With just a day to go before the World Cup kicks off, England are once again hoping to bring it home.
And ahead of the Three Lions’ opener against Iran, SunSport decided to take a look at how England have fared in the opening games of the World Cup since 1966.
England hoping for a good start against Iran[/caption]
Harry Kane inspired England in their 2018 opener[/caption]
Bryan Robson scored after just 27 seconds in the 1980s[/caption]
But Rob Green’s 2010 fumble showed the ugly side of England’s opening game history[/caption]
1970 – Romania 0 England 1
In 1970, England started their defense of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Romania thanks to a goal by Geoff Hurst.
Sir Alf Ramsey’s side reached the quarter-finals before a Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller-inspired West Germany beat England in extra time, two goals down, while Brazil won the competition.
1982 – England 3 France 1
England failed to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 tournaments and announced their return to the World Cup with a 3-1 win over France.
Bryan Robson’s opening goal after 27 seconds was a record until 2002, but after progressing to the second group stage with three wins from three England was then thwarted as West Germany advanced from the second group stage to the semi-finals.
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1986 – Portugal 1 England 0
Four years later, England suffered a 1-0 defeat by Portugal in their opening game. But a draw with Morocco and a 3-0 win over Poland were enough to secure a place in the last 16.
Another 3-0 win over Paraguay followed before Diego Maradona’s infamous hand of God saw England eliminated from the tournament by eventual winners Argentina.
1990 – England 1 Republic of Ireland 1
A grudge against the Republic of Ireland opened the campaign at Italia 90, where goals from Gary Lineker and Kevin Sheedy both tied at half-time.
England made it to the semi-finals before being eliminated on penalties by West Germany just months before unifying with the eastern half.
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1998 – England 2 Tunisia 0
After embarrassingly failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, England hit back with a bang as goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes secured a 2-0 win over Tunisia.
England made it to elimination before failing again on penalties in the round of 16, this time against Argentina when David Beckham became Public Enemy No 1 for being sent off that game.
2002 – England 1 Sweden 1
England started the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea with a 1-1 draw with Sweden after Beckham’s heroics in qualifying against Greece.
Sven Goran Eriksson’s side reached the quarter-finals before being eliminated by eventual champions Brazil – who, thanks to Ronaldo’s brace against Germany, overturned the 1998 final defeat by France.
2006 – England 1 Paraguay 0
The so-called golden generation got off to a successful, albeit not unspectacular start with a 1-0 win against Paraguay.
And they made it to the quarter-finals before Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines and the Three Lions were eliminated on penalties for the third time at a World Cup.
Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines in the 2006 quarterfinals[/caption]
2010 – England 1 United States 1
Rob Green’s blunder against USA was a taste of what was to come as England drew 1-1 at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
England limped narrowly into the last 16 before being beaten 4-1 by Germany less than a minute after Matthew Upson’s opening goal in a game still notorious for Frank Lampard’s ghost goal.
2014 – England 1 Italy 2
Brazil 2014 was England’s worst performance at a World Cup since 1996, when Roy Hodgson’s side failed to win a single game.
England lost 2-1 to Italy in their opening game against Italy, but physical therapist Gary Lewin was forced off the field on a stretcher with a dislocated ankle to celebrate Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser.
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2018 – Tunisia 1 England 2
After the 2014 embarrassment and Euro 2016, England wanted to turn the tide and they did so under Gareth Southgate.
Harry Kane headed home as an added-time winner against Tunisia and secured a 2-1 win in the opener of the last World Cup when England broke their penalty curse against Colombia and made it through to the semi-finals.