Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Euro 2024 Data Dive: Merino´s late, late show downs Germany and France reach another semi-final

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Jul 2024

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Two nations are now just 90 minutes away from securing a place in the Euro 2024 final following Friday’s action.

Spain were the first to secure their place in the last four of the tournament, as Germany became the first hosts of a European Championship to be eliminated at the quarter-final stage.

Later on, France needed penalties to edge past Portugal, and they will meet Luis de la Fuente’s side in Munich.

After another enthralling day of knockout football, we take a deep dive into the best statistics from the day.

Spain 2-1 Germany (AET): Merino’s late, late show keeps Spain perfect

Mikel Merino proved to be the hero for Spain as his first international goal got them over the line.

The Real Sociedad midfielder broke German hearts, netting the third-latest winning goal in a European Championship match (118:52), after Michel Platini for France v Portugal at Euro 1984 (118:53) and Artem Dovbyk for Ukraine v Sweden at Euro 2020 (120:36).

While Merino grabbed the headlines, the influential performance of Dani Olmo should not be overlooked.

Olmo replaced Pedri early on in Stuttgart, making his mark in the 51st minute as he steered the ball home after being set up by Lamine Yamal, who became the first teenager to record three assists at a single edition of the Euros (all-time) or World Cup (on record, since 1966).

La Roja’s number 10 has made an impact from the bench and is the first Spaniard to score two goals as a substitute at a single edition of the Euros, and the third at any major tournament after Fernando Morientes at the 2002 World Cup and Alvaro Morata at the 2022 World Cup.

Olmo also registered the joint-most shots (three) alongside fellow substitute Mikel Oyarzabal, and only second behind Fabian Ruiz (24) for passes in the final third with 23.

De la Fuente’s side roll on to their semi-final clash with France yet to lose at the tournament so far; they are only the third nation to win five in a row during a single edition of the finals (excluding shootouts), after Les Bleus at Euro 1984 and Italy at Euro 2020, both of whom won those respective tournaments.

For Germany, however, their woes in the latter stages of the European Championships continued.

Germany have now lost three of their last four knockout stage games at the Euros (W1), as many as in their previous 12 at the finals beforehand.

Portugal 0-0 France (AET, 3-5 pens): Joao Felix flounders, Ronaldo crashes out

Joao Felix was the unlucky man to fall victim to the lottery of a penalty shootout, with his missed spot-kick allowing Theo Hernandez to set up a meeting with Spain in the semi-finals of Euro 2024.

It will be France’s sixth appearance at this stage of the competition, with Didier Deschamps’ serial winners only bettered by Germany (eight) for semi-final appearances at the European Championships.

Four of the five European Championship meetings between France and Portugal have now gone beyond the 90 minutes – the only fixture in the tournament’s history to go the distance more than twice.

Despite the plethora of goal-scoring talents both nations have possessed over the years, the encounter in Hamburg was the second Euros game on record (from 1980) not to see a single shot from inside either box in the first half – the other was also France v Portugal in the 1984 semi-final.

Portugal have now gone three games without scoring a goal for the first time since a run of four from December 1996 to March 1997.

Excluding penalties and own goals, France are yet to score in their five games at Euro 2024. No side has ever gone longer without such a goal in the tournament’s history, with Les Bleus attempting 86 non-penalty shots (7.25 non-pen xG) without scoring from one at this year’s finals.

Deschamps now has four days to rectify his misfiring strike force, and was given food for thought with the introduction of Ousmane Dembele with 20 minutes to go.

Dembele created more chances (six) than any other player in this match. The only other player to create as many after coming on from the bench in a Euros game on record (since 1980) was Cesc Fabregas for Spain v Russia in 2008 (also six).

For Cristiano Ronaldo, his dreams of closing the curtain on a phenomenal international career with a second honour for his country were shattered in the most gut-wrenching circumstances.

He had 23 shots across the tournament, but failed to score with any of them.

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