Are England CURSED by ITV? The worrying figures of years of defeat

Are England cursed on ITV? Since World Cup ’98 the Three Lions have won just FOUR of 24 tournament matches screened by the broadcaster following Scotland stalemate – and they’re hosting Group D decider against the Czech Republic!

  • England have a very curious record when it comes to being shown on ITV 
  • The terrestrial broadcaster very often seems to get games in which England lose 
  • Gareth Southgate’s men take on the Czech Republic on ITV on Tuesday evening 
  • Only four matches have been won by England on ITV since 1998 World Cup
  • England have a healthy 70% win percentage on BBC, compared to 17% on ITV
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

All big football tournaments bring with them quirky statistics and certain trends and patterns… but what about curses?

Of course, the superstitious football fan among us all will happily buy into such things at will, but a rather curious item has cropped up when it comes to the broadcasting of England matches.

The kiss of death from ITV.

When matches of the Three Lions are handed to the cameras of the BBC’s terrestrial rival, the victories simply dry up.

With the nation fully behind the men in white for the ongoing Euro 2020 tournament, optimism after a hard-fought opening win over Croatia soon turned to despair following a lacklustre draw to the auld enemy Scotland.

It just so happened that the Scotland clash cropped up on ITV, after England’s opening win on the beeb. Now, with a final group game with the Czech Republic finely poised, the ITV cameras are once again on standby with rights to the match.

Sportsmail sifts back through the years to look into England’s screen time with ITV, and how the results have fallen… 

England have a miserable record when it comes to their matches being screened on ITV

Winding back to the 1998 World Cup, ITV got off to a bad start when it came to screening the Three Lions.

Hope, as always, was sky-high going into a tournament.

Regardless of the shape England find themselves in, the rosy-eyed hopefuls always have the lingering belief that football is, of course, coming home.

So, when World Cup ’98 rolled around, fans were happy to see a nice steady 2-0 win over Tunisia on the BBC get the ball rolling.

Times were good, and one strong result would topple into another, right? Wrong.

The Three Lions squared up against Romania, with the ITV cameras whirring away, and lost 2-1 under a cloud of uncertainty.

Since the 1998 World Cup, ITV have broadcast only four wins in tournament competitions

Morale had taken a hit and negativity had crept in oh so very quickly. So it was a welcome relief when the national side quickly returned to winning ways with a routine 2-0 victory over Colombia, screened on BBC.

As has become very common now in international tournaments, the bipolar nature of England on the big stage suggested another upset was in the offing. Despite things clicking into place, a hiccup was ready and waiting.

Passions were stirred as England came up against familiar old foe Argentina, with raw emotion willing the side on to do something special.

England would ultimately lose the game on penalties, as hope was swatted away at the death. The broadcaster for the match? You guessed it, ITV.

Big game bottling

Like all good broadcasters should, ITV are always keen to get the biggest and best England matches on their service for the nation to tune into.

That is what they’re in the industry for, of course, yet England always seem to come unstuck and add to what has become a rapidly mounting ITV record.

One only has to flick back through the various tournaments since France ’98 to pick out big matches and highlight England’s woes.

Take for example Euro 2000; ITV went straight in by getting their mitts all over England versus Portugal.


When it comes to head-to-heads on England’s winning record, the BBC easily comes up trumps.

Since the France ’98 World Cup, ITV have actually screened slightly more tournament football matches, yet have a vastly inferior win record.

The superstitious football fan will certainly think something is a miss…

*ITV England record: P 24 W 4 D 12 L 8

 *BBC England record: P 22 W 15 D 3 L 4 

*figures from the 1998 World Cup and onward 

A nice tasty fixture which would cause a wave of hysteria if England got off to a sizzling start… yet a 3-2 defeat soon put paid to this.

The 2002 World Cup would offer an opportunity to make amends, yet the ominous record continued at full steam. 

The Japan and South Korea World Cup, with its strange time-scheduling for UK viewers, saw the BBC take more than the lion’s share of fixtures. 

In fact, ITV claimed only one match of England’s run… which happened to be a highly underwhelming opening 1-1 draw with Sweden.

A hugely important win over Argentina was beamed to the world by the BBC, along with a convincing victory over Denmark.

It seems that when ITV get the big games – either the stature of the opposition or the status of the game itself – England happen to bottle it.

At Euro 2004 ITV had the displeasure of showing the nation England’s 2-1 humbling by France, despite excitement being at an all-time high because of a certain mercurial teenager named Wayne Rooney.

Two years later, at the 2006 World Cup, the ITV hoodoo carried yet another draw with Sweden, this time 2-2, along with a goalless stalemate between the Three Lions and Portugal – which would see England eliminated on penalties.

ITV hosted England’s drab 0-0 against Scotland and will also show the Czech Republic clash

Two very tame and underwhelming draws followed at the 2010 South Africa World Cup under ITV’s watch, against the USA and Algeria respectively.

When the stakes were high at the 2014 World Cup, England wilted against Uruguay as ITV producers squinted from behind covered faces.

