10 Facts Only a True England Football Fan Would Know!The English team may have had its difficulties these last couple of years, but you’ll still bleed red and white with pride because there is no team quite like this one. They have heart, determination, skill and most of all a pride for their sport and country, just like you. Here are ten facts that only the truest and most loyal England fans would know.
1. The word soccer is not American, it came from England.
Despite all the heavy mocking of the United States and Canada for referring to what the rest of the world calls football as soccer, you may be shocked to find out that the term actually has its roots in England where it was used to differentiate soccer from rugby football, rather than American football like today in the North. It is at its core, a shortened version of the term “Association Football” which was changed and shortened later to “Assoc Football”. From “Assoc Football”, came the even more abridged “Socc”. The full word we use today came about in the 19th century in England, when it was popular to add the “-er” sound to the end of shortened words.
Soccer is a global sport though, with most of the world’s nations having their own national teams. It has also been a fixture at both the Summer Olympics and Paralympics. It first appeared in 1900 for men and 1996 for women at the Olympics and in 1984 for Paralympic 7-a-side and 2004 for five-a-side in the same games.
2. Alan Shearer scored 7 goals in 9 consecutive matches.
Tied for most victories in the history of the European Championships, with three respectively, are Spain and Germany. Germany won in 1972, 1980 and 1996. Spain won in 1964, 2008 and most recently in 2012. They are also the only team to have successfully defended their title and kept the Henri Delaunay trophy.
In other Euro records, legendary French midfielders, and former president of UEFA, is the top scorer for the tournament with nine goals. What makes this even more incredible, is that he did that all in ONE tournament! Platini only competed with his nation of France in one Euro Championship, 1984. Not only did he lead his country to victory, but he also scored two hat tricks which eventually led his total to an impressive 9 goals in 5 games. Nobody since then has been able to even come close to his impressive showing.
3. The Euro 96 in England was attacked by terrorists.
The European Championship held in 1996 was hosted by England and is now most frequently referred to as Euro 96. The tournament was the 10th of its kind and took place between June 8-30. The champions of this competition were Germany, who narrowly beat the Czech Republic 2-1. They won in a somewhat scandalous way, having been awarded the golden goal in extra time. This was the first major football competition to have been decided using this now defunct method. It was also a notable win for the reason that it was Germany’s first major title win as a unified nation.
Football aside, the Euro 96 will also always be remembered for the terrorist attack on June 15 in Manchester. Just one day before Germany was set to take on Russia in a group stage match, a van bomb was detonated in the city center which led to 212 injured and more than £700 million in damage. Luckily, there were no reported deaths from the incident. Four days after the attack, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) took responsibility for the act. After increased security and full-scale searches of the stadium, the game went ahead and 50,700 people watched Germany defeat Russia 3-0.
4. England declined to play in the first three World Cup tournaments.
England has competed in a total of 14 World Cup tournaments overall. They declined the opportunity to compete in the World Cups in 1930, 1934 and 1938 before eventually hopping on board in 1950, after it was cancelled in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II. In 14 tournaments, England has won once, in a nerve-wracking 4-2 victory over West Germany, with the final two English goal being scored in extra time.
The final was watched by 98,000 spectators at London’s Wembley Arena. England forward Geoff Hurst scored a controversial goal to break the tie in overtime. His shot on the German goal appeared to go just past the goal line before quickly coming back out of the net. This led many to believe that it had not in fact, crossed the line at all. He then removed all doubt of a scandalous English victory when he scored again in the 120th minute. That game also became the first and only time in history in which a player scored a hat trick in a World Cup final.
5. England’s biggest win was against Ireland in 1882. The score was 13-0.
The England side has seen their fair share of ups and downs, successes and failures. The team’s first international game was against Scotland in 1872, where the game end in a nil-all tie. The biggest win the team ever experienced was in 1882 against Ireland, when they defeated them 13-0 in Belfast. For the first forty years of the team’s existence, they exclusively played against their other three Home Nations: Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Their biggest defeat came quite a few years later in 1954 when Hungary took them down in Budapest, 7 to 1.
England joined FIFA in 1906 and began to play against teams that were not in the Home Nations in 1908 with a tour of Central Europe. When Wembley Stadium opened in 1923, it became their home grounds, as it remains to this day. The relationship between England and FIFA was strained however, resulting in them leaving the organization in 1928, before eventually rejoining in 1946.
