england, the three lions
The national team of England was formed at the same time as Scotland’s, and that makes it one of the two oldest national football team. They played their first matches against each other already in 1870 and are therefore absorbed in the early modern history of the game. The very first game between the two nations was played on March 5, 1870, and the ground was The Oval in London. Quite symbolic, the match ended with a draw, 1-1.
Before the rest of the world had incorporated football, England together with the other British nations contested each other in the annual British Home Championship. After being runners-up to Scotland in the four first editions, England would win the tournament for the first time in 1888. The British Home Championship would exist for a hundred years and England would be the most successful team with 54 wins.
England would be successful in the football tournaments that was played in the Olympic Games in the beginning of the century. At the 1900 London Summer Olympics, football was included for the first time. and the British national teams were represented as Great Britain. They won the tournament, but only two other nations – France and Belgium – would partake.
After being absent in the 1904 Summer Olympics, Great Britain would again win the gold medal in the 1908 Summer Olympics. Only five nations did partake. They would continue their domination in the Olympic football tournaments until 1920, when Norway would defeat the British team – which had only amateur players on the field – in the first round.
- Despite being “inventors” of the sport England has only won 1 world cup in 1966. This is the only major trophy they have won.
- England’s leading goalscorer is Wayne Rooney
- Aside from their world cup victory England’s next best performance on the international stage came in 2020 when they finished 2nd in the European Championship.