08 July 2016

Goalscoring drought for No. 9s at Euro 2016

Several high-profile players exit without a goal

My article for MARCA

Antoine Griezmann may be be making up for the failings of others, but on the whole, it's been a European Championship to forget for many of Europe's top marksmen.

One of the most glaring examples has been Poland's Robert Lewandowski, given that the Bayern striker hit 42 goals for his club last season, but only managed one this summer.

But that's more than some of his illustrious fellow forwards who exited the tournament without even matching that paltry return.

Chief amongst them is his club colleague Thomas Muller who featured out wide and as a false nine but to no tangible effect.

It wasn't for lack of chances, in particular he had ample opportunity against Northern Ireland in the group phase but ultimately he failed to find the back of the net.

It's a curious fact that in two European Championships, Muller has not registered a single goal whereas in each of the last two World Cups, he's stuck five.

Harry Kane, top scorer in the Premier League with 25 goals, similarly flattered to deceive despite starting three of England's four matches.

Another was Mario Mandzukic whose exploits in the previous edition of this tournament earned him a move to Bayern.

Croatia won scores of admirers for their performances in the group stage but the the Juventus man failed in his principal objective of sticking the ball away, leaving that burden instead to the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic.

Another on the list of strikers without a goal is Spain's Aritz Aduriz - scorer of 62 goals over the past two seasons with Athletic Bilbao - as well as Haris Seferovic of Switzerland and Russia's Artem Dzyuba. 

All told, it has not been a vintage tournament for No. 9s.


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