Clockwise from top left: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling, Leonardo Bonucci
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Euro 2020 came to a thrilling conclusion on Sunday night, after Italy defeated England after a penalty shootout at Wembley.
But, over the past month, Europe and the world of football has been enthralled by |one of the most dramatic tournaments in recent memory.
Here, Telegraph Sport counts down the 20 stand-out performers from this year’s European Championship.
20. Kyle Walker (England)
Walker’s recovery pace makes him one of the most useful defenders in the modern game. England were able to play a high line for most of their games and it was Walker who made that possible. The Manchester City defender flitted between a back four and a back three with ease, reading the game and showing intelligence and maturity throughout the tournament.
19. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
Lukaku underlined his status as one of the world’s deadliest strikers with his performances for Belgium, scoring four goals in five matches. His return of 64 goals in 98 international appearances is quite remarkable, and Belgium could have gone further if they had not been hurt by injuries to key players.
18. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Portugal may not have progressed as far as many had expected, but Ronaldo proved he remains one of the continent’s elite finishers, even at the age of 36. Ended the tournament as top scorer thanks to his five goals in four matches.
17. Mikkel Damsgaard (Denmark)
The 21-year-old was the replacement for Eriksen and he thrived on the responsibility. Intelligent and inventive, Damsgaard scored two of the best goals of the summer: a long-range effort against Russia and a scorching free kick against England.
Mikkel Damsgaard gave Denmark a 1-0 lead against England at Wembley with a free-kick
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
16. Declan Rice (England)
Just like Phillips, Rice announced himself on the international stage and showed you do not have to be playing for one of England’s ‘big six’ to make an impact for your country. England’s best player in the final, doing more than anyone to resist Italy’s midfield and start English attacks.
15. Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)
Italy’s flying left-back might have been on course to be named as the player of the tournament before his brutal injury against Belgium in the quarter-final. His performances in the group stage, especially, were defined by his speed and adventure. The ultimate modern full-back, thriving in Italy’s ultra-modern system.
14. Kalvin Phillips (England)
This time last year, who would have thought that Phillips would emerge as one of the finest midfielders at the tournament? His rise from the Championship to the international stage is one of the best stories in English football in the past year. Energetic without the ball, composed with it. A star is born.
13. Patrick Schick (Czech Republic)
Schick’s return of five goals from five games, in a limited Czech Republic side, was a sign of his quality. He scored the goal of the tournament against Scotland, curling home a long-range strike from the halfway line, and was the key man in his country’s impressive run to the quarter-finals.
Patrick Schick's lob goal against Scotland was one of the standouts of the tournament
Credit: BBC/GETTY IMAGES
12. Federico Chiesa (Italy)
In a team full of patient passers, it was Chiesa who brought dynamism and adventure to the Italy attack. He grew stronger with each game and was Italy’s most impressive performer in the final before picking up an injury in the final stages of normal time. The Juventus winger scored classy goals in the knockout matches against Austria and Spain.
11. Simon Kjaer (Denmark)
Kjaer’s reaction to the collapse of Christian Eriksen in Denmark’s opening game was proof of his leadership and his strength of personality. Human beings reveal their true selves in such moments and Kjaer stood tall in the most horrifying of circumstances. On the pitch his defending was outstanding, especially in the knockout matches against Wales and the Czech Republic.
10. Harry Kane (England)
Grew into the competition after a slow start, producing world-class displays against Ukraine and Denmark. England were at their best when Kane was involved in the game and there were moments in the early stages of the final when even the great Italian defence found him unplayable.
9. Joakim Maehle (Denmark)
Playing as a left wing-back, despite being right-footed, Maehle was tireless and relentless in his desire to attack. The 24-year-old produced the finest assist of the tournament against the Czech Republic in the quarter-final, curling a gorgeous cross with the outside of his foot, and scored in the matches against Wales and Russia.
7. Marco Verratti (Italy)
The Italy midfielder has minimal pace, and no power to speak of, but his mind moves at such a speed that it does not matter. Controls matches with his passing and patience, pulling teams from side to side when Italy dominate possession. He would have ranked higher on this list if he had not missed the first two games through injury.
6. Luke Shaw (England)
Shaw’s performances felt like a coming-of-age moment for him in his England career. Comfortable as a wing-back or a full-back, he offered width and creativity throughout the tournament. His goal in the final was an exceptional finish and his showing against Ukraine, in the quarter-final, was one of the finest individual performances you will see.
Luke Shaw scored England's goal in the final loss
5. Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
The second half of Italy’s formidable defensive duo. An inspirational leader who takes so much joy from defending. The 36-year-old relished every block, interception and clearance. He set the tone for Italy’s aggressive defending and was always alert to danger, no matter how much his side were in control of the match.
4. Jorginho (Italy)
It has turned into quite the season for Jorginho, who proved his ability beyond doubt with victories in the Champions League and the European Championship. There are few players in world football who read the game as well as the Chelsea midfielder. He also showed defensive steel when it was needed against Spain in the semi-final.
3. Raheem Sterling (England)
In hindsight, it is hard to believe there were some who doubted whether Sterling deserved his place in the England line-up at the start of the tournament. A disappointing end to the domestic season was followed by a reminder of his world-class ability as his speed, creativity and goal-threat proved crucial in England’s run to the final.
2. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
After a quiet start to the tournament, when the strength of Italy’s defence meant he had little work to do, Donnarumma proved decisive in the knockout stages. The 22-year-old, seen as the heir to Gianluigi Buffon, was the hero of the shootouts against Spain and England. He looks set to be the world’s leading goalkeeper for years to come.
1. Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
In a new-look Italy side that played a modern version of the game, Bonucci showed there is still plenty of value to be found in old-school defending. An incredible leader and an immense defender, he scored the equalising goal in the final and then found the net again in the penalty shootout against England.
Leonardo Bonucci scored Italy's second-half equaliser in the final against England