Euro 2016 – semi-finals
After 48 matches played, only four teams are left in this Euro 2016 tournament. We’ve seen drama, joy, despair and almost every other emotion you can think of and the three most important matches are yet to come. France, Germany, Portugal and Wales have made it to the semi-finals and are only two victories away from raising the Henri Delaunay Trophy in the Stade de France. Nobody knows certain who of these four teams will crown themselves European champions. SciSports has compared the likely line-ups of the four nations for the semi-final and with the help of the Euro 2016 SciSkill Index came to the following report.
Average SciSkill score: 85.4
Wales finished first in a group with England, Russia and Slovakia, which pitted them against Northern Ireland in the round of 16. After their win in the British derby, they beat Belgium in the quarter-final. They will now take on Portugal in the semi-finals.
Wayne Hennessey is the goalkeeper for Wales and with a score of 63.7 is ranked 392nd (50th goalkeeper) on the SciSkill Index. This tournament, he only conceded three goals. He missed the first match against Slovakia due to a back injury, but has played every match since then.
So far, Wales has played every match with a five-man defence. The three central defenders are captain Ashley Williams, Ben Davies and James Chester. Davies (137th, 90.4) will miss the match versus Portugal due to a suspension. His likely replacement is West Ham United defender James Collins. Neil Taylor and Chris Gunter feature as left and right back for the Welsh. So far, none of the five defenders have missed a single minute this tournament, but with Davies’ suspension that will of course change.
Wales will certainly feel the absence of Aaron Ramsey (43rd, 107.9). The midfielder is also suspended due to a second yellow card and has been instrumental in Wales’ rise to fame. With one goal and four assists, Ramsey has been involved in half of Wales’ goals this tournament. Who will replace him is still unclear, with Andy King and Jonny Williams (527th, 47.1) being the main candidates. Based on the SciSkill Index, King seems to be the clear choice, but, based on previous line-ups, it is quite possible that manager Chris Coleman picks Williams over King. Joe Ledley, who nearly missed the tournament due to a broken leg, and Joe Allen will complete the Welsh midfield.
In the first match, Coleman chose to play Bale as a lone striker, but since then elected to play with two players up front. Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes (370th, 66.0) have both played as Bale’s partner in attack, but after Robson-Kanu’s strong performance in the quarter-final versus Belgium, he seems likely to start.
Based on the SciSkill Index, both Wales’ starting line-up and bench is of a lower quality than the Portuguese’s. Especially due to the absence of Ramsey and Davies, Wales’ bench is lacking depth more than any other semi-finalist. With a score of 66.0, Sam Vokes has the highest SciSkill score of the nine Welsh substitutes. However, Wales have shown throughout this tournament they are able to surprise both friend and foe. Perhaps they can do so again.
Average SciSkill score: 99.5
Portugal qualified for the knockout stage as one of the four best number threes. In the round of 16 they subsequently beat Croatia after extra time and knocked out Poland in the quarter-finals after a penalty shoot-out. In the semi-final, Wales will be their next opponent. The Portuguese are yet to win a match after 90 minutes.
Rui Patrício is Portugal’s first goalkeeper. So far this tournament, he has conceded five goals, three of them against Hungary in the group stage. He is ranked 143rd on the SciSkill Index and is the 20th best goalkeeper on the list.
Real Madrid defender Pepe is the only consistent factor in the Portuguese defence. On right back, Vieirinha played every group match, but was benched in favor of Cédric Soares in the knockout stage. On the other side, Raphael Guerrerio started as left back three times, while Eliseu (140th, 90.3) made the starting line-up two times, one of which was the most recent match, the quarter-final against Poland. However, Guerrerio will likely be fully fit against Wales and make the starting line-up. Ricardo Carvalho started the tournament as Pepe’s partner in central defence, but has been replaced by Jose Fonte in the knockout stage. Manager Fernando Santos will likely select Soares, Pepe, Fonte and Guerrerio as his defenders.
Portugal is the only semi-finalist that usually plays with four midfielders. However, the structure of the midfield has changed over the course of the tournament, both in line-up and formation. Ricardo Quaresma, Renato Sanches, João Mário and André Gomes have featured as wide midfielders, while William Carvalho, João Moutinho, Danilo Pereira, Adrien Silva have been used as a defensive, central or attacking midfielder. In the quarter-final versus Poland, William Carvalho and Adrien Silva formed the central midfield, while João Mario and Renato Sanches played as wide midfielders. Due to Carvalho’s suspension, Moutinho will likely return in the line-up next to Silva, while João Mario will play on the right wing, with either Sanches or Gomes playing left.
Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is the main attacking player for Portugal. Together with former Manchester United teammate Nani, he will need to produce the attacking impulses for the Portuguese. So far Ronaldo, who is also Portugal’s captain, has scored two times and produced two assists, while Nani has also scored twice, while giving one assist. Ronaldo is ranked first on the SciSkill Index with a whopping score of 150.5.
