England have just one major international silverware to their name – the 1966 World Cup – and fell short in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, losing to France. 

The Three Lions are the only team to have won the World Cup at senior level, but not their major continental title. They came close in 2021 only to lose the final of the rescheduled European Championship (Euro 2020) to Italy. 

The Nations League trophy has also eluded them, and here is a look at how England have performed at the tournament and others they have featured in since becoming an official national team in 1872.

FIFA WORLD CUP 

Hosts: Brazil 

Year: 1950

Best Performance: First Round 

Notable games: United States v England 

Spain v England 

The fourth edition of the World Cup was the Three Lions’ debut at the tournament, and they were drawn in Group 2 of the first round alongside Chile, Spain and the United States.

A 2-0 win over the South Americans put them in a commanding position in their group, but they suffered a shocking 1-0 defeat at the hands of the North Americans.

The loss to the USA is regarded as one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, and Spain also got the better of Walter Winterbottom-managed England by a lone goal in the last group game, leading to their elimination.

Hosts: Switzerland 

Year: 1954

Best Performance: Quarter-final

Notable games: Uruguay v England 

England topped Group 4 following a 4-4 draw with Belgium and a 2-0 win over Switzerland.

They did not play against Italy as the World Cup edition did not allow seeded teams in the same group to face each other.

The Three Lions, led again by Winterbottom, met Uruguay in the quarter-finals, succumbing to a 4-2 loss and getting eliminated.

Hosts: Sweden 

Year: 1958

Best Performance: Group 4

Notable games: Brazil v England 

Winterbottom led England to their third World Cup, and they were drawn alongside Austria, Brazil and the Soviet Union in the same group.

They were held to a 2-2 draw with the Soviet Union and a goalless draw with Brazil.

Their last group game with Austria also ended in a 2-2 draw, and with the Soviet Union also on three points and with the same goal difference having also scored four goals and shipped four, a play-off was needed to decide the second-placed team in the group.

However, the Three Lions lost 1-0, suffering elimination as a result.

Hosts: Chile

Year: 1962

Best Performance: Quarter-finals 

Notable games: England v Argentina 

Brazil v England 

Winterbottom’s England were drawn in Group 4 with Hungary, Argentina and Bulgaria, and they lost 2-0 to Hungary, won 3-1 against the South Americans and drew 0-0 with Bulgaria, finishing second in the group as a result. 

The Three Lions met Brazil in the last-eight, suffering a 3-1 defeat that signalled Winterbottom’s last match in charge of the national side.

Hosts: England 

Year: 1966

Best Performance: First Place 

Notable games: England v Uruguay 

England v France 

England v Argentina

England v Portugal 

England v West Germany 

Alf Ramsey took over the Three Lions in 1963 and was instrumental to their only major international success to date.

His side were drawn in Group 1 alongside France, Mexico and Uruguay, and a goalless draw with the South Americans was followed by 2-0 wins over the French and Mexicans. That saw England top their group, and they faced Argentina in the quarterfinals, with Geoff Hurst’s goal helping them to a 1-0 victory and a place in the semifinals against Portugal. 

A Bobby Charlton brace put the hosts ahead with 10 minutes left on the clock, but Eusebio pulled one back for the Portuguese from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute. England held on to their lead to set up a meeting in the final with West Germany. Die Mannschaft raced into the lead 12 minutes into the game via Helmut Haller, but Hurst drew the Three Lions level six minutes later.

Martin Peters’ 78th-minute goal put England ahead, but their hearts were broken when Germany equalised through Wolfgang Weber in the 89th minute.

However, Hurst grabbed two more goals in extra-time to guide the country to victory, and his record of a hat-trick in a World Cup final was finally matched by Kylian Mbappe in 2022.

England played all their games at Wembley Stadium.

Hosts: Mexico 

Year: 1970

Best Performance: Quarter-finals

Notable games: England v Brazil 

West Germany v England 

Ramsey also led the Three Lions to their next World Cup and they were drawn in Group 3 alongside Brazil, Romania and Czechoslovakia.

