On This Day in Football: US legend makes his debut, England play their last qualifier for 11 years


On this day in 1961, England beat Portugal 2-0 to qualify for the 1962 FIFA World Cup finals.

This was the Three Lions’ last World Cup qualifier for the next 11 years. Why? Well, they hosted the 1966 World Cup which won them automatic qualification. They went into the 1970 World Cup in Mexico as world champions which exempted them from going through the arduous qualification rounds.

Burnley duo John Connelly and Ray Pointer provided the goals as England beat the Portuguese quite comfortably at Wembley.

US legend makes his debut

On this day in 2000, arguably the United States’ greatest ever player Landon Donovan made his senior national team debut in a 2-0 victory over neighbours Mexico.

What made the debut even more special was the fact that the 18-year-old Donovan found the back of the net to give his team the lead. Played at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, Donovan was among a number of other players who were given their debuts that day by manager Bruce Arena. Others who earned their first caps were Chris Klein, Kerry Zavagnin, Peter Vagenas, Bobby Convey, Sasha Victorine, and Joe Franchino.

Donovan came on as a substitute in the 32nd minute before scoring in the 50th. Later on in the game, he fired a cross from the left which was fired in by Josh Wolff to double US’s lead.

This really was the start of something special in American soccer.

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