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Category Archives: European

Coleraine team photo

Coleraine team photo

There are many things you expect to find on the shelves of charity shops in Berkshire. A postcard depicting a mid 70s Coleraine side is perhaps not one of them. However, I stumbled across this beauty over the weekend. (I should add that I did pass up the opportunity to purchase England’s World Cup 82 theme: This Time (we’ll do it right!))

colerainefc_teampic

Interestingly this team photo wasn’t taken in their native Northern Ireland. The team picture was taken at Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium before Coleraine’s 7-0 defeat in the European Cup first round of 1974/1975. They also lost to the Dutch club at home (a 1-4 defeat). Neither result should be seen as too humiliating considering many of the Feyenoord squad were involved with the Netherlands 74 World Cup side. It remains the Northern Irish side’s only sojourn into Europe’s premier cup competition, their other campaigns being in the Fairs Cup, Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Cup.

Feyenoord went on to beat Olympiakos in the 2nd round before being knocked out to Barcelona in the next round.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in European

 

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La Liga table for the 2012 calendar year


Unsurprisingly Barcelona and Real Madrid dominated Spanish football in 2012. Barca accumulated over 100 points, whilst Real Madrid were ten points behind their bitter rivals. Interestingly during 2012 Valencia and Rayo Vallecano picked up the same number of points as each other, however Valencia drew 10 of their games, Vallecano drew just one – a goalless game with Sevilla in September.

La Liga 2012

La Liga 2012

For the best Spanish football coverage head over to Inside Spanish Football.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Club, European, Statistics

 

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Bundesliga table for the 2012 calendar year


With German football currently taking a winter break, Eintracht Frankfurt can look back on 2012 with a satisfaction that few other clubs can match. Since their promotion to the Bundesliga last May they have accumulated an impressive thirty points and currently sit fourth in the table, behind only Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund. In fact, during 2012 only Bayern, Bayer Leverkusen and Dortmund have a higher points per game average than them and during 2012 Eintracht Frankfurt have managed 30 points in their 17 games. Their excellent start to the 2012/2013 season is also demonstrated by the fact that during their half a year in the Bundesliga they collected almost as many points as Hoffenheim and Augsburg, despite both of those sides spending the whole of 2012 in the top flight!

It’s Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund who have dominated German football during 2012. Bayern Munich collected one more point than Dortmund during 2012, though it should be noted that Dortmund actually lost fewer games than their Munich rivals.

Bundesliga 2012 table

Bundesliga 2012 table

You can also read the same stats but for Serie A and Ligue 1 on this site.

If you want more in depth Bundesliga coverage then it’s worth taking a look at Bundesliga Lounge.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Club, European, Statistics

 

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Ligue 1 2012 review


For the latest in French football head over to French Football Weekly.

As the calendar year 2012 comes to an end and with French football all wrapped up for another year, it’s unsurprising to see that “Zlatan Ibrahimović’s Paris St. Germain” are the club that have topped the French charts during 2012.

It’s quite interesting to note that the three promoted sides Bastia, Reims and Troyes haven’t performed very strongly in the first half of the 2012/2013 season. Of the sides that were not relegated at the end of the 2011/2012 season, Nancy are the only club with a lower points average than any of the three promoted sides.

ligueeone_2012_table

Ligue 1 2012 table

Disclaimer: No trophies are awarded for being the best team over a calendar year. It is not (and will hopefully never be) a “thing”. However, I thought compiling the stats may give an indication as to which sides have not only started the 2012/2013 season well, but also had a strong end to the previous season.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2012 in Club, European, Statistics

 

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Juventus – “2012 Serie A champions”


The Italians are about to embark on their rather civilized Christmas break. A ball won’t be kicked  in anger until Serie A re-starts on the 6th January. So whilst we have the maudlin feelings associated with the end of Christmas, we’ll at least have the delights of Italian soccer to keep us warm on those dark winter nights.

The following table shows how clubs in Serie A have got on during the calendar year 2012. Obviously no trophies are awarded for such meaningless victories and I’m a fully paid up member of Sound of Football podcast’s “Bunkum Stats club” I do feel the table does give an indication as to which sides ended the 2011/2012 season well whilst also starting the current 2012/2013 season in good form.

Serie A 2012

Serie A 2012

Juventus end the year with a terrific league record and head into 2013 in great spirits. A two-legged tie with Celtic await them in the Champions League as well as the second half of a Serie A campaign. If their form continues they’ll almost certainly win back to back championships.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in European, Statistics

 

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Youngest international squads in Europe

Youngest international squads in Europe

Most countries have now played four games in their World Cup qualification groups so I thought it would be a good time to take a look at which countries are fielding the youngest and oldest teams so far in the competition.

