THIS weekend saw Gareth Southgate’s England side take one step closer to achieving World Cup qualification for next year’s tournament in Qatar.

Before the Three Lions kicked off their UEFA Qualification Group I tie against Albania on Friday night, they needed four points from their remaining two qualifying games to ensure their place at next year’s tournament.

They had to get past their opponents without a host of first-team options, however, with Declan Rice joining Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount in being absent from the fixture.

Thankfully, the team showed resilience and triumphed in a victory at Wembley Stadium.

The national squad have appeared in 15 World Cups since the tournament’s inception in 1930.

The nation has been ever-present in the tournament for the last 27 years, with failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in America one of just three occasions that England have not featured in the competition.

Of course, the country’s best finish in a World Cup was in 1966, when Geoff Hurst grabbed that 120th minute goal to secure the Jules Rimet trophy.

Since then, the team have managed to claim fourth place in 1990 and 2018. During the latter, England failed to reach the final after a 2-1 extra time defeat to Croatia in the semi-finals, and Belgium claiming third place in a 2-0 win in Saint Petersburg.

With that fourth placed finish at the last World Cup and an appearance in the Euro 2020 final, the team have never been closer to repeat the efforts 55 years ago.

Captain Harry Kane picked up the Golden Boot award in Russia, and was one goal away from equalling Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick during this year’s European Championships.

The progress of the squad can only be aided by the support shown by football fans up and down the country.

In today’s nostalgia section, we look back at various events where Cumbrians have shown their support for our national team.

From flag displays to charity football matches and meat-filled decorations, the county continues to show their support during major tournaments.

If you see yourself in the photos, let us know.