Stat, Viz, Quiz is the Opta Analyst football newsletter. Our latest edition includes some of the most interesting numbers from Matchday 2 of Euro 2024.

Everyone loves a long shot, don’t they?

Whether it was asking out a member of the popular clique at school, backing a 100/1 horse in the Grand National or ordering something at a restaurant that is just described as ‘meat’, we can all be tempted to take a chance.

That ‘why not?’ attitude may have made its way to Euro 2024 as well, with plenty of strikes coming from boots that are pretty far away from goal. We’ve looked a little deeper into the apparent trend.

Spain have looked impressive in their two group games, with exciting, young wingers showing how La Roja have evolved from their dominant pass-centric approach of yesteryear. We’ll be investigating the impact of two of Europe’s brightest stars.

A quiz and a caption also await, so get yourself comfortable and peruse the latest SVQ to fill your brain with some fascinating stats to impress your friends and co-workers.

It’s a long shot, but it just might work.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe below and receive Stat, Viz, Quiz direct to your inbox.

STAT The Long Rangers

It has felt like a bit of a lost art in elite football recently.

A player throwing caution to the wind and larruping a strike from distance in the hope the pace and direction can beat the goalkeeper, or at least that a deflection or the wind can assist them. It seems like we haven’t seen as much of it as previous generations did.

In Europe’s top five domestic leagues in 2023-24, there was an average of 9.1 shots from outside the box per game, with 0.34 goals per game coming from beyond the edge of the penalty area. That’s down from 12.2 shots per game and 0.37 goals per game in 2010-11.

At Euro 2024 we have already seen 15 goals from outside the box after just 24 games, an average of 0.63 per game. It is already the third-most ever at a Euros, behind only Euro 2016 (16) and Euro 2020 (19). With more than half the tournament still to play, it seems like that record will be broken. By comparison, there were 12 goals from outside the box in the entire group stage at Euro 2020 (36 games).

Obviously, the increase in games has played a part in the last two tournaments being ahead of previous editions, too, but does all this mean there have been more shots from outside the penalty area? Is it a new approach, or better shooting?

Mostly the latter, it seems.

After Matchday 2 at Euro 2024 there have been an average of 10.5 shots from outside the box per game, slightly up compared to the 9.1 per game at Euro 2020, but down on the 12.5 per game at Euro 2016.

Long shot success at recent Euros

So, the phenomenon appears to just be down to sharper shooting – we’ll give goalkeepers the benefit of the doubt that it’s not just bad shot-stopping or another ‘Jabulani’ style ball.

Goals from Romania’s Nicolae Stanciu, Turkey’s Arda Güler and Denmark’s Morten Hjulmand are among those to have lit up the tournament so far, proving that long-range shooting is still an art form.

Of course, it should be pointed out that one of those goals from outside the box came from the boot of Turkish defender Samet Akaydin, who didn’t exactly mean to find his own goal in Turkey’s defeat to Portugal on Saturday. Still, a goal’s a goal.

Will it continue? We hope so, because who doesn’t love to see a ball leathered into the top corner from 30 yards out… apart from the conceding team, of course.

VIZ Spain 2.0?

Spain dribbles v Italy

We all know what to expect when it comes to Spain, right?

Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass… (breathes)… pass, pass, pass, pass, pass… goal.

Under Luis de la Fuente at Euro 2024 they are mixing things up a bit, though. La Roja still like a pass or several, but not as many as previous years as, just like a dad getting that first whiff of a barbecue in the summer, there’s a lot more dribbling.

At Euro 2020, Spain had four games in which they attempted more than 880 passes. Their lowest total at the competition came against Slovakia (666). So far at this tournament they have attempted 457 against Croatia and 590 against Italy.

When it comes to dribbles, though, Spain attempted 34 in their 1-0 win against Italy on Thursday. That was the most dribbles attempted by them in a European Championship game since 2008 (36 vs Sweden). The most Spain had attempted in a Euros game since then was 24 against Portugal at Euro 2012.

It’s little wonder why when you consider the weapons at their disposal. We discussed 16-year-old Lamine Yamal in a recent SVQ, and the Barcelona star is shining on the big stage. After recording an assist against Croatia in a 3-0 win, where he also became the youngest player ever at a Euros tournament, he tormented Italy on MD2 as well.

The main man that night was Nico Williams, though, who gave Italy right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo a tough time to say the least. Williams attempted 11 dribbles against Italy, the most by any player in a game at the tournament so far. He only completed four but something seemed to happen every time the 21-year-old winger got the ball. It was his dribble and cross on the left that led to Riccardo Calafiori’s game-deciding own goal.

Only Belgium’s Jérémy Doku (9) has completed more dribbles than Yamal (7) in the tournament, who is the only other player to complete more than Williams (6).

Spain have evolved under De la Fuente and could take some stopping at Euro 2024, having already won Group B with a game to spare.

With their young whippersnappers on the wings, anything seems possible.

QUIZ Matchday 2

Here’s some head scratchers to conquer after MD2 of Euro 2024. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1. Germany are just the second team in history to score as many as seven goals across their first two games of a UEFA European Championship campaign alongside which nation, who did so at Euro 2008?

2. Luka Modric’s start against Albania was his 15th game at the European Championship. Which former Spain star is the only player to start more often among midfielders in the history of the competition?

3. Harry Kane became the third man to score at four different major international tournaments for England. Name either of the other two players.

4. Pedri has now made 12 appearances for Spain at major tournaments (World Cup/Euros), the joint-most by any European player while aged 21 or under, level with who (12 between 2004 and 2006)?

5. Netherlands and France ended a run of 50 games at European Championships without a goalless draw. Which two teams played out the last 0-0 at the Euros before the Dutch and the French did so on Friday?

OptaMax Euro 2024

Opta Games

If you were one of the thousands who enjoyed Opta Games during the Premier League and Women’s Super League 2023-24 seasons, you’ll no doubt be happy to learn they’re back for Euro 2024.

With Opta Max (Euro 2024 Edition), 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 challenged you to caption the xG race from Germany’s 5-1 thrashing of Scotland.

You were mostly kind as well as witty, though we won’t be forwarding any of them on to Steve Clarke, lest he give us the “kick up the backside” he said he gave some of his players before their improved performance against Switzerland.

Germany v Scotland xG race

The best response came from Richard Evans, who quipped: “It was very hospitable of Germany to ensure their xG race looked like an outline of one side of Ben Nevis.”

Scotland’s own straight line looked more like the still waters of the lovely Loch Lomond to us, but their draw against the Swiss keeps their tournament alive at least.

If you think you can out-funny Rich, have a go at our latest viz. We’re offering you Harry Kane’s touch map from England’s 1-1 draw with Denmark, seeing as it’s caused so much debate among fans and media. 

Kane touch map v Denmark

Send your suggestions to and your name and caption could be in the next edition of SVQ following the conclusion of the group stage at Euro 2024.

What Are We up to at Opta Analyst?

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

More Copa America Records Go Messi’s Way as Argentina Pick up Where They Left Off

Belgium 2-0 Romania Stats: Group E Left Historically Tight After Kevin De Bruyne Inspires Win

Denmark 1-1 England: Dreadful England Still in Group C Driving Seat Despite Disappointing Draw

Netherlands 0-0 France Stats: Les Bleus Unable to Mask Issues Without Mbappé

Quiz Answers

1. The Netherlands

2. Andrés Iniesta (16 starts)

3. Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

5. England 0-0 Scotland at Euro 2020

Before you go…

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