The Data Day at Euro 2020: No.12
Welcome to The Data Day, our daily Euro 2020 stats blog where we try and make sense of what just happened.
Three Lions, Two Goals.
All smiles for Gareth Southgate as England win Group D with a goal difference of 2-0.
This is just the third time in their last 11 major tournament appearances that the Three Lions have topped their group, alongside Euro 2012 and World Cup 2006. England went on to exit both of those tournaments on penalties following a 0-0 draw, so something for us all to look forward to at least.
This was Gareth Southgate’s 57th match as England manager, equalling his tally of caps as a player in international football with the Three Lions. The only man to both play and manage 50+ games for England, Southgate overtook Roy Hodgson’s tally of 56 matches in charge of his country; whose reign as boss ended at the last European Championships following that exit to Iceland in the Last 16.
Raheem Sterling continues to be England’s lucky charm. He scored in an England match for the 12th time and the Three Lions have won on each of these occasions – the best-such record of any England player in history. Both of England’s goals at Euro 2020 have come from Sterling, with captain Harry Kane still without a goal in the tournament in 246 minutes of action. Kane’s now gone six tournament matches without a goal for England, with his final three games at the 2018 World Cup added to three in this tournament.
There’s no avoiding it – this game was astonishingly dull. Just 12 shots were attempted overall and just two in the second half. Both tallies are record lows for a European Championship match since 1980 – the latter an outright record, the former a joint-record. England didn’t attempt a single shot from the 26th minute onwards – including injury time in both halves, that’s 68 minutes and nine seconds without attempting a shot before the full-time whistle.
1-0, 1-0, 1-0, 0-0, 1-0. England’s last five matches have seen a meagre four goals scored, but three clean sheets in the group stage replicates their accomplishment at the 1966 World Cup…and we all know what happened there.
Greece won Euro 2004 with seven goals in six games, conceding just four times all tournament and with their three knockout ties all ending 1-0. If England are to replicate their success 17 years later, it looks like this is the style they’re aiming to mirror. MF
336 or so miles away up in Glasgow, a different Aston Villa midfielder was also creating his moment of magic with a cross from the wing. However, John McGinn wasn’t quite as lucky with the finish as Che Adams just failed to make contact.
It was a glimmer of early hope for Scotland in this winner-takes-all clash against Croatia, but soon their frailties at the back were exposed – Nikola Vlasic making the most of the 66.7% possession they had in the opening 15 minutes to finally to grab the opener.
Just three years ago Croatia reached the final of the FIFA World Cup but it’s a very different side now. Scotland ended their run of 292 minutes without a goal in the European Championship finals with Callum McGregor’s strike being their first since Ally McCoist’s against Switzerland back in 1996 – and their 33rd attempt in this tournament.
But that hope just minutes before half-time was crushed after the break. Firstly, Luka Modric matching his feat of being the youngest Croatian goalscorer at the European Championships (22 years and 273 days) by becoming the oldest (35y, 286d) to restore their lead, before Ivan Persic’s vital third not only propelled them into second place in Group D, but also saw him match Davor Sukar’s record of nine goals in major tournaments for the nation.
The wait is now on for Croatia though to find out who they will be playing in the Last 16 with second place in Group E awaiting on Saturday in Copenhagen after leapfrogging the Czech Republic. Frankly though, who they are going to play is completely unknown at the moment, with any of Sweden, Spain, Slovakia or Poland awaiting. An extra day of rest probably also gleefully accepted.
For Scotland – it’s now 11 successive major international tournaments where they have failed to make it out of the group stages. At least the coming home too soon was only a short journey this time. Still, they won both of their games at Hampden Park on expected goals. GB
The Winner Takes It All
Scotland and Croatia head into their Group D meeting tonight knowing that the winner will definitely qualify as one of the best third-placed teams for the Last 16. It’s a straight shootout for a place in the knockouts.
With Finland and Ukraine having totalled three points in their three games in Group B and Group C respectively, both teams in this match know that four points will be enough to seal qualification.
Scotland have the home advantage, with the game being hosted at Hampden Park in Glasgow, but they also have the historical jinx over the Croats. Croatia have never beaten Scotland in their five previous meetings (D3 L2) – only against France (eight games) and Portugal (seven) have they played a side on more occasions without ever securing a victory.
However, there are some alarming statistics for Steve Clarke’s side that urgently need addressing. Scotland are the only team yet to score at Euro 2020, despite attempting 30 shots – more than the other three sides in Group D. However, the quality of those shots has been questionable, with the average xG of their chances at 0.09 – worse than the other three teams in the group. Scotland will have to find better positions to score in this game against Croatia to end their hoodoo of never qualifying for the knockout stages of a major international tournament, despite this being their 11th attempt.
Billy Gilmour’s rise from a young Chelsea midfielder to the saviour of Scottish football after one start against England has been temporarily halted following a positive Covid test, so coach Clarke will unfortunately need to rejig a midfield that successfully stifled the Three Lions’ midfield on Friday night.
Croatia’s recent form has been poor. The 2018 World Cup finalists will exit at the group stage of Euro 2020 unless they pick up their first win since March. They have won just two of their last 11 internationals and are winless in their last four (D2 L2).
Despite home advantage, this is a game that Croatia should win on paper with their history in major tournaments coupled with Scotland’s inability to find the net. Our match predictor gives them a 46.9% chance of success, with Scotland at 24.1%. But we know a draw would see both teams knocked out, so in our heads let’s just split that 29% between the two teams, shall we?
The other match in Group D tonight will determine the winner of the group, as England host the Czech Republic at Wembley.
History suggests we can expect goals in this game, with the four previous meetings between the Czech Republic and England producing 14 goals at an average of 3.5 per game. But can we finally see a goal from the Three Lions’ captain Harry Kane at Euro 2020?
Kane has scored in each of his two previous matches against the Czech Republic, both times from the penalty spot. However, he’s only scored two goals in his last 11 appearances for his country, after scoring 13 times in his previous 11. Euro 2020 hasn’t been kind to the wantaway Spurs striker, with no goals and just three shots in two games that he’s been substituted off in. Service to the striker hasn’t been too frequent though, with Kane receiving just 34 passes in 156 minutes and only three of those being inside the box.
One player not having trouble finding the back of the net is Czech striker Patrik Schick. Schick has scored three goals across his two appearances versus Scotland and Croatia at Euro 2020 and has netted 14 goals in 28 appearances for his country since debuting in May 2016 – more than any other Czech player.
Despite the doom and gloom from English fans following a 0-0 draw with the Scottish on Friday, our match predictor thinks they’ll go on to win the group with a victory in this match (61.1%).
Our tournament predictor isn’t so kind on England winning Euro 2020 overall though, at just 5.6% – currently the ninth favourites to lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy in July. If they win this match, they’ll stay at Wembley for next Tuesday’s Last 16 tie against the runner-up in the ‘Group of Death’, finish second and they’ll head to Copenhagen to face the runner-up in Group E. No route will be easy. MF