Wednesday 22 June 2016, 10:07

Ba excels as EURO & Copa records fall

An on-song African in Asia, minnows misrepresenting the population prognosis in Europe and the setting of scoring records in South America feature in’slatest stats review.


years after David Arellano became the first Chilean to score four goals in a Copa America game, Eduardo Vargas became the second. It meant the 26-year-old, who has already played for clubs in six countries, became the first man since Uruguay’s Javier Ambrois to net ten goals in his first ten appearances in the competition. It helped Chile smash Mexico 7-0 to equal their biggest Copa America victory, set against ten-man Venezuela in 1979. Alexis Sanchez was also on target with his 34th goal in 99 internationals, taking him level with Ivan Zamorano as Chile’s joint-second leading marksman, three shy of Marcelo Salas.


goals is what Lionel Messi reached to outrank Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s all-time leading marksman. La Pulga’s sublime strike on Tuesday made him only the second player since 1987 to score two direct free-kicks in a Copa America – the other was compatriot Carlos Tevez – and helped La Albiceleste thump hosts USA 4-0 to secure a fourth trip to the final in five attempts. Messi has now registered five goals and four assists in just 254 minutes at this Copa America. Batistuta (0.69) boasts a better goals-per-game ratio for his country than Messi (0.49). However, after managing just 18 goals in his first 66 internationals (0.27), the pocket-sized No10 has hit 37 in his last 46 (0.80). The best goals-to-games ratios for men who scored at least 15 times for Argentina belong to Herminio Masantonio (1.11), Rene Pontoni (1.0) and Luis Artime (0.96), though they made only 19, 19 and 24 appearances respectively.


hours and 15 minutes: that is how long Spain had gone without conceding a goal at the UEFA EURO until Croatia equalised against them on Tuesday. Since Antonio Di Natale scored against Vicente Del Bosque’s side in a 1-1 draw in their Group C opener in 2012, they had kept clean sheets against Republic of Ireland, Croatia, France, Portugal and Italy at that tournament, as well as Czech Republic and Turkey at this one. Nikola Kalinic ended their invincibility. Having taken 23 internationals to score his first six goals, the 28-year-old Fiorentina forward has now netted six in his last seven. Ivan Perisic then ensured Spain leaked two goals in a EURO game for the first time since France duo Zinedine Zidane and Youri Djorkaeff scored against them 18 matches and 16 years ago. Croatia held on to end La Roja’s 14-game undefeated run in the competition, becoming the first team to come from behind to beat them in the EURO.


goals in seven outings is what Demba Ba has bagged following his hat-trick in Shanghai Shenhua’s 4-0 reverse of Hangzhou. That left the Senegal striker with 26 goals in 30 games since joining the club last year, and The Flower of Shanghai unbeaten in eight games in all competitions. Ba leads the Chinese Super League’s scoring chart on 12, and has 16 rounds to challenge the record for goals in a season – 28 by Elkeson in 2014.


million was the population that made Northern Ireland the least-inhabited country to reach the knockout phase of a EURO on Monday. Having scored their first goals in an international tournament in 30 years to beat Ukraine 2-0, following Colin Clarke's strike against Spain at 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™, Michael O'Neill's side head for the second stage at their first ever European finals. It's a record that has been tumbling all week, after Wales - with a population of just 3.1 million - had taken the bar to a new low a day earlier. Gareth Bale became the first player since Czech Republic’s Milan Baros in 2004 to score in three successive matches in the competition to seal a 3-0 win over Russia, which sent them through as Group B winners ahead of England and Slovakia. Meanwhile, minute Iceland – populated by less than 350,000 people – will advance if they defeat Austria on Wednesday and set an even lower benchmark.

Quick hits 18years and 333 days made Turkey’s Emre Mor the third-youngest player in EURO history to register an assist behind Belgium’s Enzo Scifo in 1984 and England’s Wayne Rooney in 2004.

0: that is how many times Poland, who have twice finished third at the FIFA World Cup™, had reached the knockout phase of the EURO until Adam Nawałka’s men broke the duck on Tuesday.