Still upset about the US not qualifying for the World Cup? Need a team to support? Then look no further than getting behind England as we look to end 52 years of hurt.
The birthplace of football has an interesting history at the World Cup:
1930: We did not enter as we disagreed with FIFA over money payments (FIFA and money payments, surely not?).
1934: We did not enter as we continued our spat with FIFA. That said, we did beat the reigning world champions, Italy, in a friendly match, so can we be declared champions?
1938: We did not enter but we decided to play Nazi Germany’s team in a friendly. Fortunately, England triumphed 6-3.
1950: We finally decided to show up to the party in Brazil, but things didn't go as planned. England crashed out to an amateur team from the US by one goal to nil. Perhaps due to the conditions of Marshall Plan payments?
1954: The English arrived in sunny Switzerland hoping to erase the disaster of 1950...we crashed out to Uruguay, 4-2.
1958: Several members of the English team died in the Munich Air Disaster a few months before the tournament. An England squad featuring the legendary Stanley Matthews (aged 42 at the time) were eliminated by the Soviet Union in a group play-off game.
1962: A young English team headed to Chile and made it to the quarter-finals before being defeated by eventual champions and a Pele inspired, Brazil.
1966: Football came home! England defeated West Germany 4-2 in the final to lift the Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley Stadium. Fact of the day: the trophy was stolen in the weeks leading up to the tournament before being found by a dog called Pickles.
1970: If only Alf Ramsey (England’s manager) kept Bobby Charlton (England’s best player) on the pitch. Alas, Bobby’s comb-over could not handle the Mexican heat as he was substituted with England 2-0 up. Unfortunately, the West Germans turned the game around to win 3-2, as the reigning champions crashed out in the quarter finals.
1974: England failed to qualify despite being on good terms with FIFA.
1978: I guess we decided to take the rest of the decade off?
1982: England were eliminated in the second group phase without losing a game in the competition.
1986: “The Hand of God.” Please look-up. It’s still too painful to discuss despite not being born at the time.
1990: Heartbreak. A Gazza inspired England makes it within a penalty shootout of the World Cup Final. This will not be the first time that penalty kicks become England’s achilles heel.
1994: I guess we were still seething over 1950. England did not qualify for USA 1994 and subsequently missed out on Diana Ross’ infamous penalty kick. What were they thinking?
1998: My first memory of crying. Oh Diego Simeone, I will never forgive you. In the Second Round, David Beckham kicked Simeone and the latter’s simulation resulted in Becks being sent off. Argentina subsequently beat England on penalties despite England’s coach employing a faith healer???
2002: The result of the World Cup being in Japan and Korea? My school cancelled classes each time England played! The “Golden Generation” made to the quarter finals again before being ousted 2-1 by eventual champions Brazil. We still wish that David Seaman stayed on his line.
2006: Penalties. Penalties. Penalties. The bane of this nation’s life. England crash out in the quarter finals, again on penalties to Portugal.
2010: An absolute snooze fest. Reports emanated from the England players that they were bored at their base. Jermain Defoe allegedly sat down with Wayne Rooney to watch the latter’s wedding video. England played terribly as we lost 4-1 to Germany in the Second Round.
2014: I was so optimistic that England would do well (like every tournament). I lived in Georgia at the time and bet all of the locals that the US would exit before England. Result: Humble pie. England crashed out in the group and the US made the knockout stage.