Online casino and sportsbook LeoVegas Sport has carried out detailed research dating back to 1998 into the relationship between population size and World Cup success.
On the back of England’s late success against Tunisia, much has been made of Panama’s population size and the certain win it should be for England.
However, history suggests England need to avoid being complacent. In fact, Uruguay who famously ended England’s World Cup hopes in 2014, have a lower population than Panama (three million versus four million)
Key stats from the research show;
England have suffered more losses to nations with a lower population over World Cup qualifying and finals matches, than they have beaten nations in the FIFA’s top 10 rankings (six versus five).
England have lost to Romania, Argentina, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Ukraine and Uruguay
England have beaten Germany, Argentina and Poland x3
In World Cup group stage and knockout matches, England have suffered more losses to nations with a lower population, than they have beaten nations in the FIFA’s top 10 rankings (four versus one).
England have lost to Romania, Argentina, Portugal, and Uruguay
England have only beaten Argentina
Over World Cup qualifying and finals matches, England have twice lost against nations with a lower population size than Panama (Northern Ireland and Uruguay)
To warn the three lions about the dangers of complacency, LeoVegas has rounded up five of the matches England would want to forget, but need to remember as they battle to progress to the knockout rounds.
The days England will want to forget
England 1-2 Romania (1998)
A 90th minute winner from Romania’s Dan Petrescu condemned England to a shock defeat in their second 1998 World Cup group stage fixture, after a strong qualifying campaign which saw them finish top and above Italy.
Northern Ireland 1-0 England (2006)
David Healy scored the only goal of the match as England’s golden generation suffered their first defeat in a qualifier under Sven Goran-Eriksson. It marked a disappointing performance in an otherwise solid qualifying campaign.
Ukraine 1-0 England (2010)
Ukraine ended England’s 100% record in qualifiers in 2010 with a 1-0 victory in which keeper Rob Green was sent off after only 13 minutes.
Argentina 2-2 England (4-3 penalties) (1998)
England regrettably went out of the 1998 World Cup on penalties after a good display against their fiercest rivals, a game which is since remembered for Beckham’s red card in the second half – a mark of discipline England will need to keep this World Cup.
England 0-0 Portugal (1-3 penalties) (2006)
Penalties were again the decider which ended England’s World Cup hopes in 2006, and again a red card was a thorn in an England side – this time Wayne Rooney reminding the nation of the importance of staying calm in the most pressured of situations.
Also considering our very narrow win over Tunisia in the opening game, don’t count on England winning by a large margin….
And don’t forget the Iceland game at the Euros!