5 Players Who Impressed In EURO 2024 Round of 16

EURO 2024 Poster
EURO 2024 Poster

The Round of 16 of the 2024 European Championship (EURO 2024) is officially in the history books. The round started with reigning champions Italy taking on the in-form Switzerland. Everyone expected the Swiss to give the Azzurri a tough fight, but very few would have foreseen a 2-0 victory for Murat Yakin’s side. After the massive upset, Germany restored normalcy, claiming a routine 2-0 victory over Denmark.

The following Matchday, England beat Slovakia 2-1 in extra time, with Jude Bellingham grabbing headlines with a stunning overhead kick. Spain joined England in the EURO 2024 quarter-finals, bagging an emphatic 4-1 victory over Georgia.

The highly-anticipated bout between France and Belgium headlined Matchday 3, but the clash did not live up to expectations. An own goal from Jan Vertonghen allowed France to beat Belgium 1-0 and qualify for the last 8. Later that night, Portugal survived by the skin of their teeth, beating Slovenia 3-0 on penalties after playing out a drab goalless draw in 120 minutes.

Lastly, on Matchday 4, we got two entertaining clashes, with Romania battling the Netherlands and Austria taking on Turkiye. The Dutch produced a memorable performance, claiming a 3-0 victory, whereas Turkiye secured an impressive 2-1 win over Austria.

Extending our trend of honoring the most remarkable players of each round, we will take a look at the ones who impressed the most in the EURO 2024 Round of 16. Continue reading to check out the five players who stood out in pre-quarters:

#5 Diogo Costa – Portugal

Diogo Costa Was One Of The Heroes Of EURO 2024 RO16
Diogo Costa Saved Portugal Against Slovenia

On a night Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, and Bernando Silva failed to deliver, Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa held the fort, making stunning saves to carry his team to the 2024 quarter-finals. Costa had very little to do over 90 minutes, as Slovenia were busy defending deep inside their box. Despite being inactive for prolonged periods, the Porto keeper did not lose his reflexes, making stunning saves to guide his team to glory.

In the 115th minute, he made a potential match-saving save, denying Slovenian sharpshooter Benjamin Sesko with his outstretched left foot from close range. Then, in the penalties, he made three consecutive saves, keeping out efforts from Josip Ilicic, Jure Balkovec, and Benjamin Verbic. In doing so, Costa became the first player in history to not only save three penalties in a EURO game but also the first one to keep a clean sheet across 120 minutes and penalties.

#4 Merih Demiral – Turkiye

Merih Demiral Was One Of The Standouts Of EURO 2024 RO16
Merih Demiral Scored Twice Against Austria

Turkiye bagged a narrow 2-1 victory over Austria in their EURO 2024 Round-0f-16 clash, with all three goals coming from corners. For Turkiye, it was Merih Demiral who shone the brightest in set pieces, with the defender scoring one goal each in either half of the game.

Demiral had the ball in the Austrian net in the first minute of play. He demonstrated his razor-sharp reflexes to capitalize on a mix-up inside the Austrian box and poke it into the roof of the net. The 26-year-old scored his second and Turkiye’s winning goal in the 59th minute, slipping in between two Austrian defenders and heading in Arda Guler’s spectacular corner-kick delivery from close range. Michael Gergoritsch pulled one back for Austria through another corner, but Demiral and Co. ensured Turkiye finished ahead.

Two goals aside, Demiral made four blocks, cleared the ball 17 times, recorded three interceptions, and won an impressive seven duels.

#3 Nico Williams – Spain

Nico Williams Was One Of The Standouts Of EURO 2024 RO16
Nico Williams Was In Blistering Form Against Georgia

Spain have undoubtedly been the most exuberant team in EURO 2024. Luis de la Fuente has transformed La Roja, infusing them with directness. And said directness primarily comes through wide areas, through their sensational wingers Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams. Barcelona starlet Yamal delivered another stunning performance in Spain’s 4-1 victory over Georgia, but Williams’ sensational solo goal compelled us to give him the third spot.

In the 75th minute, Fabian Ruiz switched the ball to Williams on the left wing. The Athletic Bilbao winger covered the entire Georgian half before beating Giorgi Gvelesiani with a clever skill and finding the roof of the Georgian net with a thumping finish. It was Williams’ second goal involvement of the night, as he had previously assisted Rodri for Spain’s opener in the 39th minute.

Williams also impressed with his distribution and creativity, completing all 46 of his attempted passes and creating four chances.

#2 Cody Gakpo – Netherlands

Cody Gakpo Netted A Blinder In EURO 2024
Cody Gakpo Scored And Assisted Against Romania

In second place, we have the Man of the Match for the Round-of-16 battle between the Netherlands and Romania, Cody Gakpo. The Liverpool man arguably played the best international game of his career at the Allianz Arena, scoring once and claiming an assist to help Holland to a 3-0 victory.

The 25-year-old opened the scoring for the Netherlands in the 20th minute. Picking up the ball on the left flank, Gakpo cut inside, opened up a bit of room, and beat Romania’s goalkeeper Florin Nita with a thumping strike at his near post. Gakpo also masterminded Netherlands’ insurance goal in the 83rd minute. Keeping his cool under pressure from Radu Dragusin, Gakpo showcased his impeccable dribbling ability to run across the left by-line before rolling the ball in for Donyell Malen. The substitute made no mistake in turning it in from close range.

In addition to the goal and assist, Gakpo created two big chances, pulled off two dribbles, made three recoveries, and won three of four duels.

#1 Ruben Vargas – Switzerland

Ruben Vargas Celebrating After Scoring Against Italy
Ruben Vargas Delivered A Masterclass Against Italy

Switzerland’s 2-0 victory over reigning European champions Italy marked the perfect beginning to the Round of 16, and we cannot help but honor the one who ran the game. Augsburg ace Ruben Vargas was at the heart of almost every Swiss attack against Italy. He stretched the Italians out with his runs, combined superbly with his teammates, showcased his creativity, and scored a sensational goal to seal the victory.

Vargas’ first moment of brilliance came in the 37th minute, as he swung in a delectable cross from the left for Remo Freuler to attack. Freuler gracefully controlled the delivery before firing it past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Just a minute into the second half, Vargas added a goal to his earlier assist. From the edge of the area, the 25-year-old curled the ball into the top-right corner.

Vargas also completed 26 passes with 90% accuracy, created two chances, and won four duels before coming off in the 71st minute.

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