Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Euro 2024 data dive: England keep it clean, Eriksen creates and Weghorst makes his point

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Jun 2024

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England had to hold out against Serbia, with Jude Bellingham’s early goal proving enough for the Three Lions to claim a 1-0 win on Sunday.

That kick-started their Group C campaign, and a win over Denmark, who drew 1-1 with Slovenia earlier in the day, will see England progress to the last 16.

Elsewhere, the Netherlands overcame Poland 2-1 thanks to Wout Weghorst’s late strike.

Using Opta data, we provide a run-down of the best statistics from day three of Euro 2024.

Serbia 0-1 England: Bellingham the main man for clean sheet kings

England were not exactly free-flowing for much of their clash with Serbia, but Gareth Southgate’s team got the job done.

Bellingham was his hero, as he became just the second player ever to score at both the World Cup and Euros before turning 21, after compatriot Michael Owen.

Indeed, Bellingham is the first player to score for the Three Lions at both the World Cup and European Championships while playing his club football outside of England.

Finally, he became the first player to score for England at both the World Cup and Euros while playing his club football outside of England.

Yet it was at the other end that England had to hold their nerve.

Their defence has been questioned ahead of Euro 2024, but England have now kept a clean sheet in each of their last five group stage matches at the European Championships, the longest such run in the competition’s history.

Indeed, England have won their opening game in all four of their major tournaments played under Southgate (Euro 2020 and 2024, World Cup 2018 and 2022), just one fewer such victory than across their other 23 major tournament appearances (W5 D11 L7).

Jordan Pickford pulled off a fine save late on to deny Dusan Vlahovic. The Everton star was making his 20th appearance for his country at a major tournament, a joint record for a Three Lions goalkeeper, matching Peter Shilton.

England would have been home and hosed if Harry Kane had not seen a header tipped onto the crossbar. The Bayern Munich star was making his 23rd appearance at a major tournament, seeing him become the outright leader in that regard for the Three Lions.

It was by no mean’s a classic. In fact, this game featured just 11 shots, which is the lowest on record in a Euros game.

Slovenia 1-1 Denmark: Eriksen runs the show but Janza haunts the Danes

Christian Eriksen put the traumatic events of Euro 2020 firmly behind him as he scored in Denmark’s opening match against Slovenia.

That was the 32-year-old’s first goal at the Euros, as he became the oldest Dane to score for the nation at the tournament.

Eriksen created seven chances from set plays versus Slovenia, the most by a player in a game at the Euros since Scotland’s Gary McAllister in 1992 v Germany (eight).#

Ultimately, though, Denmark could not get over the line, with Erik Janza rifling in a 77th-minute equaliser.

Janza has now scored three goals for Slovenia (11 appearances) with all three of his goals coming in competitive fixtures and with two of his three goals coming against Denmark.

Kasper Schmeichel may well have saved Janza’s shot if it had not had taken a deflection on its way through.

Schmeichel, at the age of 37 yers and 224 days, became the second oldest player to play for Denmark at the European Championship finals (behind Morten Olsen – 38y 308d) and the oldest goalkeeper, overtaking his father Peter (36y 216d).

Slovenia are yet to win a match at the Euros (D3 L1), with their four fixtures the most any nation has played in the competition without recording a single victory, but this result keeps their hopes firmly alive.

Remarkably, all 10 of Denmark’s starting outfielders recorded a shot in this match, only the third time a team has seen each of their outfield starters do so on record at the Euros (since 1980) after England v Spain in 1996 and the Netherlands v Italy in 2000.

Defender Andreas Christensen completed all of his 89 passes, meanwhile. It is the most passes any player has made while maintaining a 100 per cent accuracy in a match on record at the Euros.

Poland 1-2 Netherlands: Weghorst makes his point

Former Manchester United attacker Weghorst was not happy to be left out of Ronald Koeman’s line-up, but he made sure to make his mark when he came on against Poland.

Weghorst scored the fastest goal by a Netherlands substitute at the European Championships, netting the winning goal of the game just two minutes and 18 seconds after coming off the bench.

His winner came after Cody Gakpo had restored parity in Hamburg. The Liverpool forward has scored in all four of his group stage starts for the Netherlands at major tournaments, and has now found the net in his first start at both the World Cup and European Championships.

Adam Buska put Poland ahead in the 16th minute, becoming just the fourth player for the country to score on his debut at the European Championships, after Robert Lewandowski (2012), Arkadiusz Milik (2016) and Karol Linetty (2021).

The Netherlands were ultimately decent value for their win, having had 21 shots – their most in a game at a major tournament (World Cup/EUROs) since 2012 against Denmark (32), although they did only accumulate 1.47 expected goals.

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