It’s been an absolutely sensational summer of football, culminating in Italy’s dramatic defeat of England, but who were the best players on show?
#1 GK: Gigi Donnarumma (Italy)
The imminent arrival of Gigi Donnarumma on a free transfer already looked like a sensational bit of business by Paris Saint-Germain – now it is looking like one of the best deals in history.
The 22-year-old was utterly immense as Italy won Euro 2020 in dramatic fashion, with their giant of a goalkeeper saving two penalties in the final, including the decisive spot-kick from Bukayo Saka.
The Arsenal teenager deserves the utmost sympathy for his miss because there is no more intimidating shot-stopper in the world right now, as underlined by the fact that Donnarumma is five for five in terms of shootouts, for club and country.
UEFA’s Player of the Tournament and our obvious choice for the No.1 jersey.
#2 RB: Joakim Maehle (Denmark)
Atalanta have done it again: the masters of the transfer market have unearthed another gem.
Just over six months after signing Joakim Maehle from Genk for just €10 million (£8.5m/$11.9m), the versatile wing-back is now arguably worth three times that amount thanks to his sensational displays for surprise semi-finalists Denmark.
Despite being right-footed, Maehle proved a phenomenon on the left flank, scoring two goals and creating another.
Indeed, the 24-year-old produced the most outrageous assist of the tournament by finding Kasper Dolberg in the area with a stunning outside-of-the-boot cross in the quarter-final win over Czech Republic.
#3 CB: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
What was truly incredible about Leonardo Bonucci’s Man of the Match-winning performance in the final was just how ridiculously easy it made it all look.
He was calmness personified. On two separate occasions, he nonchalantly flicked headers back to Donnarumma, even though Raheem Sterling was close by, looking to pounce on any mistake.
Bonucci, though, turned in a flawless, outrageously composed display.
His passing, as always, was sensational, while he was also on hand to score the crucial equaliser when Marco Verratti’s header came back off the post.
Bonucci has sometimes been accused of playing as more of a midfielder than a defender. At Euro 2020, he proved himself one of the most complete centre-backs of the modern era.
#4 CB: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
How on earth could we pick anyone other than Giorgio Chiellini to play alongside Bonucci in the heart of our defence?
Italy’s greatest warrior won what is likely to be his final battle in the international arena with the kind of spirited showing that made a mockery of his 36 years.
Harry Kane dropped deep to great effect in the first half, but Chiellini did not afford the England striker a single chance in the area.
And on the one occasion that Saka got away from him, the Juventus man ruthlessly hauled the Arsenal teenager to the floor, creating an image that quickly went viral. Chiellini simply was not going to be denied his crowning moment of glory.
There was no worthier recipient of the Henri Delaunay trophy than the Azzurri’s inspirational captain, whose status as one of the game’s all-time greats is now complete.
#5 LB: Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)
Losing Leonardo Spinazzola was a major setback for Italy, but it represented an even bigger blow for a player that has been plagued by injuries throughout his career.
It had felt as if the 28-year-old’s moment had finally arrived when he turned in a Man of the Match-winning performance against Turkey in the tournament-opener in Rome, and the marauding left-back was again named the best player on the pitch again when the Azzurri edged past Austria in the last 16.
It came as no surprise, then, that Roberto Mancini’s side suddenly looked a lot less menacing going forward, and much more vulnerable in defence, when he was stretchered off in the closing stages of the quarter-final win over Belgium.
So, it was beautiful to see Spinazzola make it to Wembley to receive his winners’ medal, and the hope now is that he makes a rapid return from his Achilles surgery so that he gets his chance to shine again at next year’s World Cup.
#6 CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark)
Arguably the outstanding midfielder on show at this summer’s Euros, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was the driving force behind Denmark’s sensational run to the semi-finals.
The Tottenham man’s numbers are just outstanding, perfectly illustrating the fact that he helped his nation in every possible way following the shocking loss of star playmaker Christian Eriksen to a heart problem during the group stage.
As well as racking up three assists, Hojbjerg created 11 chances in total, completed 10 dribbles and won the ball back 51 times – more than any other player in the tournament.
#7 CM: Jorginho (Italy)
Europe belongs to Jorginho!
Just over six weeks after lifting the Champions League with Chelsea, the Brazil-born midfielder tasted Euro 2020 glory with Italy, making this a summer of a vindication for the unfairly maligned 29-year-old.
