- 19 Jun 08, 05:45 PM
Whenever someone mentions the word "statistics" I can't help but think of past Miss World competitions. And in case my wife is reading this, the last one I watched must have been at least 20 years ago. Yep, that's long before we met, my love.
Anyway, the BBC Sport website's Player Rater has thrown up some interesting numbers following the completion of the group games at Euro 2008...
No prizes for guessing that Spain's David Villa, with four goals from two games, is top of the pops thanks to an average rating of 8.69. Second is Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin (8.67), though he's only featured in one match because of suspension, while third is midfielder Wesley Sneijder (8.57), one of four Dutchmen in the top 10.
There's a bit of a surprise at four. Celtic and Poland goalkeeper Artur Boruc occupies that spot with a highly commendable 8.37 rating from three games. I could go on but I'll give you the full top 10 at the bottom of this blog.
At the other end of the scale, well, it's a guy called Mariusz Jop. He's Polish and picked up just 3.2 for his performance against the Austrians. He was hauled off at half-time. Not much better were the French trio of Abidal, Anelka and Gomis, with 3.89, 4.31 and 4.49 respectively.
Here's one for you, the most improved player is Turkey skipper Nihat, breaker of Czech hearts. He scored 5.72 in his first game - the 2-0 defeat by Portugal - but bounced back spectacularly, his two-goal salvo against Petr Cech netting him 8.97.
The list of top 10 teams throws up a bit of a surprise. One of the quarter-finalists fails to make it. Any guesses? Italy maybe? Perhaps Russia? What about Turkey? Well, actually it's Germany. That's them nailed on for the title then.
Finally, here's the Player Rater's team of the group stages based on a 4-4-2 formation: Boruc; Lahm, Pepe, Ooijer, Van Bronckhorst; Turan, Sneijder, Deco, Robben; Villa, Arshavin.
Ten best players at Euro 2008*
Villa, Spain, striker, 2 games: 8.69
Arshavin, Russia, striker, 1 game: 8.67
Sneijder, Holland, midfielder, 2 games: 8.57
Boruc, Poland, goalkeeper, 3 games: 8.37
Turan, Turkey, midfielder, 2 games: 8.28
Van der Sar, Holland, goalkeeper, 2 games: 8.14
Torres, Spain, striker, 2 games: 8.11
Klasnic, Croatia, striker, 1 game: 8.0
Van Nistelrooy, Holland, striker, 2 games: 7.99
Van Bronckhorst, Holland defender, 2 games: 7.96
Ten worst players at Euro 2008*
Jop, Poland, defender, 1 game: 3.2
Abidal, France, defender, 2 games: 3.89
Anelka, France, striker, 3 games: 4.31
Gomis, France, striker, 2 games: 4.49
Odonkor, Germany, midfielder, 1 game: 4.54
Streller, Switzerland, striker, 1 game: 4.64
Nasri, France, midfielder, 2 games: 4.7
Gekas, Greece, striker, 2 games: 4.71
Gomez, Germany, striker, 3 games: 4.73
Shirokov, Russia, defender, 1 game: 4.74
(*According to users of the BBC Sport Player Rater)
I've also had a quick chat with our bloggers in Austria and Switzerland about Euro 2008.
Fletch, Jacqui Oatley, Steve Wilson and John Murray have seen quite a few games for the BBC - TV, radio and online - since the tournament began, so I thought it'd be a good idea to find out what the best goal, best game and best moment of the tournament was so far.
Jacqui and John both agree that Michael Ballack's stunning free-kick against Austria was their favourite goal. Jacqui says it was the "one moment of brilliance in an otherwise forgettable match" while John reckons it must have "set a new European Championship record for the hardest a ball has been hit".
In fact, John can't get enough of that goal. He says his favourite moment thus far was the reaction from the fans inside the Ernst Happel Stadium when it went in. John's also a big fan of the super slow-motion TV pictures of him striking it. I'd have to agree with him about that. Sometimes the cameras pick the wrong moment to slow down the action but that was just perfect.
Jacqui picks another Germany game as her favourite of the tournament. This time Joachim Loew's side ended up on the losing side, beaten 2-1 by Croatia in Klagenfurt. "I watched the match sitting next to an incredibly nervous Adrian Chiles, who struggled to believe his side could really beat the three-time European champions," Jacqui told me. "The poor man was in bits."
As for Steve and Fletch, well, they are in agreement on the best game and best moment. Turkey's stunning comeback from 2-0 down against the Czech Republic gets their vote while they were both bowled over by the Dutch invasion of Berne.
Nihat's winner against the Czechs is Steve's favourite goal while Fletch plumps for Robin van Persie's strike to put the Dutch 2-0 up against France.
So now it's over to you. Let me know if you agree with our bloggers...
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