Published on November 11th, 2019 | by Brandon Prangell
What do you know about England’s 999 matches?
As England go into their 1,000th senior men’s game, against Montenegro at Wembley Stadium on November 14th, Elephant Sport takes a look back at some of the stats, facts and figures involved in their first 999 matches.
Games won: 571 – England’s first win was against rivals Scotland at The Oval on 8th March 1873. William Kenyon-Slaney netted a double and was the first-ever player to score in games between the two nations; the first match had ended in a 0-0 draw in the previous November.
The Three Lions most recent win was a 6-0 win away to Bulgaria in Sofia; both Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling got doubles as England edged closer to qualifying for the 2020 European Championship.
Games drew: 232 – The first-ever draw for England came in their first-ever match as they took on fierce rivals Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Partick, Glasgow on 30th November 1872, this match ended in a 0-0 draw.
Last time that the Three Lions drew was 12th October 2018 as they were held to a 0-0 draw against Croatia in a behind closed doors Uefa Nations League qualifier. That draw saw England register their 400th clean sheet, while Jadon Sancho became the first player born in the 21st century to represent the senior England side.
Games lost: 196 – It only took three matches for England to lose with it being against their rivals Scotland who they played annually when the national football team was created. The game was held at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow, and despite the Three Lions taking the lead they lost 2-1 after Frederick Anderson and Angus MacKinnon scored, cancelling out Robert Kingsford’s earlier effort.
The most recent loss for Gareth Southgate’s side came at the hands of Czech Republic on 11th October this year at the Sinobo Stadium. Harry Kane had given the away side the lead, however, Jakub Brabec scored to equalise in Prague while Zdenek Ondrasek ensured that his side inflicted England’s first qualifier loss in 10 years.
Goals scored: 2,188 – The first goal scored for England was William Kenyon-Slaney as he netted in England’s second-ever game back in March 1873 in the three lions 4-2 win over Scotland. Harry Kane was the last player to score in their last match when England won 6-0 in Bulgaria.
Goals conceded: 983 – Henry Renny-Tailyour scored the first goal against the Three Lions in the same game that William Kenyon-Slaney scored in, his team-mate William Gibb also scored as Scotland lost 4-2. The most recent goalscorer against England was Zdenek Ondrasek, who scored five minutes from time to win the game for the Czech Republic.
Highest ever win: Ireland 0-13 England – 18 February 1882 at Knock Ground, Belfast, Northern Ireland
This game still stands as England’s biggest-ever win, and it came in the first-match between two countries. To this day, it is still the largest-ever defeat for Ireland; it was also the first match they’d ever played. This game also yielded two hat-tricks for England, with the first making history in doing so.
Biggest loss: Hungary 7-1 England – 23 May 1954 at Puskás Ferenc Stadium, Budapest, Hungary
After famously losing 6-3 to the Magyars at Wembley, England travelled to Hungary with the idea that defeat was just a blip. However, the hosts destroyed them. They led 3-0 at the break, and things only got better for the home side.
Highest ever score-line: England 13-2 Ireland – 18th February 1899 at Roker Park, Sunderland, England
Playing at the now-demolished Roker Park, England took on the Republic of Ireland in the British Home Championship, a tournament in which Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England played for the trophy. This is the biggest scoreline to this day. Gilbert Smith scored four times while Jimmy Settle also netted a hat-trick.
Most matches played against: Scotland – 114 – England v Scotland is international football’s oldest rivalry. The first-ever encounter between the two nations came in 1872 and they continued to play annually from 1872 until 1989.
The most recent of those 114 matches ended in a draw in June 2017, as Leigh Griffiths gave Scotland the lead in the final minute before Harry Kane equalised in stoppage time to earn a point in World Cup qualifying. England have won 48 times in total, while Scotland aren’t far behind with 41 wins over their rivals.
Most wins against a nation: Wales – The Welsh have lost 67 times in the 102 games they have played against the Three Lions. The first meeting between the two ended in a 2-1 win for England at the Oval on 18th January 1879, with goals from Herbert Whitfeld and Thomas Heathcote Sorby for the hosts.
