- Designed, maintained, researched and updated by Davey Naylor, a web and IT specialist based in Hertfordshire.
- Online since 1998 and is updated frequently with new research and after every England match. The aim is to try and document the story of the national team.
- ELO Ratings and FIFA Rankings
- Englandstats.com uses the ELO Ratings system to accurately establish the strengths of national teams against each other. Until recently, the official FIFA Rankings have been deeply flawed - however a revision of the rankings in July 2018, brought them more in line with the ELO ratings.
- ELO Ratings have several benefits over the official system - firstly they can be calculated after each match instead of a monthly ranking from FIFA, secondly - they can be applied retrospectively to all international matches since the first in 1872. It is based on the system created by Dr Arpad Elo to rank Chess Grand Masters. We will continue to use ELO ratings alongside the new updated official rankings.
- England have been top of the Ratings many times, naturally during the early days when only England and Scotland were international playing nations. They last topped the list just prior to Euro '88. England have never been lower than 16th, which last occurred during the 2014 World Cup.
- Matches and Caps
- In 2001 FIFA tried to bring a level of consistency into international football be standardising the definition. To wit, an international match, to be declared official, must be between two affiliated sovereign nations in their own right. Annoyingly, they thought that it would be best to retrospectively apply this criteria to all international matches ever. This brings into dispute three England International Matches (two against The Rest of Europe and one versus The Rest of the World). These games were called official at the time and caps were awarded. Thankfully the FA doesn't agree with FIFAs reclassification of these matches and neither does englandstats.com and so they are included here as if they were full matches and caps remain.
- Two matches have been abandoned (Argentina 1953 and Ireland 1995). The matches, whilst not completed, are still classified as full internationals and caps awarded.
- Formations and Playing Positions
- Trying to identify a formation or playing position is tricky to do especially in today's ever changing tactical game. However, we are helped by the FA's dogged resistance to squad numbers. Apart from major tournaments (where squad numbers have to be used) and warm-up games to these tournaments, every single England match since 1937 has used the numbers 1-11 when shirt numbers were first used in an international. Even before this we can be pretty certain of the playing positions simply by the line-up. Like rugby, the playing positions were virtually set in stone thanks to the "Pyramid" formation developed in the 1880s.
- The great Preston North End team of the 1880s mastered the art of the "Pyramid" formation, the 2-3-5 system (two full backs; right and left, three half backs; left, right and centre and five forwards; outside left, inside left, centre forward, inside right and outside right). Soon everyone was using it, the England selectors did so first in 1884. The "Pyramid" dominated the game for the next 45 years.
- In some instances, it is very difficult to ascertain the true playing position of a tactical substitute without first hand evidence. In these cases, we have used a best guess based on the player he replaced and the likely position he would have played in as a starter.
- Below are the abbreviations of playing positions we have used on Englandstats:
- GK - Goalkeeper
FB - Full Back (or further defined as:)
RB - Right Back
LB - Left Back
CB - Centre Back
SW - Sweeper
HB - Half Back (or further defined as:)
RH - Right Half
CH - Centre Half
LH - Left Half
M - Midfielder (or further defined as:)
DM - Defensive Midfielder
AM - Attacking Midfielder
RW - Right Wing
LW - Left wing
RWB - Right Wing Back
LWB - Left Wing Back
F - Forward (or further defined as:)
OR - Outside Right
IR - Inside Right
IL - Inside Left
OL - Outside Left
RF - Right Forward
CF - Centre Forward
LF - Left Forward
S - Striker
- Penalty Shoot-outs
- The first penalty shoot-out, or to give it it's official name "Kicks from the penalty mark", that England were involved in, was against Germany in the World Cup '90 semi-final.
Penalty shoot-outs are covered in rule 10 of the game as dictated by the rule making body IFAB. They are primarily used in competitions where a result must be forced on the day. The first major tournament to include penalty shoot-outs was the 1976 European Championship. Prior to that there was usually a replay within a couple of days of the draw, or in the case of the Home Championship the title was shared. However, modern day football demands a winner. We are not convinced that winning on penalties should be classified as a full win - even FIFAs own ranking procedure doesn't give full points to a team who "won on penalties". Therefore we have taken the decision to classify penalty shoot-outs as draws. You might be inclined to think this a cynical tactic by us to ease the pain of England's usual capitulation in shoot-outs but please read on - England aren't that bad at taking penalties these days. Besides, the winner of the shoot-out progresses to the next round or is crowned champions - the loser gets nothing - not much to say for a team that has battled and matched their foe for one hundred and twenty minutes before the lottery of penalty kicks - we think that the least the victor can do is conceed a draw is worthy of both teams.
- Jon Gregg, this is all your fault!