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Page Last Updated 7 March 2019
305 Party vs. Finland
307 Party vs. Northern Ireland
Saturday, 26 May 1956
End of Season Tour Match

West Germany 1 England 3 [0-1]
Match Summary
West Germany Party
England Party

Team Records


The England Party for the Continental Tour   Pre-West Germany May 1956
Player Birthdate Age Pos Club starts subs App G Capt
Astall, Gordon 22 September 1927 28 OR Birmingham City FC 1 0 1 1 0
Atyeo, P. John W. 7 February 1932 24 IR Bristol City FC 3 0 3 1 0
Berry, R. John 1 June 1926 29 OL Manchester United FC 4 0 4 0 0
Bryne, Roger W. 8 February 1929 27 LB Manchester United FC 21 0 21 0 0
Clayton, Ronald 5 August 1934 21 RHB Blackburn Rovers FC 5 0 5 0 0
Cummings, Thomas S. 12 September 1928 27 CB Burnley FC 0 0 0 0 0
Dickinson, James W. 24 April 1925 31 RHB Portsmouth FC 45 0 45 0 0
Dickinson withdrew from the party on 7 May because of an ankle injury.

Edwards, Duncan

1 October 1936 19 LHB

Manchester United FC

8 0 8 0 0
Grainger, Colin 10 June 1933 22 OL Sheffield United FC 3 0 3 2 0
Hall, Jeffrey J. 7 September 1929 26 RB

Birmingham City FC

8 0 8 0 0
Haynes, John N. 17 October 1934 21 IL Fulham FC 7 0 7 3 0
Lofthouse, Nathaniel 27 August 1925 30 CF Bolton Wanderers FC 30 1 31 29 0
Matthews, Reginald D. 20 December 1932 23 G Coventry City FC 3 0 3 3ᵍᵃ 0
Taylor, Thomas 29 January 1932 24 CF Manchester United FC 9 0 9 4 0
Wheeler, John E. 26 July 1928 27 RHB Bolton Wanderers FC 1 0 1 0 0
Wheeler replaced Dickinson in the party on 7 May after his withdrawal.
Wilshaw, Dennis J. 11 March 1926 30 IL Burnley FC 10 0 10 10 0
Wood, Raymond E. 11 June 1931 24 GK Manchester United FC 3 0 3 3ᵍᵃ 0
Wright, William A. 6 February 1924 32 CHB Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 76 0 76 3 61

All information is complete to and including England's last match, the eighth of the 1955-56 season, against Finland on 20 May 1956.


Friday, 27 April 1956 - The England team that will play Brazil for the first time has been announced, and Stan Matthews has finally earned a deserved recall from the selectors. It comes because Tom Finney is unavailable, Vic Groves is injured, Harry Hooper only has experience as a reserve and Peter Harris was a flop for the Football League match against the Irish counterparts. Matthews was due to fly to Kenya has part of a coaching mission on 9 May. There is a further surprise in the dropping of Bill Perry, replaced with Colin Grainger.
At the same time, the party to tour the continent was also chosen. It excludes Stan Matthews, but does include the the uncapped Tommy Cummings and Gordon Astall. Johnny Berry has been recalled after three years away from the international scene.
At the same time in Lausanne, England and Republic of Ireland were drawn together in Group One of the European Zone of the 1958 World Cup, alongside Denmark.

Monday, 30 April 1956 - Following the news of Grainger's inclusion in the party, Bill Perry was told he will be taking Grainger's place in the FA Tour of South Africa. Fulham's Bobby Robson takes the place of Leyton Orient's Ron Heckman, who drops out because of a fractured jaw.

Thursday, 3 May 1956 - The invited party reported in London today for a practise session at the Bank of England ground in Roehampton. In half an hour's warming up before the practise match, Stan Matthews and Nat Lofthouse, two of the oldest players on view, ran a mile round the ground. Unfortunately, as the team were doing laps, Jimmy Dickinson felt a twinge in his left ankle. He missed out on the practise match, as did Jeff Hall, who will be playing for Birmingham City at the FA Cup Final on Saturday, and was with his club in Twyford, so his place at right-back went to Tommy Cummings. The opposition was drawn from other members of the Continental party and South African tour plus some London club players (Reynolds; Charlton, Evans; Greenwood, Owen, Marchi; Hurst, Ayre, Lofthouse, Bloomfield and Tucker).

