Some major upsets such as the Czech Republic beating the Netherlands in the first round of the knock-out stage or even better, Switzerland beating France in a wonderful thrilling game of football full of twists.
On the coaching side, we have seen that the three players defense is really trending and we saw many teams playing a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 with more or less success. Playing with three at the back is obviously riskier at the national team level as it requires a lot of practices with players that may not be used to play on a regular basis with each other.
Another important coaching point is how much emphasis we have seen on developing the game and bringing numerical superiority through the flanks and more specifically with the outside backs playing a major role in the offensive animation of a team. It is safe to say that the time where outside backs were asked to merely defend is long overdue and teams like Italy or England have had incredibly performant outside backs that brought them a lot of success.
On another note, it is very interesting to point out the fact that both teams that are present in the final played three of their first-round stage at home, while it is almost a home tournament for England, with only one game played away from Wembley. This EURO will forever remain special at so many levels.
After a long season for many players, we were afraid that the level wouldn’t be as good during this international tournament. We have been surprised how much quality we have seen in the tournament and we have assisted at some really interesting games. There are some players that took this opportunity to showcase all their talents, and getting noticed worldwide. Here are the 5 revelation players of the tournament by coachbetter.
1. Denzel Dumfries
The first outside back of the list. In a team where players like Depay, Wijnaldum, and De Ligt were highly expected, it is the player from PSV that stole the show. A permanent threat for the Dutches, he was one of the most important players in De Boer 3-5-2 system.
He finishes the tournament with 2 goals, with an important one against Ukraine, to seal the victory in the first game but mostly with a lot of regrets, for a player that truly deserved to go further in the competition. The Netherlands were unfortunately too inconsistent, shining at times and struggling to go through bad moments of the game. The red card given to De Ligt in the round of sixteen condemned the “Oranje” and De Boer as well, fired right after the tournament.
2. Leonardo Spinazzola
What a tournament from the AS Roma player. It is a true sadness to see him leave his team like that with an operation on the Achilles tendon.
However, how could we not praise his performances so far in the tournament? Spinazzola, quite unknown to the international public, is already an experimented Serie A player but truly shone on the international stage this summer. What he brought offensively and defensively for the “Squadra Azzura” was a key factor to their great performances.
Mancini picked Emerson to replace Spinnazolla against Spain and it might not be a coincidence that it was the worst performance from the Italians so far in the tournament.
3. Mikkel Damsgaard
Damsgaard had the difficult mission to replace Denmark’s number 10 Christian Eriksen. After collapsing on the field and leaving thousands of football fans across the globe worried to the bone, Eriksen finally woke up and survived what could have been a true disaster. Hjulmand had nevertheless to make decisions and decided to give the keys to the Danish games to the young (21 y/o) Mikkel Damsagaard.
The least we can say is that he honored his teammate Eriksen. Denmark has been one of the most pleasant teams to watch in this tournament, showing a team spirit and team chemistry, unlike any other team. A great tournament punctuated by a great goal in the semi-final against England in Wembley. Not sure that he stays at Sampdoria for long.
4. Jeremy Doku
Belgium reached the quarter-final stage and yet it is another disappointing performance from the “red devils”. Belgium holds currently the first position in the FIFA ranking and has a golden generation, Lukaku, De Bruyne, Witsel, Tielemans, Hazard, Courtois, etc. However, Roberto Martinez’s men haven’t won any title.
It is a team where we expect more. The difference in this EURO has been the way Belgium has played. Whereas they were playing and very attractive to see at the World Cup in Russia in 2018, they decided to play have a more defensive approach for this tournament. Unfortunately, players coming out of form such as Hazard, and De Bruyne has affected the team too much.
Some hope came from the bench though with a young player from Stade Rennais called Jeremy Doku. The winger showed some lighting pace and created a lot when he was given playing time. Another player that won’t stay long in his club and might be Belgium’s next big star.
5. Pedro Gonzalez Lopez – Pedri
What can we say… Pedri has been absolutely impressive since the very game of this EURO. Luis Enrique told it himself:
“What Pedri has done in these Euros I have never seen with an 18-year-old, not from anyone in the Euros, World Cups, Olympic games, it’s something away from all logic. Not even don Andres Iniesta has done it”
Pedri has been Luis Enrique’s main man playing all the games and being one of their best players. He averaged 95% of passes completed and finished the game against Italy, with no balls lost. At 18 years old Ladies and Gentlemen. We wouldn’t want to talk about what the future holds for Pedri at the individual level but it is certain that he is a big candidate for future individual trophies. While we will leave the speculation to journalists, we will just enjoy seeing the young Spaniard from Canary Island play the most beautiful sport: Football.
Special Mention: Joakim Maehle (Denmark), Patrick Schick (Czech Republic), Roman Yaremchuk (Ukraine), Kalvin Philips (England), Alexander Isak (Sweden)