Before and since the triumph of 1966, the story of England's efforts in the World Cup, has been one of disappointment and unfulfilled expectations. Defeated semi-finalists in 1990, they have only twice progressed beyond the last eight, again eliminated at that stage in 2002. Alone of football's major powers they have failed three times to qualify for the finals, spending 12 years in the wilderness between 1970 and 1982. England's chief European rivals - Germany and Italy - have both won the World Cup three times: since the first post-war World Cup of 1950, the first in which England and the other British associations participated, Germany have appeared in seven finals. Calling upon memories of Englishmen who took part - men such as Eddie Baily, Tom Finney, Johnny Haynes, Walter Winterbottom, Nobby Stiles, Alan Mullery, Kenny Sansom, Terry Fenwick and Terry Butcher - as well as his own personal experiences from ten World Cup finals, Ken Jones looks deeply into the World Cup campaigns that have repeatedly questioned England's acknowledged status in the game. This book offers an analysis of England's involvement - and lack of success - in football's greatest tournament, delivering a sense of authenticity and immediacy to the history of events. Ken Jones chronicles both the frustration and blind optimism displayed by English football fans every four years, with countless stories that unfold as he traces a turbulent World Cup voyage.