TOP 10 best England Football sides ever

Ranked! The 10 best England sides ever

It’s not always been good but it has been for some of these sides – let’s look at the best Three Lions teams to ever fly the flag.


  1. 1982

Given that they qualified as hosts in 1966 and defending champions in 1970, the 1982 tournament came off the back of England’s first successful World Cup qualifying campaign in 20 years. Yet despite the fact that England hadn’t qualified for a World Cup for so long, somehow – somehow – they remained unbeaten in Spain.

Kevin Keegan was set to be the star but was injured until the final game. Instead, Bryan Robson and million-pound man Trevor Francis stepped up with the goals. Given English football’s dominance in the club game around that time, it was expected that England should do fairly well – if only King Kev had had longer than 27 minutes to make an impact.


  1. 1998

RICHARD JOLLY The wrong right-back? Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s best qualities are what make him unsuited to Gareth Southgate’s England

The 1998 World Cup in France was a curtain closer for the heroes who’d helped establish the Premier League: the likes of Paul Ince, Tony Adams and Alan Shearer were the older heads in a squad managed by a youthful Glenn Hoddle.

England proved in a long second half against Argentina – plus extra-time – that they could battle better than most. There was that touch of magic too, from players like Scholes, Beckham and 18-year-old Michael Owen. But if we’re being honest, this team lacked the quality to go all the way to Paris. If it hadn’t been Argentina that knocked England out, it surely would have been Germany, France, Brazil or Netherlands – who were all much better sides.


  1. 1970

Watching videos of England on home turf in 1966 and in Mexico 1970 are markedly different. A contrast between younger, wide-eyed dreamers and experienced national treasures. Four years after the Wembley triumph, some of these players had become European champions at Manchester United in 1968.


The 1970 England team had been surpassed by the likes of Pele’s Brazil by that point. While they were still a world force, they hadn’t quite recycled the side enough, downgrading on three of the back four and still opting for Geoff Hurst in attack. It feels almost anti-patriotic to say it – like kicking a swan or something – but Hurst was never as good as Jimmy Greaves, anyway. Still, this side was iconic in its own right. Just not as good as the previous World Cup’s.


  1. 1986

We all know that England weren’t beaten by fair means in 1986. Who knows what could have been if it hadn’t been for the Hand of God?


Bobby Robson’s team took a little while to warm up but still boasted the Golden Boot winner that year – a certain crisp enthusiast Gary Lineker – along with Terry Butcher, Ray Wilkins and Glenn Hoddle. Bobby’s boys were to improve as a side but 1986 was a blooming good showing either way.


  1. 2001 – 2002

England’s first foray into the world of foreign coaches was an exciting step, christened with Sven Goran Eriksson spanking the Germans 5-1 in their backyard in 2001. English football was beginning to produce more technical talent and the Three Lions went into a World Cup in the far east as dark horses.


Though Brazilian players have claimed that beating England in that tournament was a huge achievement, does this team really rank among the best England sides ever? As talented as they were, some of these players had barely won much at club level. It was a fun time to follow England but a bridge too far to expect big results.


  1. 2018 – present

When Kieran Trippier’s free-kick went top bins – for about half an hour – 60 million English folk all believed. Forget that Gareth Southgate’s side didn’t create chances in open play. Forget that they had an easy route to the semi. Forget that the back three, in hindsight, was very peculiarly constructed. This team made us all believe.


All it takes for any good side are two good attackers and Southgate had two world-class options in Sterling and Kane – the latter arguably the greatest penalty taker in the world – with Rashford in reserve. This England side were well-drilled, hard-working and most impressively, calm in the fire of the battle. It’s only getting better too with the likes of Greenwood, Sancho and Grealish coming through…


  1. 1990

Alexa, show me pure, unfiltered heartbreak. The golden boy of English football bawling his eyes out. Arguably the nicest man we’ve ever had as manager sighing the biggest sigh and having to pick up the likes of John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, David Platt – some England’s most talented magicians ever – and console them, now they’ve all been denied the opportunity of a Pavarotti serenade.


