Before England and Wales exploded in Group B on Wednesday, the statistics do not support Gareth Bale’s team-mates.
Anything is still possible in Group B of the World Cup. England, Iran, the United States and Wales mathematically all hold the chances of reaching the last 16 before their final group match, on Wednesday, which will provide the United States and Iran heavy with tokens. Without reaching the level of this meeting on a geopolitical scale, England and Wales (at 8pm) risk boiling hot, like any UK derby whether in football or rugby – in most other team or individual sports England, Scotland and Wales make up a national team one for Great Britain. Especially since Wales’ Gareth Bale is bound to win (a necessary but not sufficient condition, by trucking Iran 6-2, England deliver an XXL goal average). But for Robert Page, the Welsh coach, the issue is elsewhere. “My ultimate aim is to wipe out England,” I got carried away.
History does not reassure him. In 103 games against their hated neighbours, Wales have won just 14 times, grabbing 21 draws and collecting 68 defeats. Wales’ last victory dates back to 193. England have never been kinder to the other nations of the United Kingdom: 37 matches, 27 victories and 3 defeats, against Northern Ireland. Finally, Scotland were the least bad: in 115 matches they lost “only” 48 times, in 41 defeats and 26 draws: that is 35.65% success when Wales and North – Ireland have a winning percentage respectively of 13.59% and 11.11%.