“Watching Uruguay v Chile in the Copa América, I noticed that the manager of Chile, Martín Lasarte, was himself Uruguayan. How many times have England played teams managed by an Englishman?” wonders Thom Walsh.
“I have to admit to being very bored hence spending a few hours researching this,” writes Dan Almond, who has saved us the hard graft and detailed 19 occasions England have faced an English-managed international team. Here we go:
Mike Smith: Egypt 0-4 England 29 Jan 1986, England 0-0 Wales 23 May 1979, Wales 1-3 England 13 May 1978, England 0-1 Wales 31 May 1977, Wales 0-1 England 08 May 1976, Wales 1-2 England 24 March 1976, England 2-2 Wales 25 May 1975.
Jack Charlton: Republic of Ireland 1-0 England 15 February 1995, England 1-1 Republic of Ireland 27 March 1991, Republic of Ireland 1-1 England 14 Nov 1990, England 1-1 Republic of Ireland 13 June 1990, England 0-1 Republic of Ireland 12 June 1988.
Denis Neville: Netherlands 1-1 England 9 December 1964.
Bob Glendenning: Netherlands 0-1 England 18 May 1935.
Bill Gormlie: Belgium 2-5 England 21 September 1947, Belgium 1-4 England 18 May 1950, England 5-0 Belgium 26 November 1952.
Jack Butler: Belgium 3-2 England 09 May 1936.
Roy Hodgson: England 3-1 Switzerland 15 November 1995.
“As a long-suffering Crystal Palace fan, I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog,” begins Liam Curson, “and was delighted to see Atlético and Lille give the dominant teams in their leagues a bloody nose this year. However, I think the first season of football I can remember taking an interest in, 2003-04, may well be the greatest ever season for underdogs. Just look at the list of teams who created upsets:
“If we get a bit more obscure (I tried to prove my point as much as I could) Banik Ostrava won their only Czech League title, Millwall and Bolton were the runners-up in the FA Cup and League Cup, and Ligue 2 LB Châteauroux reached the Coupe de France final, Sochaux won the French League Cup and FC Utrecht the KNVB Cup (although the latter two teams were going through a minor heyday; Sochaux reached three cup finals in five years, winning two, and for FC Utrecht this was their second KNVB cup in a row). Can anyone think of a season where more underdogs took home trophies?”
Kyle Brown takes us back exactly 20 years for a tournament-winning streak of clean sheets in South America. “Colombia went through the entirety of the 2001 Copa América (played at home, conveniently) without conceding a goal,” he writes. “In fairness to them, they did score 11 on the way, so they didn’t just sneak through by doing the bare minimum or on penalties. This is their only ever Copa América title, and they probably got a bit of help with Argentina pulling out at the 11th hour and not facing Brazil, who somehow got knocked out by Honduras.”
“With National League Altrincham and Wrexham both managed by Phil Parkinson[s], when they meet will it be the first time both managers have shared the same name?” asks Matthew Hague.
The short answer is no, Matthew. “As Altrincham and Wrexham are not due to play each other until December it won’t even be the first time it happens next season,” writes Chris Wiffin. “On 2 October Matt Taylor’s Exeter are due to play Matt Taylor’s Walsall.”
And Stijn has found a brilliant near miss from Belgium. “On 27 September 2020 and 28 January 2021, P Clement (C Brugge) faced off against P Clement (C Brugge). In his seven-month tenure as Cercle Brugge coach, Paul Clement twice lost 2-1 to reigning and eventual Belgian champions Club Brugge, coached by Philippe Clement.”
“Disappointed to see that neither Jonny Tuffey of Crusaders nor Republic of Ireland Under-17 keeper Jimmy Corcoran received a mention,” chides Darragh Smyth. “Both were dismissed during penalty shootouts after receiving second yellows for moving off their line (Tuffey received both of his yellow cards during the shootout). It does raise another question; has any outfield player ever received a red card during a penalty shootout?”
“I attended an entertaining evening match between Gillingham and
Stockport County in 2002 which finished 3-3 and was played in a howling gale,” writes Matthew Rudd. “Stockport keeper Andy Dibble conceded a penalty just before half-time and was booked; he was later sent off for a second bookable offence after the referee said he was timewasting. The truth was that Dibble had placed the ball for a goal-kick and the wind then blew it away, meaning he had to retrieve it and put it back.”
“With two pretty rubbish teams as host nations this year, which host country has fared worst in European Championship history,” wondered a rather judgmental Rory Saunders in June 2008.
Belgium’s 2000 benchmark of one win was, before this year’s tournament, the least any host had achieved since the introduction of the group stages in 1980. After their defeat to Germany, however, Austria – as widely anticipated – are now officially the worst ever hosts of a European Championship, with just one point to their name. Switzerland, meanwhile, thanks to their 2-0 win over Portugal’s reserves, actually leap above Belgium’s tally of eight years ago courtesy of a superior goal difference.
The Yugoslavia side of 1976 also deserve a mention, however, in the eyes of Jostein Nygård. As hosts of the semi-final stages Yugoslavia lost 4-2 to West Germany in their first game and 4-2 to the Netherlands in the third-place play-off.
Since 1980, the record of host nations in the European Championship have been generally excellent. Belgium were, before this year, the only host country not to make at least the semi-finals (In 1980, with group winners contesting the final, Italy lost a third-place play-off to Czechoslovakia).
“England didn’t face a higher ranked team at Euro 2020, with only Belgium (1) and France (2) being in that category. However, for all the stories of England outperforming, when was the last time England actually beat a higher-ranked team at a major tournament, and what is their success rate in this regard,” asks Dave Small.
“Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benítez’s appointment at Everton was surprising. Is there a more jaw-dropping example of a manager crossing an acrimonious derby divide (perhaps even directly),” asks George Jones.
“In the last of the four penalty shootouts to take place in international football in the space of six hours, Marvin Ceballos of Guatemala twice failed to convert his kick in a 10-9 loss on penalties to Guadeloupe in qualifying for the Concacaf Gold Cup. (Twelve penalties taken by each side, he was the only Guatemalan to take two). Has anyone else ever achieved this ignominious distinction?” wonders Rob Hick.