UEFA EURO 2024: 5 Players Who Impressed On Matchday 3

EURO 2024 Poster
EURO 2024 Poster

The third and final group stage Matchday of the 2024 European Championship (EURO 2024) delivered non-stop, breakneck action and a bucketload of drama.

Italy scored right at the death against Group B rivals Croatia, drawing 1-1 and knocking Luka Modric and Co. out of the competition. Austria stunningly topped Group D ahead of France after beating the Netherlands 3-2 in their final match. Slovakia, Romania, Belgium, and Ukraine all finished with four points in Group E. But Ukraine, due to their inferior goal difference to Slovakia (3rd), Belgium (2nd), and Romania (1st), crashed out of the tournament.

Lastly, there were Georgia, who picked up a stunning 2-0 victory over Portugal on Matchday 3 to finish third in Group F (4 points) and progress as the second-best-ranked third-placed team.

As we await Round of 16 action to commence on Saturday (June 29), let us take a quick look at the standout performers from the last round. Here are the top five players who impressed on Matchday 3.

#5 Toni Kroos – Germany

Toni Kroos Was One Of The Standout Performers In EURO 2024 Matchday 3
Toni Kroos Came Out Of Retirement To Play In EURO 2024

Toni Kroos came out of international retirement for one last dance at EURO 2024. And so far, the gamble is paying off spectacularly. The Real Madrid icon delivered top-drawer performances on the first two Matchdays as well, but his best came in the 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Matchday 3.

The 34-year-old dictated the tempo of the game from the middle of the pitch, passing the ball around with grace and effortlessly switching play to the least-guarded areas. Over the 90 minutes, Kroos completed a whopping 99 passes, attaining 93% passing accuracy. He also created four chances, played 14 passes into the final third, delivered four accurate long balls, and won five of six ground duels.

#4 Kylian Mbappe – France

Kylian Mbappe Was In Fine Form On EURO 2024 Matchday 3
Kylian Mbappe Scored France’s Only Goal Against Poland

After missing France’s goalless draw with the Netherlands on Matchday 2 due to his broken nose, Kylian Mbappe returned to action for the final Group F outing against Poland. The Real Madrid attacker looked in fine shape, taking defenders on, tracking back, linking up flawlessly with teammates, and keeping the goalkeeper on his toes. Mbappe also scored France’s only goal of the game in the 1-1 draw with Poland, dispatching a confident penalty in the 56th minute to find the bottom-right corner.

The France skipper completed 43 passes against Poland with 91% accuracy, had five shots on target, completed a match-high six dribbles, delivered three accurate crosses, and won seven ground duels. His finishing needed more work, but Didier Deschamps would have undoubtedly been happy to see his talisman fire on all cylinders.

#3 Marcel Sabitzer

Marcel Sabitzer Austrian Hero
Marcel Sabitzer Scored Austria’s Winning Goal Against Netherlands

Austria produced a masterful performance against the mighty Netherlands on Matchday 3, claiming a 3-2 victory. Every Austrian player played their part to perfection to push their team to the top of the group, but Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marcel Sabitzer deserves a special shoutout.

The attacking midfielder kept the game ticking with his crisp passes, created two chances, and had two attempts on target, including the goal. The 30-year-old scored the winner in the 80th minute, latching on to Christoph Baumgartner’s inch-perfect delivery, Sabitzer dragged the ball to the left of the box before firing beyond Bart Verbruggen and into the back of the net. The ex-Manchester United man also made six recoveries and won a couple of duels against the Dutch.

#2 Georges Mikautadze – Georgia

Mikautadze Was Stellar In EURO 2024 Matchday 3
Mikautadze Celebrating After Scoring Georgia’s Second Goal

Underdogs Georgia bagged a remarkable 2-0 victory over heavyweights Portugal on Matchday 3, booking their place in the Round of 16 of EURO 2024. Striker Georges Mikautadze had a role to play in both of Georgia’s goals, with him assisting the first one to striker partner Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and scoring the second one himself.

Mikautadze demonstrated his lightning-fast reflexes to latch on to Antonio Silva’s disastrous back pass in the second minute before calmly setting up Kvaratskhelia. Then in the second half, he fired home from the penalty spot after Silva fouled Luka Lochoshvili inside the Portugal box. Under unimaginable pressure, Mikautadze rolled the ball into the bottom-right corner to double Georgia’s advantage.

He also created a couple of chances, completed three dribbles, made four recoveries, and won five ground duels against Os Navegadores.

#1 Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – Georgia

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia For Georgia
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia Scored The Opening Goal For Georgia Against Portugal

Capping off the list is Georgia’s talisman and most recognizable player, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. The Napoli winger arguably played the best international match of his career against Portugal, scoring a fine goal in the second minute. Receiving the ball from Georges Mikautadze down the left-hand channel, Kvaratskhelia burst into the box and found the bottom-right corner with a thumping left-footed strike. He also used his dribbling ability to perfection to keep the defenders on their toes all night long.

Before coming off in the 81st minute, Kvaratskhelia completed three dribbles, made five recoveries, won nine ground duels, and drew four fouls. Georgia will have a great opportunity to extend their dream EURO run if their No. 7 can produce another masterclass against Spain in the Round of 16.

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