Euro 2020

England v Denmark: An unbreakable defence comes up against a relentless attack…
With the big game now only a few hours away, we take a look at what the data tells us about how England and Denmark have fared at Euro 2020…
England have seemed very controlled and precise in their performances so far in the tournament and the data certainly backs this up when considering the number of successful passes made and shots/goals conceded. Having not to have conceded a goal in the tournament, to date, England’s defence is by far their strongest asset and stands them in good stead for the semi-final. England have a record of 5 clean sheets from 5 group and knock out games compared with Denmark’s 1 from 5.Surprisingly, England’s attack is less prolific than was initially anticipated at the start of the tournament. In fact, the data analysed shows that England ranked as the 3rd lowest team, in terms of shots at goal, in the group stages, however the shots they did take tended to turn out to be a goal, therefore proving having a stubborn defence and clinical attack makes for a successful team.

In contrast, Denmark may have lost their opening two group games, but this has far from affected their confidence as the data shows they have created so many goal scoring opportunities and rank 2nd only to Italy in the group stages with 61 attempts at goal.Currently, the data shows Denmark as having 90 attempts at goal in the tournament so far compared with Englands 37. This attacking strategy has certainly paid dividends with Denmark scoring 5 goals in the group stages and following this up with another 4 goals against Wales in the last 16, hence why they are regarded as one of the best attacking teams in the tournament.

The data also suggests that, similar to England, Denmark have an average of 50% possession per game, compared with the likes of Spain who average out at 69% possession per game and tend to dominate, which shows that, whilst both teams are happy to concede possession, once in receipt of the ball the strategy changes, with England’s preference to soak up pressure and play on the counter attack markedly different to Denmark’s approach of high energy and pressing, which creates so many problems for teams both with and without the ball.Another interesting stat that supports the counter attack vs high pressing theory here is that England have been caught off-side a total 13 times in the tournament so far compared with Denmark’s 3,  which shows that England rely heavily on both long passes and pace to support their attacks, whereas Denmark deploy a relentless attacking method, as soon as they are in possession of the ball.

Whilst we aren’t rushing down to the bookies to place our bets based on data, it is interesting to see the success that both England and Denmark have had at the tournament to date based on the stats such as attack Vs defence and shows that even something as unpredictable as our beloved game has patterns in the data that can help us inform our future strategy.A word of warning though, a project is only as good as the data and those handling it!  In this case the volumes are low and the correlations aren’t massively strong even though they are there to be seen.  Ideally we’d have more information then we could deploy more rigour.  However that’s football for you and we did it for a bit of fun.  The data we have available in business is a lot more reliable, predictable and we have a lot more of it.  For that we are grateful.

If you want to know more about the sort of techniques we used in processing and analysing this data an how it could help you and your business then give us a shout.  We’re always happy to talk data… or data and football!
Authors: David Ryan and Craig Pickersgill

Analysts: Matthew Thornton and Greg Watts
Wednesday, July 7, 2021 In: Hot Topics, Newsletters Comments (None)

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