UEFA technical observer Packie Bonner looks back on EURO 2020, analysing how multi-dimensional the modern goalkeeper's role has become.
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UEFA EURO 2020 thrilled fans worldwide with some of the best action that international football has to offer. It was dramatic and entertaining, but also fascinating from a technical point of view.
UEFA's team of technical observers analysed all aspects of the tournament: the matches, the teams, the players and the coaching trends that emerged or were reinforced during the summer’s festival of football.
In the first of a series of videos with these technical observers, we hear from former Republic of Ireland No1 Packie Bonner as he discusses the impact of the goalkeeper on the strategy of the game and goalkeepers' connection with their team-mates.
"The championship again highlighted the enormous impact the goalkeeper of today has within the technical strategy of the team," Bonner said, "and it was perfectly illustrated by Gianluigi Donnarumma of Italy who showed a competence level way beyond his years to help his team win the major prize."
Donnarumma, of course, also picked up the player of the tournament award for his performances – and this in a competition when a record number of goals were scored. Such an accolade for the Azzurri guardian backed up Bonner’s data-driven analysis that "teams who progressed and had success involved the goalkeeper much more comprehensively in the tactical strategy of the game".
In the video, Bonner shows how the EURO 2020 goalkeepers organised and communicated with their teams, especially their defenders, and the starting positions they took up both when the opposition had possession on the halfway line and when they got in behind.
Bonner also touches on how effective distribution by a goalkeeper can make such a positive impact on his side. He underlines Donnarumma’s quick release that led to Federico Chiesa’s goal for Italy against Spain in the semi-finals, as well as Kasper Schmeichel’s cool passing under pressure. "The tournament data suggests that the greater the pressure applied to Schmeichel, the shorter the distance of his passing was and he showed a bravery, a confidence and a composure during those situations."