(an article wrote by myself on the ITV sport website)
As England embark on a new qualifying campaign, Akhil Vyas looks back previous opening matches
World Cup 2010: 6th September 2008 – Andorra 0-2 England
England started their quest for South Africa with an unconvincing 2-0 win away to Andorra thanks to a double strike from Joe Cole. England started brightly with Theo Walcott running at the Andorran defence but things slowed up as half time approached which led to some frustration from the travelling England fans. Cole and Emile Heskey were introduced at the break and with two early goals from the-then Chelsea forward, the game become comfortable for Fabio Capello’s side.
Euro 2008: 2nd September 2006 – England 5-0 Andorra
England once again started their qualifiers with a game against Andorra but this time at home. England eased their way to a 5-0 victory thanks to goals from Peter Crouch (2), Jermain Defoe (2) and Steven Gerrard. Steve McClaren’s first game in charge started well and England were two-up inside 13 minutes through Crouch and Gerrard. Defoe then scored either side of half-time before Crouch completed the scoring on an easy night at Wembley.
World Cup 2006: 4th September 2004 – Austria 2-2 England
England stumbled in their first match of World Cup qualification throwing away a two goal lead in Vienna. Goals from Frank Lamapard and Steven Gerrard put England ahead but the lead was soon cut back when Roland Kollmann pulled a goal back. The night ended in misery for David James when the goalkeeper let Andreas Ivanschitz’s shot squirm underneath him to earn the hosts a point.
Euro 2004: 12th October 2002 – Slovakia 1-2 England
England started their Euro 2004 campaign with a 2-1 win over Slovakia despite falling behind to a goal from Middlesbrough striker Szilard Nemeth. A trademark David Beckham free-kick pulled England level with the winner coming from Michael Owen in the 82nd minute. Sadly the game will be remembered for the racist chanting aimed at Ashley Cole and Emile Heskey throughout the game.
World Cup 2002: 7th October 2000 – England 0-1 Germany
England said goodbye to the old Wembley Stadium with a depressing defeat to arch-rivals Germany which marked the end of Kevin Keegan’s reign. England went behind to a Dietmar Hamann free-kick in the 14th minute which squeezed past a diving David Seaman. England had few chances on a miserable day in north-west London and the team and manager were greeted by a chorus of boos at the final whistle which made up Keegan’s mind to leave.