England is one of seven national teams to have won the FIFA World Cup, which they did in 1966 when they hosted the finals.
They defeated West Germany 4–2 in extra time in the Final. England share with France the record of having one World Cup victory. Since then England's best performance at a World Cup was reaching the semi-finals in 1990, losing to West Germany on penalties. They remain a prominent team on the global stage, rarely dropping outside of the top ten rankings of FIFA. England also reached the semi-finals of the UEFA European Championship in 1968 and 1996. They were the most successful of the Home Nations in the British Home Championship with 54 wins (including 20 shared wins) before the competition.
Traditionally, England's greatest rivals have been Scotland, who were their opponents in the first-ever international football match in 1870. Since regular fixtures against Scotland came to an end in the late 1980s, other rivalries have become more prominent. Matches with Argentina and Germany have produced particularly eventful encounters. England's home ground is Wembley Stadium in London.
Before Wembley, London was opened and England had no permanent home ground. England joined FIFA in 1906, playing its first ever games against nations from outside the British Home Championship on a tour of Central Europe in 1908. However, the relationship between the two was strained, resulting in the British nations' departure from FIFA in 1928, before rejoining in 1946. As a result, England did not compete in a World Cup until 1950, in which they were beaten in a 1–0 defeat against the United States, failing to get past the first round. England's first ever defeat on home soil to a non-UK team was a 0–2 loss to Ireland on 21 September 1949 at Goodison Park, Liverpool. A 6–3 loss in 1953 to Hungary was England's first ever defeat to a non-UK team at Wembley. In the return match in Budapest, Hungary won 7–1, which still stands as England's worst ever defeat.
Sven-Göran Eriksson took charge of the team between 2001 and 2006 and was the first non-English manager of England. Despite controversial press coverage of his personal life, Eriksson was consistently popular with the majority of fans and England enjoyed some success with top qualifying place in two World Cup tournaments and Euro 2004, losing only five competitive matches during his tenure and rising to a (joint) record FIFA No.4 world ranking for the English national team during the 2006 World Cup under his guidance. Eriksson's contract was extended by The FA by two years to include Euro 2008 prior to being terminated by them at the conclusion of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Steve McCLaren was appointed as the head coach following the 2006 World Cup. The reign was marked with little success, with England failing to qualify for the 2008 European Championships. McClaren left on 22 November 2007, after only 16 months in charge and making him the shortest tenured full time England manager ever since the inauguration of the post in 1946.
He was replaced on 14 December 2007 by the former Real Madrid and AC Milan manager Fabio Capello. The Italian is the second foreign manager to coach England, after Eriksson, and took charge of his first game on 6 February 2008 against Switzerland. England won 2–1. England have enjoyed more success under Capello, having won all but one of their qualifying games for the 2010 World Cup. A 5-1 victory over Croatia at Wembley Stadium ensured the team qualified for the final tournament with two games to spare, a feat that has never been achieved before.
COACH: Fabio Capello
Wayne Rooney (Manchester united): Plays at the forward and is currently topping the list of goals scoring in the English premier league. He has been a very instrumental player for his country with a very high scoring ability.
John Terry (Chelsea): A defender who is not easy to break through. Formally English national team captain but just lost it a month ago due to misconduct.
Rio Ferdinand: Plays at the defence and is presently England national team captain
England with one of the World’s most capped players will be coming to South Africa to make it for the second time. Although having an ageing team, experience is going to take its course.