40 years ago (Portugal vs England)

40 years ago was the last time England defeated Portugal in an international competition.

Will history repeat itself on Saturday?  Is past performance relevant?  Or is every game a new game?  Speaking to England supporters, they never seem to see Portugal as a threat, and there isn’t a real rivalry between these two teams. 

But when I mention that in all their international competitive matches in the last 40 years, England has never defeated Portugal, their reaction is simply not to believe me.  I think this is Portugal’s secret weapon, as I’m sure that’s how they’ve been able to pull this 40-year-old streak off – they allow the English to have a dangerous over-confidence.

As a bonus, here’s a link to an optical illusion, just in case Ronaldo doesn’t play on Saturday, I can still pretend he’s there:


I was actually trying to find the Portugal/ England record to see how many games and the score in each.  I think England has talent but they don’t seem inspired.  Portugal has talent and seems spirited.  So the edge should go to them.  But then there’s always the possibility that things become different as in the Spain vs France game.  I don’t think too many bookies were betting on France who were even less inspired than England in the first round.  And BAM!  Voilà !  They beat the armada.

And remember that  the British navy has always been superior to the French navy  :wink:

England seems to always kick the crap out of Portugal in friendly matches.

But the record isn’t so clear in competitions.  FIFA has a great database, where you can see international team vs team histories:

24-Jun-2004 Euro 2004 Portugal vs. England 2:2 a.e.t (1:1, 0:1) 6:5 PSO
18-Feb-2004 Friendly LOULE (Portugal) Portugal vs. England  1:1 (0:0)
7-Sep-2002 Friendly BIRMINGHAM (England) England vs. Portugal 1:1 (1:0)
12-Jun-2000 Euro 2000 EINDHOVEN (Netherlands) Portugal vs. England 3:2 (2:2)
22-Apr-1998 Friendly LONDON (England) England vs. Portugal 3:0 (1:0)
12-Dec-1995 Friendly LONDON (England) England vs. Portugal 1:1 (1:0)
3-Jun-1986 World Cup 1986 MONTERREY (Mexico) Portugal vs. England 1:0 (0:0)
26-Jul-1966 World Cup 1966 LONDON (England) England vs. Portugal 2:1 (1:0)

So the record is:
In friendly matches, England won 1, Portugal won 0, 3 ties.
In competitions, England won 1 (in 1966), Portugal won 3.

But my point is that England supporters don’t know the history.  Which is fine :wink: 

We can use this thread to come and make fun of me if Portugal loses.

Did you see the optical illusion?  Further proof of what a nerd I am, that I spent 10 minutes doing that last night.

Awesome optical illusion.  I’m trying to find a way to store it so I can show it to my students next year when we do the light unit.  Any suggestion? Is that page going to be up let’s say in March of 2007?

if it isn’t, then let me know and I’ll whip up another one.  In fact, if you have a nice colour photo, I can do one for you.  It’s not a straight negative, it’s actually some other stuff going on, including some blurring.

Under the circumstances I think the best we can say is: "England has sucked against Portugal in competetive games." This is historically interesting but it does nothing to predict what will happen in the future.  Each team has equal chance of winning, regardless of the past, one would be committing a fallacy to think otherwise. Â

Yeah, I agree somewhat.  But it’s not totally random.  Especially since both teams are pretty similar in composition to the teams in their previous few matches.  They are basically the same players in the same positions.

So it’s not a fallacy to say that given similar circumstances, that similar results will occur.  So I wouldn’t say it does nothing to predict what will happen in the future.

It’s a bit like predicting the weather – given these conditions here and that system there, in the past we’ve seen this happen, so we’re predicting that it will happen again.

But we all know that it’s not an exact science.


Here are some further thoughts to consider:

1.  The sample of competition games between the two teams is really small.
2.  What is the total history of games between the two.
3.  I want to assume that if the two teams could play an infinite number of games, both team would win half.  However, this assumption is based on the fact that the distribution of wins would be normal, but, we can never know what the distribution is.

4.  Last, I can’t help but think of people who play the slot machine.  They use simular reasoning to justify their playing.  For example, if a random machine hasn’t paid off in a long time, they will say that it is “due”.  But in actuality, the machine is never “due”, it just pays off whenever.

Just some thoughts.

You’re making an assumption that games are random, and that teams are even:

I agree that each game is an individual game, but you can’t make the assumption that you make. A soccer game is not a coin toss. A soccer game is not a slot machine.Â

If Brazil were to take on Canada 1000 times, do you assume Canada would win 500 of those games? That’s ignoring the relative strengths and weaknesses of each team. It’s not a slot machine.

