England’s five most embarrassing defeats ranked

Tuesday, June 14. A day that will live long in the memory of England fans for all the wrong reasons.

The Three Lions faced off with Hungary in a UEFA Nations League tie at Molineux. England headed into the game on a poor run of form, failing to score in their previous three matches of the June international break.

Few, though, expected such an abject display vs a Hungary side who they had put four past in Budapest less than a year ago.

Hungary, however, returned the favour on Tuesday, smashing England 4-0 to deal them one of their worst defeats in nearly a century.

With this in mind, 101 have decided to take a look back at England’s five most embarrassing defeats of all time.


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5. England 1 Australia 3 – 2003 friendly

To a lesser extent than with the likes of Scotland and Wales, England have always had something of a rivalry with Australia.

The Aussies, though, have never really been a great footballing nation and, up until 2003, failed to beat England in any competition.

That all changed in 2003 when an England side that featured the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Michael Owen and a debuting Wayne Rooney lost 3-1 at Upton Park. It remains England’s only loss to Australia to this day.

4. England 2 Croatia 3 – Euro 2008 qualifier

The scoreline itself is not that embarrassing, but what it represents certainly is.

England went 2-0 down vs Croatia in a European Championship qualifier back in November of 2007. They then pulled it back to 2-2 before Mladen Petric fired in from 25 yards to break England’s hearts.

The loss meant that England did not qualify for Euro 2008, the first time they were not at the tournament since all the way back in 1984.

3. England 0 – Hungary 4 – UEFA Nations League 2022

As already detailed above, England’s loss to Hungary was one of the most embarrassing defeats in recent history.

To add some context to what is already viewed as a dismal defeat, Tuesday’s game was the first time England have lost a home match by 4+ goals without scoring in their entire history.

It was also the first time England lost a home match by 4+ goals since March 1928, when they lost 5-1 to Scotland.

2. Germany 4-1 England – 2010 World Cup

Outside of Scotland and Wales, Germany are perhaps England’s biggest rival on the international stage, even if they do not see it that way.

The pair have faced off countless times over the years, with England struggling to get the better of them on many occasions.

Perhaps the most embarrassing defeat, though, came at the 2010 World Cup in the Round of 16 when Germany smashed the Three Lions 4-1.

Could things have gone differently had Frank Lampard’s ghost goal stood? Perhaps so, but what actually played put was one of England’s worst defeats to their bitter rivals.

1. England 1-2 Iceland – Euro 2016

Possibly the most embarrassing defeat England will ever suffer came at Euro 2016.

The Three Lions faced off with Iceland in the last 16 – a side ranked 34th in the world and with a population of less than 340,000 at the time.

As a result, England were expected to easily book their spot in the quarter-finals, an expectation that was heightened after Wayne Rooney put them 1-0 up just four minutes in.

However, some shambolic keeping from Joe Hart, whose career at the top of the game swiftly ended after this tournament, allowed Iceland to take and then retain a 2-1 lead for the rest of the match. A truly dark day for England’s national team.

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