Gerrard vs Pirlo analysis - How did the two legends compare?

Steven Gerrard Euro 2012 England vs Italy

Who put up the best stats out of the Liverpool icon and Serie A legend?

Saturday night's England vs Italy contest was billed not only as the meeting of two of Europe's traditional major footballing nations, but also as another opportunity to see two of the game's finest midfielders face off against each other.

With Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo both well into triple figures in terms of international caps, just as they are comfortably midway through their fourth decades, they have assumed deeper, more controlled roles in their sides, a much more natural style of play for the Juventus man than it is for Gerrard, who was famed for his lung busting box-to-box style until the season just gone.

Under Brendan Rodgers this year, Gerrard has become someone to orchestrate play with his passing rather than harry the opposition and burst into the box, using his ability on the ball and positioning to set things going rather than finish them off.

But how did he compare to Pirlo, a player who has mastered the art of the through ball over his career.

Below we look at the stats from the match:

  TeamAccurate PassTotal PassPassing  Accuracy
Long Ball Accuracy %Mins
Andrea Pirlo Italy 103 108 95.37% 87.50% 90
Steven Gerrard England 62 67 87.32% 84.62% 90

Both players displayed strong passing, with Pirlo supplying more accurate passes than any other player on the pitch, and Gerrard the best on the English team. Each only misplaced five passes, but the Italian's much higher total passes ensured his percentage accuracy was the best of all the midfielders that completed the game.

Factoring in the Juventus midfielder's stronger long passing percentage, it seems there was only one winner out of the two veterans.

  TeamTotal Through BallThrough Ball Accuracy %TouchesPoss Lost AllMins
Andrea Pirlo Italy 2 100.00% 117 10 90
Steven Gerrard England 0 0.00% 78 11 90

Pirlo went on to impress further with both his through ball abilities and the sheer number of times he touched the ball. Despite England knowing how dangerous the 35-year-old would be, they still let him have more touches on the ball than any other player.

Gerrard failed to influence the game as much as Pirlo, and will surely seek to raise his game ahead of the meeting with Uruguay on Thursday.

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