Tuesday, August 3

Instant impact: the outstanding players of Euro 2020 | Euro 2020

Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands)

The PSV Eindhoven full-back has been exceptional in the first two matches, scoring the winning goal against Ukraine and completing the comfortable win over Austria with a second of the tournament that previously won a penalty. Dumfries, a former Aruba international named after Denzel Washington, was first called up by Ronald Koeman in 2018, but had never scored until his heroism in the opening game. The 25-year-old’s energy on the right flank has given Frank de Boer’s team an added dimension that has helped them reserve their place in the next round, and Bayern Munich are among the big clubs now in the game. interested in signing him.

Mikkel Damsgaard (Denmark)

Denmark’s qualifying hopes are hanging in the balance after losing their first two matches, but the Sampdoria winger’s slight performance against Belgium should give the fans some hope. In the absence of Christian Eriksen, Damsgaard assumed the role of chief creator in a first-half display that probably should have generated more goals for the hosts. The 20-year-old erased his copybook with an obvious fall in the second half, just before Kevin De Bruyne’s winning goal, but it looks like he will be a regular for Denmark for years to come. Damsgaard moved to Serie A last year from Nordsjælland after making his first-team debut at the age of 17.

Patrik Schick (Czech Republic)

“Right now Patrik doesn’t have the muscles, but you can imagine him in two or three years,” Pavel Nedved said in 2017. Turns out the 2003 Ballon d’Or winner knew what he was talking about. Despite the collapse of Schick’s move to Juventus after he failed two medical exams before joining Roma, the 25-year-old is finally fulfilling the initial promise he showed as a youth player at the Sparta Prague academy. His audacious long-distance goal against Scotland led him to four goals in his last five appearances for the Czech Republic, having found his place at Bayer Leverkusen after his signing last summer.

Manuel Locatelli (Italy)

From a goal celebration that brought back memories of Marco Tardelli at the 1982 World Cup to joining Cristiano Ronaldo’s Coca-Cola boycott, it has been an opening week for the 23-year-old from Lecco in Lombardy. As a child, Locatelli dreamed of being a private detective and was a huge fan of Murder, She Wrote, but Azzurri fans will be delighted that he decided to pursue a different passion after his two goals against Switzerland, the first of his international career. . If Roberto Mancini’s team looks well prepared to enter this tournament, it is due in large part to their skill in midfield, where Locatelli and the energetic Nicolò Barella round out Jorginho’s steadfastness to perfection.

Manuel Locatelli (right) celebrates after scoring Italy's second goal in their 3-0 win over Switzerland.
Manuel Locatelli (right) celebrates after scoring Italy’s second goal in their 3-0 win over Switzerland. Photograph: Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA

Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine)

The St. Petersburg-born player who returned to Ukraine as a child has proven the skeptics wrong with two brilliant performances that have brought in two goals and an assist. Yarmolenko failed to score in 15 Premier League appearances with West Ham last season, but he appears to have been saving the best for the international stage with former teammate Andriy Shevchenko. The 31-year-old clearly enjoys being the center of attention: At his press conference after the victory over North Macedonia on Thursday, Yarmolenko was in a mischievous mood. “I can do something?” I ask. “I have seen Ronaldo putting away Coca-Cola bottles recently. I’ll put Coke here, I’ll put Heineken up front here. Guys, contact me. “

Raphaël Varane (France)

Eight years have passed since José Mourinho described Varane as the best defender in the world and his dominant performance against Germany was a good argument as to why this is still the case. Still just 28 years old and having won the Champions League four times, adding a Euro champion medal to the World Cup title in 2018 could make him one of the few players to achieve a host of major titles. France is awash with offensive talent, but the secret to their success with Didier Deschamps is a Varane-led defense that he rarely concedes. Manchester United are a longtime fan and would love to lure them into the Premier League, but Sergio Ramos’s departure means that Real Madrid is even less likely to do business now.


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