Stat, Viz, Quiz is the Opta Analyst football newsletter. Our latest edition includes some of the most interesting numbers from Matchday 3 of Euro 2024.

Is football coming home?

It might. England are through to the last 16 as group winners, albeit in unconvincing fashion. If football does ‘come home’, it might be like when we find our way back after a night out, with little recollection of how we did so, just with an angry note and bill from a taxi driver crumpled at the bottom of our pocket.

Just what is England’s playing style, though? (Who at the back just shouted “rubbish”?) We’ll be taking a look at the evolution of the Three Lions over major tournaments.

We have seen a lot of own goals at Euro 2024, which follows a trend from the previous edition of the tournament. We’ll also investigate why so many players are finding the wrong net.

Read all that before taking on our latest Euros quiz, and then test your wit with another viz caption.

The Euro 2024 group stage is over; long live the knockout rounds.

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STAT Rise of the OG

In the last edition of SVQ we discussed long-range goals. Everyone loves a long-range strike, but what do people love even more? Own goals, as long as they’re being conceded by other teams.

At least, those of us old enough to remember watching VHS tapes of Danny Baker or Nick Hancock showing us the finest ‘Own Goals and Gaffes’ or ‘Football Nightmares’ do.

If you love them too, you should be delighted with Euro 2024, which saw seven own goals in the group stage. That’s already the second-most in a whole tournament in Euros history, and we still have 15 games to go.

The only European Championship to feature more was the last one, with Euro 2020 seeing 11 own goals leave teams red-faced.

Remarkably, that means two thirds of all own goals scored in European Championship history (18/27) have come in the last two editions.

Portugal have been the biggest beneficiaries so far at Euro 2024, with two of their five goals scored coming via opposition players (Czech Republic’s Robin Hranác and Turkey’s Samet Akaydin), while Scotland (Antonio Rüdiger), France (Max Wöber), Croatia (Klaus Gjasula), Spain (Riccardo Calafiori) and Austria (Donyell Malen) have also had some assistance.

Could it be that players are just clumsier than they used to be? Prior to Euro 2020 there had never been more than three own goals at a Euros, while there was just one at Euro 2012 and none at all at Euro 2008.

Own Goals at Euros

Almost all own goals scored at Euro 2024 so far have been unfortunate deflections from crosses, with Akaydin an exception with his errant back-pass for Turkey against Portugal.

We wondered if it might be that there are simply more crosses these days, but quite the opposite. There were an average of 32.1 crosses per game at Euro 2020 and there have been an average of 33.8 at Euro 2024. Prior to these two editions, there had not been an average below 38.4 at a Euros on record (since 1980).

Could it therefore just be good old-fashioned variance? Defending is often more open than it used to be as fewer teams take on a low block style, but given the generally unlucky nature of own goals, perhaps it’s just as simple as more bad luck than there used to be, while of course there were fewer games in the tournament prior to Euro 2016.

We’ll keep an eye on it in the knockout rounds, but our tip for defenders would be to stay away from ladders, mirrors and black cats for the next few weeks.

VIZ Slow and Steady Wins the Euros?

England playing styles in major tournaments
Viz by Jonathan Manuel

England are favourites to win Euro 2024.

No, we haven’t been day drinking, that is according to the Opta supercomputer (we asked, and the computer hasn’t been drinking, either).

Despite some, shall we say, underwhelming performances from Gareth Southgate’s men, they still made it through their group in first place, setting up a last-16 meeting with Slovakia. They’re also on the so-called ‘easier’ side of the draw.

What’s all the moaning been about, then?

England were not convincing in any of their Group C games, beating Serbia 1-0 before insipid draws against Denmark (1-1) and Slovenia (0-0). More than anything, it was their style – or alleged lack thereof – that concerned Three Lions fans.

People are pining for the ‘exciting’ England from the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020. As you can see from the viz above, they’re not getting it.

In fact, as our playing styles graph shows, England have steadily become slower and more intricate pretty much major tournament by major tournament. In the four tournaments overseen by Southgate, they have averaged above the median for passes per sequence, but below the median for direct speed upfield.

That essentially means they have become a slow team that likes to pass their way through the opposition. Here’s how it compares to other teams at Euro 2024.

