It has been a scintillating tournament so far with several players rising to take the limelight.
After three exhilarating matchdays, the UEFA Euro 2020 group stage concluded, leaving behind an endless list of talking points. Amidst the usual suspects, there were some surprising top performers from underdog teams.
Today, Khel Now picks the best team from the Euro 2020 group stage, comprising of players who will be the ones to watch out for in the knockout rounds.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
Taking the mantle from the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, Donnarumma made himself comfortable as Italy’s No. 1. Infact, the 22-year-old has made it look easy thus far, having kept a clean-sheet in each of the three games.
The credit should probably go to the Azzurri’s robust defence as Donnarumma wasn’t tested much. Nevertheless, he has managed to keep his passes clean with a commendable 91% accuracy. Breaking Italy’s defence is in itself a challenge and with Donnarumma guarding the posts, teams in the knockout rounds will certainly have an uphill task.
Right-Back: Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands)
Over the years, the Netherlands have never been short of talent in their squad. After a hiatus from major international tournaments, they are back with a bang, winning all of their group stage matches. Denzel Dumfries has been undoubtedly one of their best performers so far.
The defender lived up to all the hype he received prior to the tournament. Infact, he did so in style by scoring the winner in their very first game against Ukraine. He then followed it up with another against Austria. Individually, it has been a sensational start to Euro 2020 for Dumfries and he will have some expectations to fulfill in the knockout rounds.
Centre-Back: Victor Lindelof (Sweden)
Among several defenders from star-studded teams at Euro 2020, Sweden’s Victor Lindelof stands tall. The 26-year-old has been one of the best-performing centre-halves in the tournament so far.
In his 270 minutes on the pitch, the defender didn’t commit a single foul. Moreover, he went on to register an impressive 17 ball recoveries as well as 14 clearances. Sweden have made it to the next stage and the Manchester United star will be a key figure for them.
Centre-Back: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
Italy’s guardian of the defence, Chiellini is out there defying age. At 36, the centre-back hasn’t lost his charm yet. He manned the backline right from the get-go, but could only clock 114 minutes so far.
Yet, he managed to register eight ball recoveries, five clearances along with a crucial block. Moreover, he kept a decent 90% passing accuracy to improve his side’s possession. Unfortunately, Chiellini remains doubtful for Italy’s Round of 16 clash against Wales.
Left-Back: Robin Gosens (Germany)
Former world champions Germany haven’t been at their best, but Robin Gosens has been the pundits’ pick so far. From the left flank, the defender has been absolutely unstoppable on all fronts. He has been a menace to opposition defenders with his tireless runs.
His work-rate has been superb in all games and that earned him a goal in the big win against Portugal. Joachim Loew will be hoping that the 26-year-old continues to be at his best when they face England next.
Central Midfielder: Paul Pogba (France)
Much was expected from Paul Pogba ahead of the tournament and he has delivered so far. The 28-year-old won the midfield battle against all the sides. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get onto the scoresheet, despite coming inches close.
Pogba’s 84% passing accuracy coupled with seven ball recoveries and an assist are a testament to his influence on the pitch for France. His was absolutely brilliant in the win against Germany. Alongside N’Golo Kante, he forms a lethal duo for Didier Deschamps’ world champions.
Central Midfielder: Toni Kroos (Germany)
Toni Kroos been one of the most consistent players – domestically as well as internationally. In the entire Germany squad, he has been one of the most influential figures.
Kroos’ quality on the ball and capability to set the tempo of the game is simply exceptional. Even at 31, the midfielder has shown great athleticism, covering a whopping 31 kilometres in three games. His presence in Die Mannschaft’s midfield is highly valuable and he’ll be the key to their success against England.
Right Winger: Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine)
Ukraine have been among the underdogs at Euro 2020 so far and their quality in attack has been crucial to their success. Andriy Yarmolenko, who scored twice while delivering an assist, has been their go-to man.
Scoring with either feet, the 31-year-old has made his country and manager Andriy Shevchenko proud. Yarmolenko’s partnership with Roman Yaremchuk in attack has worked wonders for the team so far and it will be fascinating to watch how they fare against the tough opponents in the knockout rounds.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
The quality that this Belgium squad possesses is almost unfair. Ranked first in the FIFA Rankings, Roberto Martinez and Co. are one of the teams to beat at Euro 2020. If there is one particular name to pick out of dozens, that would be Kevin De Bruyne.
The midfielder has time and again proved his class and continues to do so in this tournament. After missing the first game, De Bruyne came on as a substitute against Denmark and single-handedly earned his team a victory. His creativity in attack is vital for Belgium, as he has unsurprisingly also provided a couple of assists. The Red Devils will face Portugal in the Round of 16 and De Bruyne will be in focus for the game.
Left Winger: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
The more we speak about Cristiano Ronaldo, the less it feels. The Portugal star has made creating records a habit of his own. With 109 goals, the 36-year-old is now the joint-highest goalscorer in international football.
He led Portugal to a title triumph in the previous edition of the Euros and is well on course to help them defend it. Ronaldo will have to be at his usual best when his side face the mighty Belgium next.
Striker: Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
It was a splendid domestic season for Romelu Lukaku as he won the Scudetto with Inter Milan. The striker has been in the form of his life and continues to score for his nation. Out of the seven shots that he attempted, four were on target and three ended up in the back of the net. That says a lot about his finishing skills. Lukaku is the marksman Belgium would be very grateful to have in the squad.
The 28-year-old is a nightmare for defenders and always finds himself in the right place at the right time. Belgium are one of the genuine contenders for the Euro 2020 title and Lukaku will be one of the key figures behind their success.
Jordan Pickford (GK), Thibaut Courtois (GK), Stefan de Vrij, Antonio Rudiger, Simon Kjaer, N’Golo Kante, Manuel Locatelli, Georginio Wijnaldum, Pedri, Emil Forsberg, Patrik Schick, Memphis Depay.