1. ITV Report

Football's coming home? Professor Stephen Hawking offers the formula for England's World Cup success

Prof Stephen Hawking's alongside his formulae for success. Credit: Tim Anderson/Paddy Power

During almost half a century of hurt, numerous football brains have been tasked with solving one of the great riddles of our time: Why do England so regularly fail at major tournaments?

The problem has become so bad that the world's most prominent physicist has been tasked with finding the answer - and preparing a formula for the Three Lions' success in Brazil this summer.

Professor Stephen Hawking was commissioned by bookmaker Paddy Power to come up with the equation, which as you might expect is more than a little complicated.

The award-winning scientist looked at a range of variables - including temperature, altitude, shirt colour and travelling distance - to produce what he calls the perfect conditions for England glory.

Included in those is a suggestion that Roy Hodgson should be backing a 4-3-3 formation and sending his team out in red shirts.

And when it comes to the dreaded penalty shoot-out, Professor Hawking also has some suggestions for players - go high and take a long run-up if you want to avoid heartache.

He adds that bald and fair-headed players should be chosen to step up as they have been proven to have a greater chance of success.

Professor Hawking said: "Ever since the dawn of civilization, people have not been content to see events as unconnected and inexplicable.

"They have craved an understanding of the underlying order in the world. The World Cup is no different."

It is unclear whether Roy Hodgson will be employing Professor Hawking's advice. Credit: Virga­lio Rodrigues/Atlantico/Press Association Images

He says the FA's decision to allow wives and girlfriends to join the trip will have "no bearing" on England's performance, but says the factors that will determine their progress are "hugely complicated".

"In fact, compared to football I think Quantum Physics is relatively straightforward," he added.

And of the eventual winner?

Although Professor Hawking says he will be supporting England this summer, he believes hosts Brazil will be the side lifting the coveted trophy.