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The story so far: International football at St. James' Park

After it was announced that England will play Bosnia & Herzegovina at the home of Newcastle United ahead of EURO 2024, we take a look back at previous international fixtures that have been held at St. James' Park - starting in the early 1900s...

The earliest recorded international matches at St. James' came at the start of the 20th century, as England hosted Wales (twice) and Scotland in the British Home Championship. A crowd of around 11,000 watched the Three Lions thrash Wales 6-0 in March 1901 before a 1-1 draw with Scotland in 1907 - in front of over 35,000 - and a 2-1 defeat to Wales in 1933. There remained an appetite for England games in the North East; almost 40,000 turned up for a routine 4-0 friendly win over Norway in 1938.

St. James' Park as it looked at the time England B faced Scotland in 1950

Just over a year later, World War II began and it was 11 years before another international fixture was held in Newcastle. In February 1950, an England B side took on the Netherlands in what was termed a World Cup 'trial match' ahead of the start of the tournament later that year. Among the new internationals, it was the more seasoned figure of Len Shackleton - the former Magpies forward who had joined Sunderland for a British record fee a couple of years previously - who won it for England with just over quarter of an hour remaining, delighting the 43,000-strong crowd. Goalkeeper Jack Fairbrother, who went on to win the FA Cup with the Magpies the following year, was among the replacements who didn't get on, with Jackie Milburn missing out with a broken toe sustained in training.

France, with the great Zinedine Zidane sixth from left, line up at St. James' Park before their EURO '96 clash with Romania

Another decade passed before the Three Lions returned to St. James'. This time, in February 1960, it was an England Youth side featuring the likes of Terry Venables and Martin Peters who took on Scotland, drawing 1-1 in the Amateur Youth Championship for the British Assosociation. Later that year, England Under-23s played out a 1-1 draw with Italy in a November friendly in front of the Gallowgate, with Ashington-born Bobby Charlton providing the corner which led to Joe Baker's 14th-minute equaliser. United's Jackie Bell was listed as a reserve.

The 1960s saw more young England hopefuls grace the hallowed turf on Tyneside. Alf Ramsey guided an under-23 side to a 3-2 win over Scotland in February 1964 thanks to a hat-trick from Fred Pickering but three years later they suffered a 3-1 defeat to the same opposition, with Newcastle frontman Bryan 'Pop' Robson among those lining up that day. There was another clash with the Scots in March 1974, this time a 2-0 win in front of just 4,500 supporters, before another near ten-year spell without an international clash at the home of the Magpies.

England beat Albania 2-0 on Tyneside in a qualifier for the 2002 World Cup

April 1983 brought a 1-0 win for Howard Wilkinson's England Under-21s against their Hungarian counterparts, with future United players Paul Bracewell and John Barnes both starting the European Under-21 Championship qualifier, and there was even more of a local feel about the Young Lions' next outing at St. James'. In November 1994, with Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan having been appointed interim manager of England Under-21s, almost 26,000 came to watch another qualifying win over the Republic of Ireland, with Noel Whelan netting the only goal. Steve Watson, a staple of Keegan's swashbuckling Newcastle side, lined up that day along with Sol Campbell and Nicky Butt, with Whitley Bay-born Graham Fenton - now manager of Blyth Spartans - also in the starting 11.

Two years later, England was chosen as the host nation for the 1996 European Championships, with St. James' Park named as one of the eight venues for the tournament. It hosted three games in June 1996, all in Group B. The first was Romania's 1-0 defeat to France, with Cristophe Dugarry netting the winner. It was a star-studded affair, with Gheorge Hagi skippering Romania and Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc, Didier Deschamps and Youri Djorkaeff all in the French side two years before they became World Cup winners. Hristo Stoichkov bagged the winner for Bulgaria in their clash with Romania three days later, before France beat Stoichkov's men 3-1 to secure their place in the knockout stage.

David Beckham slides home in England's 3-0 friendly win over Ukraine

England Under-17s got a run-out at St. James' in May 2001 as they lost 4-0 to France in a European Championship semi-final before the senior team, managed by Sven-Göran Eriksson, returned to Tyneside for a World Cup qualifier in September that year ahead of the following summer's tournament in South Korea and Japan. Albania were the opposition but they were comfortably dispatched in front of over 51,000 with Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler grabbing the goals in a 2-0 win.

Michael Owen celebrates Steven Gerrard's goal in England's 2-0 win over Azerbaijan

David Platt's Under-21s, featuring Jermaine Jenas, drew 1-1 with Turkey in a EURO qualifier in April 2003 before Eriksson's men returned in August 2004 for a 3-0 friendly win over Ukraine, with Owen's goal sandwiching strikes from David Beckham and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Butt - by then a Newcastle player - started, with Kieron Dyer and Jenas entering the fray as substitutes. Under a year later, in March 2005, the Three Lions were back at St. James' for a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan in a qualifier for the 2006 World Cup, with Steven Gerrard and Beckham on target and Dyer again appearing off the bench.

Sir Bobby Robson greets Alan Shearer on his final public appearance

On a deeply emotional evening in July 2009, former players of both England and West Germany - as well as a handful of celebrities - gathered to play in a charity game in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Broadcast live on ITV4, the game was intended to be a revisiting of the 1990 World Cup semi-final between the two countries, which Robson's England lost on penalties. Featuring some players who had played in that game 19 years previously, including Paul Gascoigne, Lothar Mattheus, Peter Beardsley and Guido Buchwald, England went on to win 3-2 thanks to a late Alan Shearer penalty. Before kick-off, Robson was introduced to the crowd and players and presented with an award by UEFA prior to a rendition of Nessun Dorma, the operatic song which will forever be associated with the Italia '90 tournament in Italy. It proved to be Robson's final public appearance before he passed away just five days later.

The most recent international games held at the ground came during the summer of 2012, when St. James' became one of six host venues for men's and women's football at the Olympic Games. There were draws between Mexico and South Korea (0-0) and Gabon and Switzerland (1-0) on 26th July, with a 20-year-old Fabian Schär getting an early taste of his future home as he lined up for the Swiss side. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, then a sought-after forward at Saint-Etienne, had raised eyebrows when he appeared with his Gabon teammates in a pre-tournament friendly at Grounsell Park, home of Heaton Stannington; he lined up against Schär that day.

Neymar rolls home a penalty against Honduras at the Leazes End during the 2012 Olympics

There was a 1-0 win for Japan over Morocco three days later along with a surprise win for Honduras over a Spain side containing Jordi Alba and Juan Mata, who had both helped their country to victory in the EURO 2012 final less than a month previously. On the 31st July, the women's tournament arrived in town, with Sweden drawing 2-2 with Canada and France beating Colombia 1-0.

A few days later, Brazil - with Neymar the star attraction - comfortably beat Chris Wood's New Zealand 3-0 before Neymar himself found the target from the penalty spot in their 3-2 quarter-final win over Honduras, while the all-conquering USA women's side featuring Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan beat New Zealand 3-0 in the quarter-finals on their way to gold medal victory.

Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan celebrate Wambach's goal during the USA's last eight win over New Zealand in the 2012 Olympics

That was in August 2012, and it was another 11 years before Saudi Arabia's friendlies with Costa Rica and South Korea in September 2023 - which ended in 3-1 and 1-0 defeats for Roberto Mancini's men - took place under the lights on Tyneside.

And it was confirmed in February that Gareth Southgate's Three Lions will take on Bosnia & Herzegovina in front of the Gallowgate in June, writing another chapter in the long history of international games at St. James' Park.

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