England's advantage of facing Italy at home should not be overlooked

England’s major advantage of facing Italy on home turf should not be underestimated… studies confirm hosts enjoy huge boost and exceed expectations at major tournaments

  • Home advantage is an established fact in football, at club and international level
  • Just six of the 24 teams in Euro 2020 played all their group games on home turf
  • All of them made the knockout stages and four of them filling the last four places
  • Sunday’s final will be be England’s third knockout game at Wembley stadium
  • No other team in the tournament has played a knockout game on home turf

Home advantage is an established fact in football, at club and international level, and certainly appears to have helped England reach the Euro 2020 final.

Just six of the 24 teams in the competition played all their group games on home turf, with all of them making the knockout stages and four of them filling the last four places: England, Italy, Denmark and Spain. Germany and the Netherlands were knocked out in the round of 16.

Sunday’s final will be England’s third knockout game at Wembley, from a possible four; the win over Ukraine in Rome was the other. No other team in the tournament has played even a single knockout game on home turf, which is somewhat remarkable given there have been 11 host nations for this event.

Sunday’s final will be be England’s third knockout game to be played Wembley stadium

Multiple studies indicate that home advantage typically arises from crowds influencing referees to make unconsciously beneficial decisions for the home team. In a pandemic era this will have been amplified. Some host teams at Euro 2020 have also had to travel significantly lower distances for their games overall; and England have travelled least of all. 

Playing at home in a major tournament is advantageous for the vast majority of hosts. Or to be more precise, hosts tend to fair much better than their quality (ranking) would suggest they should, when they are hosting.

No other team in the tournament has played even a single knockout game on home turf 

Therefore, England will have an advantage heading into the Euro 2020 final against Italy

At the 2018 World Cup, for example, hosts Russia went into that ranked No70 in the world, or lower than any of the other 31 nations involved. And yet they effectively finished fifth in the tournament, missing out on the semi-finals by the narrowest margin of any of the other losing quarter-finalists (on penalties).

At the Euros in France in 2016, the hosts’ ranking should have had them finishing 8th, or as losing quarter-finalists, but they were runners-up. Using the same methodology, we can calculate that 88 per cent of hosts (15 of 17, including co-hosts) at Euros and World Cups since 1994 have out-performed expectations when hosting.

The only hosts to buck the trend were Brazil, who finished fourth when the ranking said third in 2014, and Belgium, who effectively finished 12th when their ranking suggested fifth.

England started Euro 2020 ranked as the third best of the 24 competing teams, so have surpassed expectations by reaching a final, where they will play their sixth match of seven at the event at Wembley, as hosts.

Multiple studies indicate that home advantage typically arises from crowds influencing referees to make unconsciously beneficial decisions for the home team




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