After a year’s delay, 51 games, 142 goals and the final completed, Euro 2020 has finally come to a close.
England reached their first major international football final since 1966. After starting the tournament as favourites according to some bookmakers, after a month of nerve-wracking football matches, they eventually failed to lift the trophy on home soil, in a tense final to Italy.
Squadra Azzurra clinched their first major title in 15 years with a penalty shootout win at Wembley, in front of over 60,000 fans, most of them, England supporters. With their success in Euro 2020, Italy hold the record for the longest gap between Euros titles – 53 years.
Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament
UEFA’s team of technical directors, composed of 16 former players and coaches from across the continent have announced the Team of the Tournament:
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
Defenders: Kyle Walker (England), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy), Harry Maguire (England), Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)
Midfielders: Jorginho (Italy), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Pedri (Spain)
Forwards: Federico Chiesa (Italy), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Raheem Sterling (England)
But which players scooped the individual awards?
Player of the Tournament: Gianluigi Donnarumma
A 22-year-old goalkeeper, currently a free agent, won the Golden Ball. Who would have thought? Well, those who remember Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning campaign know that Fabio Cannavaro, a centre-back, was runner-up in the race for the Golden Ball, finishing behind French counterpart Zinedine Zidane. Squadra Azzurra’s defence has always represented the core of their successful international football history.
Although he was impeccable throughout the tournament, Gianluigi Donnarumma’s heroics in Sunday’s penalty shootout (saved twice in the shootout) secured his trophy.
But surprisingly, Donnarumma wasn’t amongst the top contenders. According to Betfred, Sterling was the favourite to win the player of the tournament at Euro 2020 at a best price of 7/2, followed by:
- Raheem Sterling – 7/2
- Harry Kane – 11/2
- Jorginho – 9/1
- Federico Chiesa – 10/1
- Harry Maguire – 16/1
Not many fans saw this coming, but those who did could’ve laughed after the Euros if they took the risk. If you happen to be one of them, next time, open a new account with Betfred to test your skills, or at least try your luck.
Young Player of the Tournament: Pedri
Andres Iniesta’s successor was La Roja’s most impressive performer, from the beginning of their tournament until the end. The 18-year-old Barcelona central midfielder was ubiquitous in Luis Enrique’s team and played a pivotal role in their run to the semifinals.
Pedri completed all 55 of his attempted passes in the opening 90 minutes, finishing up with 65 successful passes out of 67 at the end of extra-time in the semi-final defeat to eventual champions Italy.
Golden Boot: Cristiano Ronaldo
CR7 led the Golden Boot race from the end of the group stage right the way through to the end of the Euros after scoring five goals and providing an assist in his first three matches. He had also equalled Iran legendary striker Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals in the process.
Although the Juventus striker finished level on goals with the Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick, he was the outright winner of the Golden Boot, due to the criteria by which UEFA ranks the contenders: Ronaldo’s one assist at the tournament enough to crown him the Golden Boot winner. Despite Cristiano’s output, Portugal were eliminated in the last 16 through a 1-0 loss to Belgium.