Just one in 10 Britons think England can win the World Cup according to figures from a European-wide survey released this week.
The figures place the Brits as Europe’s most pessimistic nation by a large margin. Only 11% of the country believe England will ‘certainly’ or ‘probably’ win, compared to 58% of Spaniards, 47% of Italians and 45% Germans who believe their national teams could clinch the World Cup crown.
The survey questioned more than 7,000 people from nine European countries and was commissioned as part of the FREE Project (Football Research in an Enlarged Europe) – a three-year academic study focussing on football and European identity.
The survey also revealed:
18% of Brits don’t expect England to progress past the group stages;
25% think they will lose in the round of 16 knock-outs;
34% think they will leave the competition in the quarter finals
These latest findings support Government predictions earlier this month that England won’t reach the semi-finals.
However, in spite of its pessimism, the survey did show Britain’s big appetite for World Cup football, with 66% of those questioned saying they would follow the competition.
Whilst Britons do not trust the Three Lions to perform well in Brazil, their favourite teams to win the competition are hosts Brazil (39%), Germany (17%) and current holders and European champions Spain (16%).
The FREE project brings together researchers at nine European universities, including Loughborough University in England.
Talking about the findings, Loughborough University project lead Dr Borja Garcia said: “The public’s low expectation surrounding England’s performance isn’t surprising given the team’s previous results. Interestingly, their pessimism is shared by other European countries, with only 2% thinking England could win the World Cup.
“However, the study does show us the national team is a source of pride and passion for the English, and the World Cup is an important event in the national sporting calendar.”