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Euro 2020’s top scorer is the own goal.

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The battle for the Golden Boot, awarded to the tournament’s top scorer, will be decided today, and the England forwards Harry Kane (four goals) and Raheem Sterling (three) seem to be the only two players left with a realistic chance to catch the current leaders, Patrick Schick and Cristiano Ronaldo, who both scored five before departing Euro 2020.

But in reality the race for the tournament’s top scorer has been over for weeks, and the own goal has won it going away.

There have been 11 own goals at Euro 2020, more than the combined total that were scored in the 15 previous editions of the European Championship.

There have been unlucky goals. Strange goals. Slap-your-forehead goals. They have been scored by midfielders and defenders and goalkeepers.

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In retrospect, the tournament’s first goal — an Italy cross turned into Turkey’s net by one of its defenders, Merih Demiral — was probably an omen we all should have taken more seriously.

That marked the first time the tournament had opened its account with a player scoring against his own team, but in the four weeks since that night, the own goals have kept coming. Spain was the beneficiary of two of them in a 5-0 win over Slovakia, and Portugal managed to score two on itself — only four minutes apart — in a 4-2 loss to Germany.

Pedri’s, the opening goal in Spain’s memorable round-of-16 victory against Croatia, might have been the worst of the bunch …

… but it had some solid competition for that title:

The most recent one, No. 11 overall, even helped send Denmark out in the semifinals:

Will the final get us to an even dozen? One would hope not. England, for one, would never live it down.





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