Auld enemies in international infancy

An illustration of an England-Scotland match at The Oval in 1875
© Getty Images

The saying goes that every picture tells a story and each Monday will set out to prove just that. On a weekly basis we will select an image from our vast archive of photos documenting the history of the beautiful game to highlight its interesting nature, unusual scenario or ability to catch the eye. Read more below to discover further details about what you can see above, and click the links on the right hand side to enjoy previous editions of this series.

A rope hanging horizontally over two skinny, wooden goalposts; the absence of a net or pitch markings; a heavy leather ball; long trousers tucked into knee-high socks; and the players haphazardly chasing the ball in their droves like kids on a school playground… welcome to international football in its infancy!

This illustration is of a March 1875 encounter between England and Scotland at The Oval in London. The sides had played out a goalless draw in the world’s first official international 27 months earlier in Glasgow, and although this, their fourth meeting, also ended in parity, the 2,000-odd in attendance were treated to four goals. Solicitor Charles Wollaston, 25, and 32-year-old journalist Charlie Alcock, who was accustomed to starring at the venue as a cricketer, scored for the hosts, while Henry McNeil and Peter Andrews replied for the visitors.

The contest also threw up something for the trivia buffs among you to remember: Herbert and William Rawson became the first brothers and joint-third overseas-born players to represent England. The siblings hailed from Mauritius and South Africa respectively, but India native William Kenyon-Slaney had already pulled on the same white jersey against the Scots two years earlier.

Click on the gallery to the right to see photos of, and read information about, England-Scotland matches throughout history.

First official meetings between some international rivals:
1872 – Scotland 0-0 England (Glasgow)
1901 – Uruguay 2-3 Argentina (Montevideo)
1905 – Belgium 1-4 Netherlands a.e.t (Antwerp)
1910 – Netherlands 4-2 Germany (Arnhem)
1910 – Italy 6-2 France (Milan)
1913 – Denmark 8-0 Sweden (Copenhagen)
1914 – Argentina 3-0 Brazil (Buenos Aires)
1921 – Spain 3-1 Portugal (Madrid)
1922 – New Zealand 3-1 Australia (Dunedin)
1930 – Germany 3-3 England (Berlin)
1934 – Mexico 2-4 USA (Rome)
1935 – Peru 1-0 Chile (Lima)
1935 – El Salvador 3-4 Honduras (San Salvador)
1948 – Greece 1-3 Turkey (Athens)
1954 – Japan 1-5 Korea Republic (Tokyo)
1962 – Nigeria 3-1 Cameroon (Lagos)
1963 – Algeria 1-1 Egypt (Algiers)

This is the first in’s ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ series, which we will publish every Monday.

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