England Football Online
Page Last Updated 20 October 2018
Kingdom of Spain
Real Federación Espańola de Fútbol
Foundation: 1909

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England vs. Spain

In the twentieth century meetings between England and Spain, there were few change colours worn; the main difference being in the recognition, and occasional concession, by England in respect of both sides normally wearing blue shorts.

The first five clashes saw no changes whatsoever, but by 1960, with shorter and lighter-coloured shorts becoming all the rage, England decided to wear all white in Madrid, against the Spaniards. When they met, five months later, at Wembley, England were going through an experimental phase of different sock colours; hence they switched to white from their normal red, though the shorts remained blue, the same as Spain's.

In 1965, a famous victory in Madrid was achieved by Ramsey's wingless wonders, dressed in all white at the home of the European Champions and a previously unconvinced public began to wonder if England could actually win the following year's World Cup on home soil.

Two years later, England had brought Sir Alf's prophecy to reality and it was a clash between the World and European Champions at Wembley, where, once again, England were back in blue shorts, but their pairing in the two-legged European Championship quarter-finals of 1968 saw England revert to all white in both games. Once again, Spain were happy to let England change.

England's Colours Against Spain 1929-1968
No. Date Shirts Shorts Socks Gk Venue Shirts Shorts Socks
167 15 May 1929         Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid      
180 9 December 1931         Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, London      
258 2 July 1950         Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, Maracană, Rio de Janeiro      
296 18 May 1955         El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid      
301 30 November 1955         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      
340 15 May 1960         El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid      
344 26 October 1960         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      
395 8 December 1965         El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid      
414 24 May 1967         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      
420 3 April 1968         Empire Stadium, Wembley, London      
421 8 May 1968         El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid      

After three meetings in a year, they had no desire to face each other again for a while, and it was a further twelve years until they next met. Funnily enough, they again met three times within a year. Insert your own London bus joke here.

Though the teams had been drawn to face each other in the 1980 European Championships in Italy, it didn't stop England making a first appearance in Barcelona for a friendly, three months before the tournament. This was their first meeting with an England side kitted out in Admiral attire and it was, in fact, the very last airing for the 1974 white kit, as England wore blue shorts in Spain, for the first time since 1955. Interestingly, the squad posed for pictures in their new Admiral uniform in the Nou Camp on the day before the game, even though it wasn't worn in combat for another two months.

Their meeting in the tournament, in Naples, with England again in blue shorts, though now as part of their new Admiral kit, was a dead rubber as far as winning the competition went, and Admiral were unable to advertise their ware due to a ban on advertising logos on team strips.

Back at Wembley in 1981, for some reason England felt the need to revert back to all white again, but for the next big occasion, the 1982 World Cup, the same need didn't arise and they wore the trusty old blue shorts. This was Admiral's last appearance at a major tournament and the goalless draw in Madrid was a huge disappointment as it signalled England's exit from the tournament, their hosts having been eliminated three nights earlier.

Gary Lineker's four-goal salvo in Madrid in 1987, whilst on Barcelona's books, was achieved in the all-white of Umbro, and Spain were still in the same colour combination that they'd had for every meeting since 1929. England's goalkeepers (Shilton and Woods) appeared in grey for the first time against Spain.

1992 brought us a new twist, with England actually wearing a change kit in the countries' first meeting in Santander. This was the daring all-blue kit with the Three Lions emblazoned across the fabric of the shirts and shorts.

Spain then changed their black socks to navy blue, whilst the Euro '96 quarter-final became their third successive tournament clash with both sides in blue shorts, yet all three friendly meetings, either side of the tournaments, saw England change at least the colour of their shorts.

Then it happened. After 18 meetings, the Real Federación Espańola de Fútbol finally relented and acknowledged that there was a colour clash. Villa Park in 2001 was the scene of not only Sven-Göran Eriksson's first match in charge of England and not only the debut of a new Umbro England kit, but it was the first time that we saw Spain wearing white shorts against England. As if to congratulate them on their gesture, England's goalkeeper, David James wore white socks, instead of the completely all-black kit that he would normally have worn and which would have clashed with Spain's dark navy socks.

The first four meetings of the new millennium saw both England and Spain switching to white shorts whenever they visited the other. England launched a new kit in 2007 against the Spanish and then wore it for the last time against the European Champions, two years later. By 2011, Spain had added the world title to their European success and were all-conquering. They had broken with tradition, by switching to red socks. Their shorts had become a brighter blue and they must have been so proud of them, that they had reverted back to the old days and neglected to change them when faced with England's similarly-coloured shorts.

England's first-choice kit included white shorts for their next two meetings, so no change was necessary, but when they switched back to navy shorts, and entertained Spain in the opening match of the new Nations League, it was their visitors who appeared in white shorts for only the third time in 26 meetings. England reciprocated by wearing all-white again in the return fixture.

England's Colours Against Spain 1980-2018
No. Date Shirts Shorts Socks Gk Venue Shirts Shorts Socks
538 26 March 1980             Estadi del Futbol Club Barcelona, Barcelona      
546 18 June 1980             Stadio San Paolo, Napoli, Italy      
550 25 March 1981             Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
569 5 July 1982             El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid      
622 18 February 1987             El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid      
689 9 September 1992             Estadio El Sardinero, Santander      
725 22 June 1996                   Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London      
776 28 February 2001             Villa Park, Birmingham      
823 17 November 2004                 El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid      
849 7 February 2007             Old Trafford, Manchester      
871 11 February 2009             Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla      
901 12 November 2011             The National Stadium, Wembley, London      
949 13 November 2015             Estadio Jose Rico Perez, Alicante      
964 15 November 2016                 The National Stadium, Wembley, London      
986 8 September 2018                 The National Stadium, Wembley, London      
989 15 October 2018                 Estadio Benito Villamarín, Heliópolis, Sevilla