Their title defence started with a 1-0 victory over Romania, but they lost 1-0 to Brazil.

A 1-0 win over Czechoslovakia helped them finish second in the group, and that saw them come up against West Germany in the quarterfinals.

It was a repeat of the 1966 final, and while England raced to a two-goal lead, thanks to goals from Alan Mullery and Martin Peters, Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler scored for the Germans in the 70th and 81st minutes, respectively to force the game into extra-time.

Gerd Müller grabbed the winner to send England packing, and the game was Charlton’s last for the country, making him the player with the most international caps (106) for the Three Lions to date.

Hosts: Spain 

Year: 1982

Best Performance: Quarter-finals

Notable games: England v France 

West Germany v England 

Spain v England 

England returned to the World Cup after missing the last two editions, with Ron Greenwood as manager.

They topped Group 4 following a 3-1 win over France, a 2-0 victory over Czechoslovakia and a 1-0 win over Kuwait.

The Three Lions advanced to the second group stage which also served as the quarter-finals, and they were grouped with West Germany and Spain in Group B.

They drew both games and did not score, and that marked the end of their journey at the tournament, with West Germany progressing to the semifinals after topping the group.

Hosts: Mexico 

Year: 1986

Best Performance: Quarter-finals 

Notable games: Portugal v England 

Argentina v England

Bobby Robson managed England at their next World Cup, helping them finish second in Group F following a 1-0 loss to Portugal, a goalless draw with Morocco and a 3-0 win over Poland.

They met Paraguay in the last-16, securing a 3-0 victory before meeting Argentina in the quarterfinals, where they suffered a 2-1 defeat.

Diego Maradona scored both goals for the South Americans, with the first guided in by his hand when he leapt for a header. 

The goal became popularly known as the Hand of God.

The second saw him dribble from inside Argentina’s half and around several English players before scoring.

Hosts: Italy 

Year: 1990

Best Performance: Semi-finals 

Notable games: England v Belgium 

Cameroon v England 

West Germany v England 

Robson also led the Three Lions to the next World Cup, helping them finish top of Group F following a 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland, a goalless draw with the Netherlands and a 1-0 win over Egypt.

They met Belgium in the last-16 and were victorious, running out 1-0 winners after extra-time.

They also won their quarter-finals encounter with Cameroon, running out 3-2 winners after extra-time before meeting West Germany in the semis.

They played out 1-1 and ultimately lost 4-3 through penalty kick-off.

Hosts: France 

Year: 1998

Best Performance: Round of 16

Notable games: Argentina v England 

Graham Taylor failed to help England qualify for the 1994 World Cup and Glenn Hoddle was tasked with helping them reach the following edition.

England were drawn in Group G alongside Colombia, Romania and Tunisia, and they finished second in the group after a 2-0 win over the Africans, a  2-1 loss to Romania and a 2-0 victory over the South Americans.

They met Argentina in the last-16, losing 4-3 on penalties after playing out a 2-2 draw after extra-time. Full highlights of that game can be seen below:

Hosts: South Korea/Japan

Year: 2002

Best Performance: Quarter-final 

Notable games: Argentina v England 

England v Brazil 

England’s first-ever foreign manager Sven-Göran Eriksson guided the side to a second-place finish in Group F following a 1-1 draw with Sweden, a 1-0 win over Argentina and a goalless draw with Nigeria.

They met Denmark in the last-16, strolling to a 3-0 victory before meeting Brazil in the quarterfinals.

They lost 2-1 despite taking the lead via Michael Owen, with a free-kick from Ronaldinho catching David Seaman off his line and condemning the team to a painful defeat.

Hosts: Germany 

Year: 2006

Best Performance: Quarterfinals

Notable games: Sweden v England 

England v Portugal 

Eriksson also led the Three Lions to the next World Cup, and they topped Group B following a 1-0 win over Paraguay, a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago and a 2-2 draw with Sweden.

