records do not show any England player receiving a booking in World Cup finals play before the 1966
tournament. In the nine final tournaments England reached between 1966
and 2010, 36 players were subjected to disciplinary measures. Six of
these were disciplined at two tournaments, Terry Butcher and Ray Wilkins at
the 1982 and 1986 tournaments, Sol Campbell and Paul Scholes at the 1998 and
2002 tournaments and Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher at the 2006 and 2010
players received a red card expulsion, Ray Wilkins for a second cautionable
offence in the group match against Morocco at the 1986 tournament in Mexico,
David Beckham for violent conduct in the round of 16 teams match against
Argentina at the 1998 tournament in France and Wayne Rooney for violent
conduct in the quarter-finals match against Portugal at the 2006 tournament in
records in World Cup finals play before the 1970 tournament in Mexico may not
be entirely reliable. Not until the 1970 tournament was the highly
visible method of denoting cautions and expulsions by displaying yellow and
red cards established. Before then, expulsions were discernible because
a player left the pitch, but cautions were merely noted in the referee's
notebook and were not always publicly known.
It was uncertainty about the
bookings given the Charlton brothers, Bobby and Jackie, in the quarterfinal
match against Argentina at Wembley Stadium in 1966 that led the late English
referee Ken Aston to develop the red and yellow cards system. Jackie had
been involved in a pushing and shoving affair with Argentine players and brother
Bobby sought to intervene, apparently as a peacemaker. Contemporaneous
newspaper accounts reported that both had been booked, but the West German
referee had not given any public indication that this was the case. Manager Alf Ramsey
had to ask FIFA for clarification, and FIFA confirmed the bookings. The confusion set Aston to thinking about the problem,
and while noticing a traffic light changing colours, he came up with the idea
of displaying yellow and red cards to make cautions as well as expulsions
plain to all.
To this day,
official match summary appearing on the FIFA website contains no mention that the
were booked, although it does list the caution and expulsion of Argentine
captain Antonio Rattin. When England met Argentina
at the 1998 final tournament, FIFA revealed that an examination of its
records, conducted the year previously at Bobby Charlton's request, showed
that both Charlton's had been cautioned in the 1966 match, Jackie apparently for his
involvement in the goalmouth pushing and Bobby for dissent. The caution
was the only one
received in his 106-match England career. The entire episode serves as a
warning that records of player discipline prior to the advent of yellow and
red cards may not be complete.
Four England players have served
suspensions from World Cup finals play.
first was midfielder Ray Wilkins, who drew a two-match suspension after he was
shown the red card for a second cautionable offence in England's goalless draw
with Morocco at the 1986 tournament in Mexico.
who had already drawn a caution for a tussle with a Moroccan player, had taken
over the captain's armband when injury forced Bryan Robson to leave the
match. Minutes later, when he was ruled offside, he tossed the ball at
the ground in disgust at the failure to call a foul and it hit the referee on
the bounce. FIFA increased the usual one-match suspension
for a red card to two
matches because it deemed the offence which led to Wilkins' second
caution to involve abuse of the
referee. Wilkins missed the next two matches against Poland and
Paraguay through suspension, and manager Bobby Robson did not call on him for
England's last match of the tournament against Argentina, although he was one
of the five substitutes on the bench. Wilkins,
elevated to England captain one moment, thus ended his World Cup career in
disgrace the next, the first England player ever sent off in World Cup finals
play and only the fourth sent off in any match.
the same tournament, central defender Terry Fenwick drew cautions for fouls in
England's first and third matches in group play, against Portugal and Poland,
and was suspended for the next match against Paraguay in the round of 16
teams. Fenwick returned against Argentina and drew yet another yellow
card for a foul. That that was England's last match of the tournament
probably saved Fenwick from further distinguishing himself.
Gascoigne earned a one-match suspension in the 1990 tournament in Italy after
drawing cautions against Belgium in the round of 16 teams and against West
Germany in the semi-final. After the second yellow card, Gascoigne, in an
scene televised around the world, shed tears as it dawned on him he
would not play in the final match were England to win the semi-final. As it turned out, the suspension forced him to miss the
third-place match against host Italy instead.
Jamie Carragher served a one-match suspension after
picking up a caution each in the opening 2010 Finals tournament in South
Africa against USA and Algeria.
England players were saved from serving suspensions from World Cup finals play
because the offences warranting the suspension came in England's last match of
the tournament. Francis Lee drew a caution against Brazil in group play
and a second against West Germany in the quarterfinals at the 1970 tournament
in Mexico and would have been suspended from the semi-final, but West
Germany's 3-2 extra-time victory sent England home. David Beckham's red
card early in the second half against Argentina at the 1998 tournament in
France would have earned him a suspension from the quarterfinal, but Argentina
eliminated England on penalty kicks after an extra-time 2-2 draw.
Wayne Rooney's red card against Portugal would have
suspended him from any potential semi-final England may have had in 2006.