England’s first semi-final in 28 years? No it wasn’t! England’s first semi-final in 28 years? No it wasn’t!
England’s first semi-final in 28 years brought a nation together and once again made fans proud of their team. But while the majority of... England’s first semi-final in 28 years? No it wasn’t!

England’s first semi-final in 28 years brought a nation together and once again made fans proud of their team.

But while the majority of the country were left disappointed after the loss to Croatia when a Final against France was in their grasp, some people were keen to point out that England have been to the last four of the World Cup more recently than 1990.


It’s clear to most that the statements were time-relevant and made in reference to the tournament currently drawing to a close to Russia. But in this time of equality, fans of the England women’s team were quick to remind people that the Lionesses had reached the same stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup only three years ago.

Channel Four, in particular, were desperate to right the many ‘wrongs’ reported recently, with no little smugness, after Gareth Southgate had guided the men’s team to only their third ever World Cup semi.

And while their tweet was partly true – and it was a remarkable achievement for the England women’s team that also lifted a nation proud of its football heritage – if you’re trying to be equal and inclusive, using the term ‘World Cup’ as a catch-all for every football world championship, then you must be go the whole hog.

There are more than two ‘World Cups’ in the beautiful game; male and female, different age groups, disability competitions, five a side, beach. We reckon there are at least 13 football tournaments played by national teams involving nations from all over the globe. Probably more.

And, as England Cerebral Palsy captain Jack Rutter reminded Channel Four – the broadcaster who screened Rutter and his GB Team as they competed at the 2016 Paralympic games – his Three Lions side played in the World Cup semi-final last year.

There were two other England sides who did well at World Cups in 2017, too. Extremely well, in fact. The U20s and U17s both became champions last summer to give the English game a shot in the arm and hope for the future.

Let’s not forget the England veterans team, either. The Three Lions have been represented by Harrogate Veterans FC at the Seniors World Cup in Thailand for the last eleven years, winning five times, including this year when they beat Scotland in the Final.

So, yes, many England teams have reached World Cup semi-finals during the last 28 years, and we’ve listed a few of them below. But on the night the England men’s team go out of the World Cup with 30m-plus fans watching on their TV screens, just let the nation drown their sorrows without bringing politics into it – and making a ghastly error.

We hope cricket, rugby and many other sports don’t feel left out, either…

England’s Football ‘World Cup’ semi-final appearances

1966: England Men’s Seniors (Winners)
1981: England Men’s U20s
1990: England Men’s Seniors
1993: England Men’s 20s
1995: England Men’s Beach
2002: England Men’s Learning Disability (Winners)
2003: England Men’s Homeless
2010: England Men’s Blind (B1)
2013: England Men’s Blind / Partially Sighted (B2)
2013: England Men’s Blind / Partially Sighted (B2)
2015: England Women’s Seniors
2016: England Veterans (Winners)
2017: England Veterans (Winners)
2017: England Men’s U20s (Winners)
2017: England Men’s U17s (Winners)
2017: England Men’s Cerebral Palsy
2018: England Veterans (Winners)
2018: England Men’s Seniors