Monday, 7 May 1956 -
The FA have stated today that Portsmouth's wing-half, Jimmy Dickinson, has withdrawn from the England party because of his ankle injury. His place in the team to face Brazil has gone to Ronnie Clayton. However, the selectors have called up Bolton Wanderers' Johnny Wheeler to replace Dickinson for the Continental tour. Wheeler last played for England in October 1954.
After lunch at Roehampton, the party played a fast 20 minute each-way game against a side composed of the best of the England tour men plus some London club players. The result was a draw, Tottenham's Duquemin scored for the Rest and Taylor brilliantly headed in the equaliser. Despite the heat, Stanley Matthews showed great speed off the mark. FA Cup runner-up Jeff Hall was on hand to help his England teammates.

Wednesday, 9 May 1956 - The morning newspapers are convinced that this will be Stan Matthews last ever appearance in an England shirt.
    "Stanley Matthews will pull the white shirt of England over his slender shoulders for the last time today. The cap he wins against Brazil at Wembley will be his last." - Frank McGhee, Daily Mirror.
    "This afternoon Stan makes what I feel will be his last appearance in an England shirt, and he is the one person the Brazilians fear." - Alan Williams, Birmingham Gazette
England 4 Brazil 2:- The most heartening feature of this creditable victory was the clearly discernible plan to which England played and the fact that at long last they seem to have the young men to weld to it. Devastating and rapier swift through-passing exploited the glaring Brazilian defensive gap down the middle, and in four minutes, Taylor and Grainger had put England two-up. Then in the 53rd minute, Paulinho screwed in a ball from an impossible angle which hit Byrne and snaked past a surprised defence. Three minutes later came the Didi equaliser, but England fought back with verve and pace for Taylor to score his second off Atyeo's headed pass in the 67th minute. Six minutes from the end with the crowd braving the drizzle, Grainger got up to head a beautiful goal off a pin-point Matthews' centre.

Monday, 14 May 1956 - The youngest-ever seventeen-man England party fly out from London Airport. Billy Wright still had three stitches in place above his right eye, but still regards himself as "absolutely fit". The team looks likely to remain largely the same as that which beat Brazil, with the one exception of a needed replacement for Stan Matthews, who is now on a coaching tour of Kenya. The responsibility looks to be a certainty to fall at Johnny Berry's feet, although Gordan Astall seems to be a possibility.
The are four members of the Selection Committee joining the party, Arthur Oakley, Joe Mears, Harry French and Harold Shentall. They are staying at The Aston Hotel in Stockholm. On arrival in the cool wet weather, the players had a light workout at the Råsunda Stadium, where the match will be played. Left-half Duncan Edwards slightly pulled a muscle, but Walter Winterbottom said it would not prevent him from playing.

Tuesday, 15 May 1956 - The England team to meet Sweden shows the one expected change to the side that beat Brazil at Wembley last week. Johnny Berry will be outside right in place of Stanley Matthews.

Wednesday, 16 May 1956 - Sweden 0 England 0: The international match was ruined by a wind of almost gale force. Good football was impossible under such conditions and a draw was perhaps the fairest result. The bustling Swedes adapted themselves the better to the difficult conditions and might have had a penalty for hands in the 16th minute. Duncan Edwards handled the ball, but the Dutch referee ruled that it was unintentional. Stanley Matthews was badly missed.

Thursday, 17 May 1956 - The England party leave Stockholm for Helsinki by air. Reg Matthews is suffering with a badly bruised hip and may miss the match against Finland on Sunday.

Friday, 18 May 1956 - The team to face Finland is announced in Helsinki today. The team shows three new players and one positional change compared with that which drew with Sweden last Wednesday. Out go the injured Matthews, Berry and Atyeo, and in comes Wood, Astall and Wilshaw. Johnny Haynes moves from inside-left to right.
Matthews is being rested because of his hip injury. Astall represents his country for the first time. With the exception of Matthews, all members of the party are fit and well. They had a smooth flight from Stockholm. On arrival in the Finnish capital the England players rested for a time, but a practise match was arranged in the evening at the Olympic Stadium. They pitch is much better than that at the Råsunda, but does not equal the pitch at Wembley Stadium.

