Red mist and rewritten records
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FIFA.com’s latest stats review reports on the exploits of Lukas Podolski, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi at UEFA EURO 2012, another title for a Uruguayan giant and an ill-disciplined encounter in Argentina.

136

passes, 127 of which were completed, was the new UEFA European Championship record set by Xavi last Thursday. The tally took the Spain midfielder beyond a benchmark set by Dutch legend Ronald Koeman, who had attempted 117 passes during his team’s semi-final defeat to Denmark at EURO 1992. Xavi’s prolific rate of distribution against Republic of Ireland also helped La Roja set a new team record for most passes in a EURO match, with their total of 860 beating the previous high-water mark of 778. Remarkably, half-time arrived in Gdansk with the Barcelona midfielder and Xabi Alonso having made more passes between them (106) than the entire Republic team combined. Spain, who followed up this 4-0 success with a 1-0 victory over Croatia on Monday, have now enjoyed more possession than their opponents in each of their last 58 matches, and need only safely negotiate their quarter-final to equal the longest unbeaten streak in EURO history (ten matches).

44

league titles was the landmark reached by Nacional of Uruguay on Saturday, when they beat Defensor Sporting 1-0 in the semi-final of the Campeonato Uruguayo. The championship was secured as this victory qualified the Montevideo giants for a final against the team that had topped the overall league table, which in this case was also Nacional. With the season’s showpiece fixture therefore obsolete, Los Tricolores were able to begin celebrating their third title in four seasons, which edges them to within four of Uruguay’s record champions, Penarol. This 44th championship also edges Nacional back into outright fourth position in the global pecking order, one ahead of Scottish side Celtic, with only Penarol (48), Linfield (51) and Rangers (54) still to aim for.

27

years and 13 days was the age at which Lukas Podolski won his 100th cap on Sunday, becoming the youngest European player to reach this landmark in the process. Yet although the Germany forward beat by 96 days Europe’s previous youngest centurion, Kristen Viikmae of Estonia, he is as low as seventh in the global standings. The overall record is held by Korea Republic legend Cha Bum-Kun, who was just 24 years and 139 days old when he reached the 100-mark for the Taeguk Warriors. Podolski at least marked his milestone appearance by scoring against Denmark, and now has four goals at the European Championship, just one short of Jurgen Klinsmann’s national record. Germany have now scored at least once in their last 19 matches dating back to November 2010.

6

red cards were shown in Argentinos Juniors’ 1-0 win over All Boys on Sunday, setting a new record for the Argentinian top flight in its current format. Not since the short tournament system was introduced in 1991 has there been a match with so many dismissals, this after the All Boys quartet of Jonathan Ferrari, Eduardo Dominguez, Maximiliano Coronel and Mauro Matos joined the Bichos Colorados duo of German Basualdo and Juan Jose Morales in heading for an early bath. Argentinos Juniors might have picked up fewer red cards on this occasion, but they have a habit of finding themselves involved in tempestuous matches. Indeed, they had helped set the previous record, sharing five red cards with Newell’s Old Boys in a bad-tempered Apertura encounter back in 2004.

5

major international tournaments have now been graced by a Cristiano Ronaldo goal after the Portugal star struck twice in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Netherlands. Only four other players have managed to score in this many separate European Championships and FIFA World Cups: Thierry Henry, Henrik Larsson and Rudi Voller, all of whom also found the net in five, and Jurgen Klinsmann, who leads the way on six. Ronaldo’s goals left the Netherlands having lost all three group matches at a major tournament for the first time in their history, and suffered three successive defeats for the first time in 22 years. The Dutch, like the Russians in Group A, suffered for their wayward shooting. Only Spain have enjoyed more possession in the tournament than this eliminated duo, who nonetheless comfortably lead the table for attempts off target, with 35 for the Netherlands and 29 for Russia. Greece, by contrast, profited thanks to making the most of scant resources, scoring with three of their five shots on target.