Top 5 England qualification close shaves
Ahead of England’s vital final two qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, here is a look at five occasions when the Three Lions have just about managed to qualify:
World Cup 2002
David Beckham’s memorable stoppage time free-kick gave England the draw they needed against Greece in 2001 to book their place in South Korea and Japan for the following year. It was a below-par performance, but England were rescued by their captain as they avoided a two-legged play-off.
1982 World Cup
England finished runners-up in Group 4 to book their place in Spain. It was a tight group, with Hungary the group winners finishing a point ahead of the Three Lions. Romania made things nervy for England as they ended just a point away from qualifying themselves.
World Cup 1990
England eventually did superbly well in the finals in Italy, reaching the semi-finals, but just getting to the World Cup proved difficult. Sir Bobby Robson’s side just about edged out Denmark, who were one point behind as the weakest runner-up out of the seven groups.
Victory at home to Poland was the crucial factor as England qualified as group winners, just a point ahead of the Republic of Ireland, after both matches between the sides were drawn. Both finished with unbeaten records, but an extra victory took Graham Taylor’s team to Sweden.
Qualifying for Euro 2000 proved a very nervy affair, as England narrowly beat Poland to second place in their group due to a superior goal difference, as both sides finished a massive 10 points behind table toppers Sweden.
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