The quarter-finals kick-off tomorrow, with Czech Republic vs Portugal as we head towards the final on July 1st. But first, we will take a look at some of the themes from the group stage.
24 group stage games and no 0-0′s
60 goals in 24 games, means that Euro 2012 has averaged 2.5 goals per game. This has been far from a defensively solid tournament, with just ten clean sheets in those 24 games – six coming in the final eight games. Of the recent major tournaments, Euro 2012 has certainly delivered excitement and entertainment rather than turgid dead rubbers (some which we could see a lot of in 2016).
Common group-stage scorelines
Why change the format from 16 to 24 teams?
As has already been explored on this blog, in 2016 the European Championship will expand from 16 to 24 teams, meaning almost half of UEFA’s member nations (who voted for this change) will be taking part. The format for 2016 is still sketchy, but this summer’s tournament is a reminder as to why less (teams) is more and the quality on show has been great to watch.
Just four teams remain unbeaten going into the knock-out stages and only one (Germany) have a perfect record.
Germany – W3
Spain – W2 D1
England – W2 D1
Italy – W1 D2
Spain – highest scores (6), albeit four of those came against Ireland. Lowest goals conceded (1).
Group stages finish, largely, as expected.
Group B, Group C and Group D went almost according to plan with the favourites (with the exception of Holland) finishing first and second in their groups. Group A ended with an unpredictable, yet entertaining finale with Czech Republic topping the group and Greece finishing second, ahead of Russia and Poland.
No hosts/co-hosts in the knock-out stages
Poland and Ukraine, like their predecessors, Austria and Switzerland from 2008 failed to qualify for the quarter-finals. Neither were whipping boys in their groups, perhaps disappointingly, Poland failed to win a game (D2 L1) but gained more points than they did in 2008. The Ukrainian’s faired a little better with (W1 L2), accumulating three points. Only Poland had qualified for a European Championship previously (2008), while the 2006 World Cup was Ukraine’s first major tournament and this their first ever European Championship.