Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Euro 2020 data dive: Spain stunted but set passing standard after Schick´s record-breaking blast

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Jun 2021

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There was more drama on day four of Euro 2020, although the pace of the tournament slowed just a little in Seville.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia claimed precious wins before attention turned to Spain and Sweden, the two presumed favourites in Group E.

But neither team had the imagination to forge a breakthrough, even if Spain were completely dominant.

That stalemate features as Stats Perform reviews the action with the best Opta data.

Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic: Schick shocks Scots from record-breaking range

Patrik Schick’s brilliant brace at Hampden Park gave the Czech Republic their first win over Scotland since October 2010.

The Bayer Leverkusen striker’s double was the first from a Czech player at a major tournament since Tomas Rosicky against the United States at the 2006 World Cup, while Milan Baros managed it at Euro 2004 versus Denmark.

Schick’s second was particularly special, lobbing 36-year-old David Marshall – Scotland’s second-oldest player at a major tournament – from 49.7 yards, the longest distance for a goal at the Euros since records began in 1980. It surpassed Torsten Frings’ 38.6-yard effort for Germany against the Netherlands in 2004.

That strike took Schick to eight goals (and two assists) in his past nine international starts, but the headed opener alone might have been enough.

Scotland have now failed to score in five of their seven Euros matches and five of their past six opening matches at major tournaments. They have lost five of those six, too.

Poland 1-2 Slovakia: Same Lewy woes but new pain for Szczesny

Poland’s big names endured frustrating outings in a 2-1 defeat to Slovakia that means they have now won just one of their past 10 opening matches at major tournaments.

Milan Skriniar’s third goal in four appearances for Slovakia settled the Group E fixture, but Poland had been on the back foot since Wojciech Szczesny’s 18th-minute own goal.

He became the first goalkeeper to put through his own net at a European Championship, while Grzegorz Krychowiak’s subsequent red card made this one of only two examples of a team at the Euros scoring an own goal and having a player sent off in the same game (also Czechoslovakia versus the Netherlands in 1976).

Szczesny had been the most recent Poland player dismissed at a major tournament back in 2012.

Karol Linetty did equalise for Poland 32 seconds into the second half – the second-fastest goal after half-time, behind Marcel Coras for Romania against Germany in 1984 (21 seconds) – but another off day for Robert Lewandowski harmed their hopes of victory before Skriniar’s strike.

Lewandowski has scored with just two of his 35 shots for Poland at major tournaments, failing to register a goal with any of his 17 attempts since netting against Portugal at Euro 2016.

Spain 0-0 Sweden: Luis Enrique’s side luckless in Seville

Spain will wonder how they did not earn all three points against Sweden in the tournament’s first goalless draw.

La Roja dominated 85 per cent of the possession, attempted 917 passes and completed 830 of them. All three figures are records since 1980.

Luis Enrique’s side were frustratingly profligate and Spain have now won just one of their past six opening matches at major tournaments.

The only positive was an 11th Spanish clean sheet in their past 14 games at the Euros, with this remarkably the first time Sweden – who showed little attacking ambition – have drawn a blank in a Euros opener.

They have now failed to score in three consecutive games in the competition, though, and failed to show how they might end that run against Slovakia on Friday.

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