Friday, June 15, 2012

Ireland vs Spain - The Stats Breakdown

Last night was kind of embarrassing, from an Irish perspective anyway. The first team to be knocked out of the European Championships, accompanied by letting Spain and Xavi set new Euros landmarks left a more than an indelible mark on the Irish.

On the site today thanks to the StatsZone app, we have images of just how dominant Spain were throughout the evening, from Xavi's masterclass to a statistic that defied expectations: Aiden McGeady leading the tackle figures. Today we will uncover to what extent Spain asserted their dominance and how well they did it.

*Warning: These photos do not make for pleasant viewing.*

Right, here we go then.

Spain had more than 4x as many shots, nearly 8x as many on target and, most decisively, scored 4 goals to show:

They also set the benchmark for most passes in a European Championship game, exceeding the previous record of 778 with a delightful 860. They completed almost four and a half times as many passes as the Irish did:

They also created 18 chances to Ireland's meagre 5:

To convey just how dominant Spain actually were StatsZone's 'Player Influence' tells it perfectly. If a player's name is in bold it highlights how effective they've been throughout the game. The same goes for the bigger the font of the players name. If the name is left in its plainest form you can get a fair idea of how average that team, or particular player, has played. As you can see there's quite a difference in the image below:

Xavi, as per usual, was at the heart of everything for Spain and it was no surprise to see him smash the record for most passes by a single player in a European Championships game such was the ease of this fixture, surpassing Ronald Koeman's total of 117 set in '92. His nearest competitor, Stephen Ward, could only complete 27 - a full 100 less than his Spanish counterpart:

In the final third Xavi was once again a dominant figure. He was Spain's main man, finding 45 of his 53 passes deep in Ireland's half. To gain some perspective I've attached Ireland's most effective passer, Glen Whelan, in Spain's final third but it makes for grim viewing:

Spain were also more presumably efficient than Ireland when it came to bossing the game in the final third of the pitch. La Roja eviscerated Ireland's efforts of 31 from 62 attempted passes with a near perfect 243 from 285 - equating to 85%. While many of Ireland's attempts were long, hopeful punts, Spain's were more controlled and assured, giving a predominant proportion of their passes short in order to keep it moving quickly, tiki-taka style:

The game's most successful pass combination was the Jordi Alba - Andres Iniesta link-up. Between the two they accumulated 59 passes, including Iniesta - Alba. Again, to gain some perspective Ireland's most effective combination is displayed (note: it's not very good):

And finally, on a positive and encouraging note  - if we may stray from Spain's masterclass for just a minute - perhaps an interesting statistic from yesterday's game was the fact that Spartak Moscow's Aiden McGeady was Ireland's - and the fixture's - most effective tackler. He was directly responsible for precisely 30% of Ireland's tackles throughout the match and succeeded in 38% of Ireland's overall tackle success rate. Previously known for straying from his defensive duties it was a more than admirable effort from the 26-year-old. And yet, even though us Irish were the ones constantly hounded it was nothing short of a masterclass performance by the Spanish defence when it came to tackling:

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