When England and Scotland meet at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday evening, they will be renewing a 141 year-old rivalry following a 14-year absence. Prior to 1989, the ‘Auld Enemy’ met every year, except during the two World Wars. To date, the teams have played a total of 110 matches, with England winning 45, Scotland 41, and 24 draws.
English and Scottish representative sides had already met five times between 1870 and 1872. England won three times and the other two were drawn. However, the Scottish team was almost exclusively made up of London-based players and was selected by the English FA!
FIFA.com highlight six of the best previous meetings, from the countries’ first clash all those years ago, to a game which witnessed arguably the fixture’s finest goal.
Scotland 0 England 0, Hamilton Crescent, 30 November 1872
History was made in front of 4,000 fans on St. Andrew’s Day, but those at Hamilton Crescent, the home of the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick, Glasgow, were forced to wait an extra 20 minutes for the spectacle to begin because of fog. Although the hosts were the better side in the first half, England came into their own in the second, but neither side could manage a goal. Scotland’s Robert Leckie went closest when he struck the ‘tape’, the pre-cursor for the crossbar in the second half.
England 1 Scotland 5, Wembley, 31 March, 1928
Scotland survived an early scare when England striker Billy Smith hit the post before Alex Jackson nodded home the opener after just three minutes. The second came courtesy of Alex James' left-footed strike before the break. The Scots stepped up the tempo in the second half and Jackson and James both found the back of the net again, before Jackson claimed his hat-trick. Bobby Kelly netted a consolation goal for the home side but it was too little, too late against a side who would be dubbed the 'Wembley Wizards.'
England 9 Scotland 3, Wembley, 15 April, 1961
Scotland suffered their heaviest defeat in the fixture at the hands of a rampant England side, for whom Jimmy Greaves netted a hat-trick, Johnny Haynes and Bobby Smith both scored twice and Bobby Robson and Bryan Douglas also helped themselves to a goal apiece. Dave Mackay, Davie Wilson and Pat Quinn were on target for the visitors but could not prevent the humiliating defeat.
England 2 Scotland 3, Wembley, 15 April, 1967
Scotland's most famous victory over England came less than a year after their rivals, who were undefeated in 19 matches, won the FIFA World Cup™. Denis Law broke the deadlock when he bundled home the rebound from Willie Wallace's effort in the first half. Bobby Lennox doubled the lead, before Jack Charlton - who was moved to an unfamiliar centre-forward role after picking up an injury - hauled the hosts back into the game with five minutes to go. Jim McCalliog restored Scotland's two-goal advantage on his debut and a thrilling match ended with Geoff Hurst also on the scoresheet with a late goal. The game was also remembered for Jim Baxter playing 'keepy uppy' late on, while Scotland fans crowned their team 'unofficial world champions.'
England 1 Scotland 2, Wembley, 4 June, 1977
Gordon McQueen scored with a powerful header in the first half and Kenny Dalglish had the ball over the line with a scrambled effort after the interval at Wembley as the Scots claimed victory under new boss Ally MacLeod despite Mick Channon's late consolation. But the match was more memorable for what happened after the final whistle, when Scotland fans invaded the pitch in scenes of wild celebration.
England 2 Scotland 0, Wembley, 15 June, 1996
A hotly anticipated encounter, this UEFA EURO 1996 clash marked the first meeting between the two sides in seven years. After a goalless first half, England took the lead through an Alan Shearer header, before Scotland missed the chance to level when Gary McAllister's spot-kick was saved by David Seaman. Paul Gascoigne, then playing in Glasgow with Rangers, settled the match with a memorable winning goal when he flicked over Colin Hendry before firing a right-footed volley past Andy Goram to seal the win for England.