The old football adage that “England Expects” may not have been wheeled out just yet but one thing Three Lions fans have become accustomed to in tournament football over the years is penalties.
Their 4-1 second round exit against Germany in 2010 aside, England have gone out after spot kicks in three of their last four appearances at a major tournament. But Roy Hodgson’s team aside, how many penalty shootouts can we expect in Brazil?
Odds of 19/2 on there being no shootouts this summer may tempt, but since the World Cup changed format, there hasn’t been an edition that didn’t feature penalties. With that in mind here are the four main runners:
One Match to go to penalties @ 10/3 – Among the outside shots given that we’ve never had a World Cup that’s featured just a single shootout.
There is some room to be optimistic though with Euro 2000 featuring just one spot-kick showdown while three of the last seven editions of the Copa America have featured this number, though the most recent came back in Venezuela in 2007.
Two Matches to go to penalties @ 12/5 – If the European teams have their way, this could be the outcome to back. Each of the last three editions of the European Championships have featured a pair of penalty shootouts while the 2010 World Cup – a competition dominated by the European nations – featured exactly two shootouts.
The 2002 World Cup – where 50% of the quarter-finalists and semi-finalists came from Europe – also had a brace of spot-kick deciders. If you think the likes of Germany, Portugal, Spain and Holland will excel then this looks a great pick.
Three Matches to go to penalties @ 11/4 – In much the same way that a pair of penalty shootouts could be the outcome should the Europeans progress, those predicting South American success should favour three games ending in penalty kicks.
The 2002 tournament aside, Brazil’s last two appearances in a World Cup final have come during tournaments featuring a trio of shootouts (1994 and 1998) while Argentina’s 1986 victory came after the same number of penalty kick finales.
In addition to this, the most recent edition of the Copa America in Argentina featured three games ending in this outcome.
Four Matches to go to penalties @ 11/2 – Confident that England can go far at the World Cup? Then you may want to consider backing four matches to end in spot kicks. The last time the Three Lions made the quarter-finals of a World Cup, back in 2006, there were four.
And who can forget England’s run to the semi-finals in 1990 when, once again, there were four shootouts. Throw in the four penalty shootouts that came at Euro 1996 and there’s a definite trend.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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