Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The players to watch at this summer’s European Championships

Every major international tournament brings a chance for players to strut their stuff on the biggest stage, and there is a plethora of stars set to grace Euro 2020, which takes place this summer after being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With every tournament, there are players who light up the competition, and others who fail to live up to expectations. It’s no surprise that the biggest names in football are always the ones tipped to deliver on an international stage like the European Championships, so let’s take a look at some of the European stars hoping to do themselves justice this summer.

Kylian Mbappé

As one of the most exciting players in the world at the moment, it’s no surprise that football fans are looking forward to the performances of Kylian Mbappé at Euro 2020. The French forward is the favourite in the Euro 2021 player of the tournament odds, and will be hoping to fire France to successive major international titles.

Mbappé is blessed with a unique blend of skill and speed, capable of bamboozling defenders with his raw pace and ability to think quickly under pressure. His finishing skills are perhaps not quite as well-rounded as some of the great international strikers of the past, but he is still improving at the age of just 22.

France are in a tough group featuring Germany, Portugal and Hungary, so they’ll need Mbappé at the peak of his powers if they are to progress easily and build confidence going into the knockout stages. There is a lot of pressure on the young man’s shoulders, but he has proved so far in his career that he is more than capable of handling it.

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne (Photo: Brad Tuuerow under CC By 2.0)

Belgium suffered an agonising World Cup semi-final defeat to France in 2018, and you can tell that their players are itching to get out on the pitch at the European Championships and prove that they can go all the way. There will be no-one more motivated than Kevin De Bruyne to achieve international success with his country, as he is one of the players earmarked as crucial to Belgium’s fortunes in every tournament.

De Bruyne has enjoyed another excellent season with Manchester City, winning the Premier League title and the League Cup, with the Champions League final still to come. With a keen eye for a pass and a decent shot on him too, De Bruyne has every attribute needed to dominate a game from midfield.

Belgium have been granted a relatively easy group-stage draw, and should De Bruyne and his teammates find top gear early on, they’ll be very difficult to stop.

Antoine Griezmann

Another Frenchman hoping to make a big impact at this summer’s European Championships is Antoine Griezmann. The forward was outstanding in France’s run to the final of Euro 2016, and in their World Cup triumph in 2018, so coach Didier Deschamps will be expecting great things once again from the Barcelona man come June.

It hasn’t been the best of times for Griezmann at Barcelona recently. The club have struggled on and off the pitch in a variety of ways, but there’s no doubt that the 30-year-old has the talent to produce some stunning displays at the upcoming Euros.

Griezmann has proved himself a great goal-getter for the French national team, and he knows how to put himself in the right areas to get on the end of opportunities. It’s fair to say that France will need all their star men on song given their difficult group-stage draw, and much of their hopes will rest on the form of Griezmann.

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