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Soccer teams representing Englandmarker and Scotlandmarker competed against each other at The Ovalmarker, Londonmarker on Saturday 25 February 1871.


Although not currently recognised as an official international game by FIFA (founded 1904), it was organised under the auspices of the Football Association, which was the only footballing body in the world at the time. The match was organised by CW Alcock following invitations placed in Scottish newspapers.

Alcock invited players from Scotland in his letters to Scottish newspapers, including the following in the Glasgow Herald of 7 January 1871, giving more than five weeks' notice:

"FOOTBALL. ENGLAND V SCOTLAND. West Dulwich, Surrey, 5 Jan 1871. Sir - In order to give ample time to enable Scotch players desirous of representing their country to make the necessary preparations, I request the favour of a few lines in your paper to notify to all concerned that the second of the two international matches fixed for the present season will take place in London on Saturday the 11th of February next. The rules of the Football Association will, as before, be enforced, and, on behalf of the committee, I earnestly request the cooperation of the steadily increasing army of Scotchmen who follow their laws. The experience of the previous match was so eminently satisfactory that I feel little compunction in recalling that meeting as an instance of an unqualified success, which I hope to find even still more decided in the forthcoming encounter. Messrs A F Kinnaird 1 Pall Mall East, London, SW and Quintin Hogg 23 Rood Lane London EC will be glad to receive the names of any Scotch player desirous of contending against England; and I can promise on their behalf that all claimants shall have a fair hearing. Whatever be the result of the match I would suggest the inadvisability of after recriminations. Each party will have a fair field and no favour, and let us hope that the best side may win. I can guarantee that should the tide of battle turn against England, its eleven will be the first to honour the triumph of the Scotch, and be none the less eager to try another passage of arms with their victors. I am &c Charles W Alcock Hon Sec of Football Association.

This match date had actually been briefly publicised in the Glasgow Herald as early as November 1870

There is some controversy surrounding the selection of players for the Scottish side, as most of them were drawn from English teams. Despite this, the Glasgow Herald introduced its match report as follows:

"ENGLAND V SCOTLAND. The third of the international matches which have now been decided between the cream of the football players under the above nationalities took place under most favourable circumstances at the County of Surrey cricket ground in London on Saturday. Much interest has been attached to this contest for some time past as it was known that both captains had been successful in the composition of elevens capable of efficiently representing their respective causes and additional excitement was manifested from .... Scotland by the appearance on the present occasion of several skilled exponents of the game who were absent in the previous engagement..."

The match on 25 February 1871

The match was drawn 1-1.

The match is described in the following way by the Scotsman newspaper:

On saturday the Surrey Cricket Ground in London witnessed the second international contest between England and Scotland, which have now come to be regarded as great events of the football campaign in England.
Much interest has for sometime been felt with regard to the match as it had become known that most of the celebrities who were unable to represent Scotland in the first meeting would do battle in the second struggle and consequently there was every prospect of a stirring and spirited engagement.
Fortunately, too the weather was to a great extent favourable.
Although the sky was gloomy there was no sign of rain and the air, though keen and consequently more exhilarating to the players than to onlookers was not cold enough to prevent upwards of 500 spectators from paying to witness the match.
At the commencement, Scotland had a stroke of good fortune as in winning the toss for choice of positions the northern eleven reaped the benefit of a strong wind which could not prove otherwise than of assistance to their cause.
At half past three o'clock the kick off was made by A.J.
Baker on behalf of England, the respective backs being E.
Lubbock (half back) and C.W.
Stephenson (back) for England: Quentin Hogg (half back) and W.H.
Gladstone MP (back) for Scotland.
The rules are those of the Football Association, which are in every respect dissimilar to those patronised by the Scotch schools and universities, and certain Scotch clubs.
Without loss of time, the Scotchmen commenced to imperil the safety of the English lines and the southerners, who played less energetically than is their wont were thus reduced to a close siege, which augured ill for the security of their fortress.
Once the ball was only diverted from its passage between the posts by the precision of the English goalkeeper, but this ill success for Scotland was soon remedied as about a quarter of an hour after the kick off a loud shout proclaimed the fall of the English goal - an achievement entirely due to the play of C.E.
This event produced a change in the positions of the two parties as well as a simultaneous alteration in the aspect of affairs, the English eleven nettled by this reverse returning to the fight with a greater amount of energy than at the outset.
For upwards for half an hour, however, all efforts of their forward players were frustrated by the faultless kicking of Q Hogg and W H Gladstone and indeed it seemed as if the defence would prove more than equal to the attack until a well executed run down by C W Alcock WC Butler and RSF Walker, acting in concert, enabled the last named of the trio to equalise the score by the accomplishment of a well merited goal for England.
Again, according to law, positions were reversed, and from this period the Englishmen held a slight though decided advantage, threatening the Scotch lines on several occasions but without success .
Nothing more occurred to favour either of the rival elements and five o'clock arrived leaving the question of supremacy undecided.
The play of the Scotch champions was in every respect admirable and both forward and back no possible exception could have been made to their exhibition.
Still to C.E.
Nepean Q Hogg and WH Gladstone was mainly due the successful defence of their lines against a series of well organised attacks.
For England R.S.F.
Walker was untiring in his efforts forwards until the close, while in the same line for Scotland F.Maclean and A.K.
Smith did great execution.

