U.K. Predicts England Face Early Knock-Out From Soccer World Cup

The U.K. government expects England’s soccer team to be knocked out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, according to planning documents examining whether pubs and bars need to be allowed to stay open late in the final stages of the contest.

Due to the time difference with host country Brazil, it will be late in the U.K. before a number of matches kick off. England’s opening match on June 14, against Italy in the Amazonian city of Manaus, is due to start at 11 p.m. London time.

A Home Office document examining the relaxation of licensing rules governing pubs and bars during the tournament says that “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.”

“It is good to know what the government think of England’s prospects,” Labour lawmaker Richard Rosser told Parliament’s upper House of Lords last night when debating the licensing plans. The Home Office based its assessment on an analysis by website Betfair.com showing England has a 54 percent probability of progressing past the group stage and an 11 percent probability of getting past the quarter-finals.

Speaking for the government, Conservative John Taylor, a junior Home Office minister, responded “that is a matter of opinion, and I am sure that other noble Lords will have different views on that issue.”

England is set to play Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in its three matches in the group stage.

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