The two last met for the first time at a major tournament when they were in the same group at the 2016 European Championship. Gareth Bale gave the Dragons the lead from a free-kick before substitutes Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge won the game for England.
Longest-serving England boss: Sir Walter Winterbottom is by far the longest-serving England manager, with 17 years of service for his country between 1946 and 1962. He was the first-ever national team boss for the Three Lions and managed them for 139 games in total, taking them to two World Cup quarter-finals (1954 and 1962). During his time in charge, England won 78 matches while losing only 28.
Following him was Sir Alf Ramsey who of course guided England to World Cup glory on home soil in 1966. He was in the dugout for 11 years.
Shortest-serving England manager: Sam Allardyce – Some caretaker managers have lasted more than his one game for the Three Lions. He’d won that courtesy of a late Adam Lallana goal to give his side a 1-0 win over Slovakia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
The former Bolton, West Ham and Newcastle boss had signed a two-year contract on 22nd July 2016, however, allegations of professional misconduct meant that he left his role by mutual consent on 27th September, having managed the team for just 67 days.
Managers to serve for England: 15 – Sir Walter Winterbottom (1946–1962); Sir Alf Ramsey (1963-1974); Don Revie (1974–1977); Ron Greenwood (1977–1982); Sir Bobby Robson (1982–1990); Graham Taylor (1990–1993); Terry Venables (1994–1996); Glenn Hoddle (1996–1999); Kevin Keegan (1999–2000); Sven-Göran Eriksson (2001–2006); Steve McClaren (2006–2007); Fabio Capello (2008–2012); Roy Hodgson (2012–2016); Sam Allardyce (2016); Gareth Southgate (2016–current).
Only Don Revie (Scotland); Sven-Göran Eriksson (Sweden) and Fabio Capello (Italy) have managed to become boss of England despite not being English.
Biggest win ratio as Three Lions’ boss: Sam Allardyce – 100% – On the technicality of him only managed a single match in which England beat Slovakia 1-0, technically Allardyce is their best-ever boss. Fabio Capello won 28 of the 42 games in his three-year tenure.
Record appearances for the Three Lions: Peter Shilton – 125 (1970-1990) – His first match was on 25th November 1970 as he helped the Three Lions to a 3-1 friendly win over East Germany, while his last was on 7th July 1990, as the veteran goalkeeper failed to stop the hosts winning the third-place play-off at the World Cup in Italy, as they won 2-1.
Most capped outfield player: Wayne Rooney – 120 (2003-2018) – Wayne Rooney made his debut in a friendly on 12th February 2003 after coming on as a substitute against Australia. In doing so he at the time became the youngest player to play for England at the age of 17 years and 111 days. He played at three European Championships and three World Cups before announcing his retirement from England on 23rd August 2017 with 119 appearances for his country.
He did, however, come out of retirement for one match on Thursday 15th November 2018 when the Three Lions faced the USA at Wembley. Rooney came on in the 58th minute, replacing Jesse Lingard, with funds generated by the match going to the Wayne Rooney Foundation.
Most appearances as captain: Billy Wright and Bobby Moore, 90 – Two players hold the record for most appearances wearing the England armband: Wright, who featured for 70 matches in a row as skipper, and Moore, who famously lifted the 1966 World Cup.
Wright’s 70-match streak started in a 2-2 friendly draw with France at the Arsenal Stadium on 3rd October 1951 and ended in the 8-1 win against the USA at Wrigley Field on 28th May 1959.
Moore’s first match as England captain was on 29th May 1963 in just his 12th appearance for England – he was the youngest man ever to captain England at the highest level. England won 4-2 against Czechoslovakia. His last match was a 1-0 friendly defeat to Italy on 14th November 1973.
Longest international career: Sir Stanley Matthews – 23 years (1934-1957) – Forward Matthews made his England debut on 29th September 1934 as he scored a goal in their 4-0 win over Wales at Ninian Park in Cardiff in front of 51,000 people. His career was interrupted by World War II, but Matthews then resumed international duty, with his final appearance coming against Denmark in a 4-1 victory on 15th May 1957 in Copenhagen.
Matthews was the first-ever England player to be knighted.
