With Euro 2020 having drawn to a close, and Italy still revelling in their triumph, it’s a good time to take stock of the recently announced Team of the Tournament.
There are a few controversial inclusions and exclusions, with a few players making the cut who might have surprised a few of the punters on Betdaq. Read on, as we run through the eleven players who earned the honour.
Many felt that it was a strange decision to award Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the Player of the Tournament accolade, but there’s no doubt that he was the most impressive goalkeeper at the Championships. His heroics in the penalty shootout wins over Spain in the semi-final and England in the final certainly warrant his inclusion in the Team of the Tournament.
It’s only fair that Kyle Walker receives recognition for his performances for England at Euro 2020. The Manchester City player has occasionally been known to throw in a wobbly moment now and then, but throughout England’s campaign he was a defensive rock. His speed and strength make him extremely difficult for attackers to get in behind, and his pace was also a massive asset for England going forward.
You can’t argue with Leonardo Bonucci’s inclusion either. As a veteran of Italy’s international setup, Bonucci has been there and done it at the highest level of the game, but winning the Euros ranks as one of his crowning achievements. He displayed outstanding leadership qualities in the games where he filled in as captain following Giorgio Chiellini’s injury, and he led by example in the final by grabbing Italy’s equaliser at Wembley, which ultimately forced the penalty shootout.
It was thought that England’s Harry Maguire might not be fit enough to play any part for England at the Euros, but despite missing the first two matches, Maguire returned to the starting eleven and was a rock for Gareth Southgate’s side. He capped a superb tournament with a goal in the quarter-final win over Ukraine.
It’s a mark of how well Leonardo Spinazzola played at Euro 2020 that he has been included in the Team of the Tournament despite missing the semi-final and final. Playing at left wing-back, Spinazzola was one of Italy’s most important attacking cogs, giving them major impetus down the left side and playing his part in a number of goals. His devastating injury in the quarter-final sparked fears that Italy wouldn’t succeed without him, but his teammates dedicated their win to the in-form full-back.
It’s only right that a Danish player is included in the Team of the Tournament after their impressive run to the last four. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg performed brilliantly throughout the tournament, recovering from a missed penalty in the opening game against Finland to produce several commanding displays in midfield.
Few midfielders are able to assert as much control from a deep-lying midfield position as Jorginho, and the Chelsea man was outstanding for Italy in every game. It’s vital for any successful team to have a metronomic presence in the middle of the field, and Jorginho played that role to perfection. His winning penalty against Spain in the shootout was a particular highlight.
Undoubtedly the most impressive youngster at Euro 2020, and the deserving winner of the Young Player of the Tournament accolade, Pedri was a hugely impressive figure for Spain. Keeping Thiago Alcantara out of the team is no easy feat, but Pedri proved that he has the ability to handle the biggest occasions.
While Federico Chiesa did not start every match for Italy, his influence on their Euro 2020 triumph cannot be understated. His goal against Austria in the last 16 was vital in terms of sparking Italy into life, and he bagged another scorcher in the semi-final against Spain. Chiesa was arguably their best player in the final before being substituted, and it’s clear that he has a bright future ahead of him.
There has been some head-scratching as to how Romelu Lukaku earned a place in the Team of the Tournament over Golden Boot joint-winner Patrik Schick, but Lukaku certainly made his presence felt in this tournament, notching four goals. The only disappointment was that he did not produce his best in the quarter-final against Italy.
There’s no doubt that if England had won the Euros, Raheem Sterling would have picked up the Player of the Tournament award. He was England’s brightest spark throughout the competition, providing moments of inspiration when they were most needed in the group stage, and in the last 16 against Germany. After a difficult spell last season with Manchester City, Sterling has reaffirmed his supreme talent.