6. The world’s first football club came from England.
The first official professional football club was the English Sheffield Football Club from Sheffield, England, known today simply as Sheffield F.C. The club was founded in 1857 by two cricket players and members of the Sheffield Cricket Club, Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest. At the very beginning, games were played between members of the team in showdowns like “Married vs Singles” and “Professionals vs the Rest”. The very first set of rules the players followed were outlined by club president Frederick Ward. These were known as Sheffield Rules and were the first official set of football rules and laws to be drawn out in the history of the game.
The second team to have been created was in the nearby neighboring city of Hallam. The two frequently met up in highly contested derbies throughout the year. To this day, they continue to uphold the rivalry and when they meet, compete in the “Rules derby” named for the fact that the first games were played under the Sheffield Rules. Although due to being in two different divisions, they don’t frequently meet anymore, it is still the oldest football fixture in history.
7. David Beckham suffers from OCD.
David Beckham suffers from OCD. He has many obsessive-compulsive ticks like being rigidly organized and sorting everything possible into pairs. He has even described his obsession with organizing his food. He has three refrigerators at home; one for vegetables, one for drinks and the third for all other chilled products. His favorite food dish though, is a traditional East London pie with potato mash and a side of jellied eels. He loves it so much that he has had it shipped to both Madrid and Paris when he played at Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain respectively.
Beckham and his wife Victoria’s lives have long been the subject of intrigue and scrutiny in the public’s eye and despite this, they have enjoyed a long and prosperous marriage for more than 17 years. As a birthday present for his wife, David bought a winery in Napa Valley, California. The wine they produce though, is only open to friends and family of the couple, and not the general public.
8. On the list of top 30 goal scorers in England’s national history, Wayne Rooney is the only one still playing.
That’s right, Wayne Rooney is the only player on England’s list of top 30 goal scorers who has not ended his career with the national side. He is also the top goal scorer and has one of the most amounts of caps on the list with 109. However, he doesn’t have one of the highest goals per game averages with just 0.4679 compared to Steve Bloomer’s 1.2174 and Vivian Woodward’s 1.2609 records.
Wayne Rooney is, however, well on his way to smashing many other records at his current club, Manchester United. Since he began his time there in 2004, he has won the Premiere League title with his team 5 times, the FA Cup, the Football League Cup twice, the FA Community Shield 3 times, the UEFA Champions League and the FA Club World Cup. He is also the club’s top goal scorer with a whopping 178 goals, leaving second place’s Ryan Giggs’ 109 goals firmly in the dust.
9. The Euro 2020 will be hosted by 13 different countries.
The next European Championship of football will take place in France in the summer of 2016. It will be held in numerous cities across the country. This has traditionally been the way it has been done for most of its years, with the exception of a few neighboring countries pairing up to take on the hosting responsibilities. The next Euros, in 2020, however, are breaking the mold. They will be held in 13 different cities in 13 different countries. They include: Baku, Azerbaijan; Brussels, Belgium; Copenhagen, Denmark; London, England; Munich, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Dublin, Ireland; Rome, Italy; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Bucharest, Romania; Saint Petersburg, Russia; Glasgow, Scotland; and Bilbao, Spain.
The Euro 2016, not to be outdone, is also making some new rules. Instead of the usual 16-team format that the tournament has used since 1996, the 2016 competition has expanded to include a total of 24 hopefuls.
10. Both times England won Olympic gold in football, they faced Denmark in the final and were captained by Vivian Woodward.
Vivian Woodward was one of the highest achieving and most underrated English footballers of all-time. He began his career in 1895 playing for a club called Clacton Town before moving to Tottenham Hotspur in 1901. He later went on to play for Chelsea before ultimately returning to his roots and ending his career back at Clacton. His choice to move back to a lower ranked football team was due to injuries he sustained during his military service in World War I from 1914-1916. He left the military to rejoin football in 1919, but not before he had reached the rank of Captain.
Before his injury however, he was able to make 23 appearances for England in their national team and 44 caps for the England Amateurs team. He was also a gold-winning member of the men’s Olympic football team on behalf of Great Britain in 1908 and 1912. Woodward was so well-respected by both players and officials alike, that he was often referred to as ‘Sir’ on the pitch.