Stat of the day

A British government document has suggested that England will be lucky to get out of the group stages at this summer’s World Cup.

The report was commissioned to examine the impact of pubs staying open later during the World Cup. Mindful that England’s participation in Brazil would likely be short-lived, the government granted permission for pubs to stay open later than usual.

“While England are certain to be playing in the matches in the first period, there is a high probability that they will not be playing in the later matches,” said the report.

England face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in the group stages.

“England have a 54% probability of progressing past the group stage and an 11% probability of progressing past the quarter-finals,” it added.

“The government is of course 100% behind the England football team and we wish the players every success in the World Cup,” said a spokeswoman for the Home Office.

Other odds relating to England’s involvement at the World Cup include: expected use of the headline ‘Brazil nuts’ to accompany an early exit (50%); Roy Hodgson’s head being grafted on to a banana a pineapple or guava plant (75%); Wayne Rooney justifying his billing as a world class player (0.3%).