Euro 2024 team styles comparison

At the 2018 World Cup, England averaged 548.6 passes per game (85.3% accuracy), with 300.7 ending in the opposition’s half (77.5% accuracy). At Euro 2020 their passes per game went down to 537.3, with 288.3 in the opposition’s half, while their accuracy was marginally up to 85.5% and 80.7% respectively.

At the 2022 World Cup, England’s passes per game went way up to 604.8, though with just 280.2 in the opposition’s half. Their passing accuracy was up to 87.9%, but still with just 80.6% in the opposition half, so they were passing a lot more in their own half with a greater accuracy, but seemingly being increasingly risk averse in crossing the halfway line.

So far at Euro 2024 after three games, they are passing more than ever, averaging 620.7 passes per game; only Germany (679.0) and Portugal (653.3) have averaged more per game overall. England’s accuracy is up at 89.4%, with a big increase to 339.3 per game in the opposition’s half and an impressive 86.1% accuracy. Their passing accuracy in the final third is even up at 78.8%, more than 6% better than any of the other three tournaments.

England passing stats under Southgate

That increase is likely due to the fact the Three Lions have mostly played teams who sit deep and let them have the ball higher up the pitch, although arguably their worst performance came against Denmark, who outpassed them 548 to 528, and with a superior accuracy of 86.9% to 86.2%.

Will slow and steady win the race? England fans will certainly be hoping so, but we’ll forgive them for being sceptical at the moment.

QUIZ – Matchday 3

Now that the group stage of Euro 2024 is over, we have five more questions for you to tackle as if you were Pepe forgetting that he’s 41 years of age and supposed to be too old for this stuff. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1. Scotland only attempted 17 shots overall in the tournament before their elimination from Group A. Since the group stage was introduced in 1980, that is the joint fewest by a nation in a group stage along with which team from Euro 2016?

2. Who became the oldest player to ever score at the UEFA European Championship finals this week?

3. What unfortunate first did Ukraine achieve after drawing 0-0 with Belgium on the final matchday of Group E?

4. There were more cards handed out in Turkey’s 2-1 win over Czech Republic than in any other game in Euros history. How many?

5. Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score in the group stage of a major international tournament for the first time in his career. How many shots did he take in his three Group F games for Portugal?

OptaMax Euro 2024

Opta Games

Did you play Opta SuperBracket in the group stage? Well, now it’s time for the knockout rounds. Head to the Opta Games website to fill in your bracket, with $12,000 in leaderboard prizes to be won.

And don’t forget Opta Max (Euro 2024 Edition), where you can predict the Player of the Match in four featured games each round and earn points for your predictions. Those points could then earn you big cash prizes. Player performance scores are powered by our new metric, Opta Points.

Sign up and play for free today.

Stat’s All Folks

Our last viz to be captioned was Harry Kane’s touch map from England’s stalemate with Denmark.

It was a below-par performance from the Three Lions in their 1-1 draw, despite Kane giving them the lead. They ultimately won Group C, though, so all’s well that ends well we suppose.

Kane touch map v Denmark

The best response came from Mark Turner, who went with: “If you join the dots, it makes a face of a disgruntled England fan screaming at Kane to ‘get in the box!’”

Remarkably, Kane’s one touch in the Denmark box that day saw him score, so maybe Mark has a point.

For this edition of SVQ, we’re offering you the below viz of the momentum graphic from Georgia’s dramatic 2-0 win over Portugal.

Georgia v Portugal momentum

Send your suggestions to and your name and caption could be in the next edition of SVQ following the round of 16.

What Are We up to at Opta Analyst?

Here’s some of the latest data-driven offerings you can find on our website:

Euro 2024 Predictions: Opta Supercomputer Knockout Stage Projections

Euro 2024 Group Stage Wrap: Six Knee-Jerk Reactions

 Did Kobbie Mainoo Do Enough Against Slovenia to Warrant an England Start?

 England’s Route to the Euro 2024 Final According to the Opta Supercomputer

 Why Everyone is Talking About Riccardo Calafiori

Quiz Answers

1. Northern Ireland

2. Luka Modric (38 years and 289 days)

3. They became the first team in Euros history to finish bottom of their group despite winning four points. It was also the first time ever that all four teams in a Euros group finished level on points.

4. 18 (16 yellow cards, 2 red cards)

5. 12 – the most of anyone at the tournament

Before you go…

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