Former UEFA president Michel Platini may come to regret spearheading the expansion of the European Championship from 16 to 24 teams.
The Frenchman currently holds the all time finals-goals record, having scored an astonishing nine times in five games during Les Bleus’ triumphant Euro 1984 campaign, the sole tournament in which he took part.
Having diluted the competitiveness of the group stages through the more all-encompassing approach he himself pioneered, the man Pele described as ‘the European player of the eighties’ may have made his mark easier to overhaul.
Wayne Rooney (five), Cristiano Ronaldo (six) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all within striking distance of the banned former-UEFA president’s tally.
But which of the trio of titanic talismen is most likely to do move beyond it?
News.bwin.com have crunched the decisive digits – from past tournament net-bulging exploits, to group-stage opponents’ defensive capabilities, via 2015/16 club form, qualifying prolificacy and likely round of elimination.
Surprisingly given Sweden’s peripheral role in major tournaments since finishing third at the 1994 World Cup, Ibrahimovic – 25/1 to be Euro 2016 top goalscorer – has been the most effective marksman at international finals across his career.
His six goals across Euros and World Cups came at a rate of one for every 188 minutes on the field, 21 minutes less than Rooney and 66 fewer than Ronaldo.
‘Ibra’, the oldest of the triumvirate, was also the most prolific in qualifying for Euro 2016, his 11 goals in ten games coming at ratio of one for every 74 minutes played.
Ronaldo leads the way when it comes to club form this season, notching every 84 minutes, but Paris Saint-Germain forward Zlatan needed only 240 seconds more to find the net on average.
Among the record-chasing threesome, the Real Madrid machine can expect arguably the standout group stage boot-filling opportunity against Hungary, who shipped nine goals in the qualifying groups and another across the two-legged play-offs.
Yet, Belgium, Italy and the Republic of Ireland, Sweden’s rivals in section E, weren’t a great deal more parsimonious in securing their own participation.
If Ibrahimovic is to be undone in his attempts to beat Rooney and Ronaldo to Platini’s record, then it may, ultimately, be by his own teammates.
The Blågult’s average round of elimination over their past three tournaments is the group-stage, only going into the knockout rounds at World Cup 2006, where they were promptly ejected by the hosts.