Thursday, July 25, 2024

Euro 2024 data dive: Griezmann matches Thuram but goals finally dry up

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Jun 2024

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Friday’s action at Euro 2024 was headlined by a heavyweight Group D clash which did not quite live up to its billing, as France and the Netherlands played out a goalless draw.

While France misfired in the absence of Kylian Mbappe, who was an unused substitute after breaking his nose in Les Bleus’ opener, it was VAR that frustrated the Dutch as Xavi Simons saw a potential winner chalked off for an offside call against Denzel Dumfries.

Fortunately, there was plenty of entertainment to be had in the day’s early games, as Ukraine fought back to beat Slovakia 2-1 and Austria dumped Poland out of the tournament with a 3-1 success in Berlin.

Here, we run through all the best Opta stats to emerge from the day’s matches.

Slovakia 1-2 Ukraine: Shaparenko follows in Shevchenko’s footsteps

The first game of the day was an emotional one for Ukraine, as they fought back from 1-0 down to clinch a 2-1 victory over Slovakia and blow Group E wide open.

Ivan Schranz’s goal had put Slovakia on course for a second win in two games, as he became just the second player to net multiple goals at Euro 2024 after Germany’s Jamal Musiala.

He is also just the second Slovakian player to score more than one goal at a major tournament, after Robert Vittek struck four times at the 2010 World Cup.

It was, in many ways, a case of experience versus youth in this match, as 37-year-olds Peter Pekarík and Juraj Kucka both made their 12th major tournament appearances for Slovakia (World Cup/Euros), overtaking Marek Hamsik (11) for the most in the nation’s history.

Ukraine, meanwhile, named a starting lineup with an average age of just 25 years and 259 days – the youngest at this year’s tournament so far and the first to come in under the 26 mark.

Youthful exuberance won the day as Ukraine came on strong in the second half, Mykola Shaparenko levelling after 54 minutes.

He became the first Dynamo Kyiv player to score at the Euros since the legendary Andriy Shevchenko did so on home soil at the 2012 tournament.

Roman Yaremchuk then came off the bench to decide the contest with a composed touch and finish in the 80th minute, becoming just the second Ukrainian substitute to net at a major tournament, after Artem Dovbyk did so against Sweden at Euro 2020.

It was also Yaremchuk’s third major tournament goal, with only Shevchenko (four) boasting more for Ukraine.

Poland 1-3 Austria: Veteran Arnautovic on the spot

Austria won plenty of plaudits for their display against France on matchday one, but it did not translate into points.

That was not the case on Friday, though, as second-half goals from Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic downed Poland, who had seen Krzysztof Piatek cancel out Gernot Trauner’s early opener.

Trauner’s ninth-minute header, his first competitive goal for Austria, made him just the second player to score on his first Euros start for the country, after Stefan Lainer versus North Macedonia three years ago.

It was also the fastest goal Austria have scored at the Euros, and their earliest in any tournament match since they netted twice in the first four minutes versus Czechoslovakia at the 1954 World Cup.

Ralf Rangnick’s high-pressing side could not hold their lead until the interval, though, as Piatek levelled, becoming the seventh Poland player to net at the Euros and the fifth to do so on his competition debut, after Robert Lewandowski (2012), Arkadiusz Milik (2016), Karol Linetty (2020) and Adam Buksa (2024).

Lewandowski was later introduced from the bench after missing Poland’s opener due to injury, as the striker (35 years, 305 days) became his nation’s oldest player to feature at the Euros. That record lasted all of 15 minutes, with fellow substitute Kamil Grosicki coming on at the age of 36 years and 13 days.

A double salvo from Austria would later hand them a deserved victory, with Baumgartner and Arnautovic becoming the first players to net more than once for them at the Euros, having both scored at the 2020 edition.

Arnautovic’s goal, a composed finish from the penalty spot after Marcel Sabitzer was fouled by Wojciech Szczesny, made him Austria’s second-oldest goalscorer at a major tournament after Ivica Vastic (38 years, 257 days), who also netted a penalty against Poland in 2008.

Netherlands 0-0 France: Long wait for goalless draw over

Poland later became the first team to be officially eliminated from Euro 2024, courtesy of a goalless draw between the Netherlands and France in Leipzig.

Much of the pre-match talk centred on whether Mbappe would play after suffering a broken nose in Les Blues’ 1-0 win over Austria on Monday. He had been fitted with a protective mask ahead of kick-off, yet was relegated to the bench, where he stayed throughout.

France struggled in attack without their talisman, with Antoine Griezmann guilty of spurning several good chances.

Griezmann did gain a slice of history, though, as his 32nd major tournament appearance equalled Lilian Thuram’s record for the most by any outfield France player.

The Atletico Madrid man has also started each of France’s last 11 games at the Euros, with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (18) and Germany’s Toni Kroos (13) the only outfielders currently on longer such streaks for their nation.

France’s failure to find the breakthrough means they have failed to win any of their last seven games when Mbappe has not been in their starting lineup, drawing five and losing two such matches since the start of June 2022.

In fact, it was the Netherlands who went closest to victory as Simons saw a potential winner controversially chalked off in the second half, ensuring we got the first goalless draw of this year’s tournament.

In fact, the result ended a run of 50 European Championship games without a 0-0 draw dating back to the group stages at the delayed 2020 tournament, when there was nothing to separate England and Scotland.

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