Given their style of play Spain made for an excellent side to look at through this tournament in terms of the Scoring Chance Index.
For those that follow the blog regularly you will be familiar with what we here have coined ‘Scoring Chance Index' (or ‘SCI'): essentially a model we have developed to try and better understand and measure scoring chances in football. A full breakdown of SCI can be found at this introductory post.
win last night - not without its nervy moments - ensured they topped Group C and sees them meet the runner of Group D (very possibly England) in the quarter finals.
Through their three games so far they out-chanced their opponents by a total of 44-17 (11-9 v Italy, 23-3 v Ireland and 10-5 v Croatia) and the individual totals are as follows:
- The comparison of Xavi and Iniesta is an interesting one. Xavi's total of 20 is an outstanding one and some eight more than Iniesta's. Not to diminish Iniesta's role in any way but this does suggest that Xavi has a greater role in the final third.
- Who to start? Last night saw Fernando Torres again get the start but was withdrawn for Jesus Navas, with Fabregas later replacing David Silva. Both Torres and Fabregas have chances per 90 minutes numbers but Fabregas is way ahead in terms of chances per 100 touches. I expect we may see Fabregas start in the quarter-final with Torres used from the bench.
- Jesus Navas also scores highly in terms of chances per 90 minutes and per 100 touches. We should be wary of suggesting a starting place for him and the back of this though. More data over a longer period of time should (I expect) illustrate the value of players impact from the bench.
- From the teams I have studies so far, Spain are the only ones not to record either a defensive block or a defensive minus. On average they are conceding only six scoring chances per game and are clearly defending well (i.e. in terms of not contributing to the oppositions cause) and Iker Casillas's low numbers indicate the quality of chances they are facing is not too high.