England face Italy in their opening World Cup game in Manaus on Saturday night, and while washed up football players (not you Scholesy) turn their hand to punditry by reeling off some spiel about the pitch, the heat, and the English youth, the Paddy Power Blog is delivering the cold hard stats.
Looking through the record books – the recent and most relevant ones at least – we’ve totted up all England and Italy’s goals from the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012 and 2014 World Cup qualifying games. Hopefully this will give us some indication of when both sides are most likely to find the onion bag and Mr Hodgson and co can prepare accordingly. We’ll expect our cheque in the post Roy.
The stats are tighter than Pitbull’s white trousers at the opening ceremony, but it appears you wouldn’t want to slip out before half-time despite however appealing the prawn sandwiches may be…
The long and short of it is that the 15 minutes before half-time could make or break England’s opening game. Tis is when the Three Lions are the most prolific – with 26 per cent of their goals coming between the 30th and 45th minutes – but it is also when the Italians are most deadly, with 28 per cent of their goals coming in the same period. Keeping the opposition out and bagging a goal themselves would be a dream for Hodgson going into half-time.
- England score a higher percentage of their goals in the first 15 minutes than Italy do which could bode well for a quick start from the Three Lions. 13 per cent of their goals have come in the first quarter of an hour of each game, compared to just 10 per cent of the Italian’s efforts
- The 2006 champs are at their most dangerous in the 15 minutes before half time and the final 15 minutes of the game. In these two spells combined they have scored 52 per cent of their goals and this is when Joe Hart will have to be on red alert in case there are any defensive clusterf**** in front of him
Your best bet might be to back goals in-running during the first half when you can get a juicy price off Paddy and empty the boss’s pockets. If you’re having a punt before kick-off however, here are three bets, based on the stats, that might look as appealing as a bacon butty on a miserable Monday morning.
- Half-time correct score 1-1: 8/1
- Italy to come from behind and draw: 13/2
- England to score in the first half: 6/4