Most goals for England: Wayne Rooney – 53 (2003-2018) – Rooney would become the youngest ever player to score for his country in his sixth appearance as he equalised in a Euro 2004 qualifying match win over Macedonia on 6th September 2003 at the age of 17 years and 317 days.
The Croxteth-born striker overtook Bobby Charlton’s record of 49 goals for England, which had lasted for 45 years, on 8th September 2015 scoring a penalty against Switzerland. He went onto score three more goals, with his last being in England’s 2-1 loss to Iceland at the 2016 European Championships.
Most appearances as a substitute: Jermain Defoe – 35 (2004-2017) – From the start of his international career, Defoe was utilised as a substitute, making his debut on 31st March 2004 under Sven-Göran Eriksson coming on in 12th minute for Darius Vassell. His final match for England came on 10th June 2017 as he came on in the final minute of stoppage time against Scotland.
Out of his 57 matches, only 22 were as a starter, though Defoe does have the record for most goals scored by a substitute to his name with seven. The last time he scored after coming off the bench was against Italy on 15th August 2012. He scored 20 times overall for England.
Most goals at a World Cup: Gary Lineker– 10 goals in 12 matches (1986 & 1990) – As it stands, Match of the Day presenter Lineker is the highest scorer for England overall at World Cups with the striker going to Mexico 1986 and Italia 90.
He scored six in five matches in Mexico with his last being in a 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Argentina, while he managed four in seven in Italy, scoring the goal that took the semi-final to extra-time against Germany though the Three Lions went on to lose on penalties.
Of the current players in the team, Harry Kane could come close to Lineker’s record as, after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Tottenham striker finished with six in six for England, therefore, needing five to beat his fellow Englishman.
Most World Cup’s scored in: David Beckham – 3 (1998 & 2002 & 2006) – As it stands, Beckham is the only England player to score in three World Cups. The attacking midfielder scored the first goal against Colombia in a group stage game in 1998, getting his second in a 1-0 win over Argentina in 2002, while final one came in a 1-0 win over Ecuador in the 2006 round of 16.
Most caps at major tournaments: Ashley Cole – 22 – Left-back Cole featured the most times for England at major tournaments after making his debut on 28th March 2001 in a 3-1 win over Albania in a World Cup qualifier. His first major tournament was 2002 World Cup where he played all five matches for his country; he went on to feature for the Three Lions at the 2004 and 2012 European Championships and the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
His final match at a major tournament was the 2012 European Championships where England and Italy drew 0-0 and then Italy scored all their penalties to win the shootout.
Current players with the most appearances: Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling – 55 – Former skipper Henderson made his debut on 17th November 2010 at the age of 20 as England lost 2-1 to France, with him picking up a yellow card.
Sterling first played for the Three Lions on 14th November 2012 as England lost 4-2 to Sweden courtesy of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic masterclass as the striker scored all four. The winger was 17 when he played in the first match for his country.
Highest goalscorer still playing for England: Harry Kane – 28 goals (2015-current) – Just like his Tottenham career Kane burst onto the scene for England after making his debut on 27th March 2015 with the Spurs striker coming on as a substitute in 71st minute for captain Wayne Rooney, it took him two minutes to score his first goal for his national side.
Since then the striker has been a revelation for England being handed the armband for the first time on 10th June 2017 against Scotland and after Rooney retired, he’s been the leader ever since, scoring 28 goals in 43 games. In the 2018 World Cup Kane became only the third England player to score a hat-trick at the World Cup.
Current number of capped player for the Three Lions: 1,244 – For the 1,000th game, all players that have ever played for England have been handed legacy numbers with 1,244 players already putting on their nation’s shirt. The first three players to be capped by England were Robert Barker (1), with Harwood Greenhalgh the second and Reginald Welch the third. The three most recently capped players are Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi (1,242) and Mason Mount (1,243) and Aston Villa’s Tyrone (1,244).
Feature image of England Three Lions badge courtesy of Ben Terrett via Flickr Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Wembley Stadium courtesy of Cushdy via Flickr Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0. Second Three Lions crest photo by Keith Williamson via Flickr Creative Commons.