The England national football team represents England (not the whole United Kingdom) in international football competitions such as the World Cup and the European Championships. It is controlled by The Football Association, the governing body for football in England.
Partly thanks to historical accident, and continuing national sentiment among them, each of the four Home Nations of the United Kingdom possesses its own separate football association, domestic league and national team. Because the IOC does not accept regional representative teams, England, like the other three, do not compete in Olympic football.
England are by far the most successful of the Home Nations, having won the 1966 World Cup and the British Home Championship outright thirty-four times, as many as the other three nations have won outright altogether.
For the first 80 years of its existence, the England team played its home matches at different venues all around the country; for the first few years it used cricket grounds, before later moving on to football clubs' stadiums. England played their first match at Wembley Stadium in 1924, the year after it was completed, against Scotland, but for the next 27 years would only use Wembley as a venue for Scotland matches; other opposition were still entertained at club grounds around the country.
In May 1951, Argentina became the first team other than Scotland to be entertained at Wembley, and by 1960 nearly all of England's home matches were being played there. Between 1966 and 1995, England did not play a single home match anywhere else.
England's last match at Wembley before its demolition and reconstruction was against Germany on October 7, 2000, a game which England lost 1-0. Since then the team has played at 14 different venues around the country, with Old Trafford having been the most often used. The FA have ruled that when the new Wembley is completed in mid-2006, England's travels will end, and the team will play all of their home matches there until at least 2036. The main reason for this is financial. The FA did not own the old Wembley stadium, but it does own the new one, and has taken on debts of hundreds of millions of pounds to pay for it. Thus it needs to maximise the revenue from England matches, and does not wish to share it with the owners of other grounds.
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