Andrea Pirlo (33) completed more passes in the first half of last night’s game against England than any England player has completed ever in the history of the world. Ever. Multiplied by a very large number. Plus 12.
Well, that’s how it seemed to us through our beer tinted-spectacles. If there’s one thing we hate to do here on the Paddy Power Blog it’s to muddy a point of view with confusing statistics.
Pirlo passed the ball more often and more successfully than the top three passers from the England team, dictating the Italians’ play whenever they had the ball. Which was a lot. That’s 61% of the time to be exact.
Ok, here’s some stats.
- Pirlo was the game’s leading passer with 131 passes. England’s highest passer was penalty-misser Ashley Cole with 44
- According to UEFA, Pirlo ran 11.58 kilometres, more than any England player. Gerrard covered 11.26 km
However, it takes more than stylishly coiffured hair, a fashionable suit and some good passing statistics to win a place in our manly affections. It takes something extra special and last night, under the crushing pressure of a penalty shoot-out at the end of a tight(ish) and physically demanding game, in which the Juventus midfielder was the star player, he nonchalantly Panenka-ed his penalty to swing the momentum back in the Italians’ favour.
Is it any surprise Ashley Young duffed his penalty right after watching the Italian master dink his straight down the middle without a moment of doubt that it might be saved? Such calm is unnerving and from Pirlo’s penalty onwards the Italians were the only team going through.
Andrea Pirlo, we salute you.