Monday, July 15, 2024

Euro 2024 data dive: Kante and Costa unbeatable as Ronaldo´s blushes spared

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Jul 2024

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Day three of the knockout stages at Euro 2024 certainly did not disappoint.

France edged out Belgium in perhaps the most eagerly anticipated tie of the last 16 on Monday, but most of the drama came later on as Portugal took on Slovenia.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his Selecao team-mates survived an almighty scare to progress on penalties, with the likes of Diogo Costa and Pepe making history.

Here, we run through all the best Opta facts and stats from a thrilling day of action in Germany.

France 1-0 Belgium: Kante makes history as Bleus get lucky again

The first game of the day saw France edge out neighbours Belgium in a heavyweight clash, though Didier Deschamps’ Bleus were far from their best once again.

Only a Jan Vertonghen own goal five minutes from time – forced by Randal Kolo Muani’s wayward shot – secured their place in the quarter-finals, as their wait for an open-play goal at Euro 2024 went on.

Alongside Kylian Mbappe’s penalty against Poland on matchday three, France have benefitted from two own goals – the other coming via Austria’s Max Wober in a 1-0 win in their opening match.

There have now been five instances of a team winning 1-0 via an own goal at the Euros, with France accounting for three of them (versus Germany in 2020, and Austria and Belgium in 2024).

Aged 37 years and 68 days, former Tottenham centre-back Vertonghen became the oldest ever player to score an own goal at the European Championships.

Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku went close at the other end, but in truth, Belgium did not carve out many clear-cut chances.

They have now failed to score in five of their last six games at major international tournaments (European Championship and World Cup), despite having a combined 59 attempts on goal worth 6.85 expected goals (xG) across those matches.

France have now won all five of their major tournament meetings with Belgium (European Championship and World Cup), the joint-best 100% win rate any European nation has against another across those two competitions combined (also Italy versus Austria).

N’Golo Kante’s recall to their midfield has been a major talking point at this tournament, and he won both of his tackles and created two chances in a typically tireless performance.

He has now played the most outright matches in European Championship history without ever losing (90 minutes only), winning seven and drawing five of his 12 games.

Portugal 0-0 Slovenia (aet, 3-0 pens): History for Costa and Pepe as Ronaldo’s blushes spared

France will face Portugal for a semi-final place after the Selecao survived a monumental scare in their last-16 tie, beating Slovenia on penalties after a goalless draw in Frankfurt.

Much of the tie came down to a battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Jan Oblak, former rivals in LaLiga with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Ronaldo had seven shots worth 1.33 expected goals (xG) in the 120 minutes but simply could not find a way through, breaking down in tears when he had an extra-time penalty repelled by Oblak, who made six saves.

Ronaldo has now taken nine penalties in major international tournament matches, failing to score on three occasions.

He has had 20 shots worth 2.7 xG overall at Euro 2024, the most attempts at the tournament and the fifth-most without netting at any edition of the competition, after Deco in 2004 (24), Fernando Hierro in 1996 (23), Kevin De Bruyne in 2016 and Dani Olmo at Euro 2020 (both 21).

However, he atoned in the shoot-out with an accurate first Portugal kick, then it was down to Diogo Costa to save all three of Slovenia’s penalties and send his team through.

He made more saves in the shoot-out (three) than in the 120 minutes preceding it, though Portugal were also indebted to him for making a huge one-on-one stop from Benjamin Sesko in the second half of extra time.

He is the first goalkeeper to ever save three kicks in a European Championship shoot-out, and the first to not concede a single kick.

There was also a piece of history for Pepe, who became the oldest player to feature in a knockout-stage match at a World Cup or European Championship, doing so at the age of 41 years and 126 days to overtake England’s Peter Shilton (40 years, 292 days at the 1990 World Cup).

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