It is an undistinguished record, taking in Portugal in 2004, Sweden in 1992, Spain in 1982 and Italy in 1980. Each of the last four occasions England have faced the host nation in a major tournament it has ended with elimination from the competition. Even in the 1990 World Cup, when Italy were the opposition in the third‑place play-off, England lost and there was evidence of a team who run into difficulty in these fixtures.
A negative tone, perhaps, when England have arrived in the Ukraine in a position of strength and lifted by Wayne Rooney's return from suspension. A new sense of confidence has come from drawing with France and beating Sweden and it all feels very different from the start of the tournament, when it was difficult to think of another major football event in which England have been shrouded in such low expectation.
Nobody back then could have dared imagine that, two games in, Dave Richards, the chairman of the Football Association international committee, would be talking of Roy Hodgson having "the Midas touch". Or that Hodgson and his players would already be talking behind the scenes about how to plot a way past Spain in a possible quarter-final.
Steven Gerrard epitomised the mood when he was asked if there were any concerns about playing in front of such a partisan crowd at the Donbass Arena. The question was directed at the wrong man. "I can't wait," he said, with utter nonchalance.
The flipside is that both Hodgson and Gerrard felt compelled at one point to stress the importance of not getting too carried away and being lulled into the mistake of thinking England had already done the hard part when Ukraine still represent difficult opponents in their own right.
"They are a very good counterattacking team, very quick at breaking out of defence," Hodgson said. "They have the ability to keep the ball very well in middle of the field through [Anatoliy] Tymoshchuk and [Serhiy] Nazarenko, with [Andriy] Voronin or [Andriy] Shevchenko dropping deep. We have been impressed with them. They will be fired up, too. They won't want to go out, as the host nation, in front of their home crowd."
So much emphasis has been on Rooney's return it has been largely overlooked, for example, that England's defence may actually be a more pressing issue, having lost two goals against Sweden from set pieces. The first, admittedly, owed in part to some misfortune, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's miscued shot falling to Olof Mellberg. The second, however, came from nothing more rudimentary than a free-kick into the six-yard area and an unmarked header.
It was the kind of goal that will be of encouragement to Shevchenko providing his knee problem does not rule him out and it was surprising, perhaps, that Hodgson, having made defensive structure his priority upon taking the job, revealed he had not even raised the issue with his players.
"The coaching staff have looked at the videos," he said. "I just haven't shown it to the players. We have had a look at it, gone through it and drawn one or two conclusions. But we have kept the players in the dark. Our time is so limited we have not done a post-match analysis."
Trusting that his defence will not be so vulnerable again, the emphasis in England's training session before boarding their flight from Krakow was more on integrating a new-look attack. Rooney, inevitably, took a lead role.
"If you look back through the years, if you take Pelé for example, he was capable of producing his very best football when it really mattered to help Brazil win World Cups," Hodgson said. "Let's hope that Wayne Rooney can start to do that for us on Tuesday night and then, if we win, who knows? If Wayne can produce his best then he can help us keep going even further."
Hodgson confirmed that Ashley Young would keep his place on the left despite two disappointing performances. "He was very good in the two warmup matches against Norway and Belgium and now he's back in his classic position and has Wayne playing alongside him – like he does every week [for Manchester United] – we will see more from him."
The issue about the right side of midfield is more complicated and Hodgson's decision will be based in part of what might lie ahead in the quarter-finals. A last-eight fixture against Spain could be looming and, if so, Hodgson's thinking is that he will need the industry of a fresh James Milner to negate the threat of Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández. In which case, it might make sense to bring in Walcott against Ukraine.
England, Hodgson stressed, would be reckless to play for a draw. At the very least, it is revealing Hodgson is even thinking in these terms when, publicly, the message from the England camp is to avoid any talk of the quarter-finals. "For starters, it would be disrespectful to the opposition," Gerrard said. "If I started talking about the quarter-finals and we slipped up, I would never forgive myself. Let's deal with the quarters, and what to expect, if we get there."