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Every Euro 2024 team’s best player

Every Euro 2024 team’s best player
Every Euro 2024 team’s best player

Euro 2024 will showcase some of the biggest stars around in football right now.

Sure, it’s a tournament that misses the likes of Argentina and Brazil, while Norwegian duo Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard haven’t qualified. However, the likes of England, France, Spain and more boast an incredible level of talent, meaning we won’t miss any of the names absent.

But who are the best players from each nation heading to Germany this summer? Which player will each country be leaning on most heavily? Let’s take a look…

Albania: Elseid Hysaj

Hysaj is one of the few remaining Albanian players with experience on this stage, back when they last qualified in 2016. The 30-year-old was linked with big moves to the Premier League for years without anything ever materialising, but has long been one of Serie A’s strongest right-backs.

Although Hysaj can provide attacking impetus on the flanks when needed, Albania will be relying much more on his defensive and leadership abilities this summer, especially given they’ve been drawn into the ‘group of death’ alongside Spain, Italy and Croatia.

Austria: Christoph Baumgartner

David Alaba has been the man to naturally take this spot over the years but with the Real Madrid man injured, Austria are going to need to look to someone else for the bulk of their inspiration. They boast an extremely talented midfield with the likes of Bayern Munich’s Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer of Borussia Dortmund. However, it’s goals they’ll need this summer as they cross the border into Germany.

Christoph Baumgartner could be the man to provide the firepower. The 24-year-old already has 14 goals to his name in 37 international caps, including three during qualifying and another four in his last four caps. He also hit the net five times in the Bundesliga this season, most recently in RB Leipzig’s 4-1 win over Dortmund back in April.

Belgium: Kevin De Bruyne

From Jeremy Doku to Romelu Lukaku, Belgium are blessed with talent, especially in attack. However, none of them top Kevin De Bruyne who, if he can stay fit, can make a very strong case for being the best player at the Euros this summer. Even despite spending a large chunk of this season out injured, De Bruyne finished on 10 assists in the Premier League with only Cole Palmer (11) and Ollie Watkins (13) recording more.

De Bruyne’s service will be key to Belgium’s forwards, especially Lukaku, while he’s capable of his own moments of magic in front of goal, too.

Croatia: Josko Gvardiol

Croatia have been famed for their midfield down the years with the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic lighting up major tournaments. The 2018 World Cup finalists are having to evolve a little nowadays but one man whose role will certainly be interesting — and incredibly important — will be Josko Gvardiol. The 22-year-old was already set for a key role for Croatia this summer but now, having scored four goals in his last seven Premier League appearances, he’ll be looked to as a man who can make the difference against the likes of Spain and Italy.

Gvardiol has mostly played as a centre-back for his nation but after his exploits at left-back under Pep Guardiola, Zlatkio Dalic may need a rethink.

Czech Republic: Tomas Soucek

Tomas Soucek has enjoyed another strong season with West Ham, hitting 10 goals and three assists in all competitions, including seven goals in the Premier League. The 29-year-old has been the Czech Republic’s captain for over three years now and is just as influential in the final third as he is for the Hammers. In fact, in his last five caps alone, he’s hit three goals and two assists, with all three goals coming in Euro 2024 qualifying — no Czech player managed more.

Of course, Patrik Schick is coming off an incredible season with Bayer Leverkusen and will fancy his chances of making a difference in familiar German surroundings, too.

Denmark: Rasmus Hojlund

Rasmus Hojland’s form since joining Manchester United can be best described as ‘patchy’. On the one hand, he failed to score in his first 14 Premier League matches for the Red Devils. Then, he became the youngest player in competition history to score in six consecutive games. But he’s then only been able to follow that burst up with three goals in 10 games.

For Denmark, though, he’s always been prolific, scoring seven times in 13 senior caps so far. Seven of those goals helped Denmark reach this competition, with only Harry Kane (8), Kylian Mbappe (9), Cristiano Ronaldo (10) and Romelu Lukaku (14) scoring more in qualifying.

