How the 142 goals at UEFA EURO 2020 went in
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Leonardo Bonucci's equaliser in the final was the 142nd goal at EURO 2020 – we analyse how every one was scored.
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UEFA EURO 2020 set new landmarks for the most goals scored and the highest goals per game ratio at any finals.
UEFA.com decided to dissect all 142 goals, analysing how, when and where they came about and noting any changing trends from previous tournaments.
How did they go in?
61: Right foot
43: Left foot
11: Own goals
Left-footed strikes accounted for under a quarter of the goals in 2008 and 2012 but that number jumped to more than 34% in 2016 and 30.3% here, a testament to the modern footballer's need and desire to be as adept as possible with either foot. The rise in own goals certainly caught the eye at the tournament with the 11 more than every previous finals combined (nine). The quality of delivery into the area, particularly the five-metre box, has undoubtedly been a contributory factor to the sharp increase in that figure.
How often did they go in?
Average time of first goal: 32 minutes
Average goals per game: 2.78
The average time for the first goal dropped by nine minutes at these finals compared to the 2016 tournament, which featured plenty of late strikes to push that figure up. By contrast, three of the five fastest goals in EURO history were scored here and the deadlock was broken inside eight minutes in three of the four quarter-finals. The average goals per game figure was the highest of all the 16 editions of the competition, highlighting a more attack-minded approach from many sides and the depth in quality that has become more apparent since the tournament expanded to 24 teams.
Where were they struck from?
Inside penalty area (including five-metre box): 123
Outside penalty area: 19
The relatively low figure of 15.7% of goals at EURO 2016 were from outside the box and that number dipped even further – to 13.4% – here. This seems to indicate a continuing inclination to work the ball into areas more likely to produce a goal rather than the low-percentage option of striking at goal from distance.
Add to that the fact that more teams defend in numbers – and therefore have more bodies between the ball and their net – and look to counterattack and it is not surprising to see the continued decline.
What type of goals were they?
Open play: 132
Direct free-kick: 1
You have to go back to 2012 for the last time only a single free-kick was scored at the finals and the agility of the goalkeepers on show at this tournament, coupled with defenders going to ground much less to win the ball around their own area, must come into play for this dwindling figure. When penalties are taken into account as well, the number of goals not scored from open play has slipped from 11.1% to 7%.
What about penalties?
Penalties awarded: 16
There were four more spot kicks awarded compared to 2016 – the only other tournament with 51 games – but only one more was converted. Another feather in the cap for the goalkeepers on show perhaps, but also a sign that, in an era of vast performance and data analysis, custodians have more weapons in their arsenal for dealing with such situations. The record 16 penalties is also a pointer to the impact of VAR at major tournaments, with this being the first EURO to use the technology.