International Football

Ranking the 5 Greatest England vs. Uruguay Clashes

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

Ranking the 5 Greatest England vs. Uruguay Clashes

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    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    England vs. Uruguay is hardly the most decorated fixture in world football, but this week, they meet for arguably their biggest game in historya crucial World Cup group game that feels like it could be a winner-takes-all affair.

    Both sides suffered defeats in their opening Group D matches, with the pressure now firmly on to collect three points on Thursday. If England win, they know a victory over Costa Rica in their final group game will see them qualify for the round of 16.

    They've met 10 times in the past—only twice in World Cups—with Uruguay edging the head-to-head by four wins to England's three.

    Here are five of the best.

1969: Uruguay 1-2 England

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    Peter Kemp/Associated Press

    Three years after winning the World Cup on home soil, Alf Ramsey's England beat Uruguay 2-1 in Montevideo, with goals from Francis Lee and Geoff Hurst.

    Bobby Moore captained the side, with Colin Bell, Alan Ball and Alan Mullery all featuring. It was a golden period in England's history. 

1966: England 0-0 Uruguay

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    Associated Press

    En route to their only ever World Cup triumph, England drew 0-0 with Uruguay in a tense affair. It was the opening match of the tournament played in front of over 87,000 people at Wembley Stadium.

    Interestingly, Martin Peters and Hurst, who would go on to play a key role in England's win over West Germany in the final, started this one on the bench. 

2006: England 2-1 Uruguay

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Ahead of the 2006 World Cup, Sven-Goran Eriksson invited Uruguay to Anfield for a match designed to test his fringe players.

    An entertaining game dominated by England finished 2-1 to the hosts, with man of the match Joe Cole scoring one and assisting another.

    England fell behind to an incredible 30-yard Omar Pouso volley—his first for his country—before Peter Crouch equalised with a header from a Cole cross with 15 minutes left. Cole's last-minute winner gave England the win and boosted his chances of making the 23-man World Cup squad. 

    It was an entertaining game with late drama and a couple of excellent goals. 

1990: England 1-2 Uruguay

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    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    Ahead of Italia '90, England arranged a friendly with Uruguay in what turned out to be a great game.

    Uruguay scored a goal of real quality to open the scoring and stun the Wembley crowd. Having won the ball in midfield, a quick breakaway move ended with a brilliant header from Santiago Ostolaza, which left Peter Shilton with no chance.

    Howeer, Bobby Robson's England had plenty of class themselves.

    When Stuart Pearce crossed from the left, there seemed little danger—until John Barnes chested the ball down and hit a wonderful, left-footed half-volley into the top corner.

    Just 10 minutes later, England were 2-1 down. A free-kick from Jose Batlle Perdomo beat Shilton at his near side. It finished 2-1, leaving Robson with plenty to ponder ahead of the World Cup.

    This was a thoroughly entertaining friendly featuring an array of England's finest talents, from Barnes and Shilton to Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne. 

1954: Uruguay 4-2 England

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    Associated Press

    England's only other World Cup match with Uruguay ended in a 4-2 defeat in the quarter-finals at St. Jakob-Park in Switzerland.

    Carlos Borges put Uruguay in front, but Nat Lofthouse soon brought England level. The class of the Uruguayans began to tell, though, and they went 3-1 up with goals from Obdulio Jacinto Varela and Juan Alberto Schiaffino.

    Tom Finney gave England hope with just over 20 minutes remaining, but Javier Ambrois' late goal reasserted his side's dominance.

    Uruguay went on to lose to Hungary in the semi-finals, before a defeat to Austria in the third-place playoff. 

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