meEach team at Euro 2020 has played a match, and some have had better results than others. Some managers will have to rethink their selections if they want to qualify for the knockout stage. Here are five players who didn’t start their teams’ opening games, but shouldn’t be left out again.
Gerard Moreno, Spain
Only Lionel Messi (30) scored more goals than Gerard Moreno (23) in La Liga last season, so it was a shock to see the Villarreal striker on the bench for Spain’s first match at Euro 2020. Luis Enrique chose to start Álvaro Morata in Seville and the decision failed. Spain managed a goalless draw with Sweden when the Juventus player managed just three shots in his 66 minutes on the field, none of which worried Robin Olsen.
Morata is a trustworthy player and once he scores, the goals will flow. However, after losing points to Sweden, Enrique must be ruthless and should choose Moreno against Poland. Moreno was directly involved in Villarreal’s 40 goals last season, scoring 30, and ended the campaign with a Europa League champion medal around his neck.
The fact that Moreno has taken more shots on goal in 16 minutes than Morata in 66 against Sweden suggests that he is worth a spot on the team. Spain completed more passes (829) than any other team in the first round of group stage matches, but they created only 12 scoring chances – a poor return considering they finished the night with 85% possession. . With Moreno in the mix, either replacing or playing alongside Morata, they could make that dominance count.
Jack Grealish, England
England’s 1-0 win over Croatia on Sunday was their first win in an opening match at the European Championship. It was a pleasant afternoon at Wembley and after a frantic start from the locals the players took their foot off the gas to conserve energy and wait for their chance to hit. The patience paid off when Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the match shortly after the restart to cap off a strong start to the tournament.
It’s hard to fault Gareth Southgate’s picks that day; As the minutes ticked by, another outing to take fouls and create chances would have eased the pressure on England’s defense. Despite missing 12 league games through injury, Jack Grealish (110) was the most fouled player in the Premier League last season, with only Kevin De Bruyne making more key passes every 90 minutes than the Aston Villa player.
Phil Foden may be England’s golden boy, literally, at Euro 2020, but he was relatively calm against Croatia and was our lowest-rated England player in the match. Southgate is unlikely to make too many changes for Scotland’s trip to Wembley on Friday night, but it should give Grealish a chance to show what he can do.
Nikola Vlasic, Croatia
Continuing with the match at Wembley from Sunday, Croatia’s lousy form continues. They have now won just two of their last 10 matches, and those victories came against international minnows Cyprus and Malta. After their 1-0 loss to England, Croatia need to get the pieces back when they face the Czech Republic on Friday.
Following the Czech Republic’s victory over Scotland on Monday afternoon, Zlatko Dalic has a greater responsibility to oversee the victory at Hampden and the inclusion of Nikola Vlasic would add some creative spark to this Croatian team. A three midfield from Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic and Luka Modric offers little in the final third, so Vlasic could provide the ideal link between midfield and attack.
His 20-minute cameo at Wembley on Sunday was not a true representation of Vlasic’s quality. The 23-year-old finished the season with 11 goals and five assists in the Russian Premier League; only Sebastian Szymanski (77) created more scoring chances than Vlasic (23). The Czech Republic were lucky to win their first game – they allowed Scotland 19 shots of their 10 at Hampden – and, if Vlasic is free to open the locks, that luck may run out against Croatia on Friday night.
Che Adams, Scotland
Andy Robertson was the only Scottish player to make more key passes than Che Adams during the 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic on Monday, despite Adams only coming in as a substitute at half-time. Thirteen of Scotland’s 19 shots came after Adams’ presentation.
When Adams declared his international loyalty to Scotland earlier this year, it looked like he would be teaming up with Lyndon Dykes up front this summer. Steve Clarke’s decision not to start it seemed even more puzzling when it made such an impact from the bench.
England have conceded just one goal in their last seven matches so it will be very difficult to break on Friday night. Adams is familiar with their defense, has faced them weekly in the Premier League, and should get his shot at Wembley.
André Silva, Portugal
Portugal could have beaten Hungary 3-0 in Budapest on Tuesday night, but their victory was not assured until the last minutes. His three goals, one from Raphael Guerreiro and a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo, came after André Silva was introduced in the 81st minute, a substitution that saw Ronaldo move from the role of center forward to the left wing.
Silva comes to the tournament after a wonderful season with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. Only Robert Lewandowski (41) scored more goals than the 25-year-old (28), helping his team finish fifth. Fernando Santos’ decision to bring Silva against Hungary benefited Portugal as it gave the defenders more to worry about and allowed Ronaldo to drift into his favorite role on the left side of the attack.
Ronaldo may want to lead the line, but Portugal looked more threatening once Silva was introduced against Hungary. Of course, bringing the forward into the fold means that one of Portugal’s many talented midfielders is retiring from the side but, if Santos is looking to maximize the best attackers at his disposal, then Silva deserves more time on the field as the tournament progresses. . .
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism