Where Does England's World Cup 2014 Rank in Their All-Time Performances?

Rob Pollard@@RobPollard_Featured ColumnistJune 30, 2014

Where Does England's World Cup 2014 Rank in Their All-Time Performances?

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    Expectations going into the 2014 World Cup may have been the lowest in a long time, but England's performance was a huge disappointment nonetheless. Just one point gained and two goals scored, they finished bottom of their group and exited at the earliest possible juncture.

    According to Sam Wallace in The Independent, Roy Hodgson's position as manager is seemingly secure, with Greg Dyke, the chairman of the FA, suggesting he will lead England at Euro 2016 in France.

    But where does this campaign rank in comparison to previous World Cups? Having not entered the first three and failing to qualify for a further three, England have played at a total of 14 finals, and here we order their performances, taking into account number of wins, how many goals they scored, the quality of the football and at what stage they exited.

14. Brazil 2014

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    He would likely deny it, but Roy Hodgson must accept that he has just overseen England's worst-ever performance at a World Cup finals.

    No wins, a single point, just two goals scored, an exit inside a week of their campaign beginning—with the most damning element the fact that their group was average at best. Costa Rica won it at a canter, hardly a side to fill opponents with fear, resulting in England's first group-stage exit since 1958.

    Hodgson included a number of young players in his squad, and their experience will be vital, but aside from that one silver lining, their 2014 campaign was a complete disaster.

13. Sweden 1958

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    England have only exited at the group stage three times, one of which was 1958 in Sweden, where they drew all three of their group games. They finished level on points with the Soviet Union but lost the playoff between the two sides 1-0 and were dumped out.

    However, it was undoubtedly a better showing than this summer's, with England only losing one of their four games. They were also the only side in the group to take points off Brazil, who went on to win the tournament.


12. Brazil 1950

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    England's only other group-stage exit was another World Cup in Brazil, this time the 1950 event, which was won by Uruguay.

    England finished second in Group 2, but only one team went through in what was a very different format to the one used today. A 2-0 win over Chile in their first match set England up to qualify, but defeats against the USA and Spain saw them exit early.

11. South Africa 2010

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    England's 2010 World Cup campaign was characterised by their dull brand of football. Fabio Capello was an overpaid manager who underperformed, and the 4-1 defeat to Germany in the round of 16 was one of the most comprehensive defeats they've suffered at a major tournament.

    Finishing second in their group was their downfall. Draws against the USA and Algeria, followed by a 1-0 win against Slovenia meant the USA topped the group. It was three dreadful performances, and England were lucky to qualify at all.

    As soon as a world-class side were put in front of them, they were outclassed completely. The defeat to Germany in Bloemfontein will always be remembered for Frank Lampard's wrongly disallowed goal, but the truth is Germany were far superior.

    It was a World Cup to forget for England and Capello.

10. Switzerland 1954

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    England reached the quarter-final in Switzerland in 1954 become succumbing to Uruguay.

    They topped their group after a draw with Belgium and a win over the host nation, but they lost 4-2 to Uruguay in their first knockout match.

    A different format meant they only had to play two group matches. It was a less rigorous test than more recent England sides have had to face.

9. Chile 1962

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    England's group-stage record of one win, one draw and one defeat saw them finish second in the group, just ahead of Argentina, who took the same number of points, on goal average.

    England lost their opening match to Hungary, but a convincing 3-1 win over Argentina in their second match got their campaign on track, with the 0-0 draw against Bulgaria seeing them into the quarter-finals.

    However, a 3-1 defeat to Brazil, the eventual winners, saw them go out.

8. Japan and South Korea 2002

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    England took five points from the 2002 group stage, finishing second behind Sweden and eliminating Argentina in the process.

    England drew 1-1 with Sweden in the opening match before a memorable 1-0 win over their old nemesis Argentina put them in a strong position to qualify. A 0-0 draw against Nigeria in the final group game denies them top spot.

    A convincing 3-0 win over Denmark in the round of 16 saw them progress to the quarter-finals with ease. Next up was Brazil, the favourites to win the trophy, and England went 1-0 up through Michael Owen. However, Brazil were far superior and were 2-1 up after 50 minutes, holding out to move into the semi-finals.

7. France 1998

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    Much like in 2010, England's failure to top their group proved to be their downfall. A 2-0 win over Tunisia started their campaign off nicely, but their last-minute defeat to Romania proved crucial. They won their final group game against Colombia 2-0 but finished one point behind Romania in second place, meaning they would face a tougher side in the round of 16.

    Indeed, England were drawn against Argentina, a side full of world-class stars, such as Juan Veron, Gabriel Batistuta and Diego Simeone. Batistuta gave Argentina the lead from the spot, but England's Alan Shearer scored a penalty of his own moments later to level things up.

    Michael Owen then scored one of the most memorable World Cup goals, a wonderful solo effort that gave England a 2-1 lead, but Javier Zanetti equalised.

    David Beckham was sent off for flicking a foot out at Simeone, but the match went to extra time and then penalties. David Batty missed the crucial spot-kick, and England were out.

6. Germany 2006

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    England took seven points from a possible nine in Group B, meaning they topped the group and progressed comfortably. Wins over Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago, followed by a 2-2 draw with Sweden, meant Sven-Goran Eriksson's side scored five and conceded just two, setting up a round-of-16 match with Ecuador.

    The Ecuadorians made it tough for England, but David Beckham's goal saw them through after with a 1-0 win. A quarter-final date with Portugal lay in wait. The quality of football England had produced by this stage, though, was poor.

    After 120 minutes of football in the quarter-final, the match was goalless and went to penalties. However, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher missed, and Portugal won the shootout 3-1.

    It was a narrow, agonising way to lose, denying England a semi-final match with France.


5. Mexico 1970

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    One-nil wins over Romania and Czechoslovakia were enough to see England through the group phase, despite losing 1-0 to Brazil in their second game. England looked solid at the back and fancied their chances in the knockout stage.

    However, a 3-2 extra-time defeat to West Germany saw them exit the tournament early once again, with the side led by Franck Beckenbauer a 108th-minute winner through Gerd Muller, who finished the tournament as top scorer with 10 goals.

    Bobby Moore's tackle and Gordon Banks' save from Pele remain two truly memorable moments, and many believe Banks' absence in the West Germany match was England's downfall.

4. Spain 1982

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    In 1982, England topped their group with a 100 percent record, beating France 3-1 in their opening game, before a 2-0 win over Czechoslovakia and a 1-0 win over Kuwait confirmed their dominance.

    However, the Spain '82 World Cup didn't move into a knockout phase after the first group stage. Instead, a second group of three followed. England were drawn against Germany and Spain and remained unbeaten, drawing both of their matches 0-0. They finished second, one point behind West Germany, who had crucially beaten Spain, meaning England exited undefeated.

3. Mexico 1986

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    England's campaign at Mexico '86 began with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Portugal, before a goalless draw with Morocco and a comfortable 3-0 win over Poland courtesy of a Gary Lineker hat-trick saw them progress in second place.

    England then beat Paraguay 3-0 after another two goals from Lineker and another from Peter Beardsley saw them through. Momentum, it seemed, was gaining.

    However, a 2-1 defeat to Argentina, which saw Maradona score two of the most memorable goals in World Cup history, saw England exit at the quarter-final stage once more.

    The difference between the two sides was undoubtedly the brilliance of Maradona, who led his side to the trophy.

2. Italy 1990

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    England finished fourth at Italia '90 after a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to West Germany.

    Bobby Robson's side topped their group in slightly unconvincing fashion. Draws with the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands meant they needed a win in their final group match to be sure of finishing top. A narrow 1-0 win over Egypt did the job, and England were safely through to the round of 16.

    A 1-0 extra-time win over Belgium and a thrilling 3-2 win over Cameroon in the quarter-finals continued England's slightly stuttering progress, before defeat to West Germany on penalties ended their campaign in cruel fashion, with Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missing crucial penalties.

    A 2-1 defeat to Italy in the third-place playoff meant England finished fourth, but it was a memorable campaign. With John Barnes, David Platt, Gary Lineker, Paul Gascoigne and Bryan Robson, this was one of the most talented groups of English players in their history.


1. England 1966

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    England's one and only World Cup triumph, completed on home soil in 1966, remains their finest showing by some distance. They played six matches in total, winning five and drawing one, scoring 11 goals en route to victory.

    They finished top of their group without conceding a single goal, beating Mexico and France, and drawing 0-0 with Uruguay.

    A 1-0 win over Argentina in the quarter-finals and a 2-1 win over Portugal in the semi-finals saw England into the final, which they won in extra-time against West Germany. The game finished 2-2 in normal time after an 89th-minute West German equaliser, but Geoff Hurst completed a hat-trick with two goals in extra time to seal a 4-2 victory.