Euro 2020: The biggest football tournament of Europe is about to begin on June 11th. The European Championship will be played across 11 major cities across Europe.
The tournament, over the years have witnessed some historic performances and record breaking display of football. In this article, we take a look at 5 such records which has stood the test of time and is unlikely to be broken in Euro 2020.
#1 Most Minutes Played in the Final Tournament Overall – Edwin Van der Sar
Only Frenchman Lilian Thuram has played as many matches in the tournament as the Dutchman (16), but his minutes total still falls short.
To put the feat into perspective, if an individual player were to see their team lift the trophy, having played every minute of the group phase (nearly 300 minutes), as well as having seen each knockout round go to extra time, playing all the way through (840 minutes), that would still fall just under six hours short of Van der Sar’s total.
#2 Most Goals Scored in the Final Tournament – Michel Platini – 9
Modern-day stars Robert Lewandowski, Oliver Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and Thomas Müller would all be quick to toss their name into the ring as the apprentice that could dethrone Platini from holding this record, but it’d be a short-sighted challenge.
The first hurdle that arises to break the record is actually getting adequate game time to convert so many goals. Next, teams are more cautious and take far fewer risks at the back. Platini was a revolutionary of his time, spearheading the French midfield to inconceivable honours and it takes a player of this character to come anywhere close to matching 9 goals.
#3 Fewest total number of goals in a tournament (since 1980) – 27
So this magical number refers to the lowest number of goals scored in an entire tournament by every team combined – pretty pathetic right? The superb statisticians among you would be quick to point out that this number was in fact lower in the 1968 Euros, when only 7 goals were recorded as a whole, but back then the tournament was only in its third edition and was taken part in by only four sides, so it’s not really surprising.
What would be astonishing though is if we ever saw so few goals scored in a tournament ever again, especially with the expansion of teams and inclusion of more rounds this time around. Games are less likely to fizzle out into stalemates with the new format meaning teams will go for points, knowing a win could pave a path to the last sixteen while the abolition of goalkeepers being able to pick up pass-backs long ago has assured us that playing it around the back is a thing of the past.
The highest number of goals in a tournament for those interested actually came in the UEFA Euro 2000, when Belgium and the Netherlands shared hosting duties, when the net bulged on 80 occasions. That record is far from making this list though; I’d go as far as saying it’ll be beaten in France this summer. Scoring as few as 27 though? You can back that to be surpassed in the group stage, then again there were only eight sides competing in 1980.
#4 Most goals per match in a tournament – 1976 – 4.75
The championship in Yugoslavia opened with the semi-finals, where the host nation lost 4-2 to West Germany after extra time and Czechoslovakia navigated their way into the final with a 3-1 defeat of the Netherlands.
There’s ten goals already. Czechoslovakia eventually won on penalties in the final after a 2-2 draw with the West Germans, while the Netherlands won the third-place play-off 3-2, leaving the hosts to finish last place and a goals per match average superior to anything we’ve ever seen before or most likely will ever see again.
#1 Fewest Number of Goals Conceded in a Single Finals Tournament – Spain – 1
In 2012, the most recent edition of the prestigious European Championships, the Spaniards cemented their place in the history books, becoming the first nation to win the Euros back-to-back, following victory in 2008. Iniesta, Casillas and co. were fresh from bulldozing a myriad of sides at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when they rolled into Ukraine and Poland to defend their European crown two years later.
While the nation’s clockwork midfield and free-flowing attacks captured the imagination of football fans, it was their defence that played the most crucial role. They conceded just 1 goal in the 2012 European Championships, the smallest tally of goals conceded by a team in a final Euro tournament and one which is incredibly unlikely to ever be broken, given the developing emphasis teams are placing on attacking football in the modern era.