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Past glories give Wales hope against England

Published: Thursday 24 March 2011, 13.41CET
Wales go into their UEFA EURO 2012 meeting with England as underdogs, but as discovers, the Dragons have saved some of their best displays for their neighbours.
by Trevor Haylett

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Published: Thursday 24 March 2011, 13.41CET

Past glories give Wales hope against England

Wales go into their UEFA EURO 2012 meeting with England as underdogs, but as discovers, the Dragons have saved some of their best displays for their neighbours.

The 100th international between Wales and England offers the hosts the chance to make it victory No16 against their British neighbours and revitalise a UEFA EURO 2012 campaign that shows three defeats in Group G.

These countries first locked antlers in January 1879 at the Kennington Oval when a 2-1 England triumph set the pattern for the ensuing years. The English have registered 64 wins with 21 draws while Wales have to go back to 1984 for their last success – and all the way back to 1955 for the last time they beat the old enemy in Cardiff.

Ahead of Saturday's showdown at the Millennium Stadium, finds room for optimism for Gary Speed's side with a survey of Wales's best performances against England since 1955.

Wales 2-1 England
22 October 1955, Cardiff
This was a notable success not only because it broke a long period of English supremacy – eight wins and a draw in the preceding 17 years – but because it came against a team boasting the likes of Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney and Nat Lofthouse. However, Wales had their own stars, notably John Charles, Trevor Ford and exciting winger Cliff Jones. Derek Tapscott struck first for the Welsh in the 41st minute and swiftly assisted Jones to head their second. A Charles own goal early in the second half gave England hope but goalkeeper Jack Kelsey helped ensure a Welsh celebration at Ninian Park.

England 1-1 Wales
24 January 1973, Wembley
England's 1974 FIFA World Cup campaign foundered on a 1-1 home draw with Poland yet it had been dealt an earlier blow as Wales held them to the same scoreline at Wembley. Liverpool FC's John Toshack was set up by Leighton James for an easy opening goal with Norman Hunter giving England and their manager Sir Alf Ramsey a share of the spoils with a right-footed pile-driver. "We went close to taking both points," Toshack recalled. "I certainly milked it in the Liverpool dressing-room – Kevin Keegan and Emlyn Hughes were made to suffer for a few days."

England 0-1 Wales
31 May 1977, Wembley
At the 13th attempt, Wales finally got the victory they wanted over England at Wembley. It followed a foul by goalkeeper Peter Shilton on powerful Welsh raider Leighton James, with James dusting himself down to score from the spot. "My legs were trembling like jelly," he remembered. "I was deep in enemy territory with 100,000 fans, 95% of them English, looking on and about to score the winner against England at Wembley." Visiting captain Terry Yorath said: "Beating England at Wembley was a massive achievement. John Toshack missed the game through injury but I'll always remember his comment afterwards: 'Don't give away your shirts because we'll never ever do what you've done tonight again.'"

Wales 4-1 England
17 May 1980, Wrexham
Mike England was in charge for the first time as Wales manager and must have gone away thinking that the job was a doddle after his team steamrollered England – who were using the fixture as a warm-up for the 1980 UEFA European Football Championship. On a baking hot day at the Racecourse Ground, England broke the deadlock through Paul Mariner but the home side quickly moved into the ascendancy with goals from Mickey Thomas, Ian Walsh, Leighton James and a Phil Thompson own goal.

Wales 1-0 England
2 May 1984, Wrexham
The final Wales-England game in the four-nation British Home Championship was also notable for the debut of Mark Hughes, who would win 72 caps for his country before a successful five-year spell as national-team manager. There was a hint of things to come in his glittering career as Hughes got the only goal, beating Peter Shilton with a finely directed header from a free-kick. Wales skipper Kevin Ratcliffe said: "Sparky's baptism for Wales put him on the football map. It was an inspired, nerveless performance and he led our attack superbly with Ian Rush. Their markers Mark Wright and Alvin Martin couldn't live with the potent mix of Mark's brawn and Rushie's pace and anticipation."

Last updated: 07/12/13 5.33CET

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