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Euro 2024 data dive: Holders make early exit, hosts keep charging forward

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Jun 2024

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The knockout rounds of Euro 2024 got underway on Saturday, with the first two teams booking their places in the quarter-finals.

Switzerland stunned the defending champions, sending Italy home after a 2-0 victory in Berlin.

Later, Germany also prevailed by the same scoreline to take a step closer to potential success on home soil, beating Denmark.

Here, we round up the best Opta statistics from the first set of Euro 2024 round-of-16 ties.

Switzerland 2-0 Italy: Vargas ends Azzurri defence

The teams on Switzerland’s side of the draw will be looking over their shoulders after they dumped Italy out, largely thanks to Ruben Vargas’ standout performance.

He set up Remo Freuler’s opener before curling in a stunning effort himself, becoming the first Swiss player to score and assist in a knockout match of a major tournament on record (since 1966 – World Cup and Euros).

The winger’s strike came just 27 seconds after kick-off in the second period, the second-fastest goal in the second half of a Euros match after Marcel Coras netted against West Germany within 21 seconds in Euro 1984.

Switzerland will face either England or Slovakia in the quarter-finals, reaching the last eight in consecutive editions after failing to make it out of their group in three of their previous four participations in the competition (reached the last 16 in 2016).

Despite being reigning champions, Italy were not touted as one of the favourites going into the tournament, and they struggled to mount a real title defence.

Their early exit means the reigning champions have been eliminated in the round of 16 at each of the last three European Championships, with Portugal losing to Belgium at Euro 2020 and Spain going out to Italy at Euro 2016.

In fact, Italy conceded more goals at Euro 2024 (five) than they did in seven matches at the last edition of the tournament, when they conceded just four goals on their way to lifting the trophy.

The Azzurri have ended a run of six games without defeat in the knockout stages (90 minutes only, three wins, three draws), with their last such defeat coming in the 2012 final against Spain, by a 4-0 scoreline.

This is also the first time they have lost more than one match at a single edition of the Euros.

Germany 2-0 Denmark: Musiala draws level in scoring charts

With plenty of VAR drama, and a break midway through the first half due to adverse weather, it was certainly an entertaining tie in Dortmund.

Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala were the heroes for the hosts with their second-half goals, with the latter netting for the third time in the tournament to put him level with Georges Mikautadze in the Golden Boot race.

In fact, only Wayne Rooney (four) has scored more goals aged 21 or younger at the Euros than Musiala (three), while the midfielder has also scored more goals in four games at this tournament than he managed in his first 29 appearances for the national side (two).

Germany are into their first quarter-final at a major tournament since Euro 2016 – reaching the semi-finals on that occasion – and their four-game unbeaten run at Euro 2024 is their longest streak in such matches since then.

Manuel Neuer continues to break appearance records every time he steps on the pitch – he now has the most caps at the European Championships for Die Nationalelf (19, overtaking Bastian Schweinsteiger), while it was his 39th appearance at major tournaments overall, levelling the midfielder’s tally.

After another toothless performance in front of goal, Denmark will not be able to recreate their run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020. Indeed, they have failed to win any of their last eight games at major tournaments (four draws, four defeats).

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