Unlikely Stars of Euro 2020
While the star names like Ronaldo, Depay, Lukaku, De Bruyne et al have stamped their authority on the tournament. We look at 5 unlikely stars of Euro 2020.
Alexander Isaac: Sweden were rocked by the news of star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic missing the Euro 2020 due to injury. However, 21-year-old forward Alexander Isak has stepped up impressively. The Real Sociedad forward has impressed with his pace, technique, dribbling and an eye for pass. Alexander Isaac played a big role in Sweden’s winning penalty against Slovakia helping Sweden with 1-0 win. The lanky forward also created a big chance against Spain with his dribbling. La Liga’s young player of the year has completed 2.7 dribbles per match, most by a forward in Euro 2020 group stages.
Manuel Locatelli: Manuel Locatelli would not have started if Verratti would have been fit, the Sassuolo midfielder grabbed the opportunity with both hands playing a starring role in Italy’s winning start at Euro 2020. Outside Italy few would have heard of the midfielder’s name, however the midfielder has put his name on the map with his heroics during the Azzurri’s victories over Turkey and Switzerland. After starring in the opening game, Locatelli then scored twice against the Swiss, including a brilliant long-distance strike, and was the best player on the pitch. It is a testament to his performances that Italy manager Roberto Mancini is contemplating to continue with him against Austria and bench Verratti, one of the best midfielders in the World.
Robin Gosens: In a squad containing the likes of Thomas Muller, Mat Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, İlkay Gündoğan and Werner few would have thought that unknown left back Robin Gosens would have been the best player for the Germans. Gosens gave a decent account of himself during the defeat to France but was at his blistering best against the Portuguese in Munich. He got a goal and an assist while his menacing cross directly led to Ruben Dias putting the ball in his own net. Gosens was unlucky not to get another goal with a fine acrobatic effort, but it wasn’t given due to an earlier offside. The Atalanta left back has played a big role in Germany making the next round. The 26-year old’s form has not gone unnoticed with some of Europe’s biggest clubs courting him.
Denzel Dumfries: At age 18 the Netherlands wingback was an amateur player and an Aruba international, yet now he is taking Euro 2020 by storm. It wasn’t smooth sailing for the 25-year-old as he was benched by new coach Frank De Boer, however when De Boer opted for a 3-5-2 Dumfries returned to the starting lineup. 2 big misses in the first half against Ukraine was not the ideal start, however the PSV right back popped up with a late winner and also scored against Austria in the next match, winning Man of the Match in each of the 2 matches highlighting his influence for the Dutch. Dumfries has looked incredibly dangerous every time he has gone forward with his explosive pace and expert positioning terrorizing his opposite numbers.
Patrik Schick: Patrik Schick has scored all three of the Czech Republic’s goals so far at Euro 2020 and one of them – his strike from the halfway line against Scotland – is a goal of the tournament contender. The 25-year-old has played a big part in Czech’s qualification to the round of 16. If Czech Republic are to progress further in the tournament Schick will have to continue his fine form.