EURO 2020 Team of the Group Stage

EURO 2020 Group Stage Summary

The EURO 2020 started with a bang as Italy opened the tournament with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Turkey. The games never really dipped from there with excitement over every match with the groups starting to take shape. One surprise was the number of own goals at EURO 2020 totalling 8 at the end of the group stages. This is more than the last three competitions combined! In fact, own goals lead the Golden Boot with Cristiano Ronaldo behind with 5 goals. With no real favourite to win the EURO 2020 so far, it will be interesting to see who reaches the final and with some big clashes in the Round of 16, a lot of the players that have shone so far won’t get the chance. Here’s my Team of the Group Stages:

Team of the Group Stage

Goalkeeper: Danny Ward

Wales have done very well to get out of the group but there has been one man who has had a pivotal role in that and that is Danny Ward. He kept Wales in all three of the matches they faced so far at EURO 2020. Making big saves at crucial times in all three games, notably against Switzerland while they were fighting for the equaliser. In fact, he has played more for Wales than he has for Leicester this season! He has done very well and will need to be at his best if Wales are to go far in this tournament.

Honourable Mention: Rui Patricio

Right Back: Denzel Dumfries

A shock candidate but Dumfries has really impressed going forwards in the Dutch system. The wing backs are needed to add width and an attacking threat and Dumfries took that very literally. The sheer surprise in the commentators’ voices when he got into the box countless times during the group stage matches was enough for me. Not to mention scoring the winning goal against the Ukraine and a sealer against Austria. He almost played like a right winger but had the stamina and workrate to track back defensively. He’s worth a shout in the Premier League no doubt!

Honourable Mention: Thomas Meunier

Centre Backs: Leonardo Bonucci and Victor Lindelof

Bonucci has imposed himself on this EUROs. Defensively astute, a leader on the pitch alongside Chiellini and his passes have cut through the defence at times. I’m surprised he hasn’t bagged an assist yet. Three clean sheets out of three and commanding performances throughout.

Lindelof was a surprise but he has done very well in a strong Swedish side. They kept clean sheets in their first two matches but were beaten to three by Lewandowski’s brace in their 3-2 win over Poland. Lindelof has been a rock at the back for Sweden and almost faultless in their progression from the group stage.

Honorable Mentions: Tyrone Mings and Matthijs de Ligt

Left Back: Robin Gosens

While he wasn’t lighting the world on fire against France, he certainly made up for it in a crucial win for Germany against Portugal. He was instrumental in every goal the Germans scored bagging two assists and a sealing goal in their 4-2 win. Defensively barely put a foot wrong as all of the goals Germany conceded were from the right and not his left hand side. If Germany are to succeed in this tournament, I think his workrate and clever movement will be an underrated part of it.

Honourable Mention: Luke Shaw

Midfield: Manuel Locatelli, Paul Pogba and Georginio Wijnaldum

Locatelli impressed everyone as a defensive midfielder against Turkey and kept the game ticking on during the match. He then won the game for Italy with a brace against Switzerland, all but guaranteeing their first place finish in Group A. His efforts have rewarded him with a reported £35m move to Juventus and he is certainly one to watch for the rest of the tournament.

Pogba has continued his good form for United in the blue shirt for France. Pogba has excelled since recovering from COVID-19 both on the wing and in a midfield pivot for United this season and has controlled all three of France’s group stage games. He picked out a crucial pass to Lucas Hernandez for the only goal against Germany and was unlucky not to have more assists that game. Against Hungary he created space and tried to pick out the French attackers but was unable to unlock the brave Hungarian defence.

However, he returned to his best against Portugal picking out Mbappe and Benzema for both of France’s goals. He could have won the game with an excellent no-look long shot but Rui Patricio dug out an outstanding save onto the bar. He will be expected to control the match against Switzerland and will be a pivotal player for France if they are to win the tournament.

Georgino Wijnaldum plays a different role for the Netherlands than he did for Liverpool and presumably for PSG too. He is their number 10 in De Boer’s 5-3-2 and has three goals in three games so far in the group stage. A crucial opener against the Ukraine and a brace against North Macedonia and he will lead the Netherlands out in the Round of 16.

Honourable Mentions: N’Golo Kante, Aaron Ramsey and Kevin de Bruyne

Forwards: Emil Forsberg, Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku

Emil Forsberg may be playing out of position but his work rate both ways for Sweden has been excellent. He has defended well, stormed up the pitch and got crucial goals for Sweden to secure their top spot. A winner against Slovakia and a brace against Poland in their 3-2 win settled Sweden’s position and has them set to face the Ukraine in the Round of 16. They are favourites for that tie but not for the competition as a whole. They could still surprise a few.

Who else but Ronaldo? Scored a brace against Hungary, a goal and an assist against Germany and another brace against France. He kept Portugal in the EUROs despite their leaky defence. They have a massive game against Belgium to come and I don’t doubt that Ronaldo will have to score if Portugal are to progress. I’d be surprised if this is his last goal of the tournament.

Lukaku’s class for Belgium has never waivered as he has bagged another three goals for the Red Devils so far. He was pivotal in all three of Belgium’s matches with his movement, deadly finishing and strength down the right channel. No doubt he is one of the most in-form strikers in the world right now on the back of his impressive season at Inter. It will be a very interesting battle between Lukaku and Ronaldo to see whose side comes out on top in the Round of 16 tie. Both have been excellent so far but only one will continue to the Quarter Finals.

Honourable Mentions: Raheem Sterling, Memphis Depay and Gareth Bale

Author: Arjun Handa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *