With the Proteas' tour to England coming up, this article looks at the iconic Three Lions crest which the English players sport on their shirts.
Where does the Three Lions crest come from, that iconic symbol that represents the very best of English sporting tradition?
The official royal coat of arms during the reign of Richard I in the 12th century – three lions passant guardant in pale to give it its official heraldic title – the three lions have been displayed on the chests of the greatest sporting legends ever to have represented their country .
Quite how the royal insignia came to become a call to arms for footballers and cricketers seems to have been lost in the mists of time.
But from cricket caps to footballs, T-shirts to tea towels, the three lions today are a proud reminder of England’s glorious past…and a continuing symbol of hope for its sporting future.
In 1949, the original crown that sat above the lions was removed from England football regalia, to differentiate from the badge worn by the English cricket team.
And while England’s cricketers have done us proud in recent years – memorably winning the most recent Ashes in 2009 and 2010/11 – the country’s footballers have fared less well on the field, failing to lift a World Cup or even European Cup since the heady days of 1966.
The iconic crest was first worn by the England football team in the world’s first international match, against what has become the ‘auld enemy’, Scotland, in 1872. For the record, the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
- England’s World Cup win in ’66 was – to their chagrin – the first and only time they have raised the hallowed trophy.
- They are not alone in their solo effort…Spain and France are both also one-time winners.
- Brazil, with five wins under their belt over the 19 tournaments held since the inauguration of the competition, come out on top of the World Cup winners’ league, with Italy netting the most wins for a European country, on four.
- The first ever Football World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay, when the native team became the first of only six nations to win on home soil.
- Countries from across the world play for the Jules Rimet Trophy (known latterly as the FIFA World Cup,) named after the former FIFA president who passed the vote to initiate the competition over 80 years ago.
- Other multi cup winners are Germany on three, and Argentina and Uruguay both on two.
Nicki Williams writes for on-line sports specialists Cricket, who have everything
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Picture source: Compfight