Wednesday, 27 June 2012


The strategy of backing 0-0 and related bets (HT 0-0, Draws, Unders etc.) in every quarter-final paid dividends with the last game of the four, and an overall, but small, profit.

While Sunday was disappointing from a patriotic point of view, it was hardly surprising. I didn't realise until updating my records that is was eight years to the day since England's elimination on penalties to Portugal.

England have a problem with quarter-finals. In the 13 World Cups that they have qualified for, six times (1954, 1962, 1970, 1986, 2002 and 2006) they have been eliminated at this stage. If we include 1982, when there were no quarter-finals, but England were eliminated in the 'last 12 stage' (four groups of three) and were officially credited with a 6th place finish, that makes it more than 50% of World Cups.

1954 26th June 2-4 Uruguay
1962 10th June 1-3 Brazil
1970 14th June 2-3 (a.e.t. 2-2) West Germany
1986 22nd June 1-2 Argentina
2002 21st June 1-2 Brazil
2006 1st July 0-0 (a.e.t.) Penalties Portugal

In the European Championships, England have placed 5th to 8th five times in the eight tournaments they have qualified for. Not all those were official quarter-finals since the current format is relatively recent, but the four tournaments with the current format that England qualified for have seen two quarter-final defeats, both on penalties.

Semi-finals since 1996 are similar in outcome to quarter-finals, with four of the eight being 0-0 at half-time, and three ending that way. Two other matches were draws at full-time, and three went to penalties. Only Spain 3 Russia 0 last tournament has seen a winning margin greater than one.

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