Search icon


04th Jul 2016

This stunning stat proves England are actually the best football team in Europe

Soak it in.

Matt Tate

Do you hear that?

That, JOE reader, is the magnificent collective roar of three proud lions awakening on the crest of that England shirt you angrily lobbed into the bin after the 2-1 defeat to Iceland in the last 16 of the European Championships.

You thought English football had hit a new low when Roy’s boys could not score in the final 72 minutes against an Iceland side – starring in their first ever major tournament – that went on to concede five goals to France, didn’t you?

You’ve allowed yourself to become utterly despondent towards the national team after hearing pundits and ex-players such as Alan Shearer call it the “worst performance I have ever seen from an England team,” and you’ve cursed at the fact that Wales have won as many knockout tournament matches at Euro 2016 as England have in the last 20 years.

You’ve been seeing this image a lot recently

But honestly, you were getting yourself all worked up for nothing.

The hosts’ emphatic victory last night means that this summer’s semi-finalists are France, Germany, Wales and Portugal. “What the fuck has that got to do with England?” we hear you ask, as you tear your Wayne Rooney Panini sticker in half for the eighth time and angrily throw his remains on the pile with Gary Cahill.

Here’s the thing: England have beaten all of these teams in the last 12 months. 

Sure, one of last four will return home as heroes in a week’s time, met by hordes of delirious fans as they hold aloft a trophy that England have never won. But none of them could beat England, could they? When you sit down and properly think about it, England are technically the continent’s bright lights – the champions in everything but name.

Here’s a little reminder of all of those scorelines.

November 17 2015: England 2-0 France


Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney provided the goals in a friendly played at Wembley just days after the terror attacks in Paris.

March 26 2016: Germany 2-3 England

Germany v England - International Friendly

In a friendly match that no England fan will forget in a hurry, goals from Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy brought the Three Lions back from 2-0 down on German soil, before Eric Dier’s towering header in the 91st minute sealed the victory.

June 2 2016: England 1-0 Portugal

England v Portugal - International Friendly

Chris Smalling’s 86th-minute header meant the final warm-up game before Euro 2016 ended with a win.

June 16 2016: England 2-1 Wales

England v Wales - Group B: UEFA Euro 2016

A promising performance against Russia in the opening game turned into disappointment when Leonid Slutsky’s mediocre side salvaged a late equaliser. England took on Wales next in a fixture that the media were billing as a must-win, so panic naturally sunk in when Gareth Bale’s free-kick opened the scoring.

But Roy Hodgson quite literally threw on every attacking player he had at his disposal, and substitutes Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge came up trumps for the manager. The Liverpool man’s late winner sparked delirious celebrations as fans and players came together to quash any accusations of a lack of passion.

Then they had a goalless draw with Slovakia and lost to Iceland, but who honestly cares after reading all of that? England are back in the big time, baby – it’s surely only a matter of time until football comes home.