With the first of the Euro 2012 quarter-finals to kick-off later tonight we thought we'd take the opportunity, having named our team of the group stages yesterday, to share a stats pack of player leaderboards over the first three matches.
We start with shots at goal, where a certain Cristiano Ronaldo unsurprisingly leads the way, just as he did over the course of last season in Europe's top 5 leagues. It's fair to say that the Portugal captain was out of sorts in the first two matches, despite offering a significant goal threat, but having come to life in the final group game with the Netherlands, he helped his nation progress with a brace having mustered 22 shots thus far.
In second place, Karim Benzema holds the unwanted accolade of having had the most shots without scoring, and another man who many would have tipped to top this chart, in Robin van Persie, follows him. While the Arsenal forward found himself in positions on numerous occasions in the tournament, attempting 15 shots, his finishing was off, scoring just once. Russia's Alexander Kerzhakov had an even more torrid time in front of goal, failing to test the keeper with as many as 14 efforts. With the Ukraine's Konoplyanka and Spain's Iniesta both registering 13 attempts, just 2 of the top 7 players for total shots in the group stages managed to find the net.
Sticking with the attacking side of the game, we move on to the best creators thus far, with Holland's Wesley Sneijder amassing a hefty 19 key passes over just 3 games. Wayward finishing from the aforementioned van Persie and co. saw his efforts all but go to waste though, as van Marwijk's side were subjected to a shock early exit. Spain's professor of the pass Xavi ranks second here, with 16, but has failed to register a single assist up to now.
Russia's captain Andrey Arshavin also ranks highly, with 15 key passes prior to another surprise departure helping him share the lead for assists with David Silva, with 3. The Czech Republic's Jaroslav Plasil is joined by Poland's Ludovic Obraniak and France's Samir Nasri on 13, with the host nation's playmaker another of those who won't be able to add to an impressive figure having been eliminated at the group stages.
Perhaps as unsurprising as seeing Ronaldo lead the shots category, France's Franck Ribery tops the charts for successful dribbles thus far. A tally of 14 is ahead by some margin, though the Bayern winger's tendency to take on his opponent sees him fail a lot of the time, with a 47% success rate in the group stages. In comparison, second placed Arshavin, with 10 successful dribbles, has beaten his man with 62.5% of his attempts.
Better still; the technical masters that are Andres Iniesta and Luka Modric, who have both registered 9 dribbles apiece, have completed 69% of their attempts. Tied for fifth, Portugal left-back Fabio Coentrao has completed 8 of 12 dribble attempts (67%), while Greece's Samaras has beaten his man with 8 out of 15 attempts in comparison (53%).
In another category in which you may expect wingers to dominate, middle-man Jaroslav Plasil leads the way for accurate crosses, with 11. The experienced Czech midfielder's cross accuracy of 61% is exceptional and proves he is a real asset to the side through his set-pieces. The Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder again emerges here, with free-kick and corner duties helping him amass 10 accurate crosses. His 33% accuracy is not at all bad but goes to prove the excellence of Plasil's deliveries thus far.
Xavi and Ireland's Damien Duff are tied for third, with the Fulham winger the first wide man here and able to equal Xavi's impressive accuracy of 39%. If you can match the Barca playmaker in any department you can go home, as Duff is, a slightly happier man. England skipper Steven Gerrard is another player whose crossing has really been on point thus far, finding his target with 8 crosses out of just 17 attempts (47%), and while Obraniak has equalled his tally, the Pole's accuracy is down at 27% in comparison.
Surely the least shocking chart topper of them all, Spain's Xavi leads the way for total passes at the championships, with 348. His 91.1% pass accuracy is the sort of figure we have come to expect of a man who, at 32, remains the first name on the teamsheet for the world's best footballing nation. Russia's Igor Densiov's appearance in second is perhaps more impressive, with the Zenit midfielder the only non-Spaniard in the top 5 here, and with a Xavi-topping 91.7% accuracy it should be said.
Xavi's midfield teammates Alonso (269) and Busquets (251) rank third and fourth respectively, with the latter's remarkable average accuracy of 92.8% indicative of his safety first approach. Finally, Andres Iniesta completes the five from an attacking position on the left, with his total of 231 passes coupled with an outstanding 90% accuracy given his more creative and advanced role in the side.
The top tacklers in the tournament so far have all tended to play a similar role for their nations, with co-host Poland's combative defensive midfielder Eugen Polanski completing the most in the group stages, with 16. The Mainz-man has, however, been dribble past 6 times, giving him a challenge success rate of 73%. In comparison, second placed Alou Diarra here has made 15 tackles and been dribbled just twice, with a superior 88% success rate.
Ukraine captain Anatoliy Tymoshchuk ranks third here, with 14, but like Polanski was dribbled past 6 times, leaving him with a success rate of 70%, while Gerrard again pops up on a leaderboard having set an example to make 13 tackles. The England midfielder has been beaten just twice, leaving him with an excellent 87% success rate. Completing our top 5, and tied with Gerrard on 13 tackles is the third captain in this chart, as Croatia's Darijo Srna is the only defender to make the leaderboard. He has been dribbled past twice as often as Gerrard though, giving him a challenge success rate of 76%.
One man stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to interceptions, with Denmark and Liverpool centre-back Daniel Agger showing an exceptional reading of the game to cut in and intercept 21 times in 3 matches. A key player for the Danes as they impressively fought to progress from the group of death, many rated Agger as one of the best centre-backs from the group stages.
He is followed by two more to have impressed in his position, with England's John Terry and Germany's Mats Hummels back on 13. The latter is our top-rated defender from the opening three matches and his all-round defensive game has been superb. Giorgio Chiellini and Agger's teammate William Kvist complete the leaderboard, with 12 apiece, and the Italian's will certainly miss their centre-half against England after he picked up an injury against Ireland. The Stuttgart man is the only midfielder in the top 5 here and was one of those rightly tipped to be crucial if Olsen's side were to have any success.