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England - a soccer nation
When people talk about the birthplace of modern soccer they always list Britain (both England and Scotland) as the soil where it all began. There are many firsts regarding England and professional soccer: the world's first club (Sheffield F.C.), the first national team, the oldest national governing body (the Football Association) and the oldest national league (the English Football League), to name a few. England’s national soccer team won the World Cup once, in 1966, when the tournament was played on home soil as the Three Lions beat West Germany 4–2 in the final.
Apart from the royal wedding, the World Cup finals event is the time when Englishmen are most patriotic. England flags are being sold in shops and they can be seen attached to cars in the streets and hanging from house windows. It is believed that soccer is more popular than any other sport in England, primarily because it is so easy to play and so enjoyable to watch. There are over 40,000 registered football clubs in England, which is more than any other country.
3 Facts about the Team History
- 1966 World Cup Final: The 1966 World Cup win is considered to be English soccer’s greatest day, even today. That glorious day at Wembley Stadium was the only time the England national soccer team won the World Cup, and it remains a rather controversial match as well. The English squad met the West German team in front of 98,000 fans at Wembley Stadium and after a 90-minute match the result was a 2-2 tie. A 30-minute overtime period was played and the forward Geoff Hurst broke the tie with a highly controversial goal - the ball came out of the net quickly after previously hitting the crossbar and only appeared to have passed the goal line. The same soccer player scored the fourth goal after successfully and spectacularly dribbling the German defence, and the Jules Rimet trophy was in hands of the English sportsmen.
- Top Players: English soccer gave birth to many star players, firs of them being Sir Stanley Matthews who was the first to be awarded with the Europe's Football Player of the Year Award. The best player on the 1966 World Cup final was Bobby Charlton, widely known for his accuracy and scoring achievements. Kevin Keegan is arguably an even better scorer with 217 goals in 559 matches. In recent times, the most famous player has been David Beckham. Now retired, the skilled right winger was celebrated for his curling passes and high-precision shots. He is a British cultural icon and an international celebrity.
- Underachievers: The Three Lions team is notoriously known for being not as successful in international performances as they should have been. England has never made a final, either in the World Cup or European Championship, if we disregard the 1966 World Cup win, and isn’t a stranger to ending the tourney in group stage. Still, they are always considered as one of the favourites at major tournaments.
3 Fun Facts about the Country
- Tea Time: English people are the number one consumers of tea in the world. They consume more tea per capita than any other nation, more than the Japanese (3 times more), the Americans or the French (22 times more).
- Cheese Rolling Events: England is home to some of the most eccentric traditional events, such as the cheese rolling competitions. The most notable one is held in Brockworth, Gloucestershire. In May every year people chase Double Gloucester cheese down the steep Cooper's Hill. Strange as it may sound, the tradition is believed to originate with fertility rites in Roman times.
- Big Ben: The symbol of London and England in general, the Big Ben, is wrongly considered the name of the gothic clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. The tower is actually named Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben is the nickname of the 13.7 ton bell inside it.