The Best Players at the Euros

With Italy beating England in the Euro finals on 12th July 2021, they officially claimed their second Euro title and it was very well deserved. Italy have had an amazing comeback from not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup to winning the Euro 2020. From incredible comebacks to nerve wracking penalties, these Euros were very entertaining. Today, I will be sharing with you all who I felt were the best players at the tournament at each position – goalkeeper, defense, midfielder and attack.

Goalkeeper – Jordan Pickford (ENG)

Jordan Pickford had an incredible tournament with England, coming second and at the same time silencing all the critics who were unsure of his place in the tournament. Southgate did play a naturally defensive lineup with the English squad, normally playing a 4-2-3-1 formation with Rice and Phillips as defensive midfielders and this showed with England not conceding a single goal until the quarter finals. Many people would say because of the formation and mindset of the team goals were not scored, but the fact is that Pickford also had the most saves in the tournament (16) followed by Thibaut Courtois and Gianluigi Donnarumma. At the same time, Pickford had the most clean sheets (5) and the least goals conceded (2). Pickford has proved himself to be a top-notch goalkeeper and has rightfully won the Euro 2020 Golden Glove by topping every defensive chart.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Thibaut Courtois (BEL)
  2. Gianluigi Donnarumma (ITA)
  3. Yann Sommer (SWI)

Defender – Luke Shaw (ENG)

Luke Shaw was an impeccable player on the attack as well as defense this year for England. Southgate played Shaw as a wingback/LM and he fitted the position so very well. With the most assists in the tournament as well as scoring a goal, Shaw was one of the most successful defenders on the attack side with great decision making and I felt he utilized his speed very well to get past players. On the defensive side as well, Shaw was like a brick wall and he made 9 tackles and 8 clearances. This showed in England’s defense where they only conceded 2 goals throughout the whole tournament. All in all, Shaw was a great player and has proved himself to be a key player to the English side for the next few years. If England had won the Euros, I might have even gone far enough to call him the best player of the tournament.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Harry Maguire (ENG)
  2. Joakim Maehle (DEN)
  3. Leonardo Bonucci (ITA)

Midfielder – Marco Verratti (ITA)

Marco Verratti is the definition of a midfielder. He was an integral part of the Azzurri and even after missing out on the first 2 games of the tournament, he made his presence felt immediately by becoming one of the most creative playmakers on the field. A midfielder helps the team retain possession and set up wingers with great passes. This is exactly what Verratti did. With an incredible 93% passing accuracy (401/425 passes), Verratti gave way for wingers like Insigne and Chiesa to go up the wing and attack effectively. At the same time, he assisted thrice for Italy showing great vision and maturity on the field by finding space for good plays. Defensively as well Verratti was of great help by making 30 tackles and recovering 32 balls. Tackling is so important for a midfielder because it can change the pace of the game immediately and give great chances for counter attacks. Overall, I felt that Verratti played an extremely composed game and, in my opinion, be the best player at the tournament for the sheer effort he put in the attack as well as defense.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Jorginho (ITA)
  2. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (DEN)
  3. Steven Zuber (SWI)

Forward – Patrik Schick (CZE)

For me, Patrik Schick was by far the most underrated player in the tournament. From scoring arguably the greatest goal in Euro history to beating the Netherlands in the round of 16, Czech Republic and Patrik Schick have had a historic tournament. The 25-year-old striker from Bayer Leverkusen was the joint top scorer of the tournament along with Cristiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately, Ronaldo has been given the Golden Boot of the tournament which I feel Schick should have been given since 3 of Ronaldo’s 5 goals were penalties *sad Bruno Fernandes noises*. Nevertheless, Schick was an integral part of Czech Republic’s success having some role in 83% of all of the country’s goals which is really impressive. He also had the most shots on target in the tournament. I felt he was very effective in aerial duels and his natural style of play leaned toward quick, short passes. Seeing him in the games I saw that he was very productive in doing layoffs, flick ons and short passes. This style really increased the pace of the game and also confused the defense a lot. Schick has a very bright future ahead of him and maybe should lean towards going to a team which plays more tiki taka since it suits his style.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)
  2. Harry Kane (ENG)
  3. Raheem Sterling (ENG)

Thank you for reading! Please let me know down in the comments who your best player was.