Sunday, 20 May 1956 - Finland 1 England 5: England beat Finland in an eventful match in which Jeff Hall dislocated his shoulder after falling heavily in a tackle three minutes from the end. Tommy Taylor was hurt in a tackle with the Finnish goalkeeper in the 39th minute. off the field injured injured in the second half, his replacement, Nat Lofthouse, set an England scoring record of 29 goals by netting twice.

Monday, 21 May 1956 - The England team flew to Hamburg and then made the 100-mile journey to their training quarters at Barsinghausen Sporthotel, near Hanover, to prepare for their next match against West Germany on Saturday. Of the 17-man party, three are unfit. Jeff Hall and his dislocated shoulder, although it was repaired in a Helsinki hospital, Tommy Taylor hurt his stomach muscles and Reg Matthews was injured against Sweden.
"Jeff Hall...will not be risked against Germany in Berlin on Saturday. Instead, Tommy Cummings (Burnley) will get his first England cap at right-back. Tommy Taylor is almost certain not to play. Apart from the torn muscle in his side, he has a badly swollen right arm after bursting a boil. The team will not be announced until Friday, and you can bet it will be: Matthews, Cummings, Byrne, Clayton, Wright, Edwards, Astall, Haynes, Lofthouse, Wilshaw, Grainger."
- George Follows, Daily Herald, Tuesday, 22 May 1956.

Tuesday, 22 May 1956 - Reg Matthews is expected to regain his place in the team on Saturday. He took part in a training game in Barsinghausen today and will probably take over from Wood.

Wednesday, 23 May 1956 - In Hanover, Tommy Taylor has made a remarkable recovery from injury. He came back today with a five goal bang which puts him back in line for a place in the team. Taylor's five goals were only scored in an eight-a-side practise game, but they were probably the most important of his young career. Jeff Hall had his arm out of a sling for the first time. A specialist will examine the arm to see whether Hall will be fit to take part in training in Berlin. The players are sweating out their preparations at Barsinghausen in tropical heat because summer has come with a rush. They are looking forward to Saturday's game with special interest because the crowd will include a larger number of Englishman than has ever watched an English team abroad. The German FC allocated 10,000 tickets to England, and all have been snapped up. England will play in red shirts, a concession and a compliment to the World Champions.

Thursday, 24 May 1956 - The England party left their training camp in Barsinghausen for Berlin by air. The English party landed in the US Sector of Berlin, with the sound of an American Sousa march blaring through the loudspeakers. They received an enthusiastic welcome in the hot weather. A crowd of several hundred, including swarms of autograph-hunters, held up the players' coach. After satisfying as many of the youngsters as they could, they left for their training camp on the outskirts of Berlin. Walter Winterbottom told reporters that all seventeen players were in top condition except for right-back Jeff Hall, who was still recovering.
The side trained at the Olympic Stadium in the evening.

Friday, 25 May 1956 - The England team to meet West Germany in the international match in Berlin tomorrow was chosen after the players had had their last work out at the Olympic Stadium. Both Hall and Taylor, injured against Finland, passed vigorous fitness tests. The selection committee, who watched, decided that both were fit enough to take their places. So, with the exception of the goalkeeper, England field the same side that beat Finland.

England Form: last six games
W W D W Df 17:a success: 83%
300 2 November 1955 -
England 3 Northern Ireland 0
Empire Stadium, Wembley (58,000)
Wilshaw (2), Finney BC HW
301 30 November 1955 - England 4 Spain 1 [2-0]
Empire Stadium,
Wembley (95,550)
Atyeo, Perry (2), Finney
302 14 April 1956 - Scotland 1 England 1 [0-0]
Hampden Park, Glasgow
303 9 May 1956 - England 4 Brazil 2 [2-0]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (97,000)
Taylor (2), Grainger (2)
Byrne OG, Didi
304 16 May 1956 - Sweden 0 England 0 [0-0]
Råsunda Fotbollstadion, Solna (36,500)
305 20 May 1956 - Finland 1 England 5 [1-3]
Olympiastadion, Helsinki (20,250)
Wilshaw, Haynes, Astall, Lofthouse (2)