Off to a Flyer: Five Fast Starts for England at the World Cup


The opening game of a World Cup has often proved a banana skin for England but on these five occasions they got off to a winning start...

1950: Having entered the competition for the first ever time it was the perfect beginning in Brazil as England eased to a 2-0 victory against Chile and set themselves up for what was expected to be a comfortable stroll against the part-timers of the USA in Belo Horizonte but which turned into the most embarrasing result in our World Cup history.

1970: Even when lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy in 1966 England did not win their opening game but as holders four years later they defeated a dangerous Romania side by a single goal to whet the appetite for clash with Brazil that would remain in the memory for many years to come with its images of Gordon Banks' save from Pele and Bobby Moore's perfectly timed tackle on the great Brazilian.

1982: Absent from the final for 12 years England returned with a bang by scoring inside 30 seconds and winning 3-1 against a France side who would later make the semi-finals. Ron Greenwood's men won all of their group games before drawing a blank against hosts Spain and West Germany in the second stage.

1998: In what will hopefully be an omen for this year's tournament England met Tunisia and ran out 2-0 winners with current manager Gareth Southgate a starter in a game played out against a backdrop of trouble in Marseille.

2006: The result was all that mattered which was just as well as England's performance against Paraguay was poor but an early own goal gave them all three points in Frankfurt to set up a meeting with minnows Trinidad & Tobago.


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