June 10, 2012
England-France rivalry goes back a long way
By Mike Zeisberger, QMI Agency
KHARKIV, UKRAINE - Long before the first soccer ball was ever booted, England and France were rivals in, well, politics, industry, pretty much anything you can name.
And it has been no different on the pitch either.
With the two giants of the sport set to do battle Monday at Euro 2012, here are five of the more memorable highlights of their soccer clashes over the past 89 years.
1. The English won the first meeting between these two, a 4-1 result in 1923. In fact, England would win the first six head-to-head encounters, with France not posting it's first victory until eight years later.
2. One of the most lopsided victories in the rivalry came in a Euro '64 qualifier as the French thumped Sir Alf Ramsey's Three Lions 5-2.
3. The English would get their revenge two years later with a 2-0 victory over the French at Wembley during the 1966 World Cup, thanks to Roger Hunt's pair of goals. England would go on to win the title.
4. During the 1982 group stage of the World Cup, England's Bryan Robson scored the then-fastest goal in the history of the tournament, finding the back of the net after just 27 seconds en route to a 3-1 win by the Three Lions.
5. At the 2004 World Cup, it was England's turn to have its hopes crushed. After Frank Lampard provided England with a first-half 1-0 lead, Zinedine Zidane equalized in stoppage time on a free kick, then scored the winner shortly thereafter on a penalty for the 2-1 French victory.