England: Harry Kane

Speaking of Harry Kane, England’s hopes will once again rest on his shoulders this summer. The 30-year-old striker is helped nowadays with far more elite talent alongside him like Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice to name but a few. However, he remains the Three Lions’ talisman and record goalscorer. Perhaps it’ll play into England’s favour having Kane in Germany this summer given he scored 44 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions during his debut season for Bayern Munich.

Kane has scored 12 goals in 22 appearances at the World Cup and Euros combined and knows exactly how to get it done at this level.

France: Kylian Mbappe

You don’t need us to tell you how important Kylian Mbappe is to France. Their chances hinge on his performances.

Mbappe hasn’t suffered the same sort of heartbreak he has at PSG with his national team, already winning a World Cup and UEFA Nations League, as well as reaching another World Cup final, at just 25 years old. Now, it’s time to cross the European Championships off his list, as a Real Madrid player.

Georgia: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

There are few players at the Euros that will carry so much expectation for their country than Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will for Georgia. He’s by far and away the standout player for his national team and has turned up for them in a big way in recent years, already hitting 15 goals and seven assists in 29 senior caps — including four goals and an assist to help fire Georgia here.

Kvaratskhelia is coming off the back of another strong season with Napoli, which included an 11-goal and six-assist return in Serie A.

Germany: Toni Kroos

Germany aren’t exactly short of talent with the likes of Manuel Neuer and Ilkay Gundogan still around to complement the emerging talents of Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala. However, the return of Toni Kroos could make all the difference for the hosts. The veteran midfielder is quite simply a magician with the ball at his feet and still arguably stands head and shoulders above anyone else in the world when it comes to technical ability, vision and the intelligence to control a game.

It’ll be down to Kroos to make Germany tick on home soil and he’s far too experienced to be weighed down by that responsibility. He also retires from football after the tournament, so who would want to deny him a fairytale end?

Hungary: Dominik Szoboszlai

Hungary are a ‘sum of their parts’ kind of team but in Dominik Szoboszlai, they have a genuine, world-class talent who can pull out spectacular moments from nowhere. The Liverpool man made his presence felt during qualifying with four goals and three assists, so it’s no surprise that he’ll wear the captain’s armband in Germany this summer.

Italy: Nicolo Barella

Even as holders, Italy enter these Euros with relatively low expectations. The bulk of their hopes rest on their ability to defend with the likes of Alessandro Bastoni and Gianluigi Donarumma but in Nicolo Barella, they have an elite midfielder who can make the difference in the final third.

Barella’s athleticism will provide a threat on the counter-attack but he’s more than just a mere physical specimen. The 27-year-old has created more chances from open play (159) than any other player in Serie A since the start of the 2021/22 season .This season alone Barella created 42 chances with three assists, while also scoring two himself to help Inter win the title.

Netherlands: Virgil van Dijk

Hopes of a quadruple very quickly collapsed for Liverpool, who had to settle with the EFL Cup as their farewell for Jurgen Klopp. But on an individual level, Virgil van Dijk is back to his very best and has been a colossus at the back for the Reds. His solidity, composure and leadership will be paramount as the Netherlands attempt to first navigate a group that contains France, Austria and Poland, before attempting to go beyond the quarter-finals of a European Championship for the first time since 2004.

Poland: Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski is now 35 years old and yet is still among the most lethal strikers in Europe. It’s been hard to watch Lewandowski suffer heartbreak after heartbreak over the years at international tournaments, with his Polish teammates never really helping him reach his full potential on the international stage. If that is to change, the time is now. Even Van Dijk won’t relish coming up against Lewandowski in the group stages this month.

Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo

Like Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo is well into the twilight of his career. But anyone willing to write the former Man Utd and Real Madrid man off does so at his own peril. Ronaldo continues to score at an incredible rate at club level, but how exactly will his form in Saudi Arabia translate to a major international tournament? That will be one of the key questions Portugal will have to answer if they’re to be serious contenders.

Mind you, Ronaldo did score 10 goals during qualifying and he’s never one to suffer from a crisis of confidence.

