Euro 2020 all-stars

By any reasonable account, Euro 2020 was a success. The fact that it was played at all, in venues across Europe from Glasgow to Baku, is an accomplishment. The willingness of many teams to attack rather than just sit back, the innovative tactics, the closeness of the semi-finals and finals, and the quality (for the most part) of the refereeing were all significant plusses.

Some commentators are calling Euro 2020 one of the best Euros of all time. I’m not sure about that. However, it was an above average big tournament, in my view.

In my final post about the tournament, I thought I would identify some of the stars of Euro 2020. It happens that a panel of experts selected by the tournament put together an all-star team. The panel included luminaries like Fabio Capella (former manager of England), David Moyes (former manager of Everton and Manchester United, now managing West Ham), and Stefan Freund (a key player on Germany’s Euro 1996 champions and former coach at Tottenham Hotspur).

Here is the panel’s best 11:

GK Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
RB Kyle Walker (England)
LB Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)
CB Harry McGuire (England)
CB Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
DM Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Denmark)
MF Jorginho (Italy)
MF Pedri (Spain)
FW Federico Chiesa (Italy)
FW Raheem Sterling (England)
FW Romulu Lukaku (Belgium)

I agree with most of these selections. Rather than dispute it, I’ll name a second team plus the players I think deserve honorable mention:

GK Lukás Hrádecky (Finland)
RB Denzel Dumfries (Holland)
LB Luke Shaw (England)
CB John Stones (England)
CB Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
MF Marco Verrati (Italy)
MF Mikkel Damsgaard (Denmark)
FW Ivan Perisic (Croatia)
FW Emil Forsberg (Sweden)
FW Ronaldo (Portugal)
FW Patrik Schick (Czech Republic)

Honorable Mention:

Jordan Pickford (England)
Vladimir Coufal (Czech Republic)
Jordi Alba (Spain)
Sergio Busquets (Spain)
Joakim Maehle (Denmark)
David Alaba (Austria)
Robin Gosens (Germany)
Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)
Thorgan Hazard (Belgium)
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
Frankie De Jong (Holland)
Memphis Depay (Holland)
Karim Benzama (France)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

Donnarumma was named player of the tournament. I’m not sure about that. If Marcus Rashford’s penalty kick, “saved” by the post not the goalkeeper, had been three inches to the right, maybe Pickford would have received the top honor. However, I can’t think of anyone who clearly was more deserving.

I thought Spinazzola was the best player in the tournament, but he was injured in the quarterfinals and missed the last two matches.

Lukaku might have been the second best player, but maybe that’s my Everton bias showing. Plus, Belgium was only around for four matches.

In the end, I’d probably go with Sterling, despite his somewhat disappointing showing in the final against Italy.

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