The Data Day at Euro 2020: No.5
Welcome to The Data Day, our daily Euro 2020 blog where we try and make sense of what just happened.
No German player selected for Euro 2020 had ever scored a goal at a European Championship finals until Mats Hummels in the 20th minute Tuesday. Problem is it counted for France.
Give France a lead, and you give them a reason to play comfortably with N’Golo Kante and a strong centre back partnership. We’ve seen plenty of it in recent years. Les Bleus have trailed for a total of 20 minutes in their last 11 matches at major tournaments. Germany had more of the ball (61.7%), but France infrequently looked bothered. It was their third straight match at a major tournament with under 40% possession (Croatia and Belgium at World Cup 2018).
After Paul Pogba played Lucas Hernández into the left side of the box, Hernandez hit a one-time crossed into the infamous corridor of uncertainty. Hummels seemed to have enough time to react, but instead put the ball in the back of the net for Germany’s first own goal in Euros history. It was the third own goal of the tournament, which already matches the most in a single Euros tournament (2016).
They had absolutely no interest in pressing Germany, which is perhaps best shown by a tournament-high 55.1 PPDA – the number of opposition passes allowed outside of the pressing team’s own defensive third, divided by the number of defensive actions by the pressing team outside of their own defensive third. A lower figure indicates a higher level of pressing, while a higher figure indicates a lower level of pressing. For the sake of comparison, the next highest number for the tournament is Sweden (32.3) while Portugal are at the other end with a tournament-low 5.6.
Game state aside, Les Bleus still looked dangerous on occasion – Adrien Rabiot hit the woodwork, and Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema had goals disallowed for offside – but the true chances were limited. Their 0.28 xG ranks 22nd at the tournament through each teams’ first match, while both teams finished with just one shot on target each.
Germany’s best chance to equalise came in the 54th minute on a Serge Gnabry volley that narrowly cleared the bar after the bounce, and while there were moments in which it felt they were threatening, there was only one combined shot on target in the match after the own goal (Antonio Rudiger’s 70th-minute header).
In the end, we made it through all 12 matches of the first round of fixtures with the team to take a lead at worst preserving a point (W10, D1).
What does this mean for Group F? France, the pre-tournament favourites, saw their chances to advance out of Group F rise from 91.6% to 96.1. Their chances to win the group now stand at 50.2% – a negligible increase after being 47.3 pre-tournament. That has plenty to do with Portugal’s three-goal win, and their likelihood to win Group F rose from 24.6% pre-tournament to 39.2 after the group’s first matches.
For Germany, uncertainty brought on by their pre-Euros form turns to mild alarm, though their chances to reach the Round 16 only dropped to 82.9% with the loss. Winning the group, however, stands at 10.2%.
It was always going to be about him, wasn’t it? Cristiano Ronaldo broke yet more records as well as Hungarian hearts as he guided Portugal to a crucial victory in Budapest as Group F kicked off.
Ronaldo netted his 10th and 11th goals in European Championship history to move clear of Michel Platini as the outright top scoring player in the competition. In doing so, he scored in his fifth successive Euros, with 17 years separating today’s brace and his first in June 2004 against Greece in Porto. Just appearing in five different European Championship finals is an incredible feat – with Ronaldo the first-ever to do this – but to score in all five, well that takes the feat to another level.
It takes Ronaldo to 106 for Portugal overall, just three away from Ali Daei’s world record 109 for Iran in men’s international football.
The match itself came four years and 340 days since their triumph in the Euro 2016 final against France. Portugal lined up with just five of the starting XI remaining from that day– yet this was still their oldest-ever starting line up at the European Championships at 29 years and 173 days old.
In their successful Euro 2016 campaign, Portugal progressed through the groups with three draws and qualified for the Last 16 in third place. They’ve already equalled their three-point tally in this tournament with this late victory, but they did it the hard way.
The first goal didn’t arrive until 83:43 and with three goals overall, Portugal became the first-ever team to score as many as three goals in the final 10 minutes of a single European Championships match.
This late victory was crucial for Portugal’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the tournament. Our prediction model now rates their chances at 97.6% ahead of tough games against the French and Germans. For Hungary, their chances of qualifying from the ‘Group of Death’ were low to start with, but now at 8.7%, it looks like they can say goodbye to any hopes of knockout football at Euro 2020.
20 Down, Four to Play
Day five of Euro 2020 sees the final four teams make their entrance in the footballing Royal Rumble. We’ve now seen 20 of the teams play at the tournament, with Spain showing last night that they sure can pass the ball a bit, but that little thing about scoring a goal to win a game needs a bit of work.
Three powerhouses of European football make their bow today. Traditionally you could make that four, with Hungary kicking off the action against reigning champions Portugal to start the day.
Between the 1930s and 1970s, the Hungarians were one of the leading sides but a decline followed thereafter, until consecutive qualifications at Euro 2016 and 2020 have seen them in the finals for the first time since a fourth-place finish in 1972. In Portugal, they come up against the team that they have faced the most often in international football without winning – 13 matches, with nine defeats and four draws. But there are two facts that might give Hungary a smidgen of confidence.
1. Portugal have failed to win their opening game in the last five major tournaments (World Cup and Euros), drawing three times and losing twice. Their last opening game victory was at Euro 2008 against Turkey (2-0).
2. Hungary remained unbeaten in the group stages in their last appearance at the European Championships (W1 D2 in 2016).
Cristiano Ronaldo is a statistician’s dream. The half man, half machine is looking to break yet another record in this game, in becoming the outright top scorer in European Championship history. He’s had to put up with being level with Michel Platini on nine goals for five years since his last appearance in 2016. He already holds the records for most appearances (21) in the tournament and most editions with at least one goal (four) in European Championship history but is likely to extend both this summer.
Our win predictor leans heavily towards Portugal winning this one, at 67.4%. But we’ve seen some results that defy the predictions already in the tournament. Finland were given just an 8.8% chance of beating Denmark, and Slovakia only 16.4% to defeat Poland – both shocked their opponents.
The late kick-off today is arguably the best game of the Euro 2020 group stages on paper, with France travelling to Munich to play Germany.
France are the favourites to win Euro 2020 in our tournament predictor at 20.2%, while Germany are rated are fourth-best at 10.5%.
This will be the sixth meeting between these two nations in a major international tournament, but the first that’s come in the group stage. Their only previous encounter in the Euros came in the last tournament, with an Antoine Griezmann brace sealing a 2-0 semi-final win for the French in 2016. In fact, Griezmann has scored more goals versus Germany than against any other team with France (four). He’s also been directly involved in more goals (14) than any other European player over the last two major tournaments: 10 goals and four assists in 14 games at Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 combined.
Joachim Löw’s departure as Germany manager following this tournament has already been confirmed, but he’ll be looking to go out on a high. This will be his 18th game as a manager at the European Championship finals – a record.
This game is one that’s close to call via our match predictor. France edge it at 38.5%, with Germany having a 32.5% chance of victory.