Euro 2012 saw 76 goals scored in the 31 games and six players share the mantle of top scorer, on a rather unimpressive tally of 3 goals. While Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Balotelli took much of the plaudits for their performances in front of goal, the sheer volume of shots they each had means the threat they offered was, statistically, far from the best on show. Fernando Torres’ performances for Chelsea this season were highly criticised for much of the campaign, but he has ended on a high with a third trophy and the golden boot at the Euros, with his minutes per goal rate the deciding factor in his triumph. But just how good were his, and the other Euro 2012 goalscorers’ shooting statistics.
Player of the tournament Andres Iniesta is usually a cool customer in front of goal, and featuring for Spain in an advanced midfield role many expected him to be up there with the top scorers. However, Iniesta leads the conversion rate charts for all the wrong reasons, having failed to find the net once despite attempting 20 shots on goal – more than any other player that did not score at the Euros.
When it comes to the goalscorers at Euro 2012, Antonio Cassano left a lot to be desired with his shooting, having scored just one goal from 16 shots, giving him a 6.25% conversion rate, which is only marginally behind the usually lethal Robin van Persie, who had a 6.7% conversion rate having taken 15 shots to score his solitary goal of the tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the six players at the top of the goalscorers list, but he took 37 shots to reach that tally, meaning he scored just 8.1% of the shots he attempted, and while he was a constant danger and worry for opposition defences, 10 of those shots came from direct free-kicks, and not one of those hit the target. It seems ridiculous to question the finishing of a player that scored 46 league goals this season for Real Madrid, but he had a conversion rate of over 17% in La Liga, and while he was always Portugal’s main threat in the competition, he was arguably not his usual self in this regard.
At the other end of the scale, Theo Walcott, Juan Mata and Lars Bender all scored with their only shot of the tournament, while Greece’s Dimitris Salpingidis scored with 2 of his three shots, which gives him an impressive strike rate of (67%). Joint top scorer Mario Mandzukic, meanwhile, took just 5 shots – 32 fewer than Ronaldo – to reach his tally of 3 goals at Euro 2012, at a conversion rate of 60%. Croatia were extremely close to progressing to the knockout stages, and Mandzukic may well have improved on his tally given the chance. The other top scorers fared less impressively, but still significantly better than Ronaldo or Balotelli (12%), with Gomez scoring 30% of his chances, and Dzagoev and Torres converting 27.3% of theirs.
What is yet more impressive about the latter trio is the fact that each scored their 3 tournament goals from just 4 shots on target, highlighting how lethal their finishing can be when they test the keeper.
No player that had more than 2 shots at Euro 2012 hit the target with all of their efforts, but when it comes to players to have more than 10 shots at the Euros, it is rather surprising to find that Manchester City’s David Silva had the best shot accuracy, hitting the target with 73%, resulting in two goals. Close behind follows Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who found the target 64% of the time and also scored 2 goals.
Andres Iniesta appears again here, having hit the target with an impressive 45% of his shots (9 out of 20), though, as previously stated, he failed to score a single goal, and actually failed to score with 6 shots on target from inside the box at the Euros, more than any other player at the tournament.
Alexander Kerzhakov had 14 shots at Euro 2012, but failed to hit the target with a single one, giving him arguably the worst shooting statistic from the competition as a whole. His wildly wayward shooting did not see him lose his place in the Russia side - when it probably should have – and contributed in no small part to his country making an early exit from the tournament.
Minutes per goal
With players that scored only one goal disregarded (including Juan Mata, who scored 1 goal in only 3 minutes on the pitch), top of the ratings for fewest minutes per goal is Fernando Torres, who scored his 3 goals in just 189 minutes of play and it was this that brought him the Golden Boot at Euro 2012. Although 2 of his goals came in a 4-0 win over Ireland, a rate of a goal every 63 minutes is very impressive – put into context, the best such rate in the Premier League last season was Dimitar Berbatov’s 73 minutes per goal, while Torres averaged 317 minutes between each strike in domestic competition. When put in the right team and given good service, there is no doubting Torres’ class.
Alan Dzagoev’s 84.7 and Mario Mandzukic’s 89.7 minutes per goal follow closely behind and further suggest that they may have added to their tallies if their sides had not exited the tournament at the group stage.
Touches per goal
Of players to score more than once, Fernando Torres again leads the way when it comes to touches per goal, averaging just over 27 touches for each goal he scored, while somewhat unsurprisingly, just behind him is Mario Gomez, who was only involved in play to touch the ball 99 times in 281 minutes on the pitch, averaging a goal every 33 touches. We all know from his goal-filled season at Bayern Munich that he is a striker who does not get involved in build up play very much, and plays a game very much focused on being a goal threat, and he continued that with his country at Euro 2012.
Cristiano Ronaldo is at the other end of the scale, having had most touches of the ball for each goal he scored of the 6 players to reach 3 goals, with 76.7 touches per strike. Much of this is down to the fact that Ronaldo likes to get on the ball and run at defenders, and provides more of a creative role than the other top scorers, as well as his tendency to have upwards of 6 or 7 shots in a match.