With Euro 2020 closing in on a climactic conclusion, there’s only fine margins separating the continent’s best players.
- Sean Fisher
- Jul 11, 2021
Italy marched on to the final after a penalty shootout victory over Spain and the Player of the Tournament market is strongly dominated by Roberto Mancini’s men.
But after England saw off Denmark in extra time to book their spot in the showpiece, a handful of Southgate’s stars are staking a claim for the award.
Ultimately, the Euro 2020 final will most likely decide which player walks away with the prize and Planet Sport looks at the frontrunners for the tournament’s individual accolade.
While still in with a chance of being the tournament’s top scorer, Sterling’s stellar performances have see him take over favouritsm to be named the tournament’s best player.
Kane endured a slow start to England’s Euro campaign, but after scoring three goals in the last two matches, against Germany and Ukraine, England’s talisman may be hitting form just at the right time.
Now just one goal behind top scorers Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick, Kane’s last chance of claiming a second consecutive Golden Boot comes in the final against Italy.
After converting in extra time against Denmark, another goal in the final would undoubtedly place the Tottenham striker among the favourites for the prize.
The Italian midfielder hopped, skipped and jumped his way to becoming one of the favourites for the accolade after scoring the winning penalty against Spain in the semi-finals.
But even without the penalty, Jorginho has been a pivotal cog in Italy’s soccer machine this summer, and has often dictated the tempo from the heart of midfield.
Now in the final, Jorginho has one more chance to steal the headlines again – maybe by scoring the winning penalty against England.
After his inspiringly dignified response to team-mate Christian Eriksen‘s collapse in Denmark’s opening game, it’s easy to see why many are rooting for Kjaer to be named the tournament’s best player.
But as well as his awe-inspiring actions during those distressing scenes, Kjaer was a stalwart in Denmark’s defence, and provided a steady foundation for their attacking threats.
After his unfortunate own goal in the semi-final, Kjaer’s Denmark fell at the penultimate hurdle, but the likable Danish captain is still in with a chance of winning the award.
Chiesa added his second of the tournament this week, curling his effort round Unai Simon to give Italy the lead against Spain in the semi-finals.
Clearly a man for the big occasion, Italy will be hoping Chiesa once again provides on the big stage in the final.
If the award was handed out for the most animated player during the national anthem, Chiellini’s trophy cabinet would be even more stacked than it is already.
At the age of 36, Italy’s passionate captain has once again led his side to a Euros final, but after losing to Spain in 2012, he’ll be hoping to go all the way in what may be his last European Championship.
Trailing just behind his Italian counterparts in the market is Lorenzo Insigne, who has often provided Roberto Mancini‘s side with a creative spark from the left wing.
With two goals in the tournament, Insigne is the joint-highest scorer in the Italy side along with four others – if he is able to score a vital goal in the final, he could pip them to the award.
Maguire was initially a doubt for the England squad after suffering an injury late in the season with Manchester United.
The injury caused him to miss England’s opening two matches against Croatia and Scotland, but after returning to the fold against Czech Republic, he has been one of the Three Lions’ standout performers.
At the heart of the defence, Maguire has been a major factor behind England’s impeccable defensive record, and if he maintains his form in the final, he could be in with a shout for the award.
Another defender on the list is Bonucci, who has been ever-present in Italy’s defence this summer.
The centre-back even converted a penalty in the semi-final shootout against Spain, and a solid performance in the final could be the missing piece to his Player of the Tournament claims.
The only goalkeeper in the list comes in the shape of Donnarumma, who was one of Italy’s penalty heroes against Spain in the semi-final, saving Alvaro Morata‘s spot-kick.
With three clean sheets in the group stages, Donnarumma has been an essential part of Italy’s stubborn defence, and now having made his name in the shootout, it seems there’s nothing he can’t do.
Currently, you can back Pickford at 66/1 to win Player of the Tournament.