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The tournament so far in statistics

logo.gifThere may be lies, damned lies and statistics but you can do much worse than use the data available in football to make decisions and draw points. Castrol have developed a system which indexes every players performance based on various elements of the game. Throughout the tournament I will attempt to provide a look at the matches from a stats perspective hoping to make points that might otherwise have gone un-noticed.

Here I provide a brief look at the tournament so far in stats.. 

Start from the back

Managers often say a great team is built on the success of their defence and goalkeeper so that is where I shall start.

With 7 goalkeepers keeping cleansheets there have to be further criteria to find the best performing keeper so far. Stipe Pletikosa of Croatia tops the charts of most saves made with 6 saves during their 1-0 win against Austria. While Lehman and Cech are tied second with 5 saves each. However being a goalkeeper isn't just about saves, distribution is very much a part of their game and using the Castrol Index system keepers earn points if their goalkicks reach a player, more points if it leads to a goal and again more points if it turns into an assist. Top of the index is Czech shot-stopper Petr Cech after a string of saves kept his side in it against the Swiss.

 For the defenders, tackles, blocks, passes and goals all contribute to their score in the index in both a positive and negative way - missed tackles,passes all deduct points, completed tackles,passes add points. While of course cleansheets will also help but are not crucial.

Using these criteria it is no surprise to see within the top 4 performing defenders 3 scored goals in their sides wins and all 4 kept cleansheets. Swedish defender Hansson who kept a cleansheet and scored a goal during Sweden's 2-0 win over Greece tops the charts with Pepe, van Bronckhorst and Rozehnal following up behind. But these weren't the defenders with the most tackles with Barzagli of Italy having made most tackles during Holland's thrashing of the Italians along with Jankulovski and Lahm during their matches, Portugal and Chelsea player Bosingwa  was the 4th player to have made most tackles.

Midfield magic

The Castrol index measures midfielders on creativity and defending. Tracking back is rewarded highly, the longer the pass (as long as it is successful) is rewarded highly as are goals and assists.

Portugal have two players in the top 4 midfielders - Meireles and Ronaldo.  Meireles tops the charts after a short but very efficient performance with 1 shot and 1 goal despite only being on the field for 7 minutes. Sneijder unsurprisingly is second after a marvelous performance by him in Holland's rout over Italy. A spectacular volley and an assist. Along with 79% pass completiton and another 2 attempted assists and 4 more shots shows what an effective performance and constant threat he was. Fabregas scores highly after coming on as a substitute and having one assist and one goal albeit the goal is not rated so highly in the index because it was an open net. Ronaldo occupies the 4th spot after hitting the bar from a very accute angle with his free kick another high pass completition (71%) and 2 attempted assists earns him points.

The players with the most completed passes though are different names to above - Xavi the top passer so far (80 passes), Makelele second (66) with Basinas and Zhirkov joint third (54)

Sharp Shooters 

Rewarding players for scoring goals from difficult situations there is more to it than just putting the ball in the net. However it is unsurprising to see Villa top performer after his hat-trick stunned the Russians and he also got an assist on the table. Van Nistelrooy is second after poaching his controversial opener against Italy, Podolski's two goals put him third while Olic is 4th after helping Croatia beat Austria. The top 4 scorers are all the same men except Ibrahomvich is fourth after his cracking goal against Greece.



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