Standout Players Of The Euros So Far

The first stage of the 2024 Euros is complete. After an entertaining group stage, we are now headed into the knockout stages. Up first is the Round of 16. Germany, Spain, England, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, France, Slovenia, Slovakia the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, Türkiye and Georgia are the teams that made it through to the next stage.

The group stage was thrilling, with only three goalless draws. There have been 9 extra-time goals, 6 of which were game-deciding. Interestingly, 7 own-goals have been scored so far.

Spain have been the strongest team in the tournament so far, with France and the Netherlands not looking as strong as expected. Austria have been impressive, whilst England have been disappointing, to say the least.

Among the players to watch before the whistle was first blown on 14 June were Kylian Mbappé, Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane, Phil Foden, William Saliba and Bernardo Silva. However, these are not the names that have had eyes glued to the screens. They are not the ones to make the best impressions on the pitch either.

Here, we will discuss the players that have impressed on the grand European stage so far.

N’Golo Kanté (France)

N’Golo Kanté left Chelsea in the summer of 2023 after battling injuries for most of the season. He joined Al-Ittihad at the Saudi Pro League. For his new club, he managed two goals and six assists. When the time came for France’s Euro squad to be selected, many had written Kanté off. However, Didier Deschamps stayed loyal to a player who has more than often performed highly for him.

Despite his doubters, Kanté started in all three of France’s group-stage games. Not only that, but he won the Player of the Match award in the games against Austria and the Netherlands. He was a strong presence in the midfield and bolstered the defence.

The Frenchman has won all there is to win in football, with the Euros the only one missing from his brilliant accolades.

Nico Williams (Spain)

Athletic Bilbao player Nico Williams has caught the eye of many at the tournament. The 21-year-old has earned high praise for his performances for Spain.

In Spain’s game against Italy, Williams was the standout player. The entire time he was on the pitch, he was a threat to Italy’s defence. Although he was unable to find the back of the net, he was one of the best players on the pitch. Italy defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo had a hard time handling the young winger. In that same game, Italy’s Riccardo Calafiori scored an own goal after a cross from Williams. He was named Player of the Match.

Williams started in both games against Italy and Croatia but did not make an appearance against Albania. He was an exciting watch whenever he featured though, so much so that he has already drawn interest from Premier League clubs Arsenal and Chelsea.

Cody Gakpo (the Netherlands)

Netherlands has not performed up to the standards expected of them, however, their forward Cody Gakpo has been one of their best players of the tournament so far. The Liverpool player has scored in two games for his country so far. One in their 2-1 win against Poland, and another in their 3-2 loss against Austria.

Gakpo has looked at ease playing on the left wing. He has been one of the few Dutch players that look comfortable in the squad. Should he keep up this momentum, he will be one to watch for the remaining parts of the tournament depending on how far the Netherlands go.

Marc Cucurella (Spain)

Marc Cucurella was not expected to make an impression at the Euros, nor was he expected to start. Coming off of the back of a difficult season with club side Chelsea, the London side’s players were not on the roster for many. Cucurella however is a player that although had a poor first season as a Blue, improved massively in his second season, earning him the call-up to his national team.

Cucurella made the starting lineup in Spain’s first games, against Croatia and Italy. Spain, who as mentioned earlier have been the best team so far had Cucurella as one of the best players on the pitch for both games he featured in. He was difficult for forwards to get past.

Arda Guler (Türkiye)

19-year-old Arda Güler of Türkiye scored six goals in 12 games for Real Madrid in the season past. The young talent showed promising signs in La Liga and has continued to impress the footballing world at the 2024 Euros.

Türkiye’s first game was against Georgia, and Güler was one of the best players on the pitch. He scored a jaw-dropping goal, making his mark even more. His strike was 40 yards away from the goal, curling into the to top right corner.

His performance was all the more impressive as it was his debut. His incredible goal makes him the youngest player to score on his debut at the tournament at 19 years and 114 days. The record was previously held by Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored at 19 years and 128 days at Euro 2004.

Lamine Yamal (Spain)

Another youngster who impressed on the European stage was Barcelona’s 16-year-old Lamine Yamal. He played on the right wing, the opposite flank of fellow Spaniard Nico Williams, also starting in the games against Italy and Croatia. He came on as a substitute in the game against Albania.

Once again, whenever Yamal was on the pitch, he proved why he has been given the chance to play at the highest level despite being only 16 years old. Yamal’s control of the ball was unbelievable, and just like Williams, Yamal was hard to defend against, a dominant presence on the wing.

Toni Kroos (Germany)

Football legend Toni Kroos continues to prove why he is one of the best every time he steps on the pitch. Kroos is set to retire at from football after the end of the 2024 Euros. In his final season with Real Madrid, he won the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League as well. Having won everything in football, it would be quite the fairytale ending to win the Euros in his final season as well.

At this tournament’s group stage, Kroos has shown composure and class in the midfield. Germany’s midfield has been one of the most impressive ones of the tournament, and Kroos is a large part of the reason. Completely unable to lose the ball, Toni Kroos attempted 102 passes against Scotland at the tournament opener, completing 101 of them.

Jamal Musiala (Germany)

Jamal Musiala is a player who time and time again proves his worth whenever he gets the chance. The young German was arguably the best player of the first round of group stage games, scoring a stunning goal against Scotland.

He also scored in their game against Hungary, displaying yet another strong performance. The attacking midfielder has arguably been Germany’s best player so far. With his clever passes, control, creativity and ability to rattle a defence, Musiala is expected to be one of the best players of the entire tournament. He is also expected to win the Young Player of the Tournament award.

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