These custodians will be crucial to their respective teams’ success in the tournament.
The UEFA Euro 2020 begins next week after being postponed a year ago. The competition will kickoff from June 12 onwards and will boast the best European teams from the continent. The level of competition is understandably going to be high in the tournament, with most players involved in elite European leagues.
The participating countries have cherry-picked the best attacking players on their roster. However, the goalkeepers will also play a huge role. It is no secret that the team with the best defence usually lifts the title.
Most countries will rely on their goalkeepers to keep the opposition attackers at bay and concede as few goals as possible. Here are five goalkeepers that one needs to watch out for at the Euro 2020:
5. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
The Italian national team are one of the favourites heading into the tournament. The outfit have not lost a game since September 2018. Their first-choice goalkeeper is the immensely talented Gianluigi Donnarumma. The former AC Milan player has decided to leave the club for other opportunities.
The custodian finished with 14 clean-sheets in 37 matches in the previous season of Serie A. Roberto Mancini’s team are known for being defensively solid and getting past Donnarumma will be a huge task for any opposition.
4. Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Germany are going through a rocky phase and worse, have the toughest group in the tournament. The outfit are ranked No.12 in the FIFA rankings. They will rely on goalkeeper Manuel Neuer when the tournament kicks-off. The Germans will need their goalkeeper to perform, especially in the matches against Portugal and France.
Those two outfits have some of the fiercest attacking talents on their rosters and keeping them at bay will be a huge task. Neuer is the first-choice goalkeeper for Germany and will once again don the gloves at Euro 2020. His closest competitor in the German national side Marc- Andre ter Stegen opted out of the tournament due to an injury.
Neuer was crucial in Germany’s 2014 FIFA World Cup triumph. He kept nine clean-sheets in 33 league games last season and will hope to record more at Euro 2020.
3. Hugo Lloris (France)
The French national team are one of the favourites to lift the Euro 2020 title. The reigning world champions have one of the most lethal attacking forces in Europe, if not the world. However, they will rely on Hugo Lloris to keep things sorted in defence and keep the ball out of the net. The skipper has come under criticism on occasions, but has always come out stronger.
The 34-year-old will likely play his last European Championships before retiring and giving way to younger players. Lloris kept only 14 clean-sheets in 48 games for Tottenham Hotspur last season and will hope to improve his form on national duty.
2. Unai Simon (Spain)
Unai Simon has been chosen as the first-choice goalkeeper for Spain ahead of players like David de Gea and Robert Sanchez. The custodian plays for Athletic Bilbao in La Liga and has impressed with solid performances.
Even though the shot-stopper kept nine clean-sheets in 47 games overall, he has cut a reliable figure in national colours. Luis Enrique seems to trust him and it will be interesting to see how Simon performs when the odds are even higher.
1. Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
Belgium are the No.1 ranked team in the world and one of the favourites to lift the crown. The Red Devils have a squad full of match winners. While they are extremely well-equipped in the attacking department, their goalkeeper in Thibaut Courtois has one of the most reliable pairs of hands in Europe.
The Real Madrid shot-stopper finished with 17 clean-sheets in La Liga, only second to Jan Oblak who had 18 to his name. The lanky goalkeeper is a tough nut to crack. Any opposition will struggle to score against the Belgians, while Courtois is stationed between the posts.