How have England fared in their last five major tournaments
World Cup fever is slowly but surely gathering momentum. The European domestic season is coming to a close this week when all eyes will turn to the tournament in Russia.
By the time England open their campaign against Tunisia on Jun 18th, sticker books would have been completed, shirts would be donned and BBQs in full flow.
The only thing left to reveal itself is how the ‘new-gen’ assembled by Gareth Southgate will get on, two years after they froze against Iceland.
Despite this, it’s hard not to get excited about another summer festival of football. The Coral News Team went back through the years to see how England fared when the heat was on…
World Cup – South Africa
England had just about recovered from the humiliation of not qualifying for the 2008 Euros when they travelled out to South Africa.
The host nation provided a brilliant atmosphere and a month full of celebration – much to do with the non-stop noise from vuvuzelas.
However, England then led by Fabio Capello got off to an average start drawing 1-1 with the United States. Although the score-line wasn’t disastrous, it was Robert Green letting a tame Clint Dempsey effort squirm through his fingers that overshadowed the group stage.
Jermain Defoe’s strike against Slovakia saved England’s blushes as they bundled through to the last-16.
Germany awaited but England had experience in their ranks. Miroslav Klose opened the scoring but Matt Upson equalised before half-time for the Three Lions.
However, it’s at 2-1 down when the game began to get away from England. Frank Lampard’s shot hit the cross-bar and crept over the line but the goal was not given. Capello’s men couldn’t recover and went on to lose 4-1.
England topped their group after picking up seven points from three games. After drawing to France in the first game, it was against Sweden that the tournament came alive.
The arrival of Theo Walcott at 2-1 down turned the tide. The winger scored one and set up Danny Welbeck’s winner that was the one redeeming feature from the tournament.
Capello would face his compatriots Italy in the quarter-finals but penalties would be England’s foe once more.
After the game finished 0-0 after 180 minutes, a Pirlo-inspired panenka helped to see the Azzurri into the semi-finals.
It was respectable progress for England but yet again spot-kicks would be the downfall.
World Cup – Brazil
The World Cup. In Brazil.
It was all set up for some ‘samba-foot’ both on and off the field.
However, for England, it proved a nightmare.
First Mario Balotelli with a jab and then Luis Suarez with a double body-blow left England on their knees. And crucially out of the competition.
It was a tournament where Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard should’ve been given their final, fitting swansong. It was a first for the likes of Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw.
But after only three games it was all over. Hodgson was kept on with the hope he’d bring through an exciting group of young players including Ross Barkley, Harry Kane, and Dele Alli.
The tournament in France was met with a sense of intrigue amongst the general apathy that’s followed the England team for years.
Hodgson brought a squad brimming full over potential with the hope they could spring a surprise.
They scraped through the group stages, showing promise if not a little disjointed. However, Daniel Sturridge’s 92nd-minute winner over Wales in the second match would become the one cherished moment of the tournament.
Iceland would be the opponents in the last -16. This was the first international competition they’d qualified for and England went in overwhelming favourites.
A Wayne Rooney penalty put England in control as expectation grew. However, once Iceland had scored a second goal Hodgson’s side had no answer. An insipid 70 minutes followed from England who looked stunned.
The final whistle blew in Nice which spelled an end of an era for Hodgson and a need to go back the drawing board.
So, there we have it. After failing to advance past the quarter-final stage since 1990 England are preparing for another run at a major tournament this summer.
Gareth Southgate brings a young squad interspersed with some experienced names hoping to improve upon the last few tournaments.
Many are saying it’s another two years until we’ll see the best of this group of players. But a run past the second round would be a solid step forward.