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Before 1,000: every hundredth game of the Three Lions

England’s men’s football team will play their 1,000th international on November 14th when they face Montenegro in a Europe Championship qualifier at the Wembley Stadium.

In the long history of the Three Lions, every hundredth game in the past 147 years is worthy of marking. They are milestones of this team’s history, glories, and span the memories of fans from across the generations.

1st game: Scotland 0-0 England, 30 November 1872


The first game that England played dates back to 147 years ago. The Three Lions’s 0-0 draw against Scotland was also the first-ever official international football match in the world. This historic game was hosted at Hamilton Crescent in Partick, Scotland, which was actually the home of the West of Scotland Cricket Club.

100th game: England 2-0 Wales, 15 March 1909

It took England 27 years to reach the milestone of their 100th game, and it came against Wales in the 1908-09 Home International Championship. The Three Lions won 2-0 won against the Dragons at Nottingham Forest’s home stadium, the City Ground.

200th game: England 3-0 Germany, 4 December 1935

England’s 200th game was a friendly versus Germany at White Hart Lane, the home of Tottenham Hotspur in north London. England beat their opponent from the continent with a 3-0 scoreline.

300th game: England 3-0 Northern Ireland, 2 November 1955

By the time England’s 300th match came around – with a long interruption due to World War II – the national team’s established home was the original Wembley Stadium, which opened in 1923.

The hosts defeated Northern Ireland 3-0 in 1955-56 Home International Championship, but the competition ended with all four teams sharing the trophy after they finished level on points (goal difference was not used at the time).

400th game: Finland 0-3 England, 26 June 1966

The 400th game for Three Lions was a World Cup warm-up against Finland at Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium. Ian Callaghan, the record holder of most appearances for Liverpool, made his debut for England in this match.

The visitors’ goals came from Martin Peters, Roger Hunt and Jack Charlton as England geared up for the winning the World Cup on home soil the following month.

500th game: Scotland 2-1 England, 15 May 1976

England’s 500th match did not have a happy ending. In the last game of 1975/76 Home International Championship, the Three Lions were defeated by the Auld Enemy at Hampden Park in Glasgow; a result which saw the delighted hosts lift the trophy.

600th game: Scotland 1-0 England, 25 May 1985

There are many similarities between England’s 600th game and 500th game: the same opponent, the same stadium (Hampden Park, Glasgow), and the same result—the Three Lions lost again and allowed Scotland to win the first Rous Cup.

This short-lived competition initially included just England and Scotland, but from 1987-89 also featured a guest nation from South America. Brazil, Colombia and Chile all took part before the tournament was ended.

700th game: England 3-0 Poland, 8 September 1993

The Three Lions defeated Poland in their 700th game in a qualifier for the 1994 Fifa World Cup at Wembley Stadium. It was a crucial game for the hosts as they had failed to win their previous three matches, threatening their hopes of reaching the World Cup Finals the following year.

Les Ferdinand, Paul Gascoigne and Stuart Pearce netted for England, but the qualifying campaign was ultimately unsuccessful. Graham Taylor’s team finished third in Group 2 of the European Zone and failed to reach USA 94, ending Taylor’s three-year reign as manager.

800th game: Liechtenstein 0-2 England, 29 March 2003

England got a victory in their 800th match in a 2004 European Championship qualifier at the Rheinpark Stadium in Vaduz, courtesy of goals from by Michael Owen and David Beckham. This is also the first time that England had played against Liechtenstein.

900th game: Montenegro 2-2 England, 7 October 2011

The Three Lions could only managed a draw in their 900th game at the Podgorica City Stadium in Podgorica. Wayne Rooney’s red card in the 73rd minute made him become the second England player to get two red cards in his international career. Coincidently, Montenegro will be England’s opponents again in the upcoming 1,000th game.

Feature image of England Three Lions badge courtesy of Ben Terrett via Flickr Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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