Monday, May 14, 2012

14 May 1931 - France Gets The Win And The Shirts

On 14 May 1931, France got their first win over England and started a new football tradition.

Since their initial meeting in 1923, the two teams had played each other six times, all in France. England had won all six, including some by impressive margins--the three previous matches ended 0-6 (in 1927), 1-5 (1928), and 1-4 (1929).

Playing before a crowd of 30,000 at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in the Paris suburb of Colombes, it appeared that the 1931 friendly was headed for a similar result when England went up 0-1 with a goal from Samuel Crooks after only ten minutes. But France equalized five minutes later with a strike from Lucien Laurent (pictured), then jumped to a 4-1 lead with goals from Robert Furois (18'), Marcel Langiller (29'), and Edmond Delfour (57'). Thomas Waring pulled one back for the visitors in the 71st minute, but Furois restored the margin when he completed his brace five minutes later to set the final score at 5-2.

After the final whistle, the French players asked to keep the shirts of their English counterparts to commemorate the victory. It was the first recorded instance of shirt-swapping, which has since become a tradition for footballers around the world.

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