Euro 2020 Best XI from Round 1: Big stars struggle, new heroes emerge


Euro 2020 is well underway, with every qualified nation playing their first games over the last week.

Some teams will be delighted with their first game, while others will be wishing they could start over again.

We’ve seen great goals, calamitous defending, late drama – everything you could want in a tournament.

Here is our best XI from the opening round.

Lukas Hradecky (GK) – Of course, this game will be best remembered for the traumatic events that occurred just before half time involving Christian Eriksen.

As a result, it has been somewhat forgotten that this was Finland’s first-ever appearance at a major tournament and one in which they managed to pull off a shock win.

Hradecky was a massive helping hand in this victory, making several saves to keep Denmark at bay, including a penalty from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Denzel Dumfries (RB) – Netherlands come into this tournament as a bit of an unknown quantity. They’re a major footballing nation but failed to qualify for either of the last two tournaments.

Dumfries celebrates his late winner

They won 3-2 in their opener against Ukraine, and it was largely thanks to the work of Dumfries down the right.

He was heavily involved in their opening two goals and scored the winner with five minutes remaining. And, bizarrely enough, he could have had a lot more, spurning two good chances in the first half.

Milan Skriniar (CB) – Facing up against Robert Lewandowski will never be an easy task, given the Pole’s output over the last two seasons.

But this was a task that Skriniar made look easy. And on top of this, he netted the winner for Slovakia with a finish that Lewandowski himself would’ve been proud of.

David Alaba (CB) – Austria faced North Macedonia in their opening game, in a fixture that they were heavily favoured to win. But the newcomers didn’t make it easy for them, going into the closing stages level and threatening.

Not only did Alaba manage to repel the threat of the North Macedonian frontline on several occasions, but he also stepped up to assist Austria’s second goal with a beautiful cross for Michael Gregoritsch.

Leonardo Spinazzola (LB) – Italy came up against a Turkey side who seemed content with a 0-0 draw, spending most of the first half camped in their own penalty box.

Spinazzola constantly looked like the one most likely to force an opener, combining down the left with Lorenzo Insigne.

Italy eventually took the lead with a Merih Demiral own goal, and the floodgates opened after that. They made it 2-0 not long later through Ciro Immobile, with Spinazzola heavily involved.

Andriy Yarmolenko (RM) – Despite being on the losing side, Yarmolenko could leave the pitch with his head held high.

Throughout the first half, the West Ham United winger was the only one threatening the Netherlands backline.

And, when Ukraine seemed down and out, he stepped up with an absolute screamer to pull a goal back.

Yarmolenko scored a beauty to get one back for Ukraine

Kalvin Phillips (CM) – The England team sheet was met with quite a bit of negativity, and the inclusion of Phillips was one of the reasons why. It’s safe to say he kept the doubters quiet with this outing.

Good on the ball, energetic, making loads of tackles and interceptions – it was an excellent well-rounded performance from the Leeds United man, who assisted the only goal of the game with a fantastic run and through ball.

Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – The 30-year-old was at the centre of most things going forward for Netherlands.

In the first half, he struck one shot over the bar, had a volley well saved, and created a glorious chance for Dumfries.

After the break, he capped off his impressive display with the first goal of the evening, finishing brilliantly on his weaker left foot after the goalkeeper spilt a cross at his feet.

Rafa Silva (LM) – For 70 minutes, Portugal’s superstars struggled to find ways to break down the Hungary defence. On came Rafa Silva, replacing Manchester City star Bernardo Silva.

Rafa Silva’s performance has gone somewhat under the radar amongst all the hype over Cristiano Ronaldo, but the winger changed the game completely, creating all three of Portugal’s goals in his cameo.

Perhaps he’s earned himself a place in the starting XI against Germany.

Romelu Lukaku (ST) – Lukaku was one of the most popular picks for the Golden Boot, given his exceptional scoring record for Belgium and his recent form at Inter Milan. And he didn’t let the backers down with a world-class showing against Russia.

Lukaku wasted little time in getting on the scoresheet, taking advantage of a mistake in the Russian defence to slot into the bottom corner ten minutes in.

And, with the full-time whistle closing in, he got himself another with a clinical finish at the near post.

Patrik Schick (ST) *PLAYER OF THE ROUND* – The standout from the opening round of fixtures is Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick, who wowed spectators with a stunning brace at Hampden Park.

Schick was the standout from the first round of games

His first goal was not easy by any means, but he managed to find the bottom corner with a well-placed header.

As for his second, what can you say that hasn’t already been said? Finding the back of the net from almost 50 yards – utterly sensational.

Read also: Euro 2020 Matchday 1 Review: France edge past Germany, Southgate finds a winning formula & much more.

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