04 June 2012

Liverpool FC and the English National Team

• England have qualified for 21 of the 30 World Cups (13 of 16) and European Championships (8 of 14) held since 1950. Liverpool had at least once player in 19 of the 21 England squads. On average, Liverpool have had 1.92 players involved in an England World Cup squad and 3.5 in a Euros squad.

• One of those two tournaments where Liverpool had no players in the England squad was the 1954 World Cup, which took place just after the last time Liverpool were relegated. The other was the 1986 World Cup. In contrast to 1954, Liverpool won the league prior to that tournament. To be fair, Steve McMahon (first cap in 1988), Sammy Lee (last cap in 1984), and Paul Walsh (last cap in 1984) were the only English internationals at the club then (both Alan Kennedy and Phil Neal left Liverpool during the '85-86 season).

• I can't help but think Hodgson's taking so many Liverpool players as a form of punishment. With Kelly added to the England squad on Sunday due to Cahill's fractured jaw, the 2012 Euros squad equals the record for most Liverpool players in an England squad, set in the 1980 European Championships. Just as in 1980, no club has more in the English squad. Granted, Liverpool won the 1979-80 league championship while finishing 8th this season, so that probably doesn't bode well for the Three Lions. If you're wondering, England finished third in its group in the eight-team 1980 Euros, behind Belgium and Italy (but ahead of Spain!). All six Liverpool players featured in the first match, a 1-1 draw against Belgium, but only Phil Thompson played in all three matches.

• Liverpool have been the best-represented club six times: joint-top four times (2006 with Chelsea, 2000 with Manchester United, 1982 with Ipswich and Manchester United, and 1966 with West Ham and Manchester United), and with the outright most England players in the 1980 and 2012 Euros.

• Technically, England's 1982 World Cup campaign ended at the Second Group Stage, with 12 sides remaining, rather than the quarterfinals, finishing second in their three-team group behind West Germany. But I really didn't want to create a "Second Group Stage" category for just that tournament.

(ht Inter Leaning for the photo, from the 1966 World Cup Final)


Elizabeth said...

Wow, I didn't realise until now that England had failed to qualify for so many tournaments. The 70s were particularly bleak.

Zētētikos said...

It's interesting to see the contrast in England's performances between the Euros and the World Cups. Since the 60's, it looks like every time that England has qualified for the World Cup, they advance past the group stages. But there are many instances where they have failed to progress in the Euros. I wonder why? Is the competition at the Euros on average tougher? Seems like one plausible explanation.

It might also be interesting to see how far England has progressed in each tournament relative to the number of Liverpool players on the team.

Mike Georger said...

There aren't as many cupcake teams in the Euros, like Trinidad and the United States for example.

Pan said...

That is a great snap... I'm almost certain the Grey suited gentleman with the glasses in the bottom right corner is a philanthropist time traveller.

ErictheRed said...

I'll take the bait. And they still finish behind the cupcake teams in their group.

The Euros start out with 16 teams instead of 32, the cupcakes are eliminated in qualifying.

Anonymous said...

Johnson was at the world cup in 2010!

nate said...

Cripes, thanks much. Have no clue how I missed that; I swear, I double-checked the squads using two sources and, oh, also previewed and reviewed every England match at that tournament.

Sigh. I'm very lucky some of the readers are smarter than I am.

Mike Georger said...

That's what I mean, there's not built in room for the cupcakes (aside from dual host exemptions, fuck you Ukraine).

The World Cup would be so much better if CONCACAF and Oceania were kicked out.

Zētētikos said...

Nate's most recent post is also helpful in explaining England's Euro performances.

The Euros used to be *much* smaller. In fact, Nate's graphic about England's performance is a bit misleading insofar as it shows England progressing from the group stages to the semis in 1968 (In that year, the competition simply amounted to a pair of semifinal games followed by the final). Likewise, England didn't make it out of the group stage in 1980, but that year the competition simply amounted to a group stage followed by a final (so there was no quarter or semifinals to be had). And from 84-92 there was a group stage, a pair of semis and a final.

Thus, it is difficult to compare England's Euro performances from the 60's to the present given that the competition has only had its current structure since '96.