14 May 2014

Government report pours cold water on England World Cup hopes

6:42 am on 14 May 2014

Pessimism about England's football World Cup prospects seems to have reached the highest levels after a government document suggested that the national team faced their customary early exit from the tournament.

The report that looked at the arguments for allowing pubs to open later during next month's World Cup, suggests while England are certain to be playing in the matches in the first period, there is a high probability that they will not be playing in the knockout stages.

England face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in a tough opening group from which two teams advance.

The report claims England have a 54 percent probability of progressing past the group stage and an 11 percent probability of progressing past the quarter-finals.

The forecast was not based on the predictions of a football loving civil servant but drawn from the odds offered by online betting exchange Betfair.

England's only World Cup success came in 1966 on home soil and few fans believe that a youthful squad can replicate that triumph in Brazil.