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Germany and Netherlands Previews

  • A lot more at stake than the usual friendlies

  • England's first games of 2016, against Germany in Berlin on Saturday and the Netherlands at Wembley on Tuesday, are the perfect test of Roy Hodgson's team's standing in European football ahead of Euro '16.
    Since the ignominy of the 2014 World Cup the Three Lions have had a creditable record. Despite the 2-0 friendly defeat against Spain in November and two friendly draws against Italy and Ireland last summer, England have won all their fixtures including ten out of ten in qualifying for this summer's tournament. Despite the satisfaction that comes with these victories, matches against the likes of Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia and San Marino won't give Hodgson any real sense of how his team will cope against the best of Europe. The FA has responded to this by ensuring that the English players face greater challenges: friendlies last November against Spain and France, and in March against Germany and the Netherlands. Playing Germany, current World Champions and top-ranked in the ELO ratings, will be a tough ask as usual, but England should take heart given the last time the two teams faced off on the former's home ground in 2008. That confrontation resulted in a 2-1 win with goals from centre backs Matthew Upson and John Terry. Sadly, the two more recent meetings have gone Germany's way, including the 4-1 mauling at the 2010 World Cup.
    The Netherlands is another kettle of fish. Their failure to qualify for Euro '16 and their subsequent plummet to 15th in the ratings suggests an easier ride at Wembley on Tuesday - on paper anyway.

    But hang on, there is more at stake in these games than first meets the eye. Alongside the high ranking points available to England during these games (something we at Englandstats go on about ad nauseam), there is also the possibility of England - for the first time ever - finding itself in negative equity as regards both Germany and the Netherlands should they lose. Since the 1930s England's record against both has been positive, but this has slowly been eroded over the last 20 years. England's current record where Germany is concerned tallies 12 wins, 12 losses and five draws; Netherlands five wins, five losses and nine draws.

    It could be an expensive week.
  •   Posted: 21st March 2016 12:12pm

England at Euro '16

  • Echoes of France '98

  • The Euro '16 draw may have thrown England in with Russia, Wales and Slovakia in Group B, but it is the stadia in which they'll play that have stirred our imaginations and our memories: England's group matches will be played at three of the four grounds they saw in the 1998 World Cup.
    England will open in Marseille against Russia as they did 18 years ago, when they won 2-0 versus Tunisia with goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes. This will be followed by a home-nation tie against Wales in Lens where they again prevailed 2-0 against Columbia in their final group match, this time with goals from Darren Anderton and a sublime David Beckham free-kick, his first England goal, which sent England into the knock-out stages. The final tie of the group stages, against Slovakia, will be in Saint-Etienne, evoking happy, though painful, memories. This is the stadium where England bowed out after being knocked-out by Argentina. Michael Owen's solo goal, Beckham's red card and the final death throes of a David Batty penalty linger long in the mind.
    With six of the eight third-placed teams going through to the round of sixteen in Euro '16, England should at least play one more match.
  •   Posted: 12th December 2015 10:54am

England v Lithuania Preview

  • 100% record for 100th Euro qualifier against 100th opposition?

  • It couldn't really have worked out any better. England's game against Lithunaia in Vilnius on Monday is an opportunity for the Three Lions to join the one hundred club in more ways than one! Or even two! England can, on Monday, beat the 100th different opposition they have faced in their 100th European qualifying match to maintain their 100% qualifying record. Only five teams before them have maintained a 100% record during European qualfying.
    Thier current record in European qualifiers is played 99, won 65, drawn 24, lost 10; with 218 goals scored and 58 conceded. Lithuania have no chance of qualifying for Euro 2016 but will probably be a bit more formidable than the tame 4-0 roll-over that they allowed England in March.
    After the 2-0 win against Estonia on Friday, England are certain to be seeded for Euro 2016 which will be a big boost to Roy Hodgson after the debacle of the previous World Cup where England, unseeded, came up against both Uruguay and Italy in the group stages. Luck of the draw is always the fickle mistress, but we are always believe that trying to reduce her influence can work wonders on a successful camapaign. Please see World Cup 1986, 1990 and Euro 1996 for more details.
  •   Posted: 9th October 2015 6:11pm

England v Estonia Preview

  • Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E, 9th October 2015, Wembley Stadium

  • England face Estonia tonight at Wembley with qualification already sown up. Estonia can still qualify via the play-off so the game is far from a dead rubber, however they have only taken one point in away matches in Group E and that was against minnows San Marino.
    Despite record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney's indisposition his evening, England should still be far too strong for Estonia and will maintain their 100% record with a comfortable victory.
    A time for Roy Hodgson to experiment and give some minutes to fringe players to help them cement their places for Euro 2016.
    A small caveat to the above is that England need to make sure they are seeded for the Euro 2016 finals draw. Not being seeded has led to problems in the past (cv World Cup 2014) so England have to be careful that there are no slip-ups tonight despite the line-up, opposition and relative unimportance of the fixture.
  •   Posted: 9th October 2015 9:31am

England qualify for Euro 2016 with win against San Marino

  • Despite what other news sources say

  • We've noticed that several news sources are still saying that England require four points to qualify for Euro 2016. This is incorrect; England will qualify with just the three points they are likely to get from beating San Marino on Saturday. We'll explain:
    1. There are two automatic qualifying berths in group E. England currently have 18 points, Switzerland 12 and Slovenia 9.
    2. If England beat San Marino they will be on 21 points.
    3. The only two other teams that can push England into third place are Switzerland and Slovenia. They play each other on Saturday too. Provided England beat San Marino, if Switzerland win; England qualify (Slovenia will only be able to get a maximum of 18 points). If it is a draw; England qualify (Slovenia will only be able to get 19 points). If Slovenia win; England will still qualify. Why? Even with a win Slovenia's maximum points will be 21 and England will still be ahead of Slovenia because of UEFA article 13.01 which states
    If two or more teams in the same group are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the first criterion for sorting the teams is "higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question." England have beaten Slovenia twice and therefore have 6 points whilst Slovenia have 0.
    We hope this explains the qualification process.
  •   Posted: 3rd September 2015 10:20am