LONDON (AP) — Last call will come early for England at the World Cup, according to a bleak assessment of the national team's chances from the British government.
Drinking laws in Britain will be relaxed during the tournament so pubs can stay open beyond their usual 11 p.m. closing time when England plays late in Brazil. But the government is not convinced the pubs will need to take advantage of that exemption too often.
The legislation, which was debated on Monday night in the House of Lords, includes a government forecast based on betting information that England won't be staying in Brazil for long.
"It says that England are certain to play in the matches of the first period of the tournament — I think that we can all agree on that," Home Office Minister John Taylor told the House of Lords, citing his department's findings. "But that there is a high probability that England will not play in later matches.
"That is a matter of opinion, and I am sure that other noble Lords will have different views on that issue. But the use of Betfair and its interactive website was the basis for that assessment."
The Home Office appraisal found there is only a 54 percent probability that England will advance from its group, which includes Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, and an 11 percent chance of progressing past the quarterfinals.
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