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Ronaldo still setting Castrol EDGE Index pace

He may have been denied a place in Sunday’s UEFA EURO 2012 final but Cristiano Ronaldo did enough in Portugal’s penalty shoot-out defeat by Spain to retain his status as the top performer in the Castrol EDGE Index.

The Real Madrid CF forward has proved an immovable presence at the head of the standings since assuming pole position after the group stage, and against the holders in Donetsk he showed further flashes of the form which has helped shape his overall ranking of 9.68. Against La Roja, Paulo Bento’s captain continued his trend of having at least four shots in a match at these finals – he had six at the Donbass Arena, five of which were off target.

Italy’s Mario Balotelli, whose double in the other last-four tie ended the hopes of Germany, is only one on-target effort shy of Ronaldo’s total of 15. However, the Azzurri striker, up from 29th to sixth, has the distinction of having generated more value from his shots than anybody else in the tournament. Consequently the Manchester City FC forward could yet threaten the top of the leaderboard with a high-scoring display in Sunday’s Kyiv showpiece.

Pepe, who topped the game-by-game Index in Portugal’s last-eight victory against the Czech Republic, remains second. Nevertheless, the defender played a key role in the Selecção das Quinas restricting Spain to five shots on target, their lowest total for a game in Poland and Ukraine. His prevention of 28 opposition passes, however, was where the centre-back earned the bulk of his 8.82 match rating.

Following what was a good night for defenders – the Spain back line accounted for four of the top five players in the all-Iberian encounter − Gerard Piqué is up three places to third, climbing above team-mates Xabi Alonso and Andrés Iniesta. Part of a rearguard which has not conceded since the 61st minute of Spain’s opening draw with final opponents Italy, like Pepe the FC Barcelona centre-back was adept at breaking up play, doing so on 22 occasions.

Alonso followed up his Index-topping appearance against France in the previous round with another solid showing, completing more passes (90) than anybody else for the second match in succession. Overall the Madrid midfielder has successfully released possession 416 times in Spain’s five fixtures, a figure only beaten by Xavi Hernández’s 455.

Spain’s domination of the Index continues with Sergio Ramos (8th), Álvaro Arbeloa (9th) and Sergio Busquets (10th). All-action Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio, in seventh, completes the top ten.

Key facts so far
1 – Goals conceded by Spain in 480 minutes of UEFA EURO 2012 action.

4 – All four of Mario Balotelli’s international goals have been scored on Polish soil (three at this tournament and one in a November 2011 friendly against the co-hosts).

5 – Players who have scored a finals-leading three goals: Alan Dzagoev, Mario Mandžukić, Mario Gomez, Balotelli and Cristiano Ronaldo.

17 – Álvaro Arbeloa is the most fouled player at this EURO.

21 – Number of headed goals at UEFA EURO 2012, accounting for 30% of the overall total (compared to 19% in 2008).

Source Article from http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2012/statistics/castroledge/analysis/newsid=1834649.html?rss=1834649+Ronaldo+still+setting+Castrol+EDGE+Index+pace

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