Last week Nike and the FA released images of the new England shirt we will be wearing at the World Cup in Russia 2018. Here at the Football Meets Football desk, we like it… A lot. So it got me thinking, what are my top 5 England shirts of all time? Have a read and let us know if we’ve missed any shirts you think should make the list.
Now this shirt isn’t overly attractive but who can forget THAT free kick by David Beckham against Greece? Only needing a draw to qualify for the World Cup 2002 in Japan/South Korea and avoiding the playoffs, England found themselves 2-1 behind. Beckham stepped up to score the 30 yard free kick in the 93rd minute to guarantee England qualification and send Germany to the playoff game. If only we had beaten Brazil in that World Cup, what might have been…?
France ’98, again not the greatest looking shirt but I was only 11 when this tournament took place so brings back many nostalgic memories. Unfortunately, not all good memories. Having finished in the runner up spot in the group spot to Romania, Argentina were the opponents in the last 16. This was the game that Michael Owen announced himself on the world stage but people ultimately remember Beckham’s red card and the heart ache of another penalty shootout loss.
Euro ’96 a tournament on home soil. Having been born in 1986 and England not qualifying for USA ’94 this was my first memory of England at a finals. It didn’t disappoint. Qualifying top of a group that included a 2 nil win over Scotland, who could forget the goal Gazza scored and the penalty save by Seaman. It’s Gazza’s goal celebration and that it was the first England shirt I owned that makes this shirt iconic to me. This game followed by a 4-1 thrashing of Holland set up a quarter final tie with Spain. The game ended 0-0 but England finally achieved the impossible and won a penalty shootout. That glory didn’t last long as in the next round we lost on penalties to eventual winners Germany; I won’t dwell on Southgate’s saved spot kick…
The World Cup in 1982 was held in Spain and was unique to say the least. The round 1 group stage had 4 teams but only 2 points were awarded for a win. England won all 3 games to take the maximum 6 points which included an impressive 3-1 win over France. On to round 2 and the second group stage of 3 teams with only the winner of the group advancing. This format did away with the last 16 and quarter final. England drew both games 0-0 against West Germany and hosts Spain, but thanks to Germany’s 2-1 over Spain they advanced and England were going home. It’s not all bad news though; we still have this shirt and hair to look at.
World Cup 1966. You didn’t think I was going to leave this shirt out did you? It makes the number 1 spot not just because England won the World Cup wearing it but I am a big fan of less is more when it comes to football shirts. A red shirt with the crest, what more do you need? That and I’ve always preferred England playing in red. England made full use of home field advantage playing all their games at Wembley to find themselves in the final against the old enemy, West Germany. The game finished 2-2 and went into extra time, cue Geoff Hurst and years of controversy. Did the ball cross the line? The Russian linesman thought so and that’s good enough for me. Hurst went on to complete his hat-trick and England won the World Cup 4-2. In the words of Kenneth Wolstenholme, “They think it’s all over. It is now”
A special mention. Isn’t this a thing of beauty? I’ll let you decide if I mean the shirt or David Seaman.