These players were the driving force behind their country’s success at the continental showpiece.
The UEFA Euro 2020 has concluded with Italy reigning supreme over England in the final. The knockout stages of the tournament brought about some entertaining bit of football. The fans in attendance and viewing from their homes got a taste of what knockout football has to offer. There were solid performances, huge upsets and some usual suspects who went on to win the matches.
A few names strike intensely when looking back at the individual performances by players for their respective teams. These players were not only central to the success of the team, but also came out as some of the best performers in the tournament. It would not have been possible for their respective teams to deliver good performance without their influence.
As the curtains close on the tournament until the next edition, Khel Now takes a look back at players, who impressed the most in the knockout stages. Here are the top 10 performers from the knockout stages of Euro 2020.
10. Steven Zuber (Switzerland)
The 29-year-old recorded three assists against Turkey, equaling Hamit Altıntop’s record of most assists in a single Euro game. Steven Zuber carried his form from the Euro 2020 group stage to the knockouts and was the star of Switzerland in their upset of world champions France. He assisted Haris Seferovic’s opener against France and also completed two dribbles.
In the penalty shootout defeat to Spain in the quarter-finals, Zuber performed excellently. He won six of the eight duels he contested and also contributed defensively. Zuber ended the tournament with joint-most assists (4) in Euro 2020.
9. Yann Sommer (Switzerland)
Yan Sommer earned a lot of praise for his gritty performance with the Swiss national team. He made a total of 21 saves in the competition but his biggest contribution came against reigning world champions France. He saved Kylian Mbappe’s penalty to cause one of the biggest upsets of the tournament. In the quarterfinals against Spain, he saved two more penalties but ended up on the losing side.
He almost singlehandedly kept Switzerland in the game against Spain. Sommer’s 10 saves against Spain is the most by a goalkeeper in a single game at Euro 2020.
8. Harry Kane (England)
Harry Kane has perhaps shown the biggest improvement in form from the group stages to the knockouts. The striker received a lot of criticism after failing to score a goal in the group stages. However, he turned things around and four goals in the knockout stages itself.
Kane scored his first goal against Germany in Round of 16. Two goals came against Ukraine in the quarterfinals and the fourth came against Denmark in the semi-finals. The skipper has been the driving force behind England’s historic march into the finals of the Euros. He also scored in the final against Italy, albeit in a defeat.
7. Patrick Schick (Czech Republic)
Patrick Schick had a breakthrough Euro 2020, where he earned a lot of plaudits from all corners. In addition to scoring potentially the goal of the tournament from the halfway line, Schick also ended the tournament as the joint-top scorer, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2020. The forward scored five goals in the competition and two of them came in the knockout stages for the Czech Republic.
The Bayer 04 Leverkusen star scored the second and (fourth overall) goal against the Netherlands in a 2-0 victory in Round of 16. He went on to score his fifth goal against Denmark in the quarter-finals but was unable to guide the team to victory.
6. Marco Verratti (Italy)
Marco Verratti is the enforcer in the middle of the pitch for Italy. He keeps the ball ticking and also helps the side win it back as soon as possible with intense pressing. Along with Jorginho, they are a strong duo driving Italy’s challenge at the tournament. Verratti’s performance is gauged through the numbers.
The midfielder registered 93% passing accuracy in the tournament. He also assisted thrice in five games, including in the semis and final, for the Azzurri.
5. Harry Maguire (England)
Harry Maguire missed the opening two games for England as he was recovering from an ankle injury. Despite that, he became one of the breakthrough performers of the tournament in the rest of the six appearances. The Manchester United skipper was part of three clean sheets and also scored a headed goal against Ukraine in the quarter-finals.
4. Federico Chiesa (Italy)
Italy has not relied upon individual brilliance, but rather collective mastery. Their squad has match winners all over the pitch but one player has shone very bright, especially in the knockout stages. Federico Chiesa had scored two vital goals for Italy on their way to the finals.
The Juventus star scored an extra-time goal against Austria in the Round of 16 and a sensational opener against Spain in the semifinals. The 23-year-old is a constant nuisance with his pace and also offers impeccable finishing.
3. Jorginho (Italy)
With Italy’s Euro 2020 win, Jorginho has become one of only 10 players to have won the UCL and Euro in the same year. Jorginho won the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea before coming into the tournament. He carried his form from club football to the international circuit and played a crucial role in Italy’s midfield domination. His partnership with Marco Verratti was a sight for sore eyes as both of them possess technical brilliance on the ball.
He kept a 93% passing accuracy in the tournament and scored the decisive penalty in the shootout against Spain in the semifinals. He was one of the top performers in the tournament despite his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final against England. He made the most interceptions (25) in the entire tournament.
2. Luke Shaw (England)
The 25-year-old has carried his club form into the Euros. Luke Shaw has quickly become one of the best left-backs at the tournament. He has been astute in both defensive and attacking departments.
The Manchester United player had a goal and three assists in the tournament. The goal came against Italy in the final. As for the assists, one of them came during the Round of 16 victory against Germany and the other two against Ukraine in the Round of 16. He has also played in three of England’s record five clean sheets as well.
1. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
Gianluigi Donnarumma was in fiery form during the UEFA Euro 2020. The 22-year-old saved two penalties against Spain in the semifinals and three penalties against England in the final.
His decisive save from Bukayo Saka’s spot-kick guided Italy to the Euro title. Moreover, Donnarumma also kept three clean sheets in the tournament, with a 71% save percentage rate.
He was also named the Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020 for his spectacular performance throughout the tournament. Donnarumma is the first goalkeeper to be named the Player of the Tournament at the European Championships.