The history of England in the FIFA World Cup goes all the way back to 1950, where it entered for the very first time. Before then, in the 1930 and 1938 tournaments we just watched from the side lines, placing our bets on the World Cup winners. However, after World War 2 was over and the country had got back on its feet, we decided to stop being a spectator and start taking part. This is a team that keeps us on our toes and can often under-perform, or pull surprises out the bag. They are always good for a bet though, and currently you can get best World Cup odds of between 14/1 and 17/1 for England as World Cup winners. For the best odds of 17/1 visit 888sport and take a chance on your country; there are also plenty of promotions and bonuses available.
The history of the World Cup has been flavoursome and varied; it’s certainly been a rocky road for our lions, but let’s see how they have fared over the years…
World Cup 1950 – Brazil
This was England’s very first entry into the World Cup. Having made it through qualifying, they were in Group 2 for the World Cup Finals with Spain, Chile and the USA. This started off well enough and England cruised to a 2-0 victory over Chile as expected, with goals from Stan Mortensen and Wilf Mannion. However, that’s when it started to fall apart.
Four days after the victory, the team faced USA, and despite being hotly tipped to win, the only goal scored was by Joe Gaetjens – of the USA. This left England needing a win over Spain and for Chile to beat USA in order to progress. This was not to happen though. Chile did beat USA, but Spain also beat England and saw them tumbling out of the cup in group stages.
World Cup 1954 – Switzerland
After a successful qualifying bid, England was drawn in group 4 for the World Cup group stages. Hosts Switzerland, Italy and Belgium were set to join them in the group. However, unique to this World Cup, because it was one of the two seeded teams, England did not need to play Italy. Also Switzerland and Belgium didn’t need to play each other. The game against Belgium was tight and ended 4-4. Against Switzerland the team found it a little easier and won 2-0. This saw England leave the group stages as winners.
Unfortunately, the next round – the Quarter Finals, saw the three lions face defending champions Uruguay. This proved too much for our boys as the team was defeated 4-2. Another year of disappointment.
World Cup 1958 – Sweden
This was another year that saw our boys not getting out of the group stages. England was grouped against Austria, Soviet Union and Brazil. The team managed a draw in every game: 2-2 Austria: 2-2 Soviet Union and 0-0 Brazil. However, this meant that England would need to play Soviet Union in a play-off for second spot, as the teams had the same points and same goal difference. Unfortunately England lost 1-0. However, the team could at least take consolation in the fact that it was the only team that played Brazil and didn’t lose to these eventual World Cup winners.
World Cup 1962 – Chile
This year saw a bit more success for our boys. England was in a group with Hungary, Argentina and Bulgaria. We beat Argentina 3-1 and drew 0-0 with Bulgaria. However, losing 2-1 to Hungary meant we were second in the group. This saw us being given title previous World Cup winners, Brazil, in the quarter finals. Unfortunately we lost this 3-1 and Walter Winterbottom left. Alf Ramsey replaced him and got the team ready for the World Cup finals in 1966…
World Cup 1966 – England
Well, we all know what happened here. This is the year that has gone down as one of the greatest moments in England’s footballing history. This team includes the only English entry into the best World Cup players – Bobby Robson. England straight away had the home advantage – and boy, did the team make the most of it! To be honest, the tournament didn’t start off explosive. The first game was a pretty standard -0- draw against Uruguay, but the team went on to beat both Mexico and France 2-0. These victories saw England steam in the quarters.
In the quarter finals, England played Argentina, which triggered the start of the ongoing rivalry between to two teams. England beat the South American team 1-0 and headed into the semis.
Portugal was the next team to face. After initially going 1-0 down to the opponents, England pulled it back and eventually won the match 2-1. This saw our boys heading for their first ever final.
Probably one of the most iconic games in England’s football history was the final between England and West Germany. However, after a fiercely fought final, England won 4-2, and thus the famous phrase was coined “They think it’s all over… it is now”. Finally our England boys were the World Cup winners. To this day, this success has never been repeated…
World Cup 1970 – Mexico
England went back as defending World Cup winners so automatically qualified for the tournament. England was in a group with Romania and Czechoslovakia – and defeated both teams 1-0. The other country in the group was Brazil, who beat England 1-0. However, it was enough to progress to the quarter finals in second place.
The next round was to see a replay of the World Cup final 1966 – England v West Germany, but with a different outcome. Unfortunately for our squad, the first choice goalie, Peter Banks, was ill and unable to play. However, England managed to lead 2-0 up until the 70th minute. West Germany then pulled one back. Then in the 81st minute, Uwe Seeler equalised and it was now 2-2. The game went into extra time and Gerd Muller scored the winning goal for Germany that saw England, the defending champions, out of the tournament. Germany’s revenge was complete.
World Cup 1974 – West Germany
This was the very first time that England didn’t qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals. After drawing with Wales and losing the first leg 2-0 to Poland, England needed to beat Poland at home to qualify. Unfortunately the game ended in a 1-1 draw, which wasn’t good enough. Alf Ramsey resigned and Ron Greenwood took over.
World Cup 1978 – Argentina
Oops – another slip up by the England team. Again they failed to qualify for the World Cup finals, being kept out by Italy. It was close, but Italy had a 3 goal difference which made all the difference to us.
World Cup 1982 – Spain
And we’re back in the game! Finally, after 2 successive failures, we make it to the World Cup finals again.This time, for the first time ever, there were two group stages in the competition. The first stage England won by beating France 3-1, Czechoslovakia 2-0 and Kuwait 1-0. The next group round saw us playing Germany and Spain. Despite drawing with both teams, Germany beat Spain 2-1 and this saw England out of the cup, despite not losing one single game. This was when Ron Greenwood resigned and Bobby Robson entered the scene.
