Stephen Hawking says England couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo
By Miranda Prynne, The Telegraph
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
|Professor Stephen Hawking calculates England have their best chance at winning the World Cup playing in a 4-3-3 formation and in red shirts but he is still not betting on them lifting the cup.
He has solved some of the great mysteries of the cosmos.
But now Professor Stephen Hawking has turned his attention to an even greater conundrum – how England can increase their chances of winning the World Cup.
The physicist, who is considered to have one of the world's greatest scientific minds, analysed the key factors which have affected England's World Cup performances since 1966 and has now drawn up a formula based on the team's optimum conditions.
Prof Hawking claims the English sportsmen will need a temperate climate as an increase of just 5C could reduce their chances of winning by a massive 59 per cent while the team are twice as likely to be successful on pitches at altitudes of less than 500m.
England's chance of victory increases by a third when starting at 3pm local time and by a fifth if they wear red shirts, which psychologists in German found made teams feel more confident and appear more aggressive to their opponents, the Cambridge-based scientist claimed.
He also revealed that a 4-3-3 formation was more successful for England than 4-4-2. The long haul flight to Brazil could damage the team's chances by as much as 22 per cent, found Prof Hawking.
Finally, England supporters must hope for a European referee, under which the nation has won 63 per cent of its games compared to 38 per cent when the referee is from elsewhere.
"European referees are more sympathetic to the English game and less sympathetic to ballerinas like Suarez," said Prof Hawking yesterday (Wednesday) as he unveiled his research, which was commissioned by betting firm Paddy Power.
"Contrary to tabloid opinion, the presence of Wags is irrelevant. Our chance of triumph can be worked out by looking at a number of environmental, physiological, psychological, political and tactical variables."
The theoretical physicist has calculated that England stands the greatest chance of victory when playing Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte and will face the biggest challenge against Italy in Manaus.
Prof Hawking also addressed England's penalty chances telling the audience: "As we say in science, England 'couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo'."
He believes "velocity is key" therefore players need at least a three step run up. But added: "Velocity is nothing without placement. If only I had whispered this in Chris Waddle's ear before he sent the ball into orbit in 1990."
The top left or right hand corner produces an 84 per cent success rate, he said.
But Prof Hawking admitted he would not be betting on the World Cup as he tends to put his money on more lofty issues involving the fundamental state of the universe.
“My bets tend to be against my fellow theoretical physicist friends about theoretical physics – does Paddy Power have any odds on black holes being surrounded by firewalls?” He added.
The 72-year-old later admitted that if he did have a flutter he would put his money on Brazil. “All mathematical science and rational thought goes out of the window here – I am an Englishman and will be cheering our boys all the way to the final in Rio,” he said.
“You would be a fool to overlook Brazil. The hosts have won over 30 per cent of the World Cups and as we know from the study there are significant environmental and psychological benefits of being close to home.”
Prof Hawking said he would be donating his undisclosed fee from the betting company the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Save The Children’s Syria appeal.
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