Euro 2024 already has more long-range goals than the last World Cup, with three left

Euro 2024 already has more long-range goals than the last World Cup, with three left

Published Jun. 24, 2024 1:43 p.m. ET

Nothing gets a soccer play-by-play announcer's vocal chords going quite like a spectacular long-range goal and Euro 2024 is producing excitable exclamations at a remarkable rate.

There is a lot that goes into these things, and the current glut of scoring from distance likely isn't as simple as attributing it solely to the quality of the ball, or the conditions in Germany, or the tactics, or coincidence.

A combination of all of the above is probably the nearest thing to the truth, but either way, the simple fact that this tournament has already seen more goals from outside the penalty area than the entire 2022 World Cup (yes, really) is startling enough in itself.

And there is still nearly three weeks left.


In Qatar, despite a generally outstanding quality of play, there were only 13 goals from outside the area scored across its slate of 64 matches. Just 26 games into the Euros, and 14 are already on the board.

Florian Wirtz kicked it off with a fluid and forceful offering in the opening match, Germany's 5-1 thumping of Scotland. It hasn't slowed down much from there.

Turkey teenager Arda Guler's piece of left-footed magic against Georgia could be played on loop and you'd never get sick of it.

Xherdan Shaqiri's opportunism against Scotland was a favorite of FOX analyst Jimmy Conrad.

"There have been a long of bangers in this tournament," Conrad said. "(Shaqiri) is making it look easy. You think it's easy? You go out there and try it."

[Related: FOX Soccer NOW's Top 5 goals of Euro 2024 so far]

In terms of effectiveness, Kasper Hjulmand's effort from well outside the area was the moment that stopped England in its tracks, and potentially altered the outcome of Group C.

There has even been an own goal from outside the box, although UEFA didn't count poor Samet Akaydin's loss of concentration against Portugal in its official stats. If you like the long-range stuff, sit tight, there is likely be more, and yes, the ball is part of a trend that no soccer fan is ever going to complain about.

The Adidas Fussballliebe has a lot more going for it than just three consecutive letter Ls. It means "love of football" in German and, delightfully, seem to lead to a ton a spectacular goals.

England captain Harry Kane described it as "staying hit" once struck, meaning the flight is true and predictable, something that has not always been the case at international tournaments.

The infamous Jabulani ball was blamed for the rather drab nature of many games at the 2010 World Cup, exacerbated by the altitude in South Africa, sending the ball ballooning off the feet of the world's best.

The Fussballliebe contains sugar cane and wood pulp as part of its design, though neither of those things will help you much if your aim is bad.

Romania head coach Edward Iordanescu indicated the sequence of dramatic strikes might be as simple as players with excellent technique having the courage to just hit the darn thing.

"A good player hitting the ball cleanly," Iordanescu said, after his player Nicolae Stanciu drilled one against Ukraine. "When that happens you have the possibility of a goal, from any position."

Attempts from far-reaching positions are among the most entertaining parts of soccer. With defensive formations well-drilled and organized, getting through a congested penalty area can be a mightily tough task.

This is speculative only, but the tightening of the handball rule and the increased use of VAR may provide another incentive. If your strike doesn't send the net bulging, a striker might reason, there is always the chance it would thwack a defender on the arm and earn a fortuitous penalty.

Going into Monday's games, 10 of the 24 teams had knocked at least one in from afar, with Germany, Switzerland, Turkey and Romania the only sides to have done so twice.

Enough to get the fans excited and provide highlight reel posterity. And to get the announcers to turn up the volume

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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