WWE Monday Night Raw - 08/08/22Aug 9 LIVE
England meet their statistical match – Euro 2022 quarter-finals preview
The Lionesses will play Spain for a place in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
The Euro 2022 quarter-finals are set with all of the pre-tournament favourites still very much in the reckoning.
England, Germany, Sweden and France all topped their groups as expected, but the Lionesses and Les Bleues in particular will be wary of their last-eight opponents.
England play Spain at Brighton’s Amex Stadium – scene of the 8-0 demolition of Norway – on Wednesday, while the French go up against defending champions the Netherlands on Saturday.
Eight-time champions Germany and highly-rated Sweden have easier ties on paper, with the Germans facing Austria – the lowest-ranked side left in the tournament – on Thursday and the Swedes taking on first-time quarter-finalists Belgium on Friday.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the data behind each match-up.
England vs Spain
The first quarter-final is a clash of the statistical titans.
England head into the last eight as favourites for the title, having qualified from the group stage with three wins from three and scored 14 goals without reply.
Spain have been far less impressive in the key metrics, with five goals scored and three conceded, but their underlying numbers are comparable to Sarina Wiegman’s side.
England and Spain lead the tournament for number of attacks (157 and 169), number of shots (25 and 20) and share of possession (63 per cent and 66 per cent).
They have been separated by their finishing, with England’s Beth Mead – who has five goals and three assists – able to more or less match Spain’s attacking output on her own.
While Wiegman has been able to call upon a full-strength forward line, the Spanish squad are clearly missing the goalscoring influence of Ballon d’Or winning midfielder Alexia Putellas, who was ruled out of Euro 2022 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
In the absence of Putellas, Spain have so far concentrated their efforts in wide areas, having completed a tournament-high 36 crosses. Four of their five goals have come from balls into the box.
This might suit the Lionesses, whose full-backs Rachel Daly and Lucy Bronze have allowed only two successful crosses out of 24 attempted – the best ratio of any team.
The last time the two sides met at a European championship was in 2017, when England emerged as 2-0 victors. On that day, much as Germany did last Tuesday in the group stage, the Lionesses allowed Spain to dominate possession (74 per cent) but ultimately provided a greater cutting edge.
Germany vs Austria
Germany’s meeting with neighbours Austria could be tighter than Austria’s lowly ranking of 21 suggests, with both sides on form defensively in the group phase.
Germany are yet to concede a goal, while the Austrian back line has been breached only once (by England in a narrow defeat on the opening day of the tournament).
The players also know each other well from club football – 35 of the 46 members of both squads play in the German Bundesliga.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s German side were ill-disciplined in the group stage, committing the most fouls (36) and accumulating the joint-most yellow cards (five) of any team left in the tournament.
Austria struggled to retain possession and relied on their energy reserves to keep opponents at bay, with their players covering a tournament-high 344 kilometres in three games. The Austrians recorded the lowest pass completion rate of any of the quarter-finalists, at just 76 per cent.
It is in attack where Germany are likely to hold an advantage.
Both teams recorded 18 shots on target in the group, but Austria found the net only three times compared with Germany’s nine. The Germans also hit the woodwork on three further occasions.
Sweden vs Belgium
Sweden are strong favourites in their last-eight tie against Belgium and could set up a semi-final meeting with England or Spain.
The Swedes, ranked second in the world behind USA, hit form in their final group game as they thrashed a Portugal side that had pushed the Dutch all the way on matchday two.
Sweden, who posted the third-highest number of attacks (152) behind England and Spain, are likely to create plenty of opportunities against a porous Belgian defence.
Belgium allowed 69 goal attempts and three clear-cut chances in the group stage, both the highest of any quarter-finalist.
The Belgians also offered limited threat going forward, with their numbers of shots on target (10) and attacks (60) comfortably the lowest among sides remaining in the tournament.
France vs Netherlands
France versus the Netherlands is arguably the most mouthwatering of the quarter-final match-ups on paper, with the sides ranked three and four respectively by FIFA.
However, both teams’ form has been patchy so far.
France started the tournament in blistering fashion, scoring five goals in 45 minutes against a shell-shocked Italy, but have gone on to find the net just three times since.
The Dutch matched Les Bleues’ output with eight goals from 18 shots, but they did so from just 107 attacks, the third-lowest total among sides left in the tournament (ahead of Belgium and Austria).
France could hold the edge in this game due to their greater control. At 59 per cent, they enjoyed the third-highest share of possession in the group phase, while the Dutch were often chasing the ball having ranked second for tackles (47) and ball recoveries (147).
The Netherlands’ hopes will partly rest on the return of star striker Vivianne Miedema, who tested positive for coronavirus last week. At the age of just 26, Miedema is her country’s record scorer with 94 goals from 112 appearances.