The players were as follows:

England CW Alcock (Harrow Pilgrims), A.J.
Baker (Wanderers), M.P.
Betts (West Kent) W.C.
Butler (Civil Service), J Cockerell (Brixton club), W.P.
Crake (Barnes Club), T.C.
Hooman (Wanderers), F.
Lubbock (West Kent), C.W.
Stephenson (Westminster School), RWS Vidal (Westminster School) and RSF Walker (Clapham Rovers).

Scotland A.F.
Kinnaird (Wanderers), F.Maclean (Oxford University), WH Gladstone MP (Old Etonians), Q.
Hogg (Wanderers) J.F.
Inglis (Charterhouse School), A Kirkpatrick (Civil Service) W Lyndsay (Old Wykehamists) C.F.
Nepean (University College, Oxon), A.K.
Smith (University College, Oxon), R.
Smith (Queens Park Club, Glasgow) and CC Primrose (Civil Service)

A photograph of players was taken after the match

The match on 17 November 1871

England won the match 2-1.

The November match was described as follows in Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle on Saturday 18 November 1871:

"FOOTBALL. ENGLAND V SCOTLAND.This interesting match was played yesterday, at the Oval in the presence of an unusual number of visitors, the afternoon being very fine. Play began at 3-5, and a splendid contest was the result. England winning by two goals to one. Those for the winners were both made by Walker, and that for Scotland was obtained by Renny-Tailyour. The teams were:

ENGLANDC.W. Alcock (Wanderers) (captain), T.S. Baker (Clapham Rovers), M.P. Betts (Harrow Chequers), J.Kenrick (Clapton Rovers) E. Lubbock (Old Etonians) A.W. Ruggles-Brise (captain of Eton College Eleven) C.W. Stephenson (Wanderers) A.C. Thompson (Eton College, Cambridge), R.W.S. Vidal (captain of Westminster School Eleven), R.S.F. Walker (clapham Rovers), P. Weston (Barnes Club)

SCOTLANDLieut Renny-Tailyour (Royal Engineers) (Old Cheltonian) Lieut Mitchell (Royal Engineers, (Old Harrovian) C.E.B. Nepean (University College, Oxford) R.E.W. Crawford (Old Harrovian) C.S. Ferguson (R.MA., Woolwich) W.Lindsay (Old Wykehamist) F.H. Crawford (Harrow Chequers) A Kirke-Smith (University College, Oxford) J.Kirkpatrick (Civil Service) R. Smith (Queen's Park Club, Glasgow) E.Elliot (Harrow Chequers)

The match was reported in the Scotsman newspaper as follows: "One of the two annual football matches between England and Scotland took place in London on Saturday, and resulted in favour of the former, they having made two goals against one by their opponents" Details of the match and players had been advertised by the Scotsman the day before the game, citing R Smith (or Queens Park) as a player and James Smith (also of Queen's park) as a reserve for the match

See also

England v Scotland England v Scotland Scotland v England


  1. Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Saturday, 7 January 1871; Issue 9678
  2. Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Monday, 21 November 1870; Issue 9637
  3. Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Monday, 27 February 1871; Issue 9721
  4. The Scotsman Newspaper Monday 27 February 1871 page 7
  5. The Scotsman Newspaper Monday 27 February 1871 page 7
  6. Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Saturday, 7 January 1871; Issue 9678
  7. The Scotsman - Monday, 20 November 1871, page 2
  8. The Scotsman - Friday, 17 November 1871, page 7

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