France and Portugal made their first step towards the round of 16
Portugal writes history scoring 3 goals in the final 10 minutes of the game
What an impressive feat for Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo also broke some important records; Not only has he become the oldest player to score for Portugal at a major tournament, he also surpassed Michel Platini’s record of 9 goals in the European Championship Finals (11 goals). WOW!
Portugal’s near total domination of Hungary is reflected in the statistical representation of the game. They were in control of the ball (69% to 31% possession), and made more successful passes (647 to 242) at a better rate (87.9% to 74.7%). They also had more than two times as many carries (574 to 247), and significantly more touches on the ball (821 to 452).
As if the above weren’t enough, Portugal excelled in creating chances, while Hungary severely lacked. Rafa Silva, played for only 20 minutes and dished 2 assists (xA 1.7 to 0.2). Portugal made more key passes than Hungary (8 to 3), and six times more completed passes in the attacking third (72 to 12).
If you have not watched the game, the aforementioned stats tell you the story of Portugal’s creativity and control of the ball.
Ronaldo‘s goals made him the man of the match, but what a game from Nelson Semedo! Semedo was first in carries (74), first in successful dribbles (3/3), and second in touches (99). Did you think that was all? He also was second in key passes (2), and had by far the most passes in the final third (16) – more than the entire Hungarian team! Defensively, his 7 tackles and the pressure he applied to opponents were rated among the best.
Péter Gulácsi was Hungary’s best player, refusing Diogo Jota a goal twice in the first half. Ádám Szalai was active throughout the game, pressed his opponents a lot, had the most successful dribbles in the match (4/4), and carried the ball for his team (38). Nevertheless, their contributions weren’t close enough to prevent a relatively easy win for Portugal. Hungary didn’t impress with their playing style and they were rightly defeated.
France laboured to get the win against a well organised Germany
Every bookmaker’s favourite, France was impressive at times and looked lethal in the counter-attack. The trend of the traditional power-houses to opt for defensive focus and rely on counter-attacks to threaten their opponents is here to stay.
The World Cup 2018 winner gave the ball to Germany risking conceding a goal at times (Germany’s xG was 0.8). Germany enjoyed possession (61%), and moved the ball around (644 passes) more successfully than their opponents (88% to 80.8%). However, they were unable to break France’s defence despite completing 11 passes into the 18-yard box.
Part of Germany’s difficulty in creating chances was their inability to dribble past their opponents. They only did so 3 times in the game, only one came from a player other than a defender, Thomas Müller. France did much better on the dribbling front (12), with Kylian Mbappé (4) spearheading their attacks and Paul Pogba (4) also distributing the ball to forward positions (3 progressive passes).
In examining France’s counter-attacks, it’s clear that their movement off the ball, their dribbling past their opponents, and the directness of their passes were key. Antoine Griezmann must be applauded for the impressive pressure he applied to opponents (35 times). He also won the ball 8 times after applying pressure, and 3 times from a tackle.
Germany’s slow central defenders, like Mats Hummels, faced difficulties containing Mbappé‘s explosiveness. Toni Kroos had a good overall game, and was perhaps the best German player on the pitch. He had the most completed passes of the game (102/110), twice the number of N’Golo Kanté‘s (45). He alone passed the ball to the final third of the pitch more times than France did (24 to 21), but his teammates lacked composure in the final effort.
With little open spaces and against a rigid side, Germany needed better choices on the final third and cynical finishing to have a better chance at the game.
Portugal’s clash against Germany is probably the most expected game of Matchday 2. Germany shouldn’t be written off for qualification. Our predictions place them as slim favourites against Portugal with a 41% chance to win. Both teams have talented world class calibre players. Us, fans of football, should hope that they showcase their abilities and score plenty of goals.
Hungary is up to a huge challenge. They must score if they are to have a chance to qualify, against a side that doesn’t concede goals easily. French players will aim to seal the win that will see them to the next round early in the game to rest players. France’s impressive quality in every position makes them the heavy favourites (74% win).