Romania: Radu Dragusin

Romania have a genuine chance of making the knockout rounds this summer after going unbeaten during qualifying and being drawn against Slovakia and Ukraine — as well as Belgium — in the group stages. It’s those games against the former two that’ll be key and they’re bound to be close. It will all, perhaps, be decided by who can be the most defensively resolute and with Tottenham’s Radu Dragusin at the back, Romania could have an edge.

Dragusin averaged 1.7 interceptions per 90 minutes and won 60% of his aerial duels in the Premier League after joining Tottenham in January.

Scotland: Scott McTominay

With seven goals, McTominay joins Man Utd teammate Hojlund in fourth place on Euro 2024 qualifying’s scoring charts. What’s more, the midfielder has been coming up with huge moments at club level this season, scoring 10 goals across all competitions — including seven in the Premier League — to register double figures in a single season for the first time in his career.

Scotland simply wouldn’t be here without his talismanic exploits and with Steve Clarke’s men drawn into a very tough group against hosts Germany, Switzerland and Hungary, McTominay will need to replicate that scoring form.

Serbia: Dusan Vlahovic

Some of them might be playing in Saudi Arabia or reaching the end of their career, but Serbia will still bring a lot of quality the Euros this summer. But focusing on a player reaching his prime and playing at one of Europe’s elite clubs, Dusan Vlahovic may well be the difference in what should be a tight battle between Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia to finish second behind England in Group C.

Vlahovic has scored 18 goals in 38 appearances across all competitions for Juventus this season, including the winner against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final. He also scored three goals to help Serbia qualify for this tournament.

Slovakia: Milan Skriniar

As mentioned, the battle between Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia to finish behind Belgium in Group E may well come down to clean sheets. And while Dragusin could make the difference for Romania, Slovakia boast arguably the group’s best centre-back — not to mention one of the best at the entire tournament — in Milan Skriniar.

The former Inter man suffered a few fitness issues this season but has now returned to the PSG starting XI and recently helped them seal yet another Ligue 1 title. His combative nature and physicality make him a nightmare for any forward, while his vast Champions League experience means Skriniar is no stranger to coming up against elite No.9s. Even Romelu Lukaku will have to work extra hard to get any change out of Slovakia.

Slovenia: Jan Oblak

It’s rare that a goalkeeper carries so much responsibility for his side but Jan Oblak is just that good. In fact, aside from being Slovenia’s best player, he’s one of the few goalkeepers around that can be considered among the very best players in world football right now.

Oblak recently celebrated his 200th clean sheet for Atletico Madrid and will already be planning how to stop the likes of Kane, Hojlund and Vlahovic.

Spain: Rodri

In a world full of goalscorers and flying wingers, Rodri is one of the few defensive midfielders who could make a genuine case for being a Ballon d’Or contender. The former Atletico Madrid man is the keystone around which Pep Guardiola’s entire system works at Manchester City and that’ll be the case for Spain this summer who will, typically, look to use precision passing and a methodical approach to win a fourth European Championship this summer.

Switzerland: Granit Xhaka

The rebirth of Granit Xhaka at Bayer Leverkusen has been incredible to witness, but can he replicate his form at international level, away from the tactical brilliance of Xabi Alonso? Switzerland will be counting on it and as a player who has always relied on confidence, there’s no better time for Xhaka to shine at a major tournament than this summer.

Turkey: Hakan Calhanoglu

Turkey massively disappointed at the previous Euros and will be looking to make amends here. They certainly have every chance of making the knockouts after being drawn against Georgia and the Czech Republic in the groups but even so, they may need a couple of signature wondergoals from Hakan Calhanoglu. Winning penalties may also be a key tactic for Turkey, with Calhanoglu scoring 10 of his 13 goals for Serie A-winning Inter this season from the spot.

Ukraine: Oleksandr Zinchenko

With Vitaly Mykolenko a very capable left-back, Ukraine have been able to unleash Oleksandr Zinchenko as more of a creative force over the years. The 27-year-old has endured a mixed campaign with Arsenal thanks to injuries and occasionally losing his place, but his technical ability in midfield will be key for the Ukrainians, who need Zinchenko to find ways to supply the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk and Artem Dovbyk.