Indeed, Jorginho’s quality has even been questioned by his own club’s supporters, but there can no longer be any doubts over his greatness.
The former Napoli man was the key man in Italy’s engine room, dictating the play with his precision passing and incessant pressing.
The stats speak for themselves: He ranked second for both successful passes (485) and possession won (48), while he set a new European Championship record for interceptions, with 25. No other player made more than 14…
#8 CM: Pedri (Spain)
How good was Pedri at Euro 2020? Well, it is fair to say that those comparisons to Andres Iniesta no longer look quite so premature.
In a team that reached the last four, and would have made the final were it not for wayward finishing, Pedri was the top performer.
Before the tournament began, there was some doubt over whether the Barcelona teenager would start.
By the end of Spain’s campaign, the midfielder, who created 11 chances and completed more successful passes in the opposition half (317) than any other player, was utterly indispensable, as underlined by the fact that he played all but one minute of his country’s six games.
Coach Luis Enrique enthused after Pedri’s ridiculously composed display against Italy in the semi-finals, “I’ve never seen anything like that [from an 18-year-old]. Not even from Iniesta. It’s impossible to explain.”
And it was. Pedri is truly something else.
#9 RW: Federico Chiesa (Italy)
Federico Chiesa may have had to bide his time, because of Roberto Mancini’s initial preference for Domenico Berardi on the right-hand side of the Italy attack, but the Juventus winger eventually emerged as one of the stars of Euro 2020.
Chiesa started the Azzurri’s opening two fixtures on the bench, and although he turned in a Man of the Match-winning display against Wales, he was left out of the starting line-up again, for the last-16 meeting with Austria.
However, Juve’s big-game player then came to the fore.
He broke the deadlock with a wonderfully composed finish against the Austrians, tormented Belgium’s backline in the quarters and then picked up another one of UEFA’s ‘Star of the Match’ awards in the semi-finals, thanks primarily to his fantastic second-half finish against Spain.
In then carrying Italy’s attack against England before being cruelly forced off through injury, he well and truly proved himself a world-class performer.
#10 CF: Harry Kane (England)
It is remarkable to think now that English pundits and fans were very concerned by Harry Kane’s form at the end of the group stage.
It was not just the fact that the prolific Tottenham forward was still awaiting his first goal of the tournament; there was an unusual sluggishness about his all-round game.
However, as soon as the 27-year-old headed home Jack Grealish’s cross in the closing stages of the last-16 win over Germany, the real Kane returned.
He netted twice against Ukraine in the quarters, and while he missed his extra-time penalty against Denmark, the striker was on hand to force home the rebound to rack up his fourth goal of the knockout stage and send England into a first major final since 1966.
The shame was that he was starved of quality service in the area against Italy, but his hold-up play was extraordinary. As the old saying goes, form is temporary; class is permanent.
#11 LW: Raheem Sterling (England)
The player of the tournament up until the final? England certainly would not have made it that far without Raheem Sterling.
The Manchester City winger, who grew up just a stone’s throw from Wembley, certainly looked right at home in London, effectively carrying the Three Lions attack during the group stage, with match-winning goals against both Croatia and Czech Republic.
Sterling provided the spark again in the hugely significant win over Germany in the last 16, while his forays into the area were effectively responsible for both goals in the 2-1 semi-final defeat of Denmark.
The 26-year-old had his critics before the Euros began. He silenced them with a string of world-class performances.
#12 Honourable Mentions
Nearly every player who lined out in the meanest defence in the tournament gave an excellent account of themselves, with Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Luke Shaw all excelling for England. Jordan Pickford also proved himself a fine goalkeeper.
Speaking of shot-stoppers, Yann Sommer and Kasper Schmeichel were both brilliant for surprise packages Switzerland and Denmark, respectively.
Jordi Alba led by example for Spain, while Simon Kjaer redefined the role of the captain for Denmark.
Mikkel Damsgaard was one of the outstanding young players on show, while joint-top scorers Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick can consider themselves unfortunate not to make the final cut.
Indeed, Schick was responsible for the goal of the tournament, against Scotland, and it would be remiss of us not to mention two of his team-mates, Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek.
Elsewhere, Italy’s Marco Verratti narrowly missed out on a place in midfield, while Emil Forsberg is entitled to feel hard done by, after hitting four goals for Sweden.
Finally, France duo Karim Benzema and Paul Pogba, who was sensational at times, both paid the price for their nation’s shock early exit.