the group stages unbeaten. England’s top three goal scorers are Wayne Rooney with 53 goals from 119 caps, Bobby Charlton from the 1966 World Cup winning squad with 49 goals from 106 caps, and Gary Lineker is next holding 80 caps and 48 goals. This record could be beaten eventually, with world-class striker Harry Kane expected to be leading the line for years to come.
The most successful manager has been Alf Ramsey as he led the team to World Cup glory and is the only manager out of all 15 with a win percentage higher than 75%, excluding one-match wonder Mr Allardyce of course.
England qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia under Southgate’s guidance after cruising through the qualifying stage undefeated and hopes are high for the summer tournament as England’s 23-man squad is the nation’s youngest ever.
The Three Lions have been pitted against Tunisia, Panama and Belgium in a very favourable Group G and will be confident of finally coming off a major tournament feeling positive, rather than that pitiful night with Iceland in 2016.
There’s certainly a fresh feel about the international set-up and an enjoyable World Cup campaign seems very possible ahead of the 2018-19 season.