The foggy afternoon of November 14, 1934 saw Arsenal provide seven of England's starting XI for a friendly against world champions Italy, a record contribution which still stands today.
Fittingly, the game took place at Highbury and ended in a 3-2 victory for England. It was ultimately dubbed 'The Battle of Highbury' after a succession of bruising challenges and injuries at a time when substitutions were not permitted.
"Fittingly, the game took place at Highbury and ended in a 3-2 victory for England. It was ultimately dubbed 'The Battle of Highbury' after a succession of bruising challenges."
Frank Moss, George Male, Eddie Hapgood, Wilf Copping, Ray Bowden, Ted Drake and Cliff Bastin were the Arsenal players involved. Hapgood captained England for the first time while Drake and Male made their international debuts.
The other four players in England's inexperienced starting line-up were Cliff Britton, Jack Barker, Eric Brook and a young Stanley Matthews, winning his third cap.
Italy played almost the entire match with 10 men after a tackle from Drake left centre-half Monti with a broken bone in his foot after two minutes.
Within 10 minutes the Azzurri were three goals down after a double from Eric Brook and a strike from Drake himself. In a fractious first-half, Hapgood left the pitch for 15 minutes to tend a broken nose following a stray Italian elbow.
Hapgood returned to action but, even with a man advantage, England were soon under pressure. Meazza scored twice in the second half to set up a thrilling finish but Arsenal goalkeeper Moss kept the Italians at bay.
In England the match was billed as the 'real' World Cup Final. It was Italy's first match after winning the 1934 World Cup and, although England had not taken part in the tournament, they were still considered one of the strongest teams in Europe.
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