The small matter of Iceland at Euro 2016 – the one game England were absolutely certain to win, yet didn’t – naturally happened to be on ITV’s platform. The broadcasting giants could be forgiven for questioning what they had ever done to anger the sporting gods.

So, to make amends and ensure that the wins could start to stack up nicely, ITV went all out at the 2014 Brazil World cup to get England on the TV screens of the nation by taking on four matches.

Belgium, Colombia, Croatia and Belgium once more (in a third-placed play-off). Just one win – on penalties – and plenty of heartache.

The sceptical public

This unfortunate record has not been lost on England fans up and down the country.

Punters are now all too aware that when the Three Lions start blaring out on ITV, it’s time to fear the worst.

A quick scan of social media shows that this was very much apparent when it was confirmed who would be screening the Czech Republic showdown.

One Twitter user, @krobbo81, said: ‘Oh well it was nice while it lasted! England’s next two group games are live on ITV = the ITV England curse!’

Another questioned: ‘Let’s see if England continue the ITV curse. They didn’t win a single game in normal time on ITV at the World Cup.’

Momentum quickly gathered behind the negative chat surrounding ITV’s taking of England’s final match.

Spreading onto Instagram, popular football meme pages quickly picked up on the fact that ITV usually spells bad news. 

The hashtag #ITVenglandcurse briefly started to trend, as fans of rival nations also weighed in on the conversation, poking fun at England and suggesting the poor run following the Scotland draw will continue.

Overall England have lost nine matches on ITV and drawn 11. In comparison to the BBC, England’s record reads as Won: 14 Drawn: 3 Lost: 3. This gives England an impressive 70 per cent win rate on BBC, whereas on ITV it is a paltry 16.67 per cent [omitting the Euro 2000 1-0 win over Germany as it was broadcast, strangely, by both].

Victory over the Czechs will see Southgate’s men win Group D and progress to the knockout stages for a crunch fixture in the last 16 – which is shaping up to be a tough one either way. 

England boss Gareth Southgate speaks to the ITV cameras after England’s lacklustre stalemate

England have been dealt a bad hand in the sense that they will take on an international titan from Group F – dubbed the tournament’s ‘group of death.’

All four teams in Group F could still finish runners-up with Germany currently holding that position following an impressive win over Portugal.

World champions France top the group with four points from two games. Germany are second with three and Portugal also on three, but sitting in third via head-to-head record. 

Hungary are currently bottom with one point. after pulling off a draw against France in Budapest.


World Cup 1998

England 2 – 0 Tunisia – BBC – Won

Romania 2 – 1 England – ITV – Lost

Colombia 0 – 2 England – BBC – Won

Argentina 2 – 2 England – ITV – Draw (Argentina win 4-3 on penalties)

Euro 2000

Portugal 3 – 2 England – ITV – Lost

England 1 – 0 Germany – BBC and ITV – Won

England 2 – 3 Romania – BBC – Lost

World Cup 2002

England 1 – 1 Sweden – ITV – Draw

Argentina 0 – 1 England – BBC – Won

Nigeria 0 – 0 England – BBC – Draw

Denmark 0 – 3 England – BBC – Won

England 1 – 2 Brazil – BBC – Lost

Euro 2004

France 2 – 1 England – ITV – Lost

England 3 – 0 Switzerland – ITV – Won

Croatia 2 – 4 England – BBC – Won

Portugal 2 – 2 England – BBC – Draw (Portugal win 6-5 on pens)

World Cup 2006

England 1 – 0 Paraguay – BBC – Won

England 2 – 0 Trinidad and Tobago – ITV – Won

Sweden 2 – 2 England – ITV – Draw

England 1 – 0 Ecuador – BBC – Won

England 0 – 0 Portugal – ITV – Draw (Portugal win 3-1 on pens)

World Cup 2010

England 1 – 1 USA – ITV – Draw

England 0 – 0 Algeria – ITV – Draw

Slovenia 0 – 1 England – BBC – Won

Germany 4 – 1 England – BBC – Lost

Euro 2012

France 1 – 1 England – ITV – Draw

Sweden 2 – 3 England – BBC – Won

England 1 – 0 Ukraine – ITV – Won

England 0 – 0 Italy – BBC – Draw (Italy win 4-2 on pens)

World Cup 2014

England 1 – 2 Italy – BBC – Lost

Uruguay 2 – 1 England – ITV – Lost

Costa Rica 0 – 0 England – ITV – Draw

Euro 2016

England 1 – 1 Russia – ITV – Draw

England 2 – 1 Wales – BBC – Won

Slovakia 0 – 0 England – ITV – Draw

England 1 – 2 Iceland – ITV – Lost

World Cup 2018

Tunisia 1 – 2 England – BBC – Won

England 6 – 1 Panaman – BBC – Won

England 0 – 1 Belgium – ITV – Lost

Colombia 1 – 1 England – ITV – Draw (England win 4-3 on pens)

Sweden 0 – 2 England – BBC – Won

Croatia 2 – 1 England – ITV – Lost

Belgium 2 – 0 England – ITV – Lost

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