If your assumptions were correct, why have competitions to determine champions in the first place?

A soccer game isn’t like a coin toss, it’s harder to predict than that. It’s more like the weather. For example, given a bunch of facts that have, in the past, led to certain outcomes a majority of the time, we can predict that if those facts are similar, then the outcomes will be similar as well.

So that’s how we can predict the weather.  Why do we know it’s not going to rain tomorrow in Prince Rupert?  Because in the past, with similar conditions that we’re observing today, it hasn’t rained.  Doesn’t mean it can’t rain, but it most likely won’t.  Not a coin toss, not a slot machine.  But not certain, either.

Instead of coin tosses and randomness, it’s more like complexity and chaos.  Sort of predictable, but not really, since we can never know all the contributing factors.



The Japan vs Brasil game is an extreme example of this.

Everybody, and I do mean everybody, expected Brasil to win. Why? Because of their past performance. It was a pretty safe bet, especially considering Japan’s past performance.

But along comes game day, and Japan scores! And it looks like Brasil is going to lose! But in the end, they come back and score 4 goals and win.

While there was randomness involved, the past histories of both teams could be used to safely predict a Brasil win. Even if that sample wasn’t a huge one. But the prediction isn’t 100% accurate, that’s for sure – another unknown variable or factor could have been introduced during the game.

Sorry for all the edits, but my spelling is really bad without Safari!

Yes, soccer is a game of skill, not chance.  (except for the coin toss before the game.)

Future mexican soccer stadium: the Volcano Stadium! 
The idea is that the public could use the sides for leisure when the stadium isn’t used.  More ecologically friendly than concrete.

so who are we rootin for??? (im not a big soccer fan…lol)

Heh, either team will be fine. 

The Australians are gone, so it’s ok to “root” for a team now.

Interesting reading on tomorrow’s game:

search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ … 701cd.html

Anyway, so the Game Theory of Penalty kicks comes into play, and I get to gloat for a few seconds before moving on…

Portugal defeats England in Penalties.

So what is the Portugal vs France record?  It seems like France has a knack for beating portuguese speaking players. :wink: (Not that I’m particularly a France fan)

Zidane is one of the best clutch players in this world cup.  He took control of the second half and had the free kick that produced Henry’s goal. 

I think the home team has a great chance of winning this cup this year. 

It was a great game, especially at the end.

I think the record is 4-0 for France vs. Portugal.  3 friendlies and 1 competition, but France won them all.

Do you know where (approximately) it happened in the game? Yes, it’s on the TiVo.

Well, I’m happy Portugal beat England. Especially since it was Rooney (and not Figo) sent off for being a goon. If Manchester doesn’t want him next year, he’ll have a great career waiting for him in Portugal :wink:

I also like all the comments the English made about their performance before this particular match. For example:

bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/200 … world.html

And lots of other comments (including from their coach) about “in the end, a win is a win.”

Well, let’s hope England isn’t complaining about the Portuguese win :wink:Â Personally, I think the Portuguese keeper, Ricardo, won the game for Portugal.

Also, the past performance being a way to predict the future worked. Scolari hadn’t lost to England until now. He still hasn’t. Portugal hadn’t lost to England in a competition since 1966. They still haven’t. England have never won a World Cup penalty shoot-out. They still haven’t.

But if that’s the case, then Portugal’s in for big trouble with France – they’ve never beaten France in the past.

I’m kind of shocked and amazed.  I kind of thought England would beat Portugal and was certain Brazil would beat France.  This has turned my thoughts for the final upside down.  I was looking forward to a Germany/Brazil final.  Now I don’t know what to think. 

I was pretty confident that England would lose, as they always have, to Portugal. Every time England has played Portugal, the English fans assume that it will be a piece of cake, and then they lose and are shocked. It’s like they have no memory. This was almost a replay of the game 2 years ago.

Two years ago I also said it was a mistake to play Rooney on the England team – he’s a loose cannon who seems to just want to cause trouble, and doesn’t seem to add any real value. Â I wish I could find the post where I said that…

Anyway, Rooney can move to Portugal any time, if he is no longer wanted in England. He out-Portuguesed the Portuguese themselves! Kicking a guy in the nuts and then grinding your cleats in there while the ref watches, then shoving a player right in front of the Ref – that takes much more guts than a headbutt behind the ref’s back.

I was shocked by Brasil’s loss, but in hindsight, France’s defeat of Spain should have predicted that. I was honestly thinking that Spain was the strongest and most promising team that I’d seen so far.