Date Published 04 July 2018
The World Cup which begun in 1930 has become the world's largest sporting event. It has been staged every four years since then with the exception of 1942 and 1946, when the Second World War forced its suspension.
England did not enter the first three competitions of 1930, 1934 and 1938. Although FIFA sought England's participation, but the Football Association declined all invitations. Not until the fourth tournament in 1950 did England take part.
England have entered all 16 post war competitions. They have reached the final tournament 13 times. They qualified through play in the preliminary competition on 11 occasions (1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010), as host country once (1966) and as reigning champions once (1970). They failed to qualify for the final tournaments on three occasions (1974, 1978 and 1994).
England have had only moderate success in the World Cup, and that is perhaps a fair indication of their standing in the world game. They won the tournament once, in 1966, when it was held on their own soil and they played all their matches at their home ground, Wembley Stadium, an advantage extended to no other team in World Cup history.
Their 4-2 extra time victory against West Germany in the only final match they have reached has remained clouded by the controversy over whether their third goal, the first of extra time, actually crossed the goal line.
England reached the semi-finals on only one other occasion, in1990 against Italy, where, following extra time victories over Belgium and Cameroon, they went down to West Germany on penalty kicks after a 1-1 extra time draw. They then lost the third place match to the host nation, 2-1.
England have reached the quarter finals on six other occasions, at the 1954, 1962, 1970, 1986, 2002 and 2006 tournaments. At the 1982 competition in Spain, England finished the second group stage unbeaten but were eliminated anyway. Their second place finish in the second-round group was tantamount to a quarter final appearance.
England have been eliminated at the first round group stage on two occasions 1950 and 1958, when they finished level in group play with the USSR but lost a playoff match.
The World Cup has been a frustrating odyssey for England, particularly since 1966. At several tournaments, their performances have filled their fans with justified hope, but in the end, they have just not had enough to overcome the world's most powerful teams in crucial knockout matches.
Three times they have been eliminated in penalty kick shootouts, in the 1990 semi final against West Germany. In 1998 against Argentina following a 2-2 extra time draw, and in the 2006 quarter finals against Portugal following a 0-0 draw.
The 2018 tournament in Russia looks like a far more exciting affair, and is set to get fans hearts racing, as England march into a quarter final game against Sweden, this Saturday at 3pm.
1950 Group stage 8th
1954 Quarter finals 7th
1958 Group stage 11th
1962 Quarter finals 8th
1966 Champions 1st
1970 Quarter finals 8th
1974 Did not qualify
1978 Did not qualify
1982 Group stage 6th
1986 Quarter finals 8th
1990 Fourth place 4th
1994 Did not qualify
1998 Round of 16 9th
2002 Quarter finals 6th
2006 Quarter finals 7th
2010 Round of 16 13th
2014 Group stage 26th
2018 Qualified for Quarter finals