Euro 2020 is down to its last game, and it’s almost time to start looking back on the tournament. Many of the typical suspects have performed at a world-class level, and a handful of players have risen to the occasion. Here are some lesser-known players who have made a name for themselves in recent tournaments.
1) Mikkel Damsgaard
With a magnificent freekick, Mikkel Damsgaard stunned the home crowd at Wembley. At this competition, the youthful winger created a name for himself by scoring two goals and adding an assist. His first goal came against Russia in the crucial group stage finale, when he bent one into the top corner from 25 yards. He then set up Kasper Dolberg to score the game’s first goal against Wales. He also lit up the game with a spectacular free-kick on the half-hour mark in the semi-finals.
2) Joakim Maehle
Joakim Maehle has established himself as one of the best full-backs in the tournament. Last season, the 24-year-old only made 12 starts for Atalanta. He sweetened the scoreboard with two late goals against Russia and Wales, and then one of his best assists with a world-class outside-of-the-foot cross for Dolberg against Czech Republic.
3) Leonardo Spinazzola
Leonardo Spinazzola has been a highlight for Italy at Euro 2020. He was named man of the match in the first game and has continued to impress throughout the summer. However, after ripping his Achilles, he was forced to withdraw from the quarter-final against Austria. In the round of 16 contest against Austria, his highlight came when he assisted Federico Chiesa’s crucial extra-time goal, which enabled the Azzurri advance.
4) Denzel Dumfries
During the group stages, Dumfries excelled. The Netherlands finished first in their group, but few would have foreseen the main source of concern. Denzel Dumfries sprang into the scene right on, assisting on all five of the Oranje’s goals in their first two games. He scored against both Ukraine and Austria, as well as winning a penalty against the latter and being involved in two more against Ukraine.
5) Steven Zuber
So far in Euro 2020, Steven Zuber has the most assists. In second place, he is one ahead of Luke Shaw, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and Dani Olmo. Left-backs Maehle, Spinazzola, and now Steven Zuber have surprised everyone at Euro 2020. He was a major contributor to France’s shocking elimination in the round of 16. Haris Seferovic’s first goal came from his cross, and he also won a penalty early in the second half.
6) Kalvin Phillips
The decision by Gareth Southgate to deploy two defensive midfielders was not well received. Many people thought Phillips should have been replaced with Jude Bellingham, who was younger and more technically adept. With a superb performance against Croatia in game one, the 25-year-old put the sceptics to rest. Since then, he has forged an almost impenetrable midfield partnership with Declan Rice. In six games, England has only conceded once.