England have only lost two World Cup qualifiers at home
England have lost just two of the 45 World Cup qualifying matches they have played on home soil.
Officially our first qualification games were against Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 1949-50.
In that season the Home International Championship served additionally as a qualifying competition for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.
And England recorded a perfect three wins out of three to book a place in their first tournament.
The Three Lions did not taste defeat in any World Cup qualifier, home or away, until Poland beat us 2-0 in Chorzow in 1973.
Sir Alf Ramsey’s side were still favourites to make the following summer’s Finals in West Germany but ultimately it was the Poles who went through at our expense after forcing a 1-1 draw at Wembley.
Astonishingly, England did not lose a home qualifier until 1997. Our first reverse in a run of 29 home matches came against Italy at Wembley, with Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola’s firm shot past Ian Walker proving decisive.
The only other home defeat was to Germany in the last match played at the old stadium three years later.
That loss gave Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England side the worst possible start to the campaign to qualify for the Far East Finals of 2002.
Paul Scholes brought down Michael Ballack 30 yards out and the team was slow to form any kind of defensive wall.
Didi Hamann drove the free-kick along the ground and it was just hard enough to beat David Seaman’s plunge to his left.
Twelve years on from that hugely disappointing afternoon, which saw boss Kevin Keegan resign the same day, England have managed to remain unbeaten in World Cup qualifiers played on home soil.
Ukraine, the co-hosts who ran us so close in the Euros in the summer, will be the next to try and end that impressive run.
They come to Wembley on Tuesday for England’s first home qualifier for Brazil 2014.
Tickets for the match are still on sale and a family of four can come along for a bargain price of £60