Main Menu
No.1 2 3 4
No.5 6
Play now at the William Hill Casino
  | Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Poker   | News   | Email
16/11/2007 No.7
rendspotting Football
Kevin Pullein
Friday November 16, 2007

There are good and bad omens for England as they wait to see how their rivals fare ahead of their last Euro 2008 qualifier. The bad omen is that countries that need to win usually do, which favours Russia who will feel they need to win tomorrow away to already-eliminated Israel if they are to qualify instead of England from Group E.

The figures that follow are from the final rounds of European qualifiers for the last five international tournaments - the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups plus the 2000 and 2004 European Championships. When countries that needed to win faced opponents that had nothing to play for, they won 78% of their games. In earlier rounds, they had won only 57% suggesting they were more likely to win in the final, decisive games than they had been in the others.

In club football, the situation is sometimes different. In England, for example, even teams who have nothing to play for still put up a good fight at the end of a season. In Italy, however, they do not.

Technically, of course, Russia's trip to Israel is not their final qualifier for Euro 2008, but for all practical purposes it can be accepted as such; afterwards, they have only to travel to pointless Andorra. The good omen for England is that countries who have already qualified - like all others with nothing left to play for - tend to ease down. If Russia should fail to beat Israel, England will qualify next Wednesday if they win at home to Croatia, who would already be assured of a place in next summer's finals in Austria and Switzerland.

In the five previous campaigns, countries who had already qualified won only 62% of their games. While still trying to qualify, they had won 77% of their games. After qualification, results deteriorated against all levels of opponents, but they were worst against those who still had something to play for.

When countries who had already qualified faced opponents who could still qualify, they won only 43% of their games. Only once did a country who had already qualified play away to opponents who could still qualify, and they lost.
Fill out your e-mail address
to receive our newsletter!
E-mail address:  
First Name:  
Last Name:  

play online poker