The Data Day at Euro 2020: No.9
Welcome to The Data Day, our daily Euro 2020 stats blog where we try and make sense of what just happened.
Patience or Panic for Spain?
Spain are going into their last match of group play with two points is a phrase that would have been surprising before the first whistle in Saturday’s matches at Euro 2020. But after Hungary took a point from France and Germany put four past Portugal, the stakes for what qualifies as unexpected had been raised. And with Saturday’s results grow the possibilities for the final matchday in Group E and F.
While it may not register as high in shock level as the France-Hungary result, La Roja’s contribution to the chaos was a 1-1 draw with Poland, and it puts Spain in actual danger of not advancing. Patience – for a Spanish side that insists on it – is now 90 minutes away from no longer being an option.
So Spain sit third behind Sweden and Slovakia, their Matchday 3 opponent. According to our predictor, La Roja now have just a 77.5% chance of reaching the Round of 16, which is down from a 96.9 pre-tournament figure.
Poland would have been out of the tournament without Robert Lewandowski’s second-half equaliser, but they’ve now got a 40% chance to go through if they can rustle up a win over Sweden.
It didn’t seem like we’d be bothering with those numbers during the first half. The debate over who should play as Spain’s No. 9 will go either until the end of time or the end of their drastically possession-based style – whichever comes first – and Álvaro Morata at least temporarily weathered the criticism and made good on Luis Enrique’s decision to give him a second game after Spain opened with a goalless draw against Sweden.
All it took from Morata was a little positioning and a simple finish after Gerard Moreno threaded a ball to him in front of goal for Spain’s breakthrough 114 minutes into their tournament. It was initially called offside, then given after a review, ensuing in one of those awkward much-too-late celebrations we’ve come to know in the VAR era.
It was then Lewandowski’s chance to quieten some critics with a 54th-minute header, making him the first Poland player to score in three editions of the Euros. There was hardly time for it sink in before a penalty was awarded at the other end, which Gerard Moreno put off the left post, and Morata put a clear rebound wide.
Moreno had scored his last 14 competitive penalties for club and country, but he’s not alone at this tournament. Just four of nine spot kicks awarded have been converted, and thus far the tournament stands as the only European Championship finals with a penalty conversion rate below 50% (2 of 4 were converted in 1988).
Morata had another chance in the 83rd minute from close range, but Wojciech Szczesny’s positioning limited Morata’s options, and the Polish keeper made perhaps his most important save of the tournament.
Like him or not, the criticism now lies on the XI and the manager rather than one.
Robin Good Steals The Points From Portugal
There were wild scenes of anti-schadenfreude in Munich this evening as Germany recovered from a 1-0 deficit to Portugal to win 4-2, reigniting not only their hopes of qualifying from the infamous Group F, but their chances of going deep in this competition. Dead and buried after a lacklustre display against France in the first game, Germany looked at everyone saying, “You can’t rule out the Germans” and replied, “Guess what, you’re right.”
Every international tournament lives and dies on its ability to serve up classic games, the sort of matches that will be clipped up into two-minute highlight videos and shared on social media in the build-up to future jamborees. “Remember Portugal versus Germany at Euro 2020?” Yes. Very much so.
After a dreary Friday at the Euros, capped with England and Scotland just running into each other at pace in the Wembley rain, Saturday, and this match in particular, has delivered in waves. There was a combined total of 10 shots on target in three games yesterday, but in this one match Germany had seven of their own and two own goals as well. Yes, two own goals. Sounds rare and we can confirm it is rare; this was the first time a team (hi, Portugal) has ever scored in their own net twice in the same World Cup or European Championships game. There have now been five own goals in only nine days of action in this edition, already a new record for a single tournament.
Germany’s players all turned up, and none more so than left-sided wing-back Robin Gosens, who was a constant menace and ended the game with both an assist and a goal. The Atalanta man helped Germany to play like – well – Atalanta, with breathless abandon and the sort of sheer energy that brightens up even the gloomiest of Saturday afternoons.
For Cristiano Ronaldo, the match started well, his early goal drawing him level with Miroslav Klose on 19 at World Cups and European Championships combined. No player from the continent has ever scored more. He also assisted Portugal’s consolation goal from Diogo Jota, but his only shot of the second half was from one of his “trademark” free kicks in the 54th minute. It was the 50th he has taken in a major tournament and as it sailed over the bar his tally remained firmly stuck on one goal. Wayne Gretzky is reported to have said that “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” but when it comes to direct free kicks, Ronaldo has missed 98% of the shots he has taken. Yes, that is better than 100% but only marginally. Prodigiously talented in almost every aspect of the game, this is a task maybe the Portugal captain should look at sharing with his team-mates.
Both Portugal and Germany ended the game with an xG figure of >2.0, the first time that has happened in a Euros game since 2004. If you want an official marker as to whether this game should count as classic: there it is in decimals.
It’s fair to say that not many people saw this result coming, and naturally there have been some pretty rapid adjustments to pundit predications in its aftermath. Our predictions model is no different and it now makes Germany, who face Hungary in their final match, favourites to win the group on 47.5%, while Portugal’s chances of finishing top of Group F have crashed to only 5.6%. Meanwhile Germany are now second favourites to win the whole thing, on 11.9%. Life comes at you fast, and so does Euro 2020.
The Group of…it’s Complicated
An optimist may still argue France are dynamic. They do not have *a* style. They have Style A, B and perhaps C. That may prove true. For now, the pragmatist will counter that five shots on target through two matches will never be in vogue. It’s your standard story about the French as major tournament favourites in recent years, told a year later than expected.
