Close rivals England and Scotland come face-to-face once again this week. This time though it isn’t a “friendly”; it’s a World Cup qualifier. Wembley has seen many classics between these two nations over the years. Here is a look back at five of the Three Lions’ finest victories at Wembley over their oldest rivals.
Five of England’s Finest Victories at Wembley vs Scotland
1955 England 7-2 Scotland
An England team containing the likes of Nat Lofthouse, Stanley Mathews, Billy Wright and future England manager Don Revie easily dispatched the Scots. Over 96,000 filled Wembley to see the Three Lions win the British Championship, an annual tournament contested between the United Kingdom’s four national teams. It was also the first time the English had beaten the Scots at Wembley in 21 years.
Revie scored once, Lofthouse twice and Denis Wilshaw scored an impressive four goals, three of which were scored in a 13-minute spell; the first time a hat-trick had been scored against the Scots.
Future Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty gave a man of the match performance for the Scots, and got some reward when he scored with a late free-kick. However, it was little consolation as England deserved their big victory.
The game also saw the debut of a future Manchester United legend, Duncan Edwards. At just 18 he outplayed many of the other more seasoned internationals, and even though a team-mate scored four times, his powerhouse performance was the main talking point.
1961 England 9-3 Scotland
England were scoring plenty of goals at the time. They had put eight past Mexico and five past Wales and Northern Ireland. Even so, few predicted they would score so many against a talented Scottish side containing the likes of Denis Law, Dave Mackay and Billy McNeill.
Jimmy Greaves and future England boss Bobby Robson put the home side into a commanding 3-0 half-time lead. The Scots made the English nervous early in the second half, as their two goals in five minutes reduced England’s lead to just one goal. But just two minutes, later normal service was resumed.
By the time Scotland got their third on 75 minutes, England had five. Any kind of a comeback though was short lived. Three minutes later a sixth was added and a further three came by the 85th minute, adding insult to injury. This still ranks as Scotland’s heaviest defeat at the hands of the Three Lions..
1969 England 4-1 Scotland
The Scots headed into this game knowing only a win would be enough to clinch the British Home Championship. They were thoroughly beaten in front of almost 90,000 fans by a strong England team.
England had not won at home against the Scots since the famous 9-3 victory in 1961. Any worries that the run would be extended did not last long. West Ham pair Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters stole the show with two goals each. The pair netted two goals in four minutes during the first half.
Colin Stein gave the Tartan Army hope with a goal just before half-time, but as the second half wore on England discovered their goalscoring touch once more with another two in four minutes. The first was a Hurst penalty. At the time, it was reported that many believed that his penalty was hardest hit they had ever seen. It gave the Scottish ‘keeper no chance. Peters then sealed the victory and also the British Home Championship.
1996 England 2-0 Scotland
The year when football came home. England were the hosts of Euro 96 and took on their old rivals during the group stage. It was a highly-anticipated encounter as the two sides had not met since they stopped playing each other annually in 1989. England had not got their tournament off to the best of starts. A poor performance in a 1-1 draw with Switzerland meant the Three Lions needed to get their act together.
The first half was a close affair, if not the most entertaining, and at half-time Terry Venables made a tactical change. On came Jamie Redknapp in place of Stuart Pearce and almost immediately England took control of the game. Gary Neville’s perfect cross was nodded in by Alan Shearer. It was not all one way traffic, however, and it could have gone badly wrong had Scotland’s Gary McAllister not missed a penalty.
Enter Paul Gascoigne. The midfielder had contributed little to the match so far but in the 79th minute he came to life. Racing forward, he latched onto a Darren Anderton pass and with his first touch he lobbed to ball over the advancing Colin Hendry. With the second, he volleyed the ball past Andy Goram in the Scotland goal. While fans celebrated wildly, Gascoigne and his team-mates showed off a celebration routine that is almost as famous as the goal itself.
2013 England 3-2 Scotland
This was the first time in 14 years that the two nations had met. It was a friendly set up to celebrate the Football Association’s 150th anniversary. Twice the Scots threatened to cause a massive upset but England came through to win in what was a thrilling encounter.
James Morrison put Scotland ahead early on, but on 29 minutes Theo Walcott equalised after a good run and finish. Four minutes into the second half, the Tartan Army were celebrating once more. Striker Kenny Miller finished with a powerful shot, giving Joe Hart in goal no chance. The lead lasted barely four minutes, Danny Welbeck heading home Steven Gerrard’s free-kick into the bottom corner.
Midway through the second half, Wayne Rooney was replaced by Rickie Lambert. On seventy minutes Lambert became super sub. With his first touch the Southampton striker headed in a Leighton Baines corner to put the Three Lions in front for the first and time. At the end, 80,000 fans applauded both sets of players off the field. It was the English who were applauding and singing the loudest and quite possibly breathing a quiet sigh of relief.