England's friendly against South Africa on Thursday is reckoned to be our 800th
England's friendly against South Africa on Thursday is reckoned to be our 800th senior international, not including the three abandoned matches that have occurred over the years...
This long series began at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground, Partick, Glasgow on 30th November 1872. England drew 0-0 with Scotland in the first official international ever played.
The Bell's Life in London correspondent summed up the 90 minutes like this: "A splendid display of football in the really scientific sense of the word, and a most determined effort on the part of the representatives of the two nationalities to overcome each other."
It seems that the inaugural match set something of a pattern for those famous clashes to come. For the England team had a distinct weight advantage - estimated from the press box to be an average of two stone - while the Scottish lads proved durable, wiry and tough.
The England players were drawn from nine different clubs and it was thought that they might have trouble linking together. "But this allusion", the man from Bell's Life remarked, "was dispelled like mist at the approach of the sun, for the magnificent dribbling of Kirke-Smith and Brockbank, seconded as it was by the fine back play of Welch, Greenhalgh and Chappell, was greatly admired by the immense concourse of spectators, who kept the utmost order."
But the crowd of about 3,500 didn't see any goals.
England's 100th international was a British Championship fixture against Wales at Nottingham's City Ground on 15th March 1909. George Holley and Bert Freeman scored in England's 2-0 victory and the full team was: Hardy, Crompton, Pennington, Warren, Wedlock, Veitch, Pentland, Woodward, Freeman, Holley and Bridgett.
Match No.700 wasn't one of our best. England lost 0-2 to Holland in a World Cup qualifier in Rotterdam on 13th October 1993. A controversial match, in which Koeman netted from a free-kick after an incident with David Platt that could have seen the Dutchman red-carded, virtually ended our hopes of making it to the USA finals.
The England team that night was: Seaman, Parker, Dorigo, Ince, Pallister, Adams, Platt, Palmer (Sinton), Shearer, Merson (Wright) and Sharpe.
Did Graham Taylor not like that?!
by David Barber