- England last won the World Cup in 1966. Although some of our Premier League clubs are the best in the world, England managers have trouble creating a world-beating national team.
- There is no such thing as a UK football team. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have their own national teams.
- The England team is the only one of the four to have qualified for the World Cup finals in 2010. Northern Ireland last reached the World Cup final in 1986, Wales has done so once, in 1958. Scotland has reached the finals eight times, the last in 1998.
- If you are staying in England, expect to see a white flag with a red cross flying from shops, pubs and cars. This is the flag of St George, and is the English national flag (see flag on the left). Look carefully at the Union Jack, which is the UK flag, and you will see that the St George flag is part of it.
- Football is the UK’s national sport. So expect television and newspapers to be full of news about the World Cup and how the English team is doing. Pubs and bars will show the matches live on wide screens.
- But if you are staying in Scotland or Wales, do not expect people to support the England team. In these countries, it is quite normal for people to support the team which is playing against England. If your own home team is playing England, you will be very popular in the pub.
- In Scotland you can buy t-shirts with the letters ABE on them. This means "Anyone But England".
- The Government has decided to fly the England flag above the Prime Minister’s house during the World Cup. This is controversial with some people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Even in England there is a love-hate relationship with the football team. We all hope they will do well but expect them to fail badly. We are often not happy when we watch World Cup matches as the team plays worse than it should or the players do silly things.
- If a game goes to a penalty shoot-out, everybody will expect the worst. England has had some very bad World Cup moments with these.
by Susan Young
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