Superstitions are inevitable when a country has gone as long as England have without major silverware, and the Three Lions’ ‘ITV curse’ is one such belief that will be put to the test on Friday.
Gareth Southgate’s side face Scotland at Wembley hoping to maintain their winning start at Euro 2020, with the Group D rivals set to clash for the first time since 2017.
England are unbeaten in their last four encounters and emerged as 2-0 victors when the teams met at Euro 96, but Scotland are hoping the choice of broadcaster spells bad news for their hosts.
That’s because England have won just four of the 23 games they’ve played on ITV since the 1998 World Cup, never managing to clinch multiple wins on the channel at the same tournament in that time.
What’s more, their 1-0 victory over Germany at Euro 2000 stands as an outlier in that it was broadcast on both ITV and the BBC.
England went unbeaten at Euro 96 as far as the 90 minutes were concerned, exiting in the semi-finals following a penalty shootout defeat to Germany.
ITV aired four of their five games as the country strode to its best major-tournament result in half a century, but the broadcaster’s good fortune ended there, it seems.
England’s famous 2-0 win over Scotland 25 years ago—and thatPaul Gascoigne goal—was the only one of England’s Euro 96 outings that took place on the BBC.
Do you think England's ITV curse will prevent them from beating Scotland? Let us know in the comments section.
The Three Lions have lost eight times on ITV at major competitions since travelling to France in 1998, with their shocking 2-1 defeat to Romania that summer being the start of their woes.
The country has fared far better on the BBC by comparison and lost just four of their 21 major-tournament fixtures shown there in the past 23 years.
The broadcast rivals had a fairly even split between England’s seven matches at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where England won each of their three BBC fixtures inside the 90 minutes.
Contrast that against their struggles appearing on ITV in the same tournament.
England lost three times—including their 2-1 semi-final defeat to Croatia in extra time—and drew against Colombia (later winning 4-3 on penalties).
That was the first time England have triumphed on spot-kicks since edging Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 96, which also happened to air on ITV.
Southgate’s men have already kept up their fortunes by beating Croatia 1-0 on BBC airwaves in the Group D opener, but the meeting with last-place Scotland will test their ITV voodoo.
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England will return to ITV’s coverage when they take on the Czech Republic in their final match of the first round, presenting them a rare chance to claim multiple wins on the channel at the same competition.
Steve Clarke’s side will struggle to advance at Euro 2020 unless they get a result at Wembley. While TV curses and hocus pocus may not be Scotland’s preferred route to success, they’ll take all the help they can get if it means getting one over against their oldest rivals.
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