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How England have fared in World Cup openers ahead of Iran, including Rob Green howler and dramatic Harry Kane winner


WITH just one day to go until the World Cup kicks off, England are once again hoping to bring it home.

And ahead of the Three Lions opener against Iran, SunSport decided to take a look at how England tend to fare in their opening games of the World Cup since 1966.


England will be hoping to get off to a good start against Iran[/caption]


Harry Kane inspired England in 2018’s opener[/caption]

PA:Empics Sport

Bryan Robson scored a goal after just 27 seconds back in the 1980’s[/caption]


But Rob Green’s 2010 fumble showed the ugly side of England’s opening game history[/caption]

1970 – Romania 0 England 1

Starting from 1970, England kicked off their defence of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Romania thanks to a Geoff Hurst goal.

Sir Alf Ramsey’s side made it to the quarter-finals before a Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller inspired West Germany came from two goals down to beat England in extra-time, as Brazil went on the win the competition.

1982 – England 3 France 1

Having failed to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 tournaments, England announced their return to World Cup with a bang courtesy of a 3-1 win over France.

Bryan Robson’s opener after 27 seconds was a record until 2002, but after progressing into the second group stage with three wins from three England were then thwarted as West Germany progressed into the semi-finals from the second group stage.



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1986 – Portugal 1 England 0

Four years later, England suffered an opening game 1-0 defeat against Portugal. But a draw against Morocco and a 3-0 win over Poland were enough to secure passage into the last 16.

Another 3-0 win followed against Paraguay before the infamous hand of god from Diego Maradona saw England crash out of the tournament to eventual winners Argentina.

1990 – England 1 Rep of Ireland 1

A grudge match against the Republic of Ireland kicked off the campaign at Italia 90, where a draw was played out thanks to goals from Gary Lineker and Kevin Sheedy either side of half-time.

England made it all the way to semi-finals before being knocked out on penalties by West Germany just months before it united with its Eastern half.


1998 – England 2 Tunisia 0

After embarrassingly failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, England once again bounced back with a bang as goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes secured a 2-0 win against Tunisia.

England made it to the knock oust before once again falling foul on penalties in the last 16, this time to Argentina as David Beckham became public enemy No1 for his red card in that game.

2002 – England 1 Sweden 1

England started off the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea with a 1-1 draw against Sweden after Beckham’s qualifying heroics against Greece.

Sven Goran Eriksson’s squad progressed into the quarter-finals before being knocked out by eventual champions Brazil – who made up for losing the 1998 final to France thanks to Ronaldo’s brace against Germany.

2006 – England 1 Paraguay 0

The so-called golden generation got off to a winning, if not unspectacular, start with a 1-0 win over Paraguay.

And they went all the way to the quarter-finals before Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo inspired headlines saw the Three Lions go out on penalties for the third time at the World Cup.


Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were making all the headlines back in 2006 in the quarter-finals[/caption]

2010 – England 1 USA 1

Rob Green’s fumble against the USA was a glimpse of what was to come as England laboured to a 1-1 draw at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

England limped narrowly into the last 16 before being thumped 4-1 by Germany in a game still infamous for Frank Lampard’s ghost goal less than a minute after Matthew Upson’s opener.

2014 – England 1 Italy 2

Brazil 2014 saw England’s worst performance at a World Cup since 1996 as Roy Hodgson’s side failed to win a single game.

The opener against Italy saw England lose 2-1 to Italy, but the celebrations for Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser saw physio Gary Lewin leave the field on a stretcher with a dislocated ankle.

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2018 – Tunisia 1 England 2

After the embarrassment of 2014 and the 2016 Euros England were looking to turn the page, and that they did under Gareth Southgate.

Harry Kane headed home an injury-time winner against Tunisia to secure a 2-1 win during the opener of the last World Cup, when England broke their penalty curse against Colombia and made it all the way to semi-final’s.




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