World Cup 1986 – Mexico
England didn’t get off to the best start after qualifying for the tournament. In the opening game, the team lost 1-0 to Portugal. Then, the boys only managed a draw against Morocco. This left the team needing a good result. Fortunately this came in the form of a 3-0 win against Poland, with Gary Lineker scoring his hat-trick. This meant we finished second, behind Morocco.
In the Round of 16, England comfortably beat Paraguay 3-0 and proceeded to the quarter-finals. This was when England faced off against Argentina. Maradona scored twice – the first goal being the ‘Hand of God’ goal. Gary Lineker managed to pull one back, but it was not enough. However, having scored six goals throughout the tournament, Gary Lineker won the Golden Boot award – the first and only player to have managed this to date.
Italia ‘90 – Italy
England qualified very convincingly, scoring ten goals and conceding none. There was a lot of confidence in the team. However, because of hooligan fans, England had to play group games in Sardinia and Sicily. The team was grouped with Netherlands, ROI, and Egypt. It managed a 1-1 draw against Ireland, a 0-0 draw against the Dutch and a 1-0 victory over Egypt. This saw us through to the Round of 16.
England played Belgium in a very tight game. Finally, after going into extra time, David Platt scored a goal in 119th minute to get us into the quarters. In the quarter-finals, England played Cameroon. This also went into extra time. Although England went 1-0 up, the tables turned and, until the 83rd minute, Cameroon was leading by 2-1 goals. However, in the eighty-third minute, Lineker earned a penalty and scored, taking it to 2-2. In extra time he scored another penalty and so the semi-finals beckoned.
Again, another tight game against West Germany saw England head for extra time in a third successive game. This was still not sufficient though, and the game went to penalties. In true England style, England lost on penalties. We went on to play Italy for third place, but we then lost for the first time in normal time. This was the best performance since the 1966 win, however Bobby Robson left.
World Cup 1994 – United Stated
After such a high the previous year, the team failed to qualify for the tournament in the US under new manager Graham Taylor. This saw his managerial time come to a swift conclusion and he was then replaced by Terry Venables. However, he left in 1996 after losing in the semi-finals of Euro 96.
World Cup 1998 – France
Glen Hoddle took the reins and led England to FIFA World Cup qualification in 1998. The team played in the same group as Tunisia, Romania and Columbia. It won two of the games and lost one to come second in the group.
In the Round of 16, the team was to face rivals Argentina. This stormy game saw six yellow cards, two penalties and a controversial red card for David Beckham who fouled Diego Simeone. The game was tight and the score was 2-2. Extra time saw no goals and it went to penalties. As is standard, England lost on penalties and was sent home. This was the match that saw David Beckham villainised – although he was very quick to recover.
World Cup 2002 – South Korea / Japan
Sven Goran Eriksson took the lead when England qualified for the first World Cup to take place in Asia. The team then drew 1-1 against Sweden, beat Argentina 1-0 (sending them out of the tournament) and drew 0-0 against Nigeria. This saw the team coming second in the group to play Denmark in the next round.
After a very convincing win against Denmark, England proceeded to the quarter-finals to play favourites, previous World Cup winners, Brazil. After a promising start, it went a little wrong and David Seaman’s blunder saw Brazil beat England 2-1. Another quarter-final defeat.
World Cup 2006 – Germany
To qualify, England was very impressive. However, once the team reached Germany, form slipped. The team beat Paraguay 1-0 after an own goal, beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0, but just about – after a goal that was contentious and an extra time goal. The final game was against Sweden where the team settled for a 1-1 draw. Despite being unconvincing, England went through as group winners.
In the next round England faced Ecuador, where a special Beckham free-kick saw the team win 1-0 and advance to the quarter-finals. Here England faced off with Portugal where the game was goalless and went to penalties – always bad news for England. Once again, England saw a penalty shoot-out break the hearts of the nation. This defeat saw the departure of ice cool Sven Goran Eriksson.
World Cup 2010 – South Africa
Italian manager Fabio Capello was at the head of the England ship when the team qualified for the 2010 World Cup. The group matches were embarrassing for the team. They drew 1-1 with USA after a major goalkeeper mess up; this was followed by a 0-0 draw against Algeria and eventually a 1-0 win against Slovenia. As runners-up in the group, England had to face Germany in the next round.
As predicted, Germany went 2-0 up, but then defender Matthew Upson, scored. Straight after this Frank Lampard went on to score – however, despite the goal crossing the line, it was disallowed. This started the decline in the game and Germany went on to score twice more, seeing England’s biggest ever defeat by Germany in a World Cup. Bad times.
World Cup 2014 – Brazil
This time England had an English manager, Roy Hodgson, as its leader at the FIFA World Cup 2014. The team qualified unbeaten and was looking confident. However, after being drawn in a group with former World Cup winners Uruguay and Italy, it was a tough round. Losing to both teams and only managing a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica saw the team leave at group stages.
World Cup 2018 – Russia
Well, England has qualified as group winners and is ready to go. Under the guidance of former player, Gareth Southgate, the team is heading to Russia to start its football world cup campaign on June 18, 2018. We are in a group alongside Tunisia, Belgium and Panama. With a decent and steady World Cup 2018 squad, we can only hope we do better than previous years.
However, it doesn’t look to bad for our World Cup 2018 England squad. The team may not be many bookies favourites to win, but it is currently 7th in the standings, which isn’t bad. In fact, you can get odds anywhere between 14/1 and 17/1 for and overall England victory. If you want the very best odds on England as World Cup winners, head over to 888sport and William Hill where you can currently get great odds for the win.