Italy support in Malta much higher than for England

Only 4% of respondents to MaltaToday survey support either of the teams playing in today’s final

james
James Debono
10 July 2016, 8:30am
Italy were eliminated from UEFA Euro 2016 after a penalty shoot-out against Germany
Italy were eliminated from UEFA Euro 2016 after a penalty shoot-out against Germany

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A survey held in the week during which England and Italy were eliminated from the European Nations Cup shows Italy leading England by 10 points in football support in Malta, and only 4% siding with a team which made it to tonight’s final, between France and Portugal

The survey by MaltaToday suggests that Italy is the favourite football team among women and all age groups under 55 years.

The survey also shows only 4% supporting France and Portugal, the two finalists of the competition. Support for the two teams appears to be equally split.

Respondents were asked to state which was their favourite football team among those who qualified for the Euro 2016 championships being played in France.

The survey was held during a bad week for both favourite teams – both were eliminated at the hands of Germany and Iceland respectively. But England’s earlier exit could have further demoralised its supporters while Italy’s exit on penalties at the hands of the highly fancied Germany may have kept its supporters less dissatisfied.

The survey shows a gender divide, with 49% of women siding with Italy compared to 40% of males. Among males the gap in support between the two teams amounts to just six points while among females the gap rises to 13 points.

The survey also shows support for England lowest among 13- to 17-year olds and highest among 55- to 64-year olds.

England was the preferred team among 55- to 74-year olds but support for Italy is higher in all other age groups. Support for Italy is highest among 25- to 44-year olds. This may reflect the fact that England has won the last major competition, the World Cup in 1966, a feat remembered by over 55-year olds, while Italy last won the World Cup in 2006 and was runner up in the Euro 2012 championships.

Reigning world champions Germany emerge as the third force of Maltese football preferences, chosen by 4%.

But Germany faces rising competition from Spain, which is the preferred team of 3%, just above neighbouring Portugal. Support for Spain is highest among the 13- to 17-year bracket where Spain is as popular as England. 

Support among this age group may reflect Spain’s success in international competitions in the past decade. 

Interestingly ‘Abs’ (professionals and managers) are the most likely to support Italy while the self-employed are the most likely to support England.

Working class respondents are equally divided between Italy and England. Support for Germany is highest among those with a clerical, technical or vocational job.

The survey also showed that 1% of respondents chose Iceland, who surprisingly managed to reach the quarter final stage, as their favourite team. 

Methodology 

The survey was conducted between Monday, 27 June and Monday, 4 July. It was stopped when the 500-quota sample was reached. The results were weighed according to sex and age according to the data for the Maltese population as published in the latest census issued by the National Office of Statistics. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.6 points.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...