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Euro 2024 trumps 2020 on speed and late drama but goals are down

DUESSELDORF, Germany : The European Championship knockout stage has yet to start but the tournament has already surpassed a few Euro 2020 benchmarks, with faster players and double the stoppage-time goals, while a blitz of bookings has set the stage for a feisty finale.

Euro 2024 looks on course to beat the 18 goals scored from outside the area in Euro 2020 with 14 so far, but the tournament's top marksmen are proving less proactive and productive, with fewer goals and a decline in their goal attempts.

The successful long-range efforts of Euro 2024 are already more than the whole of the 2022 World Cup, and the 14 counted so far does not include Turkey's howler of an own goal against Portugal, when Samet Akaydin's casual backpass rolled comically past his own goalkeeper.

Among the most standout statistics has been the 10 stoppage-time goals in the group stage, double the number over the entirety of Euro 2020 and beating the record of nine over the course of the 2016 contest.

The drama is not all at the back end of matches, with 30 goals scored inside the first half-hour of Euro 2024 games, passing the 29 seen over the course of the 51 matches of Euro 2020.

Euro 2024 is already an ill-disciplined affair compared to last time, with 161 yellow cards shown so far, surpassing the 151 during the whole of Euro 2020, when there were 85 shown in the first round.

A big contributor was Wednesday's tense Group F encounter between the Czech Republic and Turkey, when a record 18 yellows were brandished, as well as two reds.

SPEEDY START

Players are getting quicker too, with Slovenia's Benjamin Sesko clocking a top speed of 35.9 kph (22.3 mph), fastest among the 45 players who, according to the UEFA numbers, eclipsed the 33.8 kph reached

Read more on channelnewsasia.com