Today’s history lesson is about to begin. Please make yourself comfortable.

The dark days of England. They were known as the dark ages because nothing was recorded. Why wasn’t anything written down ? Well because the England team failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals in the 1970’s. Twice. That’s why.

For the ’74 WC qualifiers England’s group only had 3 teams: England, Wales and Poland (who went through to the finals). England won one match [v Wales] and then drew the other two.
Snippet via Wikipedia:

England had also been spectacularly denied a win over Poland that would have secured qualification, by outstanding play from the Polish goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski.

The 1974 World Cup Finals were held in West Germany and the hosts found themselves in the same group as East Germany. Their game, which attracted massive interest, was won by East Germany and they topped the group. West Germany with Beckenbauer went on to win in the final against a Holland team which included Johan Cruyff.

Although England failed to get there, Scotland qualified and were placed in a group along with Brazil, Zaire and Yugoslavia.

– A notable thing about this group was that Brazil, Scotland and Yugoslavia all got 4 points, but Scotland were eliminated on goal difference. (Finished 3rd).

England 76-77 Home Team - click to view larger

Qualifying for the next tournament England’s group included Italy and despite winning 5 matches and losing only 1 (against Italy 2-0 away), only the top team went to the Finals. England finished on the same points as Italy (who they beat on the home return match, again 2-0) but the Italian’s goal difference was better.

1978_FIFA_World_Cup_logo.svgThe 1978 World Cup Finals were held in Argentina and like the ’74 World Cup the hosts won the tournament. The Argentinian team included Ricardo Villa and one Osvaldo Ardiles, who we all know what happened to them. Once again Holland made it to the final, but once again they were beaten.

Also returning for the finals were Scotland, with Archie Gemmill scoring that goal which got featured in that scene in Trainspotting.

So after these 8 years in the wilderness. After watching the matches for those previous tournaments in the pub, getting a ribbing from their Scotia mates. The next World Cup approached and we thought. This time…

England 1982 Squad - This Time We'll Get It Right

» England 1982 World Cup Squad – This Time (We’ll Get It Right)

» England 1982 World Cup Squad – England, We’ll Fly The Flag

Ahh do I detect a hint of a kazoo in there…

Something of interest if you like collecting that sort of thing » have a 7″ limited edition picture disc.

1982 World Cup logoThe 1982 World Cup Finals were held in Spain and England won their group in fine style (P3 W3) but with these finals there was another sort of “mini group” stage with the 2nd round. There were three teams who played each other but only the winner of these second round groups went through. England were in with West Germany and Spain, but they drew both their games and were out.

Scotland also qualified for their third World Cup in a row. But this time… they were home before the postcards.

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