In the four games that have taken place so far it’s Belgium that has fielded the youngest set of players with an average of just over 24 years old. The golden generation of young-guns like Lukaku, Hazard, Courtois, De Bruyne and Benteke helping to push the average age down. It’s the Maltese who have fielded on average the oldest players so far during qualification with an average age of almost 29 years old.

World Cup Qualification Europe: Average Ages

World Cup Qualification Europe: Average Ages

Some interesting values to note in the above table are the World and European Champions Spain are an ageing squad, on average almost four years older than the youthful Belgians.

There should be grounds for optimism for the Welsh national side who have fielded the 7th youngest set of players so far this campaign. Northern Ireland under Michael O’Neil have fielded the 21st youngest set of players, England are 25th whilst Scotland are 29th (despite not having picked David Weir so far this qualification campaign).

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2012 in European, Featured, International

 

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Euro 2012: Squad analysis


The sixteen nations have now named their twenty-three man squads for Euro 2012. Three hundred and sixty-eight players will travel to the tournament in Poland & Ukraine, some experienced, some young, some with over hundred caps, some with none or very few.

The following table shows a list of Euro 2012 countries, the total number of caps in their squad, the average caps per player, the number of international goals scored by the squad, the average number of goals scored per player and finally the average goals per cap scored.

Euro 2012 nations, caps and goals

Euro 2012 nations, caps and goals

The most experienced squad in the tournament are the current holders Spain with 984 caps (it’s likely that figure will reach 1000 after all pre-tournament friendlies have been played). This figure was reached despite losing the vastly experienced David Villa before the tournament even began.

France’s recent travails are reflected in Laurent Blanc’s squad. Despite having a large range of undoubtedly talented players they are inexperienced at international level. Only Poland have fewer caps on average than the French (20.174 per player for Poland in comparison to 20.261 for France).

The goalscoring statistics are interesting in that the squads of Italy, France and Poland have all scored less than 50 international goals. To put that into some context, Robbie Keane has scored 54. Unsurprisingly the prolific Klose and Podolski have helped Germany to first place in the international goals (184).

There are twelve players with over 100 caps, goalkeepers Iker Casillas, Gianluifi Buffon and Shay Given, defender Olof Mellberg, midfielders Girogos Karagounis, Xavi, Antoliy Tymoschchuk and forwards Robbie Keane, Miroslav Klose, Dennis Rommedahl and Andriy Schevchenko.

There are ten uncapped players who have been named in squads this summer. Russian defenders Vladimir Granat and Kirill Nababkin from Dynamo Moscow and CSKA Moscow respectively are included in Russia’s final 23. Portugal include two uncapped players both from Braga, Custódio and Miguel Lopes. Custódio is the oldest uncapped player involved in Euro 2012, he turned 29 last week. Holland include uncapped forward Luciano Narsingh in their squad whilst Italy have called up midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini. A few countries have unsurprisingly taken along an uncapped third keeper, England take Jack Butland, Ukraine have Maksym Koval, Croatia have Ivan Kelava and Denmark called up Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after their number one choice Thomas Sorenson was injured in training.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in European, International

 

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Foreign players in the top five European Leagues


I’m a big fan of word clouds as a data visualisation tool. The following five word clouds illustrate the number of foreign nationals that have played in each of the five “top” European leagues (England, Italy, Spain, Germany & France) during the current 2011/2012 season. If you want to see more click on each image for an enlarged version.

Premier League - nationalities represented

Premier League - nationalities represented

Serie A - nationalities represented

Serie A - nationalities represented

La Liga - nationalities represented

La Liga - nationalities represented

Bundesliga - nationalities represented

Bundesliga - nationalities represented

Ligue 1 - nationalities represented

Ligue 1 - nationalities represented

Images created using the terrific website: http://wordle.net

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Club, European, Players

 

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The best number thirty-threes in Europe


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a small article selecting the best eleven in Europe who wear the number thirteen shirt. I thought I’d look into this subject further and I believe that if you take the top five leagues in Europe (Spain, Italy, Germany, France and England) that the highest number you can make an eleven from (you need a goalkeeper remember) is 33.

I have to admit at this juncture that I don’t watch an awful lot of European football (I’m not sure any of us can keep up with five leagues at once). The only decision I would like to elaborate on is the decision to pick brothers Lionel and Kurt Zouma who play for Sochaux and Saint Etienne respectively. Both wear number 33.(Andrew Gibney of the peerless French Football Weekly informs me that the number 33 in France is used for footballers who haven’t yet been allocated a squad number)

The best number thirty-threes in Europe

The best number thirty-threes in Europe

Players in the top five leagues who wear number 33. Feel free to pick your own eleven.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Cameron Jerome (Stoke City), Alex (Chelsea), Paul Scharner (West Brom) and Stefan Maierhofer (Wolves)

LIGUE 1: Kurt Zouma (Saint Etienne), Lionel Zouma (Sochaux), Stephane Bahoken (Nice), Marco Dasilva (Valenciennes) and Adama Ba (Brest)

BUNDESLIGA: Tom Starke (Hoffenheim), Heinz Muller (Mainz), Alexander Esswein (Nurnberg), Manuel Schmiedebach (Hannover), Sascha Molders (Augsburg), Patrick Helmes (Wolfsburg) and Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich)

SERIE A: Alexandros Tzorvas (Palermo), Ciro Capuano (Catania), Thiago Silva (Milan) and Juraj Kucka (Genoa)

LA LIGA: Mamadou Kone (Racing Santander)

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Club, European, Players

 

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The best number thirteens in Europe


Throughout history the number 13 has been associated with misfortune, not only were there thirteen people present at the last supper there were also thirteen contestants in the first series of UK Big Brother. The connection between the number and bad luck has found its way into football in the past. This can most clearly be illustrated by the choice of clubs to use 12 & 14 rather than the more logical 12 & 13. In the modern era of squad numbers it appears that triskaidekaphobia is not so prevalent in the footballing community.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that it’s Germany where the number thirteen is most prevalent as one of Die Mannschaft’s most famous players (Gerd Muller) wore the number thirteen at World Cups and Muller is still the record goalscorer for the national team. It’s interesting that in the Bundesliga that the number thirteen shirt is used exclusively for outfield players whilst in England and Spain it’s often more associated with goalkeepers. Continuing on a goalkeeping theme, in France it’s number 16 that’s often set aside for reserve goalkeepers whilst in Italy substitute keepers often wear a shirt somewhere between 20 and 30 .

Another little gem of information is that both Armand and Djimi Traore wear number thirteen for their respective clubs (QPR and Marseille) despite not being related. Make of that what you will.

With all that in mind I thought it would be worthwhile to draw up a side made exclusively out of number thirteens who have graced the pitches at some of Europe’s top clubs. A more exhaustive list of players who sport the thirteen for their club follows at the end of this blogpost, feel free to delve into the list to pick your own XI. I suspect my list is full of British bias and shows up my ignorance to German, Spanish, Italian and French football to a shocking degree…

"Number 13" XI

PREMIER LEAGUE: Wojciech Szczęsny (Arsenal), Armand Traore (Queens Park Rangers), Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City), Danny Murphy (Fulham), Ji-Sung Park (Manchester United) and William Gallas (Tottenham Hotspur)

LIGUE 1: Djimi Traore (Olympique Marseille), Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyonnais), Jean Calve (AS Nancy-Lorraine) and Marco Estrada (Montpellier)

BUNDESLIGA: Lukas Schmitz (Werder Bremen), Thanos Petsos (Kaiserslautern), Robert Tesche (Hamburger), Jan Schlaudraff (Hannover), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg),
Tobias Werner (Augsburg), Michael Ballack (Bayer Leverkusen), Roman Neustadter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Rafinha (Bayern Munich), Jens Hegeler (Nurnberg), Martin Lanig (Koln), Daniel Williams (Hoffenheim), Timo Gebhart (Stuttgart), Anthony Ujah (Mainz), Nikita Rukavytsya (Hertha Berlin) and Jermaine Jones (Schalke)

SERIE A: Kakhaber Kaladze (Genoa), Alessandro Nesta (Milan), Sergio Piccoli (Udinese) and Maicon (Inter)

LA LIGA: Diego Lopez Rodriguez (Villarreal), Daniel Giminez (Rayo Vallecano), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), Asier Riesgo Unamuno (Osasuna), Javi Varas Herrera (Sevilla), Vicente Guaita Panadero (Valencia), Antonio Rodriguez Martinez (Racing Santander), Wilfredo Daniel Caballero (Malaga), Roberto Fernandez Alvarellos (Granada), Casto Espinosa Barriga (Real Betis), Dudu Aouate (Mallorca) and Jordi Codina Rodriguez (Getafe)

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2011 in European