EURO 2020: Best XI – analysis
EURO 2020 came to the end and Italy won it on penalties which sums up this tournament quite well after so many extra-times and penalty shootouts. It was pretty good tournament with a lot of excitement and surprising results. Denmark surprised us all by reaching semi-final while some teams like France and Portugal underperformed. Throughout the whole tournament we did analysis on a best XI for each round and this is our final best XI for the whole tournament.
GK – Gianluigi Donnarumma
Donnarumma is a world class keeper and he showed it on EURO 2020. It is very possible that we will watch him next 15 years on this level and he will be on his path to Buffon heights. He saved 3 out of 9 penalties he faced in semi-final and final which was decisive factor in the end for Italy to win the European Championship. Through the tournament he made 7 appearances and had 3 clean sheets while saving 9 shots. He won a player of the tournament award, first time in history of European Championships.
CB – Giorgio Chiellini
Italian captain led his team to the title with impressive defending. He was doubtful for the tournament because of the injury, but after first match it was clear that his experience and knowledge is indispensable for Italy. In 5 matches he made 37 ball recoveries, 21 clearance and blocked 2 shots. His majestic positioning and partnership with his club colleague Leonardo Bonucci was vital for Italy especially in the knockout phase.
CB – Harry Maguire
Something similar to Chiellini, Maguire was injured before tournament and he also missed first two matches, but after that he started next five matches and his performances didn’t go unnoticed. In 510 minutes Maguire managed to make 34 ball recoveries and 25 clearances while blocking 4 shots. He scored one goal and was constant aerial threat in the offensive set-pieces. Maguire ball progression was on high level and he had 92% pass accuracy. Very good tournament for Manchester United captain.
LB – Leonardo Spinazzola
Revelation of the tournament was AS Roma left-back Leonardo Spinazzola. Unfortunately he suffered achilles tendon injury in the match against Belgium and will miss some time, but he showed a lot 5 matches which surely deserves a place in our best XI. His ability to join the attack and cooperation with Insigne was fantastic, but he was impressive defensively as well. His crossing was dangerous and he had 45% crossing accuracy, but finished with only one assist which isn’t his fault since he made quality deliveries.
RB – Joakim Mæhle
Atalanta wing-back was offensive threat in each match and he ended the tournament with two goals and one assist. He made 31 ball recovery and made 3 clearances. His ability to make late runs into the penalty area and close far post was the reason while he managed to get into promising goal scoring opportunities. Maehle will be watched closely next season by bigger clubs after such tournament.
DM – Jorginho
Jorginho was a key player for Italy successful campaign and he played on top level throughout the whole tournament. He played 7 matches (705 minutes) and covered 86 kilometres which is the tournament highest, 3.6 kilometres more than Kalvin Phillips. Jorginho was very accurate with his passing with 93% passing accuracy while also providing good protection for his defence with 46 ball recoveries. Impressive numbers for Jorginho who won two biggest European titles this year.
CM – Pedri
Barcelona youngster was crucial part of starting XI for Spain. Pedri was playing like a veteran in big competitions and didn’t give us any sign like this was his first major tournament for the county. He completed 429 passes with 92% accuracy. Even though he ended without a goal or assist he was had 11 key passes and created 3 big chances for his teammates. His proactive thinking and ability to make a high quality pass under pressure is what we really liked about him. Pedri won the award for best young player of the tournament.
CM – Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Hojbjerg showed in this tournament that he is capable of contributing offensively. After situation with Christian Eriksen he took responsibility to create as well which led to 3 assists and 11 key passes. He had 36 ball recoveries and won 60% of his duels. His pass accuracy is 84% which suggests he took more risks with passes than he usually takes in Tottenham shirt. Really good performance by Danish midfielder.
LW – Raheem Sterling
He didn’t have very productive season in Manchester City like seasons before, but his performances for national team were top class. He started all 7 matches and collected 641 minutes. Sterling scored first three England goals on the tournament and he made one assist. He had 56% of successful dribbles and he took 14 shots with 7 of them being on target. His constant off the ball movement and ability to run in behind was dangerous for all the opponents England faced.
