Will history repeat itself? 8 England World Cup exit specials
We assess the value of the glorious failures that could await the Three Lions in Russia this summer.
Penalty shoot-out –
England have been knocked out of three of the last seven World Cups on penalties, yet these odds say they have just an 18.18 per cent chance of suffering a shoot-out exit in Russia this summer.
That price is tempting, especially as England should qualify from a group that also features Tunisia and Panama.
Don’t be surprised if the class of 2018 end up in spot-kick purgatory like their predecessors in 1990, 1998 and 2006.
England player sent off during knockout stages –
There have been red cards in two of England’s last four World Cup knockout-stage defeats.
While it was petulance that cost David Beckham and Wayne Rooney in 1998 and 2006, you suspect that any dismissal this summer is more likely to be because of defensive calamity rather than irritability.
That said, Dele Alli needs to watch that temper.
England to be eliminated by VAR decision –
The only reason England haven’t suffered a VAR-inspired major tournament exit so far is because the thing has literally only just been invented.
Yet having grasped the first opportunity to surrender victory via the referees’ new gizmo with both hands in March, conceding a late penalty to Italy at Wembley, there is no doubt that the Three Lions are capable of doing so again on the biggest stage.
That Gareth Southgate deferred the blame for that goal on the technology, rather than clumsy defending by James Tarkowski, is encouraging for those fed up of the same old excuses being trotted out for embarrassing summer exits.
We’ve got a brand new one this time.
Out before the last group game –
Time is a great healer, and Southgate’s bold approach to reversing the Three Lions’ 2016 fortunes has gone some way to healing those Iceland wounds.
Upon reviewing the paralysing fear in the England players’ eyes as they blundered and botched their way to that last-16 defeat in Nice, however, you remember that anything is possible.
For what it’s worth, Tunisia are ranked by FIFA at 47 and Panama at 56. Iceland were world No.34 in 2016.
This would be even worse.
Gareth Southgate to resign on day of elimination –
Southgate has impressed in his relatively short spell as England manager to the extent that it would take some calamity to force an immediate resignation.
Something like when Roy Hodgson did just that two years ago.
Or, say, consecutive defeats to Tunisia and Panama.
Penalty shoot-out v Germany –
Should both teams progress this far, the Russian city of Samara could well host an England v Germany quarter-final on Saturday 7 July.
Gets your stomach churning just thinking about it, doesn’t it?
is the price for the inevitable outcome.
Penalty shoot-out v Portugal –
The most likely meeting with Portugal is in the final, the one knock-out round in which England are yet to suffer a shoot-out exit.
This would be some opportunity for the Three Lions to complete the set.
Knocked out by Iceland –
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