England 3-0 Rest of Europe (partially found footage of international football match; 1938)

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Football program for the game signed by all the players.

Status: Partially Found

On 26th October 1938, England faced a Rest of Europe side at Highbury Stadium, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the English Football Association (FA). Not only was it the first televised international football match to feature a team outside the British Isles, it was also the first televised anniversary football match. This was also one of the earliest football matches to be televised, courtesy of BBC Television Service.


England's match against the Rest of Europe served two purposes. Firstly, it would celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the English FA, but it would also allow FIFA to strengthen relations with the EFA.[1] A decade before this match, England withdrew from FIFA concerning payments for amateur players, although the team would still play friendlies against European sides like Italy in 1934, and Germany in May 1938.[2] The Rest of Europe side was chosen by FIFA, although oddly the match itself was not recognised as official by the organisation.[3] The team would be led by Vittorio Pozzo, who guided Italy to the 1934 and 1938 World Cups, with players coming from six countries. Five of them were from Italy's 1938 winning side.[1]

The match would also be televised live by the BBC as part of its relatively new Television Service.[4] Highbury Stadium had already seen television action thanks to a friendly between Arsenal and its reserve team on 13th September 1937.[4] Another England match had already been televised by the Corporation earlier that year, with the team losing 1-0 to Scotland on 9th April 1938. Thus, this would be the second international game to be televised, and the first to feature a team outside the British Isles.[5] Oddly, whereas the BBC provided full coverage for the England-Scotland game as well as the 1938 FA Cup Final,[5] it was agreed upon that only the first half of this match would be televised.[3]

The Match

The match took place in front of 40,185 in attendance, including the Duke of Kent and the Earl of Athlone.[1] Those that were able to watch the game on television saw the hosts take the lead in the 21st minute, with Willie Hall achieving a left-footed hard shoot thanks to a Stanley Matthews pass. Tommy Lawton then made it 2-0 after capturing a loose ball and achieving a shot low into the net at the 28th minute. In the second half, with now only the people in attendance able to view it,[6] Len Goulden scored the final goal of the game with a left-footed shot just inside the post at around the 73rd minute mark.[3] England then maintained a clean sheet to win in dominating fashion.

The Rest of Europe did have the occasional chance, but were generally outplayed by England. Their goalkeeper Aldo Olivieri was able to deny England further goals thanks to some good saves.[1] Nevertheless, The Times believed that Matthews' passing contributed greatly to England's control of the game, believing that the 3-0 scoreline actually undermined the team's overall performance.[7]


Like all early BBC programs, this football match was televised live and were not directly recorded, as there were no means of achieving this prior to the end of the Second World War.[8] Thus, all televised footage of the match is now permanently missing. Nevertheless, a silent newsreel from British Pathé means that key highlights of the match itself remain publicly accessible.



Silent British Pathé footage of the match.

See Also

Association Football/Soccer Media

Early BBC Sports Television

Early BBC Television

Early Sports Television Media