La Roja face France this evening in the final of the Nations League at San Siro. If Spain prove successful, it will be the fifth title they’ve won in their history after three European Championships and one World Cup. France are no mugs, however. They’re the reigning world champions and have serious talent in their ranks.
There are numbers, however, that support the idea that Spain can get the job done, according to Marca. Nobody has had more shots than Spain in the Nations League, and no other side has performed as well in the respected xG metric. France are third in this particular measure. Luis Enrique’s side have also scored in each of their last nine games in all competitions, 22 goals in total.
Only the Netherlands is more focused at funnelling the ball into the box, and despite being short in stature on average Spain are more reliant on headers – low, driven balls – than anyone else. Perhaps less surprisingly, nobody has enjoyed more of the ball and nobody has attempted or completed more passes. France tend to cede the majority of possession to their opponents.
Defensively, Spain are on par for goals conceded with Italy, Portugal, England and the Netherlands, although it must be considered that those three have played a game less than them. It allows fewer shots per game than anyone, and has the lowest xGA. Studying such numbers in the cold light of day suggests that, despite the lethal attacking talent France have at their disposal, Spain have every chance of emerging victorious.