Stephen Hawking Chalk Talks a World Cup Formula for England

Image: Stephen Hawking Chalk Talks a World Cup Formula for England

Thursday, 29 May 2014 10:02 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is apparently a huge soccer fan, as he just this week released an 18-page report on how England can increase its chances of winning this year's World Cup.

The Washington Post broke down the document – which analyzed data from every tournament since it began – concluding, among other things, that "England should wear its red uniforms whenever possible; It should play in a 4-3-3 formation; It should hope for relatively comfortable temperatures, and start times around 3 p.m."

Along with the report, Hawking and his promotional sponsor, bookmakers Paddy Power, released a video explaining his process. The report aimed to answer two questions: "What are the optimal conditions for England success?" and "How do you score in a penalty shootout?"

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The first question is an obvious one, however the latter attempts to analyze a more granular part of the game that has become a pain point for England over the years. As Hawking puts it, "as we say in science, England couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo." His "formula for the perfect penalty" suggests increased velocity of the kicks via longer run-ups, and aiming high, not low, according to Fox Sports.

"The statistics confirm the obvious. Place the ball in the top left or right hand corner for the best chance of success — 84 percent of penalties in those areas score," he wrote with tongue-in-cheek snark. "There is no evidence that it's advantageous to be left or right-footed but bald players and fair-haired players are more likely to score. The reason for this is unclear. This will remain one of science's great mysteries."

England has won the cup once in history, in 1966, while this year's host, Brazil, has won five of them.

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