By Duncan Lamont

The England men’s football team are in their first major final since 1966. 30 years of hurt has become 55 years of hurt. Just one of many unwelcome statistics that have dogged the national team over the years, and which they hope to soon put an end to. The earlier England-Germany match provided a field day for statistical punditry. Every newspaper article and TV presenter trotted out the line that England hadn’t beaten Germany in a knock-out match since 1966.

English players on the losing sides from matches in Italia 90, Euro 96, and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, were rolled out to comment on how hard it is to beat the Germans in tournament football.

And, as if to nail the point home, one British newspaper led with the fact that England had only won one knock-out match at a European championship in the previous 53 years (a penalty shootout victory against Spain at Euro 96).

Football has never been more awash with statistics. But…

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