France have a goal of their own and one courtesy of Mats Hummels through two matches, and the one from Antoine Griezmann was needed to level things with Hungary in Saturday’s 1-1 final before a full crowd in Budapest.
Didier Deschamps’ side played from behind for 20+ minutes – as much as they’d been behind in their previous 11 matches at major tournaments – after Hungary wing back Attila Fiola carried the ball into the left side of the penalty area and beat Hugo Lloris at the near post in the first half of stoppage time. The right side of the French defence had all but walked off for half-time.
The goal was the first France had conceded in six matches, or 527 minutes of play, which feels newsworthy to everyone not named Italy.
Hungary have never lost a European Championship game in which they’ve scored first (W2 D2), and they managed to preserve the point against a France side that had come back to win five European Championship matches when conceding first – more than any other side.
In the present though, the reality is France have totaled 2.24 xG in two matches, which ranks 15th at Euro 2020 with four sides still to play their second matches, and Les Bleus’ five shots on target are even with Switzerland as well as Sweden and Spain, who have played 90 minutes.
When France did break through, it came from the back with Hugo Lloris bypassing the midfield with an enormous clearance. The Hungarian defence allowed it to bounce into the attacking third, and Kylian Mbappé came onto it on the right side, played it into the middle and after a touch from a Hungarian defender, Antoine Griezmann had a sitter to equalise.
Griezmann has nine goal involvements (seven goals, two assists) dating to Euro 2016, which is more than any other player in that time. His seven goals at Euros trails only Cristiano Ronaldo (11) and Michel Platini (nine).
When there was threat from France, it almost always involved Mbappé.
In the 17th minute, a cross from Lucas Digne down the left side ended with an Mbappé header wide at the far post.
In the 31st, Griezmann put a ball over the top into the box to Mbappe, who laid it off to Benezema, who put a clear opportunity wide at the near post. Two minutes later, Mbappé worked his way through traffic into space in the right side of the penalty area but put the shot wide of the far post.
In the 82nd, Mbappé was denied by Péter Gulácsi on perhaps France’s best chance to take the lead.
He finished with six shots against Hungary, his most ever in a game for France, while his 21 touches in the opposition box are the most by an individual in the tournament so far.
In Group F, this makes things perhaps more difficult than they already were with Hungary not eliminated after two matches. France – at least momentarily – move top the group with four points and have a 99.8% chance of advancing, though their chances of winning the group are down to 37% after starting the tournament at 47.3, according to our tournament predictor. Portugal are at 43.4% to win the group ahead of their clash with Germany.
Hungary are still at 87.5% to finish fourth in the group, but this does bring hope. They entered the match this morning with a 5.4% chance of progressing. That’s risen to 7.4 with a trip to Germany looming to close out the group.
Hungary for More
The second matchday of Euro 2020 draws to a close today, with three appetising games for football fans across Europe. More than can be said of the three matches in the tournament yesterday, which produced three goals from 65 shots, including two goals from penalties. At 4.6%, this was the worst shot conversion rate on a single day of European Championship action with three of more games in recorded history.
Day 9 of the Euros kicks off in Budapest, where Hungary attempt mission impossible number 2 of 3 in Group F. They lost 3-0 to reigning European champions Portugal in their opening game, and it doesn’t get any easier today, as they face World champions France.
France made the perfect start to Euro 2020 with a victory over Germany in their opening match but will be expecting to put more of a show on this time around. The French looked relatively toothless in attack on MD1, with just 0.26xG from four shots – the joint-second lowest of any team in the opening round of games. Admittedly, they benefited from an own goal and had two goals disallowed but attempting to score legal goals in this match might be advisable.
We give Hungary little chance of a shock in this match in our match predictor, with France being given a 64.6% chance of victory compared to 13.4% for the home side. France have suffered their fair share of shocks in recent decades – remember the 1-0 loss to Senegal in World Cup 2002 – as well as defeats to Mexico and South Africa in the 2010 World Cup. It can happen.
The French are still big favourites in our tournament predictor at 22.6%, with three of the other teams playing today also within the top five most likely to end as winners this summer.
Two of those face one another in Munich today, with Portugal coming up against Germany. Our tournament predictor gives the Portuguese an 11.1% chance of securing back-to-back European Championship titles – a shade above Germany at 10.0%. A win for either side in this fixture could improve that, however.
Germany have suffered three defeats in their last four group stage matches at the European Championships and World Cups combined, as many as in their previous 24 group stage games (W16 D5). They haven’t suffered consecutive defeats in the group stage at a major tournament since losing to England and then Portugal at Euro 2000.
Should Portugal win here, they’d become just the second reigning European Championship winners to secure two wins from two in the following tournament after Spain in 2016. Our match predictor gives Germany the edge in this match, though – with a 38.9% chance of victory, to get themselves running after the MD1 loss to France.
In the final match of the day, Spain play Poland, looking to improve their passes per goal ratio from their opening game. Despite completing 830 passes against Sweden, this didn’t translate to goals as their strikers misfired in Seville.
Spain have failed to score in two of their last three matches – on MD1 against Sweden and in a pre-tournament friendly against Portugal earlier this month. It’s as many scoreless performances as in their previous 51 internationals, while they haven’t failed to score in consecutive matches since 2013 at the Confederations Cup.
On the subject of misfiring forwards, Robert Lewandowski has scored with just two of his 35 shots for Poland in 12 games at major tournaments, failing to score with his last 17 attempts for his national side in such games, since netting against Portugal at Euro 2016.
We think Spain will find their scoring form just in time, with a massive 77.7% chance of victory in this meeting according to our match predictor. Overall, we still give Spain the second-best chance of lifting the trophy at Euro 2020 at 11.9%, but anything other than the expected victory in this match will see that percentage hit hard.