5 Togetherness Lessons to take from the England Football Team.
#5 – Standing Tall in Rome (1997)
Needing just a point to qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France, England headed to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome for their final qualifier against Italy. Italy were heavy favourites, and boasted an unbelievable World Cup qualifying record, having never dropped a point at home. England were also without their captain and main striker Alan Shearer, which led manager Glenn Hoddle into entrusting midfielder Paul Ince with the captain’s armband. It turned out to be an inspired decision, as England put on arguably their best defensive performance in their history, with every player giving their absolute all to cling on to a draw. The iconic image of Paul Ince’s bloodstained shirt lives long in the memory of England fans and epitomised the team’s efforts and togetherness on the field.
Togetherness Lesson: Step up to support the team, even if it means leaving your comfort zone
#4 – Germany 1-5 England (2001)
In 2001, England headed to Munich for their World Cup Qualifier against arch-rivals Germany. Germany were heavy favourites given their squad at the time, as well as their outstanding home qualifying record. England had also failed to beat Germany in a competitive fixture since their triumph in the World Cup final in 1966, so expectations ahead of the match were low. What unfolded that night sent shockwaves across the footballing world. Germany took an early lead after 6 minutes, however, England rallied together to come back in spectacular fashion. Equalising quickly through Michael Owen’s tap-in in the 12th minute, England continued to mount pressure on the German backline and broke through before halftime thanks to a Steven Gerrard screamer from 25 yards out. England were unrelenting with Michael Owen scoring another 2 goals in the second half to complete his hat-trick, before completing Germany’s humiliation with the final goal from Emile Heskey, to make it 5-1. The performance was regarded as England’s finest since 1996, with the team eventually going on to finish ahead of Germany in qualifying by goal difference, thanks to their incredible team performance.
Togetherness Lesson: Believe in and encourage the team, even after knockbacks
#3 – Penalties against Colombia (2018)
Still fresh in our hearts from this year’s jaw-dropping World Cup tournament, this is one we’ll all remember. England faced off against Colombia in their last-16 match in Moscow, in a game that embodied the togetherness of Gareth Southgate’s squad. Colombia adopted underhanded tactics, with defender Barrios escaping with only a yellow card for a clear headbutt to Jordan Henderson, despite a VAR review. However, England’s resilience was finally rewarded in the second half, with a penalty given when skipper Harry Kane was wrestled to the ground. Kane crashed home the penalty, but an all too familiar scenario began to emerge when Colombia’s Yerry Mina equalised from a corner deep into stoppage time. Extra time failed to separate the sides and England headed into the dreaded penalty shootout, boasting one of the worst penalty records in international football. Both sides scored their first two penalties, before England’s Jordan Henderson saw his penalty saved by Colombia’s keeper Ospina. Luckily for England, Colombia failed to take advantage, missing their next two penalties with Pickford saving one of them. England’s Kieran Trippier also scored, before Eric Dier slotted home the final deciding penalty to send fans back home into raptures. The overall performance encapsulated everything togetherness is built upon!
Togetherness Lesson: Exceed expectations by working towards a collective goal
#2 – Euro 96 (1996)
Hosted on home soil, Euro 96 was one of England’s best tournament performance in the last 20 years. England qualified top of their group, enjoying a memorable 4-1 victory against much-fancied Holland at the old Wembley. Fans began to believe when England beat Spain in a penalty shootout with Frank Skinner & David Baddiel’s iconic ‘It’s coming home’ song ringing around Wembley (as well as the rest of England). However, England’s dreams were shattered when they were defeated by Germany on penalties in the semi-final having missed a number of glorious chances throughout the game. Despite not winning the tournament, Euro 96 is fondly remembered for bringing the entire nation together.
Togetherness Lesson: Always see the bigger picture and never forget the ‘why’
#1 – 1966 World Cup Winners (1966)
England’s finest hour came in 1966 when they were crowned World Champions for the first and only time. The team was made up of the greatest generation of players England has ever had, which included the likes of Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Gordon Banks & Geoff Hurst, amongst others. Under the leadership of legendary manager Alf Ramsay, England created a team which had togetherness at its very core. Reaching the World Cup final for the first time in history, England came up against arch-rivals West Germany in the final. Full time ended at 2-2 with Germany snatching a late equaliser, before Geoff Hurst’s late double, (completing his hat-trick in the process) won the final for England 4-2. The result brought the county together in ways never seen before, showing the strong and powerful things togetherness can achieve.
Togetherness Lesson: Remember that some of the best results in history were achieved through the power of togetherness
Want to know more about how our Togetherness approach can produce better and stronger results? Read our Lessons From Bees blog post for more.