Here are a few conclusions before Euro 2012 Semi-Finals.
- England have made more tackles (86) and blocked more opposition shots (29) than any other team at Euro 2012 .
Tackles and blocks might show “spirit” but they can also show a bad sense of positioning and a lack of understanding of tactics. Positional fuckup could be followed by a spectacular ditch tackle but it is still a positional fuckup. Besides, quality of defending cannot be judged by tackles. Paolo Maldini, for example, almost didn’t tackle – but he was still the best the defender in the world.
- England might have been lucky defensively but this team must find its feet in attack. Against Italy Joe Hart to Andy Carroll was the number passing combination for England – classic route 1 stuff. England have the lowest throw-in success rate at Euro 2012 and had only 15 passes in 15 minutes in the second period of extra-time. I’m not saying England must play Tiki-Taka, oh no, but I am saying that this team must learn how to construct an attack and Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker can’t do that. Neither James Milner or Ashley Young.
- Netherlands are the only team at Euro 2012 not to score any goals from shots inside the penalty area. What does it mean? It means that Holland did not play as a team. They did not combine enough to get to clear cut chances inside the box and their leading attacking players showed poor off the ball movement. Then again, playing with Arjen Robben tends to frustrate intelligent players like Robin Van Persie.
This is just beautiful
- Franck Ribéry has been tackled in possession at least 19 times more than any other player at Euro 2012. This might explain why Karim Benzema didn’t score in Euro 2012. Ribéry was hogging the ball so many times and did not pass to Karim, who is used to Mesut Özil’s wonder passes. It also explains why Gaël Clichy wasn’t involved in France’s attacks. Ribéry did not do enough to involve his teammates in attacks. It might work against lesser oppositions but it can’t work against the best teams in the world.
- There have now been 20 headed goals at Euro 2012, three more than any other edition of the tournament (17 in 2004). This show us heading is a powerful tool and that’s why players like Andy Carroll or Olivier Giroud are still relevant in an attacking world dominated by small playmakers.
- Can Germany beat Spain? Germany, which have 15 straight wins, have only kept four clean sheets in their last 19 matches at European Championship finals. Spain, on the other hand, have now kept eight successive clean sheets in major tournament knockout games (Euro finals and World Cups). However, before we reach the much awaited Germany – Spain final let’s remember that Germany have never beaten Italy in a World Cup or a Euro game and Portugal beat Spain 4-0 in a friendly match in November, 2010 – Spain’s heaviest defeat since winning the World Cup.
Stats are from @OptaJoe.
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