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The Striking Stats Which Could Give France Backers Cause For Concern

The Striking Stats Which Could Give France Backers Cause For Concern
By Conor Neville
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The world and its significant other are busy tipping France to get the job done this summer. Two of their three major championship victories have arrived at home and the team now looks in rude health after a decade of black comedy and underachievement.

Romania, meanwhile, are not rated highly by many observers, least of all our Ladbrokes Prophets of Profit, Miguel Delaney and Nathan Murphy.

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The form book suggests a handy French victory. History offers a different picture.

The record books suggest that the hosts have found the opening game of the European championship a nerve-jangling, burdensome affair.


Since 1988, only once has the host nation won the opening game of the championships. And that was Belgium in Euro 2000, who lost their two subsequent games to Italy and Turkey and crashed out in the first round.

Four years ago, Poland held the honour of beginning the tournament, drawing 1-1 with Greece. In 2008, the miserable Swiss lost 1-0 at home to Czech Republic.


The Portuguese were stunned to lost the 2004 opener to Greece. They were even more distressed to lose the final to the same opposition a month later.

England failed to beat Switzerland in the first match of Euro 96 before catching fire against the Scots and the Dutch in the subsequent group games.

Sweden drew 1-1 with pre-tournament favourites France in June '92. The Scandinavian duo, Sweden and Denmark, would stun the French and English by bundling them out of the competition in the first phase.


Even the Germans, in Euro 88, couldn't win the tournament opener, drawing with Italy in Dusseldorf, a youngish Roberto Mancini grabbing Italy's goal.

However, one could choose to look at history from another angle and recall that the last time France hosted a tournament, they won the opener, as they did when beating Denmark in 1-0 in Euro 84. Denmark had been responsible for England's absence from the competition.

Read more: The 24 Luckiest Men At Euro 2016: Third Choice Goalkeepers


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