The 1990 World Cup team was one of brawn, brain and unbelievable characters, from the young Gazza to the then-experienced Gary Lineker and everyone in between. This was a tournament which became as defining as the 1966 World Cup win itself – for completely different reasons – but what an unbelievable side this was. Some of the country’s best-ever players and a real shame it ended like that.


  1. 1996

If you enjoyed the heartbreak of 1990, then we’ve got great news for you. Six years later, in front of a home crowd, England did it all again. And arguably, this team was better.


Terry Venables now at the helm, the likes of Pearce and Gascoigne were all grown up and the stars of this side. Alan Shearer was unstoppable, Tony Adams a stalwart and that game against the Netherlands is probably the best tournament performance since 1966. Again, it fell to penalties. In the event of a draw, we should go through because we invented the game. OK?


  1. 2004 – 2006

While England teams of the previous 20 years had brought the nation to the tears, England’s supposed “golden generation” in fact evoked more anger than anything else. This was a bunch of world-class talents who appeared to, just, bottle it on the world stage. Admittedly, there was no tactical plan, little leadership and a whole lot of intrusion into the camp.


But what a side that was. Four of the greatest midfielders to ever kick a ball – English or otherwise. Defensive titans that would go onto captain sides to Champions Leagues. Two strikers who came to define separate eras of the English game. What happened? We’ll never know for certain. But this England team was the badger’s nadgers.


  1. 1966

Over half a century later, the Jules Rimet trophy is, indeed, still gleaming. This was the England team to which all others had to answer. But not only was it full of some of the best players the world had to offer in the 1960s, it was tactically genius.


Alf Ramsey’s “wingless wonders” ran riot on home soil when football first came home in the 1960s. After the Munich Air Disaster in 1958 and the general rebuild of football in England, this was the moment that the Three Lions brought a title back to Blighty and wrote their name into footballing folklore. It was characterised by guile, guts and some of the most breathtaking attacking play that the country would ever put its name to.

Most of this side are still household names. Those who have since been lost are still in our hearts. This isn’t just the most successful England side ever, it’s a collection of the most beloved, inspiring sportsmen to ever represent a nation. Makes you praad to be English, dunnit?


OF COURSE last night’s Euro 2020 England v Italy now goes straight in at No.2 – Agreed? Agreed.

I guess we ought to just take a peek at:




“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.” – William Shakespeare.


Happiness is…in the taking part, not the winning.


3 of them to try cheering you up!

  1. What runs along the edge of the pitch but never moves? The sideline!
  2. My computer’s got the ‘Bad-Goalie Virus’. It can’t save anything.
  3. How did the football pitch end up as triangle? Somebody took a corner!


Love is…a brush with destiny.


A time to be winners…A time to be gallant losers.


12th July

1543 King Henry VIII married his 6th wife, Catherine Parr.

1960 The Ohio Art Co. introduced the first Etch-A Sketch for sale. Over 50 million units were sold in the following 25 years.

1962: First performance of the Rolling Stones

The British rock band performed for the first time as a group at the Marquee Club in London.

1979: Singer Minnie Riperton dies of cancer aged 31.

1982 ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial’ broke all box office records in the history of motion pictures by surpassing the $100 million mark of ticket sales in the first 31 days.

1994 Britain had its hottest day since 1990, with the highest temperature of 93F (34C) at the USAF base, Lakenheath, Suffolk.

1981: Singles chart:

  1. Ghost Town – The Specials
  2. Stars On 45 -Starsound
  3. Can Can – Bad Manners
  4. Body Talk – Imagination
  5. One Day In Your Life – Michael Jackson
  6. Motorhead Live EP – Motorhead
  7. Wordy Rappinghood – The Tom Tom Club
  8. No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  9. Going Back To My Roots – Odyssey
  10. Memory – Elaine Page


1981:  Album chart:

  1. Love Songs – Cliff Richard
  2. Secret Combination – Randy Crawford
  3. Kim Wilde – Kim Wilde
  4. Stars On 45 – Starsound
  5. No Sleep Til Hammersmith – Motorhead
  6. Disco Daze And Disco Nights – Various Artists
  7. Kings Of The Wild Frontier – Adam and the Ants
  8. Anthem – Toyah
  9. Present Arms – UB40
  10. Duran Duran – Duran Duran


©2021 Phil M Robinson