We all know about that great year, 1966, when England, playing on home turf, won the World Cup. They even beat West Germany in the final. Doesn't seem real to me. The Germans have had a hold on us ever since (bar the odd game) and it just sounds impossible that we could have beaten them in a WORLD CUP FINAL. I would cry. Probably for a long time. Then shout. A lot. Then hug strangers. You get the picture; I would be a very happy man.
So that famous day aside, I thought I would research Englandâ€™s showings in other World Cups. The first one that came to mind was Italia 90.
I can remember watching it, as a 7 year old, on an old and very small black and white TV at my family's home. I don't remember specific games but I can recall the occasion of it all. England made the semi-finals. We lost to the Germans. Something we experienced again at Euro 96. There was the iconic photo of Paul Gascoigne crying, as he was booked in the semi-final, which would have meant he would miss the final, if England had progressed. Turned out his tears were for nothing. Wally.
The next best showing was in Spain, in 1982, when England finished 6th overall, when Ron Greenwood was the manager. After that we have had six quarter-final finishes. 1954 (Switzerland), 1962 (Chile), 1970 (Mexico), 1986 (Mexico), 2002 (South Korea and Japan) and 2006 (Germany). In 1970 England had a team that could have challenged Brazil for the title, however poor tactics and substitutions proved to be England's undoing.
1998 (France) and 2010 (South Africa) saw England knocked out at the Round of 16 stage, with Group Stage exits coming in 1950 (Englandâ€™s first World Cup, in Brazil), 1958 (Sweden) and, of course, Brazil 2014.
England failed to qualify in 1974 (Germany), 1978 (Argentina) and 1994 (USA).