England’s Three Most Humiliating Exits at Major Tournament

December 6, 2016 | Filed Under: Blog 


England’s failures at major tournaments have been a trend since 1966. They have only escalated in the modern era with high-profile disappointments at the World Cup and Euro 2016. The Three Lions are desperately attempting to shed the image of failure, but even holding on to a two-goal lead against Spain in their recent friendly in the last minute proved too much for them to handle. They drew the contest 2-2 at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate is the leading contender for the full-time position to replace Sam Allardyce. If this is the case, he will be charged with guiding England back to glory, although he will face a challenge given that his team are backed at 16/1 in the latest international betting odds to win the 2018 World Cup. However, a bigger achievement for Southgate would be to avoid another embarrassing exit from a major tournament. Will he be able to dodge an appearance on the list like below in the future?

England 1-2 Iceland (Euro 2016)

The Three Lions put in three underwhelming performances in the group stage taking only maximum points from their clash with Wales, while drawing against Russia and Slovenia. Fate appeared to be on their side by handing them a clash against lowly Iceland, although they had battled well to reach the second phase of the competition.

Wayne Rooney’s penalty appeared to put Roy Hodgson’s men on the path to a simple victory, only for Ragnar Sigurdsson to equalise within a minute whilst exposing England’s poor defense. Matters got worse for the Three Lions when Kolbeinn Sigthorsson fired Iceland ahead with a strike from the edge of the box which went through Joe Hart’s hands. England were paralysed by fear and unable to respond in the 70 remaining minutes. This culminated in their exit from the tournament and ending Hodgson’s tenure.

United States 1-0 England (1950 World Cup)

The Three Lions were considered one of the favourites to lift the trophy in their first appearance at the World Cup. However, Walter Winterbottom’s men failed to rise to the occasion, losing to an amateur outfit from the States. It cost them their place in the competition.

England’s starting line-up included stars such as Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney. But they were unable to break through the Yank’s defense before Joe Gaetjens scored the only goal of the game to secure the victory for the USA in Belo Horizonte.

England 1-2 Sweden (Euro 1992)

Under Graham Taylor the Three Lions struggled immensely in the tournament, drawing their opening two matches without scoring a goal against Denmark and France. The failure to record a victory in either contest heaped pressure on their final match of the group stage against host nation Sweden at the Rasunda Stadium.

England got off to a bright start with David Platt firing them ahead in the fourth minute. However, Taylor’s men unravelled after half time as Jan Eriksson brought Sweden level before Tomas Brolin netted eight minutes from time. The Three Lions were sent home. The result culminated in one of the more infamous newspaper headlines, describing Taylor and his team as ‘turnips’.



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