Welcome to The Data Day, our daily Euro 2020 stats blog where we try and make sense of what just happened.
The Rout in Rome
England are through to the semi-finals of a major tournament for the second time in three years, convincingly ripping their way through an opposition side for the first time at Euro 2020.
It was a different tempo of performance to what we’ve become accustomed to seeing from England so far this summer, as the Three Lions roared to a 4-0 victory against Ukraine in Rome with pace and gusto rarely seen in their four previous matches.
England showed their strength in depth and manager Gareth Southgate’s intelligence to pick the right team for the right opponent, with the inclusion of Jadon Sancho for the first time in the tournament and being brave enough to make two changes and a formation shift from that memorable 2-0 win over Germany in midweek. It was the 35th successive match that Southgate’s not named an unchanged side, but a tactic that clearly works for this squad.
With two goals in this game to add to his header against Germany in the previous round, Harry Kane’s tournament has really got going now. His group stage performances didn’t impress, with no goals and only five shots in 246 minutes, but with three goals from as many shots in the knockout stages, he’s now only two away from Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick as tournament top scorer. With his form and confidence seemingly rediscovered, it wouldn’t be ridiculous to consider Kane in the race for a second consecutive major tournament golden boot. With his brace, Kane moved on to nine goals in major international tournaments for England – level with Alan Shearer and only behind Gary Lineker (10).
Jordan Henderson even got in on the act – his first-ever goal for England in his 62nd appearance and with his 43rd shot. With that goal and England’s fourth, this rout became their best victory in European Championship history, overtaking that memorable 4-1 win at Euro 96 against the Netherlands.
At the back, it’s now seven consecutive clean sheets for England for the first time in their history and 662 minutes without conceding a goal. Jordan Pickford’s fifth successive clean sheet at Euro 2020 means he’s now kept more at a single major tournament than any England goalkeeper in history.
Southgate’s team showed that they aren’t all about defence with this win and now it’s time to prove that they are no longer a team that could have won a tournament. With the semi-final and final taking place in London at their home stadium, they’ll be looking to end 55 years of hurt. MF
The Danish Dream Continues
The 21 candles Mikkel Damsgaard will blow out later for his birthday cake will feel all more the sweeter after this.
Whereas I imagine most of us spent that birthday night avoiding being purchased various suspicious drinks by so-called friends (and still not entirely sure if I’m allowed back into Porthouse in Winchester) Damsgaard became the 21st, and youngest, to celebrate by playing in the men’s European Championship.
And like any good birthday celebration, ensuring you and your (team) mates knock one in early doors is always the perfect start to proceedings.
Thomas Delaney’s header being the second Danish goal in the opening 15 minutes of a match at this tournament, the most any nation has achieved, and key in the sapping heat of Baku where, even with a local kick-off time of 8pm, temperatures were hitting 31c.
And if Czech Republic thought they were only in the frying pan closing in on half-time, Joakim Maehle threw them into the fire by answering the ultimate Football Manager head-scratcher ‘how does a right-footed left-back create assists?’.
Kasper Dolberg’s simple finish from an outside of the boot cross making him the first Dane to score three goals at a single major tournament since Jon Dahl Tomasson (Euro 2004), whilst keeping it tight at the other end ensured a fifth successive game without conceding a first half goal.
If there is any cause for concern moving forwards – it’s a seeming lapse in concentration after the half-time break. Something Patrick Schick was only too keen to take advantage of as he moved level with Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer in the tournament with five goals. For the Danes, it was their third goal conceded in the first 15 minutes of the second half – again, the most for any nation in this tournament.
Euro 2020 has proved somewhat of a breakthrough for Schick on the international scene – his five goals in the tournament more than he managed in the qualifiers (4), as he became the fourth Czech Republic/Czechoslovakian player to hit that mark in a single major tournament after Milan Baros (Euro 2004), Tomas Skuhravy (1990 World Cup) and Oldrich Nejedly (1934 World Cup). In fact, no player so far has had more shots (16), shots on target (9) or scored more goals (5) at Euro 2020 than Schick.
But this would be Denmark’s day. And the reality is it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Denmark have made the semi-finals. After all, they are ranked higher (10th) in the FIFA men’s rankings than previously fancied Germany (12th) and the Netherlands (16th) and four places higher than 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia (14th).
10 of Denmark’s 11 goals at Euro 2020 have come from open play, which is the most of any side at this tournament. Only the Netherlands (11 in 2000) and Spain (11 in 2008) have scored more in a Euros tournament on record (since 1980), which itself is quite a remarkable turnaround following their start to the tournament. Having only scored with one of the 43 shots in their opening two games, they’ve since netted 10 out of the following 43.
A semi-final at Wembley now awaits. The Danes were victorious on their last trip to London in 2020 courtesy of Christian Eriksen’s penalty. Could at least part of history be set to repeat itself? GB