4 Important Data Analytic Terms to Learn Before Euro 2024

The roar of the crowd, the nail-biting tension, th

Talk Football
4 Important Data Analytic Terms to Learn Before Euro 2024

The roar of the crowd, the nail-biting tension, the sheer athleticism on display - the UEFA European Championship is a spectacle that captivates millions across the globe.

But what if you could delve deeper by understanding the tactical nuances to appreciate the game through a data-driven lens? Here are 4 key data analytic terms to equip you for Euro 2024 and transform you from a casual viewer to an informed observer.

1. Expected Goals (xG)

Imagine this scenario: Team A dominates possession, creates numerous chances, but only manages to score once. Team B, on the other hand, capitalises on a single counter-attack and emerges victorious. Traditional statistics only tell us the final score, a one-dimensional story. This is where Expected Goals (xG) steps in.

xG is a metric that assesses the quality of a chance, assigning a probability of it resulting in a goal. This revolves around analysing factors like shot location, type of chance (header, free kick, etc.), and distance from goal. A high xG value for a team that loses suggests they were unlucky, while a low xG for a winner indicates defensive efficiency.

Understanding xG allows you to go beyond the final scoreline and appreciate the underlying story of the match. Did a team create numerous high-quality chances but lack finishing prowess? Did a goalkeeper pull off a string of miraculous saves to defy xG? Football remains a beautiful game of chance, but xG sheds light on the underlying probabilities.

2. Pass Completion Rate

The days of tiki-taka, where teams are obsessed with maintaining possession at all costs, are slowly fading. Modern football emphasises quality over quantity when it comes to passing. Here’s where Pass Completion Rate comes into play.

This metric simply measures the percentage of attempted passes that reach their intended target. A high completion rate suggests a team is comfortable on the ball, can control the tempo of the game, and effectively build attacks. However, a high completion rate doesn’t automatically translate to success. Imagine a team with a 90% completion rate but only passing sideways and backwards, never venturing forward to create chances. This highlights the importance of context.

A more insightful approach is to analyse the location and purpose of the passes. Are they progressing the ball forward or simply recycling possession in safe areas? Understanding passing networks, which visualise the flow of passes between players, can reveal a ton about a team.

This one is going to help a lot if you are looking to bet on EURO 2024 in South Africa - pass completion rate is often one of the main statistics that determines a team’s chances of winning.

3. Pressure Regain and PPDA

Modern football is as much about winning the ball back quickly as it is about possession. Pressure Regain refers to the act of winning possession back within a certain time frame after losing it (usually within a few seconds). PPDA (Passes Per Defensive Action) takes this concept a step further.

PPDA measures the average number of passes an opposing team makes before your team regains possession. A low PPDA signifies a team applying intense pressure high up the pitch, disrupting the opponent’s build-up play and forcing turnovers. Conversely, a high PPDA indicates a more passive defending style, allowing the opposition time and space to create chances.

Understanding pressure regain and PPDA allows you to appreciate the defensive strategies employed by different teams. A team like Germany that is known for their aggressive pressing might have a low PPDA, while a team like Spain, with a more possession-based approach, might have a higher PPDA. By analysing these metrics, you can see how teams attempt to win the ball back and stifle their opponents’ attacking threat.

4. Shot Locations

Not all shots are created equal. A powerful strike from outside the penalty area carries a lower probability of success compared to a close-range tap-in. This is why analysing Shot Locations paints a vivid picture of a team’s attacking strategy and finishing prowess.

Think of a team bombarding the opponent’s goal with long-range efforts but struggling to create clear-cut chances. This suggests a lack of creativity or penetration in the final third. Conversely, a team with a high concentration of shots from close range indicates an effective attacking approach that creates opportunities for their forwards to score.

Analysing shot locations can also reveal a team’s reliance on individual brilliance. Does a team rely heavily on their star striker to create and score goals, or do they have a more balanced approach with goals coming from various sources?By understanding shot locations, you can appreciate the tactical nuances employed by teams in the attacking third.


We hope this article will be of use to you. Whether you use these terms to increase your engagement with each game or use them to have more knowledge at hand when placing bets, knowing more about the sport you love is always going to be a good thing. Just remember to use your newfound powers correctly. See you next time!