Euro 2024 - The First Round in Figures


Euro 2024 - The First Round in Figures.

Twenty years ago I sat in the press box at White Hart Lane beside Tottenham Hotspur's match analyst who tapped furiously at his keyboard to add notes to intricate diagrams of what was happening on-field, explaining to me the new world of football data. 

It was all Greek to me, but I soon learned how American software designed for the MLB, NBA and NFL and Michael Lewis' influential book Moneyball were making waves in translation to European soccer.

I am still not a big fan of statistics in football because they omit the emotion and the magic of being a fan and they in a sense useless if your team does not score as many goals as the other one, but they have usage in planning, are interesting anyway and certainly here to stay.

If you want to learn more, there are some great books on the data revolution in football - Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, The Numbers Game by Chris Anderson and David Sally and Expected Goals by Rory Smith spring to mind.

And so to the first round of Euro 2024 as seen by the cameras and computers.

Georges from Georgia is the Euros' Top Gun.
Georges from Georgia is the Euros' Top Gun

It has been a tournament of matches you didn't want to arrive late to; from Albania's Nedim Bajrani's fastest-ever goal at a Euros - 23 seconds against Italy, the best time for the ball hitting the onion bag was the second quarter of an hour - 17 were scored in that spell, followed by 13 in the first 15 minutes.

This goal rush in the first third of the match suggests an open and positive as opposed to cagey and defensive approach across the board, which is pleasing.

There have been 81 goals in total, averaging 2.25 per match, which sounds pretty healthy.

The top scorer has been the unlikely figure of Georges Mikautadze of Georgia with three goals, but spare a thought for Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, who has drawn a blank but had more shots on target than anyone else with seven, yet has also had three goals disallowed by VAR.

Germany made the most attempts on goal (57) and scored the most goals (8), which makes for a good  host nation. The lowest scorers were Serbia with one, but at least all the 24 participants had something to celebrate.

The host nation also enjoyed the most possession along with Portugal at an average 64%. Slovenia kept the ball least with 37% possession but their striker Benjamin Sesko registered the fastest running speed at 35.9Kmh.

Slovenia's Sesko won the Euro sprint race.
Slovenia's Sesko won the Euro sprint race

When it came to long-distance athletes, Albania's Ylber Ramadani ran 37.5km, closely followed by Nicola Barella's (Italy) & Tomas Soucek's (Czechia) legs at 37km covered.

It was more good news for the hosts when it came to accurate passing. 93% of Germany's passes found their compatriots, the best ratio of the 24 competitors. Czechia were lowest with 76%.

Georgia, on their first Euros visit, have been a surprise qualifier for the knockout stages, but their stats reveal it their qualification was well deserved. They won possession more than any other team, 134 times in three matches, while their goalkeeper made the most saves (20).

Austria, the other surprise package, impressed from the get-go with a muscular and hard-working approach to tackle France. It is not surprising they committed more fouls than anyone else, with 49 infractions, followed by Croatia and Spain on 46.

France by contrast seem to be sticking to the beautiful game, making the fewest tackles (29) and being the most fouled against (43), closely followed by England and Italy on 41 and 40 respectively.

Scotland, despite conceding the most and making the fewest attempts to score (16), did win the most free kicks (53).

Hungary and Switzerland were the sides caught most offside, nine times each, although the Swiss did win the most corners (16). Croatia were never caught offside.

Portugal, many people's favourites to win, produced the most dribbles in the tournament (71), were joint-highest in possession with Germany and made the highest number of attacks (213). That sounds ominous.

Turkey's angry encounter with Czechia which ended in a card-fest including four unused substitutes seeing yellow skewed the disciplinary stats somewhat. The Turks ended up with 16 yellows, the Czechs with two reds, setting a new record.

On to the knockout stages.

Euro 2024

Hotels in Germany

Euro 2024 Group A

Euro 2024 Group B

Euro 2024 Group C

Euro 2024 Group D

Euro 2024 Group E

Euro 2024 Group F

First Weekend

Outside The Trains Don't Run On Time

Romania 3 v Ukraine 0

Belgium 0 v Slovakia 1

Turkey 3 v Georgia 1

How To Lose a Win

Six of the Best at Euro 2024

To Hell With Poverty

Oranje Juiced by Watkins' Wizardry

The Wisdom of Hindsight

Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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