You can prove anything with statistics. Well, you can as long as you're a fan of Tranquillo Barnetta...
After the runaway success of yesterday's Lothar Matthaeus diss (sample reader comments: "This is the worst ED ever", "The one who wrote this ED is a real ass hole, who the hell is he to judge luthar??"), Early Döorß has made the foolhardy decision to play the numbers game for a second morning on the spin.
UEFA seem to have farmed out their statistics-gathering for Euro 2008 to Castrol. And get that cymbal crash ready as ED remarks the aptness of a motor oil company measuring which players have got a good engine!
The man with a V12 purring under his rather unprepossessing bonnet is Russia's Sergei Semak, who was an agonising 10-metre burst away from reaching the 15km mark against the Netherlands. He is now above 50km for Euro 2008.
Semak's exertions put to shame Italy 'striker' Antonio Cassano, whose fondness for stripping to his underpants cannot mask a worrying lack of elbow grease. Cassano ambled a dismal 7.1km against Spain before making his most sustained physical exertion of the night as he jogged off the pitch.
As a junior, Cassano once refused to play a match unless the team bus stopped to let him buy a pair of Doc Martens. ED can't remember his footwear on Sunday night, but a chunky pair of bovver boots would explain a lot.
Embarrassingly for Cassano, he covered only slightly more ground than Turkey's Rustu Recber, who ran further than any goalkeeper in the tournament against Croatia; nearly all of his 6.26km coming in ill-advised forays from his goalline.
Turkey also boast the fastest keeper. Volkan Demirel reached 25.89km/h running away from the furious Jan Koller after decking the giant Czech in a moment of temporary insanity.
Rather oddly, the fastest man at Euro 2008 is Croatia's Ivica Olic, whom ED thought looks and plays like a bit of a carthorse. Not a bit of it, according to the Castrol stats monkeys, whose radar guns clocked Olic doing 31.76km/h, or 19.73mph in old money.
It says something sad about the limits of humankind that not even the most highly-trained athletes can run fast enough to break the speed limit in one of those residential areas with speed humps, chicanes and garishly-painted 'traffic calming' measures.
Such a baffling array of obstacles would obviously compromise Olic's top speed and distract him so comprehensively as to render a collision with unsuspecting pedestrians almost certain.
That right-wing, anti-Nanny State rant out of the way, ED turns its attention to the tournament's slowest man, Switzerland goalkeeper Pascal Zueberbuehler.
Zubi's maximum 13.39km/h would have seen him left for dead by the overweight geriatric lady who jogs past ED's window every morning. Or, as ED likes to call her, mum.
You don't need statistics to know that Luca Toni is rubbish, but here's one anyway. Only two of his 14 shots forced any kind of action from an opposition goalkeeper, although ED cannot for the life of it remember when they were.
Roman Pavyluchenko is just one behind with 11 shots off target and will surely smash Toni's record against Spain. However, like a white, Russian Andy Cole, his shocking profligacy is mitigated by the fact he scores lots of goals.
Little surprise to see that out of the 15 players who have attempted the most passes, nearly half are Spanish. Marcos Senna, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi, Joan Capdevila, David Silva and Carlos Marchena have, between them, contrived to play 1,280 five-yard sideways balls.
Philipp Lahm tops the table with 210 passes, but his 156 completions give him a shoddy 74% success rate. Comapre that with Senna and Xavi, whose brand of ineffectual intricacy allows them to find a colleague nine times out of 10.
All very interesting(?), but Castrol lose all credibility with their Performance Index, an allegedly scientific assessment of each player, with their contribution boiled down to a four-digit number.
The accompanying blurb trumpets the Index's complexity, with a huge number of factors contributing to a player's 'CPI'. Clearly being rubbish and Swiss counts heavily among them, for the top-rating midfielder is the rubbish and Swiss Tranquillo Barnetta.
Thereafter nothing can redeem the system. Wesley Sneijder, David Villa and Andrei Arshavin might feature near the top, but the 'Barnetta effect' renders the whole exercise utterly pointless.
An increasing number of managers, led by the stats-crazy Arsene Wenger, swear by all this numerical mumbo-jumbo. So ED was more than heartened to hear a sceptical Martin O'Neill wonder aloud about how exactly one measures the distance a player runs.
"Do they put pedometers on their shorts?" he asked with genuine bewilderment.
Castrol have asked Early Döorß to print this response, and ED is happy to oblige:
Hands up who scrutinised Barnetta carefully throughout the match as opposed to the other 21 players? Does anyone know how many shots on target Barnetta produced, and what sort of quality they were? Or are people generally blinded by the fact that Barnetta was playing in a poor team, and not really paying that much attention when the Swiss had the ball?
When it comes down to it, Barnetta produced a lot with his shots and his penalty win. The point of the CPI is not whether he scored, but how likely it was those shots were to result in a goal. If you take away the points he gained for winning the penalty, that puts him down to about 8th place. But the fact is that winning the penalty was worth 70% of a goal to the Swiss, so he should be rewarded for it...
I guess the important takeout is that these rankings are based on the contributions made. They aren't a basic measure of talent. The Castrol Performance Index is much better than eyeballing. Every move in every game is related to points objectively. All stats have limitations but we look forward to the debate the CPI brings....
PS - For the first time, football fans from across the globe will have a say into which player will be crowned the Castrol UEFA EURO 2008TM Player of the Tournament. Fans will be given the chance to nominate three players to be put forward alongside three choices from the UEFA Technical Study Group (TSG). The TSG will then make their selection based on this final list of six. So people who disagree with the above can log onto http://www.castrolindex.com/ to make sure Barnetta doesn't get a look in!
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'INSIDER' OF THE DAY: A Manchester United source tells the Sun he fears the worst after a video tour of Cristiano Ronaldo's house shows the number seven tackily embossed on cupboards, sofas and pillows: "I don't think this is a good sign for fans. Becks went nuts on the number - and the next moment he's signed for Madrid." Where he wore the number 23.
FOREIGN VIEW: It is nice to see the German tabloids retain their sense of perspective amid all this Euro fever. Bild lead with Ana Ivanovic: "She is so sexy like Kournikova, but she can also play tennis." Football is represented by a picture of two topless female fans kissing.
TALKING POINT: Arrogant (mostly) German roll of honour: Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann, Prince Phillip, Boris Becker, Dick Dastardly, Adolf Hitler, james_ssmith and Andy Moeller.
rolandlundall caused a storm with this remark: "What can I say about German people maybe not every one but 95% of them are huge racists and thats it. They are people who have such negative energy and their mentality is so low."
Somebody calling 'herself' margaret118 attempted to set the record straight: "As an Englishman I can say without a shadow of doubt that WE TO OUR EVERLASTING SHAME have caused more damage and racial hatred throughout history than ANY OTHER nation INCLUDING HITLER'S GERMANY!! FACT!!!"
Meanwhile, g_hine puts Lothar Matthaeus's dreadful prediction skills down to the fact he has swapped bodies with Dennis Quaid.
Talking point - Which tournament is better - Euro 2008 or Wimbledon?
COMING UP: Andy Murray plays at Wimbledon against ancient French oddball Fabrice Santoro. Seems ripe for first-round exit, really. Follow all the fuzzy-balls action live from midday.