England secured a 1-0 win over Ecuador in the last-16 thanks to a free kick from David Beckham, but they lost 3-1 to Portugal in the quarterfinals on penalty after both sides went goalless at the end of 120 minutes.

That was the Swede’s last game in charge of England.

Hosts: South Africa 

Year: 2010

Best Performance: Round of 16

Notable games: England v USA

Fabio Capello was in charge of the side at their following World Cup, helping them finish in second place in Group C following a 1-1 draw with the United States, a goalless draw with Algeria and a 1-0 win over Slovenia.

They lost 4-1 to Germany in controversial circumstances in the last-16.

Frank Lampard pulled one back for England while they were 2-0 down, but the goal was not counted despite replays confirming that it had crossed the goal-line before it bounced back and was caught by Manuel Neuer:


FIFA’s refusal to implement goal-line technology ahead of the World Cup was widely criticised.

Hosts: Brazil 

Year: 2014

Best Performance: Group Stage 

Notable games: England v Italy 

Uruguay v England 

Roy Hodgson had been in charge for two years by the time England played at their next World Cup, but he failed to get them out of Group D as they finished bottom after 2-1 losses to Italy and Uruguay and a goalless draw with Costa Rica.

It is their worst performance at a World Cup to date.

Hosts: Russia 

Year: 2018

Best Performance: Semi-finals 

Notable games: England v Belgium 

Croatia v England

Belgium v England 

Gareth Southgate was in charge of the national team at the following World Cup after they parted with Hodgson in 2016 and Sam Allardyce lasted just a game.

They finished second in Group G after a 2-1 win over Tunisia, a 6-1 victory over Panama and a 1-0 loss to Belgium. 

The Three Lions met Colombia in the last-16, running out 4-3 winners on penalty after playing 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes.

They got the better of Sweden in the quarterfinals, winning 2-0 before losing 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-finals after extra-time.

Belgium pipped them to the third-place play-off, winning 2-0.

UEFA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 

Hosts: Italy 

Year: 1968

Best Performance: Third Place 

Notable games: England v Spain 

Yugoslavia v England 

Hosts: Italy 

Year: 1980

Best Performance: Group Stage 

Notable games: England v Italy 

Spain v England 

Hosts: West Germany 

Year: 1988

Best Performance: Group Stage 

Notable games: England v Netherlands 

Hosts: Sweden 

Year: 1992

Best Performance: Group Stage 

Notable games: France v England 

Hosts: England 

Year: 1996

Best Performance: Semi-finals 

Notable games: Scotland v England 

Netherlands v England 

Spain v England 

Germany v England 

Hosts: Belgium/Netherlands 

Year: 2000

Best Performance: Group stage 

Notable games: Portugal v England 

England v Germany 

Hosts: Portugal 

Year: 2004

Best Performance: Quarter-finals

Notable games: France v England 

Portugal v England 

Hosts: Poland/Ukraine 

Year: 2012

Best Performance: Quarter-finals

Notable games: France v England 

Sweden v England 

England v Italy 

Hosts: France 

Year: 2016

Best Performance: Round of 16

Notable games: England v Wales 

England v Iceland 

Hosts: Azerbaijan/Denmark/England/Germany/Hungary/Italy/Netherlands/Romania/Russia/Scotland/Spain

Year: 2020

Best Performance: Second place 

Notable games: England v Croatia 

England v Scotland 

England v Germany 

Ukraine v England 

England v Denmark 

Italy v England 

UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE 

Hosts: Portugal 

Year: 2018-19

Best Performance: Third place 

Notable games: England v Spain 

England v Croatia 

Netherlands v England 

Switzerland v England 

Hosts: Italy 

Year: 2020-21

Best Performance: Group Stage 

Notable games: England v Belgium 

England v Denmark 

Hosts: Netherlands 

Year: 2022-23

Best Performance: Relegation to League B

Notable games: Italy v England 

Germany v England

England v Hungary