England take on Colombia tonight in what manager Gareth Southgate has describes as their biggest game in a decade. He may well be right and as we’re tired of hearing England haven’t won a knock out game since 2006, but as we’ll see there’s more good than bad in their second round past.
England 3-0 Paraguay (Mexico 1986)
Having got their campaign up and running with Gary Lineker’s hat-trick against Poland, England arrived at the Azteca Stadium for their second round clash with Paraguay. But it was Paraguay who made the better start with Adlofino Canete forcing Peter Shilton into an acrobatic save, then an awful back pass from Terry Butcher let in Alfredo Mendoza who rounded Shilton but couldn’t find the angle to finish and England escaped. But with the game in the balance Glenn Hoddle played in Lineker who couldn’t connect but Steve Hodge pinged the ball back across the box for Lineker to tap home. The second half was better from England and despite Lineker being pole-axed England got their second goal on 56 minutes when Peter Beardsley turned home a corner. And England sealed the win when the two Gary Stevens’ combined to play Lineker through who stroked home his 5th of the tournament and England had a return date at the Azteca with you know who.
England 1-0 Belgium (Italia 1990)
Bobby Robson’s side face a formidable obstacle in Bologna- a talented Belgium side who’d finished 4th in Mexico back in ’86. Belgium started strongly and Jan Ceulemans hit the woodwork early on with star man Enzo Scifo bossing the game. But England in their sweeper formation soon countered with Chris Waddle picking out Lineker who floated a cross for John Barnes to lash home only to have the goal chalked off (correctly) by a offside flag. Scifothen hit the post with a log range effort and as extra time loomed Robson brought on David Platt who made a nuisance of himself breaking from midfield. And you know what happened next: with extra time about to expire Gazza floated in a perfectly weighted free kick for Platt to volley on the turn and to paraphrase John Motson “England have done it, in the last-minute of extra time!” Stunning stuff.
England 3-0 Denmark (Japan 2002)
England’s second round games are almost always dramatic- not this one! Faced with a dangerous Denmark team that had already dispatched holders France, England made a lightning start with David Beckham’s corner headed home by Rio Ferdinand via a big deflection off the goalkeeper after just 80 seconds. 20 minutes on and a fine Trevor Sinclair cross made it through to Michael Owen in the centre of the box who angled home for 2-0 and game was already won. Before halt time Emile Heskey broke and rifled home from the edge of the box and England a 3 goal cushion. They never looked like conceding nor often like adding to it in the second half as England controlled and booked a meeting with Brazil.
England 1-0 Ecuador (Germany 2006)
I’m hoping by tomorrow this is no longer England’s last victory in knockout football. England had underwhelmed but crucially won their group avoiding a second round clash with the hosts. Ecuador were surprise qualifiers in 2006 but had played some enterprising football and made it to round 2. England had lost Michael Owen to injury so adjusted to a 4-5-1 formation with Owen Hargreaves deputising for Gary Neville at right back meaning Michael Carrick got the start in midfield. England looked far more comfortable in midfield with Carrick conducting proceedings allowing the Lampard/Gerrard axis to move further up the pitch. But the best chance of the first half fell to Ecuador with Carlos Tenorio getting a clear sight of goal after John Terry misjudged a header, but Tenorio could only find the crossbar. But the game was settled on the hour mark when Beckham curled a trademark free kick into the bottom left-hand corner of Ecuador’s goal. England kept Ecuador at arm’s length for the remainder of the game to see out a win that I dearly hope to see consigned to history against Colombia.
England 0-0 Spain (1982)
OK this wasn’t exactly a round of 16 game but it did represent the first time England faced a second phase in the expanded 24 team format. In this case the second round saw 12 teams divided into 4 groups of 3 with the group winners advancing to the semi finals; England were grouped with West Germany and hosts Spain. The first game saw England play out a cagey goalless draw with the Germans who then beat the hosts 2-1 in their second game meaning England needed to beat Spain by 2 goals in the finale to advance. England had started the tournament with a bang but had found goals hard to come by as the tournament progressed, but manager Ron Greenwood had welcome reinforcements in Trevor Brooking and talisman Kevin Keegan. Both had missed the first 4 games injured but were named on the bench for the decider. The first half was uneventful with Spain going the closer and early in the second a rasping shot from Periko Alonso flashed wide of Shilton’s goal. With 63 minutes played Greenwood played his hand and on came Keegan & Brooking and they made an immediate impact. First Brooking found himself in on goal but hit his shot straight at the ‘keeper. Then Bryan Robson broke into the box and found space on the left he clipped a perfect cross for Keegan the goal gaped…but Keegan put it wide. England were out despite never losing in Spain and sadly Keegan would never play for his country again.
England 2-2 Argentina 3-4 on penalties (France 1998)
The price England paid for not winning their group at France ’98 was the route of death starting with a last 16 clash with bitter rivals Argentina. After only 6 minutes Argentina won a debatable penalty despatched by Gabriel Batistuta. Referee Kim Milton Nielsen seemed to realise his mistake and 3 minutes later teenage sensation Michael Owen burst into Argentina’s box and went down for a penalty, thundered home by Alan Shearer. Argentina’s previously fearsome defence looked terrified by Owen’s pace and on 16 minutes the youngster created World Cup history when he latched onto David Beckham’s through ball, shrugged off a defender and then blistered his way past 2 more before firing home England’s greatest ever World Cup goal. England lead 2-1 and Paul Scholes had missed a presentable chance for 3-1. Then right on half time a cleverly worked free kick saw Argentina get Javier Zanetti open in the box and he lifted a shot past David Seaman for 2-2.
Then straight after half time came the pivotal moment when Diego Simeone fouled Beckham who retaliated in front of the referee and England were down to 10. England launched an astonishing rearguard action with Hoddle cleverly leaving both Shearer & Owen on the pitch and alternating them down the right where he could coach them from the sideline. England thought they’d won it when Sol Campbell powered home a header but it was ruled out for a push by Shearer. It inevitably went to penalties where Paul Ince & David Batty joined a growing number of England penalty villains whilst Beckham found himself public enemy number 1- if only the next World Cup could offer a revenge match!? Argentina meanwhile having survived England’s best ever World Cup goal went down to Holland’s best ever World Cup goal.
England 1-4 Germany (South Africa 2010)
England’s dismal campaign in South Africa ended with their most recent last 16 appearance against an old rival with a new look. Germany arrived in South Africa unfancied and shorn of their best player Michael Ballack. But Joachim Low smartly reorganised his side introducing 2 dynamic new talents in Thomas Muller & Mesut Ozil. England meanwhile had stumbled into the last 16 playing a rigid 4-4-2 and amid talk of a fractious camp. It started badly for England who struggled to get going and it got worse when Matthew Upson was outpaced by the less slow Miroslav Klose who slid home. Muller then outpaced Terry (there’s a pattern developing here) to play in a wide open Lukas Podolski for 2-0 after 32 minutes. It prompted England into action and Steven Gerrard’s deft cross picked out Upson who headed home to make up for his earlier mistake and then came the pivot moment. Seconds after Upson’s goal Frank Lampard picked up the ball on the edge of the box and smashed home a vicious half volley for 2-2 until the referee intervened, incredibly the goal was ruled out after the referee claimed the ball didn’t cross the line after bouncing down off the crossbar- even though it was clearly in. England panicked in the second half and pushed forward leaving Gareth Barry as the backstop- what could go wrong? Ozil blitzed his way past Barry’s impression of a milkfloat to set up Muller for 3-1 and minutes later Muller had a brace and England’s farcical South African campaign was over together with the nations love affair with the golden generation.