Gareth Southgate has led England to the Euro 2020 final, the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the last eight in Qatar in 2022, and his side also holds the record for the longest unbeaten run in the Three Lions’ international history.
England had not tasted defeat in 22 games before their Nations League trip to Hungary in June 2022, when Dominik Szoboszlai converted a 66th-minute penalty to give the hosts a 1-0 win in Budapest. Here is the story of that long unbeaten run:
Comfortable Iceland Win Kicks off Long Unbeaten Sequence
A 2-0 Nations League loss in Belgium in November 2020 ended England’s hopes of making the finals of that competition but their unbeaten run started with their final group game against Iceland three days later.
The Three Lions took out their frustration on their 10-man opponents, easing to a 4-0 home win, and in March 2021 they won their first three World Cup qualifiers.
James Ward-Prowse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins were among the goalscorers in a 5-0 rout of San Marino before a 2-0 win in Albania and a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Poland at Wembley, where Harry Maguire notched a late winner.
Southgate’s final preparations for Euro 2020 included 1-0 friendly wins over Austria and Romania in June 2021 and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scored his first international goal against the Austrians.
Solid Defence Takes England to Brink of Euro 2020 Glory
England’s Euro 2020 campaign was built on a rock-solid defence as they beat Croatia and the Czech Republic 1-0 in the group stage, either side of an underwhelming 0-0 draw with Scotland, who had 11 shots to their hosts’ nine at Wembley.
Raheem Sterling had scored England’s goals in their two group victories and he also broke the deadlock against Germany in the last 16 before Harry Kane sealed a 2-0 triumph late on.
Kane eased any nerves in the quarter-final against Ukraine, opening the scoring in the fourth minute in Rome to set up a comfortable 4-0 victory, capped by a rare goal from Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson.
That result made it 10 clean sheets in 11 internationals for Southgate’s men but goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was beaten by a superb free-kick from Denmark’s Mikkel Damsgaard after half an hour of the semi-final at Wembley.
A Simon Kjaer own goal soon brought the Three Lions level but the Danes stood firm until extra-time when England needed a Kane penalty to seal a 2-1 win and a place in the Euro 2020 final.
They made the perfect start to the showdown with Italy as Luke Shaw’s crisp finish gave them a second-minute lead but the Azzurri gradually got a foothold in the game and equalised through veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci in the 67th minute.
A 1-1 draw after 120 minutes extended England’s unbeaten run to 13 matches but that came as little solace to Southgate and his young squad after a 3-2 defeat on penalties. Marcus Rashford hit the post and Italy keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved Jadon Sancho and Saka’s spot-kicks.
Prolific Kane Stars in World Cup Qualifying Campaign
England picked themselves up after their European Championship heartbreak with 4-0 World Cup qualifying wins against Hungary and Andorra and a 1-1 draw in Poland in September 2021.
In October they cruised to a 5-0 victory in Andorra, where Ben Chilwell and Jack Grealish scored their first England goals, before dropping points in a surprise 1-1 draw at home to Hungary – a sign of things to come.
A dominant qualifying campaign ended with a 5-0 home win over Albania and a 10-0 rout of San Marino, with Kane scoring hat-tricks in both matches to take him level with Gary Lineker on 48 England goals.
The San Marino drubbing was the first time England had scored 10 times in a competitive international and they kicked off 2022 with a 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland, setting a new national record of 21 games unbeaten.
A 3-0 friendly victory over the Ivory Coast followed but the run finally came to an end in Budapest in June.
England failed to win any of their six Nations League group games against Hungary, Germany and Italy before a resounding 6-2 victory over Iran in their opening fixture of the World Cup, where they lost 2-1 to France in the quarter-finals.