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Best team of the Euros: Three England players make the cut

| 12.07.2021

England suffered heartbreak on Sunday night when they lost to Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley.

We have looked back at the tournament to select our best team of the Euros as well as the best Euro goals.

Three England stars make the starting XI but which other players join them in our pick of the crop over the four weeks?

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)

The 22-year-old goalkeeper kept three clean sheets in the group stage, made key contributions in the knockout rounds and of course saved three penalties in the shoot-out victory against England in Sunday’s final which also saw him earn the best player of the tournament award.

Excellent in the win over Belgium, Donnarumma stepped up to the plate once more in the penalty shoot-out success against Spain.

All of this occurred on the back of criticism over his move to Paris St Germain but he has put it to one side to deliver his best for Italy.

Vladimir Coufal (Czech Republic)

The West Ham full-back impressed during the Premier League last season and took that form into this summer where his showings helped the Czechs make it through to the quarter-finals.

He bookended his Euro 2020 with assists – in their opener against Scotland and a narrow last-eight loss to Denmark – to cement his status as one of the most solid defenders.

Andreas Christensen (Denmark)

The versatile Dane was crucial to Denmark’s revival after Christian Eriksen collapsed in the first game against Finland.

Coach Kasper Hjulmand trusted the defender to move into midfield when he wanted to change formation in matches and his seamless transition between the two positions was a key component of their run to the last four.

Christensen’s second-half exit due to injury against England no doubt had an impact on the final result.

Harry Maguire (England)

An ankle injury threatened to rule the Manchester United centre-back out of the tournament but he returned for the final group game against Czech Republic and has been colossal for the Three Lions.

Maguire slotted in with ease after a six-week absence and produced excellent performances in the hard-fought wins over Germany and Denmark.

A goal against Ukraine also made it back-to-back goals in the quarter-finals of major tournaments as we considered our best team of the Euros.

Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)

The Roma left-back was cruelly denied an appearance in the final after he sustained an Achilles injury in the last-eight win against Belgium.

Leonardo Spinazzola, Italy v England

It was a sad way for the 28-year-old’s tournament to end after his marauding runs down the wing were a big feature of Italy’s successful progress.

The speed merchant, one of the quickest players at Euro 2020, left a number of rivals in his shadow.

Pedri (Spain)

The teenager was a huge positive to come from a highly disrupted campaign for Spain, who made it through to the semi-final despite Covid-19 cases in the camp at the start of the tournament.

Pedri was at the heart of everything good from Luis Enrique’s side, who went goal crazy in the knockout stage.

Likened to Andres Iniesta, the future looks bright for the Barcelona starlet.

Jorginho (Italy)

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho was one of the chief orchestrators behind Italy’s journey to the final and scored the winning penalty against Spain in typically cool fashion.

Jorginho, Italy v England

He missed 15 minutes of the tournament up until the final but was taken off for the extra-time period.

His ball retention and spatial awareness allowed the Italian wing-backs to fly forward at every opportunity with the security of Jorginho covering them.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark)

Hojbjerg provided greater creativity in Eriksen’s absence and assisted three goals at the finals, only one fewer than he managed at Tottenham last term.

On top of his improved offensive displays, the Spurs ace was a rock in the middle from a defensive point of view and ensured play kept ticking over for the Danes.

Raheem Sterling (England)

Arguably England’s player of the tournament, the boy from Brent scored their only group-stage goals and then delivered a knockout blow in the round of 16 clash with Germany.

Despite failing to score in the wins over Ukraine and Demark, the Manchester City attacker was still a big danger as one of manager Gareth Southgate’s go-to players and most trusted lieutenants.

Harry Kane (England)

A slow start to the tournament threatened to scupper the Three Lions’ chances of glory but their main man eventually hit form.

Even before his maiden Euros goal against Germany, Kane had impressed against the old enemy but his late header opened the floodgates.

The Spurs forward saved his best for the knockout stage and caught the eye in victories over Ukraine and Denmark but was kept fairly quiet in the final against Italy.

Patrik Schick (Czech Republic)

The striker left his mark on the tournament in his opening game with a sensational lobbed effort against Scotland.

It was part of a brace at Hampden Park – which proved a good ground for the Bayer Leverkusen ace as he also struck there in a 1-1 draw with Croatia.

The Czechs only scored six goals at Euro 2020 but still made the quarter-finals thanks to Schick’s five strikes, which left him joint-top goalscorer alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, who can count himself unlucky to miss out on the best team of the Euros.

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Author

Warren Barner