Portugal will hope that players like Ronaldo, Fonte, Pepe and Gomes stay fit during the match, because their bench is not of the same standard as the first eleven. Ricardo Carvalho (111th, 93.8) and Eliseu are two of the few reserves who will not weaken the line-up considerably when substituted in.
Average SciSkill score: 103.1
The hosts progressed to the final four after finishing first in a group with Romania, Albania and Switzerland and beating the Republic of Ireland and Iceland in the knockout stage. In the semi-final they will face world champions Germany.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has not missed a single minute of France’s tournament so far and will, barring any injuries, again take his place in goal against the Germans. The Tottenham Hotspur goalie is ranked 38th on the SciSkill Index and is the 8th best goalkeeper featured on the list. The French captain has conceded four goals this tournament, two of which were penalties.
Bacary Sagna, Adil Rami, Laurent Koscielny and Patrice Evra have been the starting defence in all of France’s Euro 2016 matches, except the quarter-final against Iceland, where Rami was suspended. With Rami being available again, he will most likely return to the starting line-up. Koscielny is the highest ranked Frenchman on the SciSkill Index (15th, 119.1) and will be instrumental in stopping the German offence.
Manager Didier Deschamps has altered the midfield on several occasions, due to suspensions and disappointing performances. In the opening match against Romania, he opted for a Kanté-Matuidi-Pogba midfield, but Mousa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye and Dimitri Payet have also featured as midfielders in this tournament. Paul Pogba is the highest ranked midfielder and perhaps the biggest star in the French squad. N’Golo Kanté missed the quarter-final against Iceland due to a suspension, but is available for the match against Germany. Deschamps will most likely fall back on his original midfield from the opening match: Pogba, Kanté and Matuidi.
Offensively, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann have impressed for France. The two wingers’ quality have been instrumental in France’s success and the hosts will need the two to do well against Germany if they want to qualify for the final. Griezmann is currently the top scorer of the tournament with four goals, with Payet and striker Olivier Giroud just behind him with three goals. No team has scored more than France (11 goals).
Based on the SciSkill Index, the French have no need to fret if one of their starting players has to come off. With players like Morgan Schneiderlin (107.3), Eliaquim Mangala (101.0) and Samuel Umtiti (94.5), France has enough defensive quality on the bench. Furthermore, talented attackers like Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman have two of the highest potential scores in the entire tournament (11th and 13th) and should be able to do well when substituted in.
Average SciSkill score: 106.8
World champions Germany knocked out Slovakia in the round of sixteen and Italy in the quarter-final after finishing first in a group with Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland. They will now take on hosts France in the semi-final.
Manuel Neuer is currently considered by many to be the best goalkeeper of the world and his ranking in the SciSkill Index reflects that sentiment. With a 5th place overall and a score of 127.5, the German is the best goalkeeper on the list. So far, Neuer has only conceded one goal: a penalty kick against Italy in the quarter-final.
The Germans will not be able to field Mats Hummels in the back four. The central defender is suspended after he received his second yellow card of the tournament against Italy. Hummels also did not start in the opening match against Ukraine due to an injury. His spot was filled by Shkodran Mustafi who will likely start again against France, together with Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng and Jonas Hector. Boateng is the highest ranked defender in the German squad (32nd, 111.6).
Sami Khedira is unavailable against the French due to a thigh injury. The Juventus midfielder had started every match for the Germans, but will be forced to sit out this semi-final. It is unclear if he will be available for a potential final. Who will replace him is also still uncertain. Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger seems the most likely option, but the 31-year old is also struggling with an injury. Other possibilities are Emre Can and Julian Weigl, with neither having played any minutes this tournament. Based on the SciSkill score, Emre Can (99.2) seems to be the better option compared to Weigl (76.8). Toni Kroos, who is ranked 8th on the SciSkill Index, and Mesut Özil will no doubt complete the midfield and play a pivotal role in manager Joachim Low’s approach.
Striker Mario Gomez has played his last minutes in this tournament. A hamstring injury has made him unavailable for both the semi-final and final. Who his replacement will be is unclear, but Mario Götze seems to be one the main candidates. In the first two group matches, the 24-year old already played as the starting striker. Thomas Müller and Julian Draxler will most likely complete the attack. Müller is the highest ranked German on the SciSkill Index (3rd, 131.0) and is a key player under Löw. However, the lack of goals by this attack (only Draxler has scored once this tournament) might be a point of concern for the Germans.
On the bench, talented players like Leroy Sané (ranked 8th on potential score) and Julian Weigl (25th on potential score) are available for the Germans. Provided he is fit, Bastian Schweinsteiger (40th, 109.2) can also be of worth for the world champions. However, due to the absence of Hummels, Khedira and Gomez, the current depth of the German bench is less impressive than the French, which might become a problem if the match goes to extra-time.
SciSports is one of the fastest growing sports analytics companies in the world
We are a solution to the growing need for accurate data and new insights