Saturday night’s 1-1 draw with Russia was not the start to Euro 2016 that England were hoping for – however history suggests that despite the early set back they could still go on to win the tournament.
The Three Lions looked set for take three points from their opening European Championships game for the first time in history before Vasili Berezutski’s stoppage-time header went into the top corner to cancel out Eric Dier’s free-kick.
The result went some way to curtailing a growing sense of enthusiasm that this could be the tournament to end the much-too-many years of hurt since England last won a major tournament back in 1966.
However history suggests the draw should not stunt all belief with three prior winners of the tournament failing to win their opening game, including defending champions Spain.
In the 14 previous editions of the tournament, 11 of the eventual winners won their opening game.
But in 1992 Denmark drew 0-0 with England before becoming shock champions and in 2012 Spain drew 1-1 with Italy before becoming the first nation to win back-to-back titles.
Meanwhile in 1988 the Netherlands proved it is possible to lose your opening game and still emerge victorious – however they are the only example since the tournament began in 1960.
England take on Wales, who beat Slovakia in their opening game, on Thursday.
PREVIOUS WINNERS AND THEIR OPENING GAMES…
1960: Soviet Union – Beat Czechoslovakia 3-0
1964: Spain – Beat Hungary 2-1 [after extra time]
1968: Italy – Beat Soviet Union on a coin toss
1972: West Germany – Beat Belgium 2-1
1976: Czechoslovakia – Beat Netherlands 3-1 [after extra time]
1980: West Germany – Beat Czechoslovakia 1-0
1984: France – Beat Denmark 1-0
1988: Netherlands – Lost to Soviet Union 1-0
1992: Denmark – Drew 0-0 with England
1996: Germany – Beat Czech Republic 2-0
2000: France – Beat Denmark 3-0
2004 :Greece – Beat Portugal 2-1
2008: Spain – Beat Russia 4-1
2012: Spain – Drew 1-1 with Italy