England 6-0 Switzerland (partially found footage of international football match; 1948)

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England goalkeeper Ted Ditchburn dives to prevent a goal opportunity from Jacques Fatton.

Status: Partially Found

On 2nd December 1948, England hosted Switzerland for an international friendly football match at Highbury Stadium. At the time the match was broadcast by the BBC, this was England's biggest ever televised victory.


Heading into the match, England sought to continue to defend its unbeaten post-war and Continental home record,[1][2] having recently achieved a 1-0 victory over Wales on 10th November 1948 as part of the 1948-49 Home International Championship.[3] Meanwhile, Switzerland's last game was a 1-1 draw with Czechoslovakia on 10th October 1948.[4] For the Three Lions, this was a grudge match, as they were looking to avenge their 1-0 loss to Switzerland on 18th May 1947, the previous time the two nations faced each other.[5] For the game, England made six changes following the Wales match, including selecting Alf Ramsey, Johnny Hancocks, Jack Rowley, and John Haines as part of the starting line-up.[6][7][1]

Meanwhile, the BBC had plans to televise the full game on its original date of 1st December, with Jimmy Jewell and Pat Landsberg providing commentary.[8][9][10] However, severe fog resulted in the game being postponed until the day after.[11][8] The BBC was still willing to televise the match, albeit only the second half of it.[8]

The Match

The match itself occurred on 2nd December 1948 at Highbury Stadium in front of 35,000 fans.[7] The postponement was likely the reason for the low match attendance.[7] Despite concerns over the inexperienced squad, England proved the dominant side.[2][6][7] Aside from a clearance from Ramsey, the majority of plays came from the hosts, who took the lead after five minutes Jackie Milburn made a cross that enabled Haines to score a header.[2][6][7][1] England made continuous attempts to double their lead, before Stanley Matthews sent a low cross that reached the feet of Hancocks, enabling the latter to score with a powerful shot after 25 minutes.[2][6][7][1] Hancocks would be crucial for England's third goal 11 minutes later, taking a corner that was headed into the Swiss goal by Haines.[2][6][7][1]

In the second half, with the television audience now watching, Jean Tamini, Alfred Bickel, and Jacques Fatton all attempted to pull one back for Switzerland, but to no avail.[2] After 55 minutes, Rowley fired a shot from around 30-35 yards to score England's fourth goal, a shot praised as a masterpiece by Norman Giller.[7][6][2][1] After 65 minutes, Matthews made a corner that shot through a Swiss defender's legs, allowing Hancocks to make it 5-0.[2][6][1] Finally, Jackie Milburn scored from the edge of the penalty area a minute later for England's sixth goal.[2][6][1] From there to the final whistle, the home side controlled play with their defence barely being tested by the opposition.[6][1] Post-match, Rowley was praised for his goal, while Haines was deemed the "biggest success of the new boys" by Mike Payne due to his imagination and flair on the pitch.[2] This was the first time England's fifth clean sheet in one calendar year, the first time the nation achieved this accolade, while also extending its post-war unbeaten record to eleven.[1] Based on the England matches broadcast by the BBC previously, this became England's biggest televised win.[8]


Like most early televised football matches, the match was broadcast live and is not known to have been recorded, as recording seldom occurred until video tape was perfected in the late-1950s.[12] In fact, a telerecording would not occur until England's later game against Italy on 30th November 1949.[13] Thus, all televised coverage of the encounter is now permanently missing. Nevertheless, newsreel footage of the match remains publicly available.



British Pathé newsreel of the match.

Another British Pathé newsreel of the match.

British Movietone News newsreel of the match.


See Also

Association Football/Soccer Media

Early BBC Sports Television

Early BBC Television

Early Sports Television Media


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 England Football Online detailing the result of the game. Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Mike Payne providing a detailed report on the game (quote found on England Football Online). Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  3. England Football Online detailing England's win over Wales on 10th November 1948. Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  4. World Football detailing Switzerland's results in 1948. Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  5. England Football Online detailing Switzerland's win over England on 18th May 1947. Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 FA Yearbook 1949-50 review of the match (quote found on England Football Online). Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Norman Giller's match report (quote found on England Football Online). Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 England Football Online detailing the BBC's coverage of the match. Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  9. BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues detailing the planned broadcast prior to the postponement caused by fog. Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  10. Issue 1,311 of Radio Times listing the match. Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  11. Gloucestershire Echo reporting on the match being delayed by fog (quote found on England Football Online). Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  12. Web Archive article discussing how most early television is missing due to a lack of directly recording television. Retrieved 30th Apr '22
  13. BBC noting no telerecording of football matches occurred until the November 1949 England-Italy game. Retrieved 30th Apr '22