Depending on how superstitious you are as an England fan, you may want to put down the TV guide if you are looking to find out which channel England’s final Euro 2020 group game is on.
Viewers will tune in to ITV to watch the final group stage fixture against Czech Republic. But, as the history books show, the latest TV scheduling spells bad news for Gareth Southgate’s men.
The Three Lions boss will be demanding a response from his side after watching his players produce a drab display in the goalless draw with Scotland on Friday.
England have all but secured their qualification to the knockout stages after taking four points from two games but their pre-tournament favourites tag has been ditched after two lacklustre performances.
Will England end their ‘hoodoo’ with a win against Czech Republic on Tuesday? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
They must win on Tuesday to guarantee their progress as group winners. If they draw again, the Czechs will top the group and England, depending on the scoreline if they lose, may be left to sweat over their progress.
Now for the bad news. According to data sourced by The Telegraph, there is a concerning pattern of England games that suggest they tend to produce adverse results when they are broadcast on ITV.
Of course, the most recent example of an abject England display was their 0-0 stalemate with Scotland at Wembley on Friday night, which was shown live on ITV.
And what is worse is that England will face adding more misery to their bizarre curse again on Tuesday when they host Czech Republic in the capital, as the game will be shown live on the same channel.
It is a bizarre record but one that cannot be ignored. Since 1998, ITV have shown 24 England matches in major tournaments and only four of those have ended with a victory for England.
There have been 12 draws and eight defeats, although these numbers refer to results after 90 minutes. Compare this to the BBC and the difference in the results is quite astonishing.
The publicly-funded broadcaster have shown 22 games but with a significant upturn in positive results, with 15 wins, three draws and only four defeats.
ITV have been unfortunate enough to host coverage of England’s shocking exit at the hands of Iceland at Euro 2016, when Roy Hodgson’s side lost 2-1 in France.
The painful and insipid display in their goalless draw against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup was also an ITV special.
When you consider the 3-2 defeat to Portugal at Euro 2000, loss to France four years later and, of course, the World Cup semi-final, it leads one to question why ITV would even bother to show England games when they always flop on their channel.
The answer, of course, is the advertising revenue that showing England games generate for the company.
ITV saw a whopping 19.5 million viewers tune in for the Scotland match, which makes it a lucrative opportunity to show it.
The fact that ITV have a preference for matches that occur during primetime television hours may also distort the data somewhat, as England tend to play a large portion of their later matches against stronger opposition.
It has not all been doom and gloom, though. One of ITV’s more recent draws included the last-16 clash with Colombia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. On that occasion, England progressed on penalties and eventually made their way to the semi-finals.
It is unclear if Southgate is aware of their “jinx” but it could add a worrying dimension to the clash as England prepare for the latter stages of the tournament.
Alternatively, those who are optimists may view it as a chance to break their “hoodoo” and ensure that this time, they bring home a win in front of ITV’s pundits such as Roy Keane and Gary Neville.