Over the years, England's history in football has lead to some truly bitter rivalries, as the saying goes "you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs"! Let's take a look at 3 of the biggest rivalries England faces:
The 1986 World Cup game, involved Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” incident, a controversial goal scored by Argentinean Maradona, in which the player punched the ball into the net. England went on to lose the game and ultimately face a knockout of the competition. The next major World Cup incident occurred as recent as 1998, when star English player of the time, David Beckham, was given a red card after provocation from Diego Simeone. The story goes that after Simeone fouled Beckham, the Argentinean stood up and pushed on Beckham’s back, angered by this Beckham swung a kick, causing his red card. The game also saw a disallowed goal at the very last minute from England player, Sol Campbell, as after the goal had been scored, while the English team were celebrating, Argentina petitioned for a foul against the goal keeper by Alan Shearer!
The funny thing about this rivalry is how one-sided it is, not in terms of scores, but by the fact that Germany are far too occupied with the Netherlands to pay this rivalry any stock. This in turn makes the whole affair far more infuriating for England fans, and while there's possibly a degree of wartime nostalgia, Germany's continuous ability to knock out England doesn't help matters. During the 1966 World Cup, Germany were the last obstacle in England’s way and despite England winning, many people still see this as the beginning of Germany’s constant obstruction for England success.
The '90s then saw a flurry of incidences between the two teams. The 1990 World Cup saw the staging of these two teams once again in the Semi Finals. The short story goes, after a very evenly matched 90 minutes, the game went into penalties, England lost to Germany, and Germany went to win the tournament. What is remembered, however, is the reaction of English player, Paul Gascoigne, upon receiving a yellow card. The player cried, realising that the booking would lead to his suspension in the final. More recently Germany once again knocked England out in the 2010 World Cup, with a tremendous result of 4-1, even then controversy arose regarding England midfielder Frank Lampard’s disallowed equalizer, which bounced off of the cross bar into the goal, then back out. The linesman, not having seen the ball pass the line, disallowed the goal. The team’s morale never recovered after their stolen goal, and England were knocked out.
While they may be Home Nations, history and politics has unsurprisingly lead to games that the BBC described as representing "all that is good and all that is bad about football since the fixture began,". When taking into account Scotland's recent bid for independence, the ongoing rivalry these two teams share understandibly has takee on a new light. Since the conception of football in the late 1800's, the two teams would annually play each other as part of the "British Home Championship" for nigh on 100 years! With the constant tit-for-tat growing over the years, the rivalry peaked in 1928 when Scotland's "Wembley Wizards" beat England in London with a rediculous 5-1. Of course, the story doesn't end there, with England lashing back almost 40 years later, when in 1961 England beat Scotland a brutal 9-3! With the rivalry returning in the late '90s with fairly equally matched games.