24 England lessons we've learned from 50 years of failure: Roy, fetch your notes

Gareth Southgate, Terry Venables and Don Howe
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9. Don’t believe the hype

Euro 1984 qualifying

“England on easy street” cried the Express as the Three Lions were drawn with Luxembourg, Hungary, Greece and Denmark. England didn’t qualify.

10. Be prepared to go for broke

1986 World Cup, Mexico

With key men out of form, banned or injured for the do-or-die final group game, Bobby Robson made four changes and stumbled across his best team, progressing to the last 16, then the quarter finals. Lesson #2: nobble Diego Maradona.

11. Don’t lose your opening game

Euro 1988, West Germany

With games against the Dutch and the Soviet Union to come (the two eventual finalists), defeat to the Republic of Ireland proved fatal.

12. Practice penalties

1990 World Cup, Italy

See also: 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2012.


England's Italia '90 squad were the first England side to suffer a penalty shootout exit

13. Pick in-form players

Euro 1992, Sweden

How to avoid being called a turnip in Britain’s biggest tabloid: don’t leave Ian Wright and Chris Waddle at home after their best seasons.

14. Don’t star in a documentary

1994 World Cup, USA

That said, An Impossible Job featuring Graham Taylor was the best thing to come out of the USA '94 qualifying campaign.

15. Take your chances

Euro 1996, England

England’s most avoidable shootout defeat saw opportunities wasted in normal and extra time. If you don’t like penalties, don’t let it get to that.

16. Top your group

1998 World Cup, France

A careless last-minute defeat to Romania in Group G left England facing Argentina in the last 16. Ten men or not, it was always goingto be a tough ask. Win your group and the chances are that your second-round draw will be more favourable.