Team Profile: England
Appearances at finals:
1950 - First round
1954 - Quarter-finals
1958 - First round
1962 - Quarter-finals
1966 - Winners
1970 - Quarter-finals
1982 - Second group stage
1986 - Quarter-finals
1990 - Fourth place
1998 - Second round
2002 - Quarter-finals
2006 - Quarter-finals
Overall record at finals: Played 55, Won 25, Drawn 17, Lost 13.
Best performance: Winners in 1966.
Most appearances at finals: Peter Shilton (1982, 1986, 1990) - 17.
Most goals at finals: Gary Lineker (1986, 1990) - 10.
World Cup high: Geoff Hurst completing his hat-trick during England's 4-2 win over West Germany in the July sun at Wembley in 1966.
World Cup low: England's first finals appearance, losing 1-0 to the USA's part-timers in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
World Cup legend: Bobby Moore, captain in 1966, defensive organiser and the provider of two of Geoff Hurst's goals in the final.
The story so far: English fans may not like to hear it, but that win as hosts in 1966 has since taken on the appearance of an aberration. Many - mostly Englishmen - expected them to defend their crown in 1970, but their quarter-final exit there has become their default setting. Having only entered the tournament after 1950, they have since missed out on qualification for three tournaments.
Italia 90, under the guidance of Bobby Robson, saw a tearful penalty exit at the hands of Germany, who have gained revenge for their defeat in the 1966 final a number of times since. That semi-final remains England's best showing on foreign soil.
Qualification: Progress to South Africa could not have been in starker contrast to the Euro 2008 qualification campaign. Under Steve McClaren, Croatia were England's nemesis, with defeats suffered home and away. Fabio Capello's team, largely made up of the same players, destroyed the Croats 4-1 in Zagreb and 5-1 at Wembley. Granting Wayne Rooney the central role and providing a big striker in Emile Heskey to play off paid dividends as England won nine out of ten qualifiers.
Qualifying record: P10, W9, D0, L1, F21, A3, Pts27.
Most appearances: John Terry, Frank Lampard (10).
Top goalscorer: Wayne Rooney (9).