Euro Group Stage Review
The group stages of Euro 2020 concluded this week in exhilarating fashion. A late Germany equaliser in Munich against Hungary prevented the three times European Championship winners from elimination and set up a mouthwatering round of 16 tie with England at Wembley.
Before looking forward to the knockout stages, we look back on the top performers of the groups.
Danny Ward - Wales
An unlikely hero given some of the stars Wales have at their disposal, Danny Ward has been fantastic throughout the group. His performance against Turkey was a key factor in their clean sheet which ultimately took them to the knockouts and kept the score down against Italy in a very respectable 1-0.
Rob Page’s side travel to Amsterdam to face Denmark and considering the attacking prowess they demonstrated in the marvelous 4-1 win over Russia, Ward will need to play out of his skin yet again.
Jordan Pickford - England
Featuring in our Euro Watch segment for Group D, Jordan Pickford lived up to the billing and was by far the best performing goalkeeper of the four. England did not concede a single goal and defended impressively on the whole.
However, the Everton man did pull off some great saves to make this happen, including an acrobatic stop from Stephen O’Donnell’s volley for Scotland to spare England’s blushes in the derby. Pickford was also involved in the attacks with his impressive distribution and played a part in Raheem Sterling’s winner against Czech Republic.
Kasper Schmeichel - Denmark
Another Euro Watch candidate, Kasper Schmeichel deserves to be in this list not only for his performances, but his exemplary behavior during the shocking events surrounding Christian Eriksen in the first group game with Finland.
The Danes showed indominable spirit in their three games, which saw them qualify for the knockout stages, despite the trauma. Schmeichel was excellent in the games against Russia and Belgium, with his actions in comforting Eriksen’s wife and helping shield the midfielder as he was receiving treatment, only improving his standing in the game.
Gianluigi Donnarumma - Italy
Italy’s goal was hardly peppered in any of the three games, but it would be amiss to not include the goalkeeper of a side with three clean sheets and a 100% record. It has been a big summer already for Donnarumma, who is set to join PSG but has also been part of the most impressive side of the Euros so far.
The twenty-three-year-old seems to have been in the game for an age and this could be a defining tournament in his international career, especially given that Italy will face far stronger opposition as the competition goes on.