Government wanted to pull England out of 1982 World Cup

The England team that beat France during the 1982 World Cup finals in Bilbao, Spain Credit: PA/PA Wire

The British government considered pulling England out of the 1982 World Cup as war broke out over the Falkland Islands, according to documents released by the National Archives under the 30-year rule.

In the aftermath of the Falklands conflict, sports governing bodies were urged to pull out of competitions with Argentinian teams because players might find it "difficult to meet Argentina on a sports field" if fighting was continuing.

But the documents show that cabinet ministers debated whether pulling out of the 1982 Football World Cup in Spain would send the right message.

In the end, England played and was knocked out in the second round.

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Falklands war files released

A cache of documents detailing behind-the-scenes meetings and operations during the Falklands War have been released under the 30-year rule.