The conclusion of Euro 2020 has wrapped up one of the most spectacular and memorable summers of tournament football. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition has brought a complete package of triumph, jubilation, heartbreak, and most of all, a worthy celebration of the beautiful game and its talented players in these testing times.
The Surprise packages of Euro 2020
While the usual suspects of Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, and Luka Modric all had memorable moments showcasing excellence on the pitch, Whoscored.com has presented their top 5 players of the tournament on the basis of match ratings and influence, with a few surprises that wouldn't have featured pre-tournament.
Here are the 5 top rated players of Euro 2020.
#5 Joakim Mæhle, Denmark
Denmark's Euro 2020 campaign had to see them overcome adversity and display great strength in character to overcome the near fatal tragedy of their talisman, Christian Eriksen.
24-year-old Atalanta wingback Joakim Mæhle personified the entire team's perseverance and strength in his performances. He finished with a surprising haul of two goals and an assist, averaging over two shots and five touches in the opposition penalty box per 90 minutes, in addition to resolute industry up and down the flanks .
His sublime technique to deliver an outside of the boot cross to Kasper Dolberg during Denmark’s 2-1 quarter-final victory over the Czech Republic was one of the most spectacular assists of the tournament. It was a moment of brilliance that offered a glimpse of the player's immense potential as a marauding wingback capable of playing on either flank.
#4 Romelu Lukaku, Belgium
The Inter Milan striker has firmly established himself as one of world football's premier center forwards. Romelu Lukaku combines tremendous strength and speed with a clinical technique in front of goal that the early part of his career saw begging.
Spearheading Belgium's fast fading "Golden Generation," Lukaku was able to deliver amidst heavy expectations on his shoulders at Euro 2020, seamlessly translating his rampant domestic form to the international stage.
Finishing a goal shy of the golden boot, Lukaku displayed great maturity in his game, adding fantastic positional awareness and fluidity in movement to stretch defences all throughout Euro 2020.
#3 Patrik Schick, Czech Republic
25-year-old Czech Republic and Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick was one of the wildcards of the tournament, coming an assist short of winning Cristiano Ronaldo's golden boot for Euro 2020. Long touted as an exciting talent playing for some of Italy's biggest clubs, Schick's star seemed to be fading away despite his blessed physical ability and quick exchanges of the ball.
Like a bolt from the blue, much like his celebrated long range strike against Scotland in the group stages, Patrik Schick has revived his goalscoring form, leaving an unforgettable mark on Europe's biggest stage.
#2 Marco Verratti, Italy
Marco Verratti is the thinking man's player. Whilst not the loudest goalscorer and chance creator, the Paris Saint Germain star was the pulsating heartbeat of Italy's triumphant Euro 2020.
Throughout the tournament, he found himself dribbling his way out of many a cul de sac, showcasing outstanding link-up ability and positional awareness, as well as getting his hands dirty by hassling his opponents with his energetic pressing.
Still only 28, the midfield maestro already has a career paralleling veteran status and has now added himself to the pantheon of great Italian midfield generals such as Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso and Giuseppe Meazza.
#1 Harry Maguire, England
A surprise candidate for Euro 2020's best rated player, Harry Maguire's performances have personified England's resilience at the back in their run to a first tournament final in over 55 years. Having missed the first few games due to a late season injury, the centre-half quickly established himself as a stalwart, putting in hardworking shifts in the knockout stages of the competition.
The crown jewel amongst his performances was without a doubt a man-of-the-match display against old foe Germany. His imperious aerial ability, calmness on the ball and quick closing down were instrumental in England's 2-0 victory.
Throughout the tournament, England did not concede a single goal from open play, serving as a testament to the physical and mental ability of the 28-year-old centre-back.
Manchester United fans have seen both extremes of the best and worst of their captain since his £80 million move from Leicester City. Judging by the newfound consistency of his performances over the summer, he is sure to be a leading pillar for both club and country in the years to come.