England have met Yugoslavia (the former name of Serbia and Montenegro) 14 times
England have met Yugoslavia (the former name of Serbia and Montenegro) 14 times in full internationals, winning five, drawing five and losing four. Only three of the matches have been competitive and all of those were in the European Championship...
The series began four months before war was declared in 1939. In the middle match of a three-match European tour England lost 1-2 before a 35,000 crowd in Belgrade's BSK Stadium. Aston Villa outside-left Frank Broome equalised at 1-1, skipper Eddie Hapgood was a 'passenger' after a 16th-minute injury and the visitors' line-up also included Stanley Matthews, Tommy Lawton and Joe Mercer. In the other tour matches England drew 2-2 in Italy and won 2-0 in Romania, our last pre-war international.
Here are details of the 13 post-war encounters:
England 2 Yugoslavia 2, Highbury, 22 November 1950
Our unbeaten home record against continental opposition remained intact, but England nearly threw away this game after being in a commanding position. We were 2-0 up in 35 minutes, with debutant Nat Lofthouse scoring both. Then, five minutes into the second half, Leslie Compton diverted Orgjanon's cross past Bert Williams. Inspired by the great Beara's saves, Yugoslavia took control and Zivanovic flashed in a 78th-minute equaliser after Alf Ramsey had virtually set him up.
Yugoslavia 1 England 0, Belgrade, 16 May 1954
As a build-up to the World Cup in Switzerland, England embarked on a short tour with matches against Yugoslavia and Hungary. A capacity 59,000 crowd in the Partizan Stadium saw a desperate defensive performance by England which almost succeeded. Billy Wright was an inspirational captain who worked tirelessly and defended magnificently. But, with three minutes to go, Stankovic's fiercely-driven free-kick rebounded to Mitic and from six yards he could hardly miss.
England 3 Yugoslavia 0, Wembley, 28 November 1956
At last, on a rain-socked pitch, we gained our first victory against Yugoslavia. But for Beara in the visitors' goal, the score might have been doubled. At the centre of England's attacking play was Matthews, winning his 50th cap. Johnny Brooks crashed in the first on 13 minutes and Tommy Taylor, substituting for the injured Johnny Haynes, notched the other two. As the rain lashed down near the end Roger Byrne's spot-kick, following a foul on Matthews, was brilliantly saved by Beara.
Yugoslavia 5 England 0, Belgrade, 11 May 1958
The temperature was in the 90s as the teams took the field in the JNA Stadium and England, trying to establish a team capable of winning the World Cup in Sweden, had a disastrous day. Everything went wrong from the start and Milutinovic's 25-yarder hit 'keeper Hopkinson on the shoulder before flying into the net. In the second period there were further goals by Petakovic, Sekularac (2) and Veselinovic. England had managed just two goal attempts in the 90 minutes.
England 3 Yugoslavia 3, Wembley, 11 May 1960
Two years later to the day a 70,000 crowd enjoyed a late England revival which saw us draw level and all but snatch victory. With Sekularac the main tormentor, Yugoslavia took control midway through the opening half and Galic shot them in front. Then Bryan Douglas and Jimmy Greaves scored either side of the break for 2-1. The visitors stepped up a gear, levelling through Galic and Kostic before Joe Baker's volley thudded against the bar and Haynes nodded in the rebound.
Yugoslavia 1 England 1, Belgrade, 9 May 1965
An excellent England display, after an indifferent start, gained a deserved share of the honours in the Red Star Stadium. Gordon Banks' superb save from Galic proved to be only a brief respite and Kovacevic volleyed Yugoslavia in front a minute later. But we hit back immediately to dampen thoughts of another Belgrade defeat, Barry Bridges glancing Terry Paine's corner past Skoric for an equaliser. At the back Bobby Moore was outstanding, setting a captain's example.
England 2 Yugoslavia 0, Wembley, 4 May 1966
This was our last home game before the World Cup and the players responded with an excellent performance against very good opposition. It was a severe test for England's defence as the lively Skoblar, Musovic and Samardzic posed plenty of problems for Jack Charlton and company. But England had a great start, Greaves heading in from Terry Paine's cross, and before half-time Bobby Charlton had sent a screamer into the top corner for 2-0. Martin Peters was making his debut.
Yugoslavia 1 England 0, Florence, 5 June 1968
England crashed to defeat in this bruising battle and so lost the chance of playing in the European Nations' Cup Final. The 40,000 crowd, largely Yugoslavian, roared their side on passionately and it took all the experience of the senior England players to hold the team together in such a stifling atmosphere. Dzajic crashed a shot past Gordon Banks with four minutes left and, as England's frustration boiled over, Alan Mullery was sent off after aiming a kick at Trivic.
England 1 Yugoslavia 1, Wembley, 11 October 1972
We fielded four new caps in a newly-shaped side disrupted by club calls and injuries. Jeff Blockley, Frank Lampard, Mick Mills and Mike Channon all came in. The match was a very entertaining one but, with two Wembley defeats behind them, England were looking for a confidence-booster before the vital World Cup fixture in Wales. Joe Royle thundered in a shot that went in off the bar on 40 minutes and Yugoslavia's Vladic nodded an equaliser early in the second period.
Yugoslavia 2 England 2, Belgrade, 5 June 1974
England completed their three-match tour of Eastern Europe with a superb team performance against one of the World Cup qualifiers in the Red Star Stadium. The visitors started well, Channon opening our account on six minutes after Trevor Brooking's effort had been blocked. Inspired by skipper Dzajic, Yugoslavia scored through Petkovic and Oblak and the 90,000 crowd erupted. But England refused to give up and Kevin Keegan headed a brave equaliser on 75 minutes.
England 2 Yugoslavia 0, Wembley, 12 November 1986
We knew that we were in for a stiff test against a skilful Yugoslavian side in this European Championship qualifier. There was danger in the visitors' first attack, as Baljic's 40-yard through-ball played Vujovic in and Chris Woods denied him with an excellent save. Gary Mabbutt, Steve Hodge and Glenn Hoddle worked hard in midfield as England tried to gain the upper hand in midfield. Mabbutt rose to head in from Hoddle's curling ball into the box and Viv Anderson swept in the second.
Yugoslavia 1 England 4, Belgrade, 11 November 1987
The return qualifier, watched by 70,000, produced one of our greatest ever away victories. England had never won in Belgrade before, so the pre-match odds were stacked against us, but in a blistering first half we rattled in four goals. Peter Beardsley took advantage of hesitancy in the home defence to prod home after just two minutes and there was delirium as John Barnes, Bryan Robson and Tony Adams netted to make it 4-0. Stojkovic's late header was scant consolation.
England 2 Yugoslavia 1, Wembley, 13 December 1989
Bobby Robson's team was an experimental one. Paul Parker of QPR came in for Stevens at right back, Thomas won his second cap and Lineker gave up his usual role leading the line to drop in behind Wolves' Steve Bull. Bryan Robson showed his enormous value to the Three Lions with two goals, the first after just 38 seconds - England's fastest ever goal at Wembley. Skoro then equalised for the Yugoslavs but Robson nipped in again after 67 minutes to score from Parker's angled cross.
by David Barber