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What we have learned from the Euro 2024 group stage
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What we have learned from the Euro 2024 group stage

The Euro 2024 group stage has finished and there are already many things we have learned from the tournament so far.

We have had long-range screamers, faster VAR decisions, and - just like at the last Euros - there have been own goals galore.

There's plenty we have discovered from England’s hit-and-miss group-stage performances, too.

With the knockouts approaching, BBC Sport takes a look at five things we have already found out at the Euros.

England are struggling going forward

With a front four of Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka, England were expected to be finding the net regularly.

Instead, they have only scored twice - Bellingham's header in the 1-0 win over Serbia and a goal from Kane in a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

Of the 24 nations at Euro 2024, only one, Serbia, have scored fewer goals than England - the one they managed in a 1-1 draw with Slovenia, while Germany netted eight goals, Austria six, with Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey all on five apiece.

Gareth Southgate's side cannot even say they have created loads of chances as they have only had 29 shots, ranking 20th out of the 24 nations.

Already-eliminated Scotland had the fewest with 17 and Germany, who thrashed Steve Clarke's team 5-1 in the opener, again lead that stat with 57 efforts at goal.

England have only had 53 touches in the opponents' box and that is less than half of France's total of 112, although the two-time winners have also only managed two goals - an own goal and a penalty.

But it's not all bad for England

However, on the positive side, England have proved solid in defence.

In their three games, the Three Lions only conceded one goal, with Spain being the only country to keep three clean sheets.

Scotland conceded seven times, but five of those came in the match against Germany. Poland and Croatia also exited the tournament after conceding six goals each in the group stage.

Of those sides in the last 16, Turkey, with five goals, have conceded the most and were also on the receiving end of the joint-second heaviest defeat when they lost 3-0 to Portugal.

France, Belgium and England are the three highest-ranked European nations in the Fifa rankings at second, third and fifth respectively, although, statistically, they have been three of the least exciting teams.

All three nations scored twice and conceded once, with only eliminated Serbia also only having a total of three goals from their three matches.

Premier League offsides could be about to get quicker

There are often lengthy delays in the Premier League while video assistant refereeing (VAR) decisions are made, but Euro 2024 shows better times might be around the corner.

Semi-automated offsides are coming to England’s top flight in the 2024-25 season and they have worked well during their trial in Germany.

The technology means VAR officials no longer have to spend time drawing lines to decide if players are offside - leading to decisions such as Romelu Lukaku’s disallowed goal for Belgium against Romania, which took only 48 seconds to make.

But the technology doesn’t remove every issue.

When the Netherlands had a goal chalked off against France, it took almost three minutes and was met with controversy.

That was still a subjective one as officials had to decide if Denzel Dumfries had interfered and technology does not change the time it takes for them to make such judgements.

Lots of late goals and long-range screamers

From the moment Florian Wirtz powered home a long-range strike to score for Germany against Scotland and provide Euro 2024’s opening goal, it has become a tournament for screamers.

There have already been more goals from outside the penalty area than there were at the 2022 World Cup, with 14 being scored in 36 games compared to the 13 in 64 World Cup matches.

That figure does not even include Samet Akaydin putting the ball into his own net from outside the box as Turkey were beaten by Portugal.

Not only have goals come from distance, they have also tended to come late.

The nine scored in stoppage time so far is the most at any Euros, level with Euro 2016 - and only 36 of the 51 matches have been played.

We have also had the latest-ever normal-time goal at the Euros, with Hungary’s winner against Scotland not coming until the 100th minute.

Germany have already scored three stoppage-time goals, the most from a team at a European Championship tournament.

Own goals leading golden boot race

At Euro 2024, players have had a habit of putting the ball in their own net. There have already been seven group-stage own goals, only one fewer than at Euro 2020, when there were the most ever.

Just 20 own goals had been scored at European Championships before the tournament got under way in Germany, with 11 of those coming at the last edition.

There have also been fewer goals scored than at the last Euros, with 81 coming during the group stage compared to 94 at Euro 2020.

Nobody is clearly running away with the golden boot, though, with Georgia’s Georges Mikautadze currently leading with three goals. Five other players are tied on two.

Article sourse: BBC

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