This could get Messi…
Tailorbet study reveals Argentinians have scored the most goals in Champions League Finals
Since the first European Cup final in 1956, UEFA’s premier inter-continental competition has evolved to become the Champions League and witnessed some sensational conclusions. Ahead of this weekend’s final between Juventus and Barcelona, peer-to-peer sportsbook Tailorbet have looked at those responsible for deciding these fixtures and in particular, which nations have performed best (or worst!) in European Cup/Champions League.
With 26 appearances, 12 wins and 14 runners-up spots, Italy has been the best-represented nation in European Cup Finals. Reflecting this year’s final, Spain are the second-best represented side, but boast a better win-ratio with 14 wins and 12 runner-up spots. England, largely thanks to a dominant spell in the 1980s, are in third with 12 wins from 19 appearances.
When it comes to goals scored in the final, it’s Argentina and England who lead the way. Of the 157 goals scored in the Champions League final Argentinian and English players are responsible for 17 goals each, meaning that combined, (10.8% each) they have scored over a fifth of all goals in European Cup finals. In joint second place it is Germany, Spain and Italy with 16 goals each and in third it is Holland, whose countrymen have netted 15 times in the final.
This bodes well for both sides in this year’s final who have Argentinians, in Tevez and Messi, leading the frontline and then a wider team predominately made up of Italians and Spaniards who have historically been amongst the top scorers.
If history is anything to go by, a relatively high scoring affair could be on the cards. With 157 goals scored in 59 finals, an average of 2.66 goals are scored in the final.
When passions are high, discipline can falter and it appears the Spanish are the most likely to lose their cool in a final. Spanish teams have played more finals than most, but they have also accrued the most bookings – 28 yellow cards accounts for 22.4% of the 125 shown in the finals since 1956.
To put the Spanish feistiness into context, the second most carded nationality in European Cup Finals, Italians, have only received 18 bookings and third place Germany 14 yellow cards.
When it comes to red cards, only three have ever been awarded. German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was dismissed in 2006, Ivorian Didier Drogba in 2008 and a solitary Argentinian in Diego Simeone – who was sent from the dugout in last year’s final.
The finals tend to be very close…
Given the quality of teams in the final, it should come as no surprise that the majority of finals are closely contested affairs. Of the 59 finals, 29 (49%) have been decided by a single goal or goal scorer*, a further ten required a penalty shootout to decide the fixture (16.9%). Another five finals (8.5%), of which three were settled by a single goal’s difference, went to extra-time.
The end result tells a tale of a final typically characterised by two very evenly-matched opponents – 74.5% of finals have either been settled by a single goal or goal scorer, or have not been settled until after the regulation 90 minutes have been completed.
Given the closeness of the games, both Barcelona and Juventus need a match-winner, but is there one nationality that is particularly prolific when it comes to settling games?
When looking at the nationality of the player that scored the decisive goal, it’s revealed that the Dutch are the most frequent scorers of the all-important goals. They have managed six winning goals, including some memorable moments such as Patrick Kluivert’s heroics in 1995 for Ajax and Ronald Koeman’s winner for Barcelona in 1992.
Unfortunately for both sides in this year’s final, neither are likely to have a Dutchman in the squad. This may appear to give Barcelona another little edge as Brazilians are the second most decisive scorers, with four goals that settled a match, perhaps indicating that Neymar is the one to watch on Saturday night.
Liam Casey from Tailorbet said:
“You’ve always got to look at historical date with a critical mind, but the Argentinian’s goal scoring record in European Cup finals is something that is particularly interesting given Tevez and Messi will be going head-to-head on Saturday night.
“Another stat we particularly enjoyed was how frequently Spanish players seem to get booked in finals. It’s this sort of in-depth and creative data that we want our users to utilise when creating markets at the best value. We’ve already got users backing Argentina to be the top-scoring nation in this year’s final, a bet you can only get with us.”