Will England’s World Cup fate be determined by who broadcasts their games?

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England are likely to perform better at the World Cup when their games are broadcast on the BBC if the last 22 years are anything to go by.

A study by Press Association Sport has found that the Three Lions have produced much better results during major tournaments over the last two decades when shown on the Beeb rather than ITV.

So while there have been many contributing factors to England’s dismal performances in major competitions over the last two decades, from Urs Meier to Cristiano Ronaldo’s wink, just how much has the Three Lions’ fate been affected by which channel their game was broadcast on?

Going back as far as Euro 96, the data suggests England perform better on the BBC, having a win ratio of 58 per cent from the 19 games that have been exclusively shown on the channel, compared to a 21 per cent win rate of games shown on ITV.

Both percentages improve when factoring in shared coverage, with the BBC going to 59 per cent and ITV moving up to 26.

The BBC’s dominant record comes from screening the majority of England’s group stage wins over the last 20 years.

Of 12 group games going back to Euro 96, the Three Lions have won nine when exclusively on the BBC, with defeats to Romania at Euro 2000 and Italy at the 2014 World Cup and a draw with Nigeria at the 2002 World Cup blotting their copybook.

During that time they screened the win over Scotland at Euro 96, the 1-0 success against Argentina in 2002, the 3-2 victory against Sweden in Euro 2012 and the 2-1 win over Wales in Euro 2016.

Four of England’s six group game defeats have come when on ITV, losing to Romania during France 98, Portugal at Euro 2000, France at Euro 2004 and Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup.

England's only win at Euro 2016 was shown on BBC Sport
England’s only win at Euro 2016 was shown on BBC Sport (Joe Giddens/PA)

The only group game which the broadcasters shared coverage of was the 1-0 win over Germany at Euro 2000.

The BBC has been the dominant broadcaster in terms of showing knockout games as it has screened seven exclusively compared to just two on ITV alone.

The 1-0 win over Ukraine at Euro 2012 was the last time England were victorious in a tournament when screened by ITV
The 1-0 win over Ukraine at Euro 2012 was the last time England were victorious in a tournament when screened by ITV (Anthony Devlin/PA)

There have been two wins and five defeats in those BBC games.

The victories came against Spain in Euro 96 and Ecuador in the 2006 World Cup, with defeats against Germany (Euro 96 and 2010 World Cup), Portugal (Euro 2004 and 2006 World Cup) and Italy (Euro 2012).

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The two channels shared coverage of England’s knockout games during the 2002 World Cup, where they beat Denmark in the last 16 before losing to Brazil in the quarter-finals.

So, what does that mean for Russia 2018?

Well, it bodes well as England’s first two group games against Tunisia and Panama are on the BBC – matches that should end in victories for Gareth Southgate’s men.

The final group game against Belgium, which is likely to decide who tops the table, is on ITV, meaning we can probably expect a draw if history is anything to go by.

ITV will also broadcast England’s last-16 tie should they make it through the group, a slight concern given their 0-2 record of knockout games in the last 22 years.

The BBC get the pick of the quarter-finals, but after England’s showing in France two years ago it might be hasty to look that far in front.

:: The record

BBC exclusively: P19 W11 D1 L7

ITV exclusively: P19 W4 D9 L6

BBC (inc shared games): P22 W13 D1 L8

ITV (inc shared games): P22 W6 D9 L7

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