England 3-0 France (partially found footage of international football match; 1947)

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Photo of the match.

Status: Partially Found

On 3rd May 1947, England hosted France at the Highbury Stadium for an end-of-season friendly international football match. Featuring a dominant display by the hosts, the match was the fourth earliest international football match to be televised by the BBC, as well as one of the earliest televised matches to feature the French national football team.


Heading into the match, England had recently become the 1946-47 British Home Champion following a 1-1 draw with Scotland on 12th April 1947.[1][2] The match would act as an end-of-season tour friendly match for England following its Scotland encounter and the culmination of the 1947 FA Cup Final.[3] Meanwhile, France's last game was a 1-0 win over Portugal on 23rd March 1947. The last time both teams met was on 26th May 1938, where England won away 4-2.[4]

This would be the fourth international football match broadcast by the BBC, as it also televised the Scotland match weeks earlier.[5][1] This was the second televised match by the BBC to featured a side outside the British Isles, with the first being England's win over a Rest of Europe side on 26th October 1938.[5] It would also be one of the earliest instances of a televised match featuring the French national football team,[1][3] although whether this was the first ever remains unverified. Like the Scotland match and the 1947 FA Cup Final, the BBC were limited to televising only part of the match, as the Labour Government had imposed post-war rationing that restricted domestic electricity usage.[6] To comply with the rationing, the BBC agreed to televise only the second half of the game.[7][8][1] Commentary was provided by Jimmy Jewell and Alan Clarke.[1][7][8]

The Match

The match itself occurred on 3rd May 1947 at Highbury Stadium in front of 54,389 fans.[3] Like with the England-Scotland game, the home side were still debating on whether to play Stanley Matthews or Thomas Finney on the right wing. This time, Finney was selected to start.[9] The first 45 minutes were dominated by England, with a few chances from the hosts from Tommy Lawton and Finney, which were saved by Julien Da Rui.[10] Despite this, the game still remained 0-0 at half-time,[9] with England's over-elaboration in the midfield being blamed for allowing France to reinforce its defence appropriately.[10]

The second-half saw some better passing from the hosts, allowing for the first goal to occur at the 51st minute when some quick passing between players from the 50 yard mark enabled Finney to score.[10][9] 13 minutes later, following a poor clearance from the visitors, Wilfred Mannion doubled England's league by lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper into the French net.[10][9] At the 77th minute, Eddie Lowe, who was making his international debut, performed an effective dummy and cross that stunned the opposition's defence enough to enable Horatio Carter to strike, giving England its final goal of the match.[10][9] There were opportunities for England to extend its lead further, but some desperate tackling according to Mike Payne prevented any notable chances from occurring.[10] Thus, England had again maintained its strong record at home against European opposition.[10]


Like all early television programs, the England-France match was televised live and was unlikely to have been directly recorded. Although there were means of achieving this following the Second World War, recording seldom occurred until video tape was perfected in the late-1950s.[11] Thus, televised footage of the match is most likely permanently missing. Nevertheless, a few minutes of match footage from British Pathé's newsreels remains publicly accessible.



British Pathé newsreel of the match.

British Pathé newsreel of the match.


See Also

Association Football/Soccer Media

Early BBC Sports Television

Early BBC Television

Early Sports Television Media