By David Barber
Tuesday, 29 March, 2011
England face their 84th different international opponent tonight.
England play Ghana, one of last year’s World Cup quarter finalists, at Wembley tonight. Ghana, ‘the Black Stars’, will be England’s 84th different opponent in history.
The countries may not have met at senior level before but there have been matches at other levels in recent years. Ghana beat us 4-0 in the FIFA U20 World Cup in Egypt two years ago and England won an U18 friendly 2-0 at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium in 2007.
Ghana will be England’s eighth African opponent, following in the footsteps of Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Only three of those – Cameroon, Nigeria and Egypt – have played at Wembley.
England’s first opponent, of course, was Scotland back in 1872. We have now met 110 times, most recently in 1999. The most unusual opponent, arguably, was Bohemia in 1908. It was a kingdom within the Austro-Hungarian empire at the time and all their players against England were members of the ‘Slavia’ club in Prague.
England’s 83rd new opponent was Montenegro, who came to Wembley for a EURO 2012 Qualifier last October.
Yugoslavia, Serbia & Montenegro and Montenegro are classed as different opponents. As are Ireland-Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland, Czechoslovakia-Czech Republic, Germany-West Germany-East Germany and USSR-CIS-Russia.