Will Rogers names his team of the tournament from the European Championships following the Italian victory over the English on Sunday
Euro 2020 produced one of the most exciting, tense and memorable tournaments in living memory. The Italians eventually claimed the Henri Delaunay trophy, following a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over England at Wembley. Some of the old guard produced some exceptional performances, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Giorgio Chiellini showing the value of experience, whilst there were some breakout stars from across Europe. The quality was generally very high, including some phenomenal goals, creating a lot of debate about the team of the tournament.
Gianluigi Donnarumma – The 22-year-old won the UEFA player of the tournament, just the second goalkeeper to win the award, following a stunning performance throughout the competition. The giant Italian played more minutes than any other player and allowed just four goals past him in two penalty shootouts. Special mentions should also go to Yann Sommer and Kasper Schmeichel for their inspirational performances, and to Jordan Pickford for winning the Golden Glove.
Luke Shaw – England’s full backs sparked considerable debate before the tournament yet it was the often-doubted Shaw who came to the fore in the latter part of the tournament. Shaw helped England keep five clean sheets, whilst registering three assists and scoring the opening goal in the final. Despite the loss of Trent Alexander Arnold’s attacking prowess, Shaw more than stepped up to prove his doubters wrong.
Simon Kjaer – Whilst Harry Maguire and Leonardo Bonucci can feel hard done by to miss out on this team, there is no doubt that Kjaer’s leadership, especially during the tragic events surrounding Christian Eriksen’s collapse, gain him a deserved spot. Kjaer used his experience to perform consistently and lead Denmark to their first semi-final since they won the tournament in 1992.
Giorgio Chiellini – The captain of the winning team almost always deserves a spot in this roster, and Euro 2020 is no different. The statistics may promote other players, but anyone who watched the tournament will understand the importance of Chiellini, who used all of his experience to guide a young team to their first title in fifty-three years.
Kyle Walker – Mainly playing in a back three, Walker used his pace to neutralise some of Europe’s top wingers. Although he was not as potent of an attacking force as he often is for Manchester City, Walker was part of a solid England defence that came so close to winning the title. Leandro Spinazzola does deserve a mention and may have taken Walker’s place had he not torn his Achilles tendon in their quarter final victory over Belgium.
Jorginho – At the start of 2021 not too many people would have predicted a Ballon d’Or race between Lionel Messi and Jorginho. Whilst Messi had a stunning Copa America, Jorginho won the European double and played a pivotal role in Italy’s success, running more metres than any other player in the tournament.
Pedri – The young player of the tournament winner is clearly the future of a Spanish midfield that has produced several maestros over the last fifteen years. Pedri, at just eighteen years of age, attempted the most passes in the opponent’s half of any player and, despite scoring one of football’s most ridiculous own goals, is clearly a player that will grace the international stage for years to come.
Kalvin Phillips – A year ago Phillips had just been promoted to the Premier League and wouldn’t have dreamed of making the England squad, never mind playing a pivotal role in leading his country to their first ever European final. The Leeds midfielder covered the second most distance and was particularly brilliant in England’s opening win over Czech Republic.
Raheem Sterling – Whilst Donnarumma had an amazing tournament and deserved his accolade, it is almost undeniable that if England had won the final then Sterling would have been named player of the tournament. Sterling, following a disappointing campaign with Manchester City, proved his doubters wrong and consistently performed excellently, scoring both of England’s goals during the group stage.
Patrik Schick – The only player on this team not to reach the semi-finals, Schick may have earned himself a big money move following his breakthrough tournament. Schick scored five out of his team’s six goals, including the goal of the tournament, from the halfway line against Scotland, leading the Czechs to within touching distance of the semi-finals, eventually falling to the inspired Danes.
Federico Chiesa – Whilst the Italian forward line shared the goals around, the 23-year-old Genoese winger was a standout player throughout the tournament, scoring a crucial extra-time goal against Austria in the round of 16. Like Schick, these performances look to have earned the winger a deserved move to a Champions League club.
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