RW – Federico Chiesa
He wasn’t a starter from the start of the tournament, but his performances earned him starts in QF, SF and final. He attempted 17 shots and scored two goals. His ability to beat the opponents in 1v1 situations was the reason why he was such a threat especially in the counter-attacks. He had 60% dribbling success rate and created 3 big chances for his teammates. Top performance for Juventus winger and he showed that he is a player for highest stage.
CF – Patrick Schick
Bayer Leverkusen striker had a tournament to remember he was top goalscorer with five goals in five matches and he managed that in 15 shots. 9 of those 15 shots were on target and he is the owner of arguably the best goal of the tournament against Scotland from half line. He was pretty successful in his dribbling attempts with 86% success rate and he won 50% of his ground duels. It will be interesting to see his performances next season in Bundesliga.
Notable mentions: Paul Pogba, Sergio Busquets, Leonardo Bonucci, Kyle Walker, Denzel Dumfries, Frenkie de Jong, Nicolo Barella, Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jordan Pickford, Luke Shaw.
Adam Scully (@ascully24) – Euro 2020 has now come to end, arguably one of the best international tournaments in recent memory, full of shocks, surprises, goals, heartbreak, and joy. There were a lot of star performers throughout the competition and so it is extremely difficult to try and compile a starting eleven made up of the best players. Gianluigi Donnarumma won UEFA’s Player of the Tournament after some heroic displays, particularly in the final where he saved two penalties to help seal the trophy for the Azzurri. Italy had some major standout performers throughout such as Leonardo Spinazzola, the veteran Giorgio Chiellini, Jorginho, Nicolo Barella and Federico Chiesa. However, my pick for the best player of the tournament is not an Italian player, which may be controversial considering how well Roberto Mancini’s side played over the course of the seven matches, winning all seven. The Player of the Tournament, for me, was Spain’s Pedri. At just 18, the Barcelona midfielder showed himself to be arguably the best midfielder at the tournament in terms of his overall performances and Luis Enrique trusted him enough to start him in every single game. Pedri showed real maturity on the ball and stood out from the crowd despite being one of the youngest at the entire competition, never mind the youngest in the Spanish set-up. Pedri’s ceiling is terrifying and if he continues his development, the youngster could become one of the best players of this current generation like Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez before him.
Harshal Patel (@HarshalPatel93) – This has been one of the best tournaments I have ever seen, and there have been some spectacular matches and performances that have really got me interested properly in international football again. In terms of my best player of the tournament, I have to go for Pedri – it’s still hard to believe he’s only 18! He’s had a crazy year – moving to Barcelona at such a young age and becoming an integral part of that team, playing over 50 times for them last season, and then becoming Spain’s literal heartbeat at EURO 2020. He is the one player who reminds me of Iniesta, and his age means that he has so much more potential – I genuinely believe he will be one of the best players in the world in a few years’ time.
Mario Husillos Jr. (@CamusUno) – in a tournament in which the best teams worked as a unit without clear standout players or starts, my pick for the MVP goes to Paul Pogba. Playing for a France side that didn’t work as well as expected he stood out more than anyone else and showed his full potential, reminding us why he’s one of the best players in the world when he’s at it. His excellent contributions both in defence, progression and attack were key for France and he dominated all the games he played. With one goal and one assist in four games, dominating the midfield and showing charisma and leadership, we can argue he couldn’t do more to help France. He was among the best players in the Euro 2020 in lots of important stats too, including through passes (2.87 per 90), key passes (0.88 per 90), passes to final third (10.84 per 90), smart passes (2.21 per 90), deep completions (2.43 per 90) and dribbling success (84.21%),A close mention goes to the official young player of the tournament: Pedri. Again, his personality to get the ball and make Spain play under heavy pressure was unprecedented from an 18-year-old player. Even Luis Enrique mentioned that not even Iniesta had a tournament like this at such a young age.
Toni Bilandžić (@ToniBila17) – high quality tournament filled with surprises and excitement. If Spain reached the final I would pick Pedri as MVP because he had top quality performances in each of his 6 matches, but I can’t overlook Italy success where Jorginho was playing vital role. He was a part of starting XI in each match and only missed 15 minutes, not only that, but his ability to dictate tempo for his team and create good situations to attack was integral. Donnarumma was fantastic as well especially in the knockout phase against Belgium and in the two penalty shootouts where he saved 3 penalties combined.