6 best players of Euro 2024 last 16 - ranked

  • Last 16 of Euro 2024 saw some dramatic encounters
  • England, France and Portugal all squeezed into the quarter-final
  • Reigning champions Italy were dumped out by Switzerland
Spain shone brightest in the last 16
Spain shone brightest in the last 16 / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

With a click of a finger, the last 16 of Euro 2024 is done and dusted. While there weren't too many major shocks, some top sides were given almighty frights.

England needed a 95th-minute Jude Bellingham overhead kick to spare their blushes against Slovakia, while Portugal were taken all the way to penalties by a resilient and heroic Slovenia side. France may not have needed extra-time or spot-kicks to edge their way past Belgium, but they did require a Jan Vertonghen own goal to do so.

The most surprising result of the round came in the capital as Switzerland beat a woeful Italy side 2-0 with little fuss. That means the reigning champions can no longer defend their crown.

Within the drama, there were plenty of exceptional displays. Here are the six stars who shone brightest in the last 16.

6. Jamal Musiala

Jamal Musiala
Musiala clinched victory for Germany / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Germany's Jamal Musiala has dazzled at Euro 2024 so far and produced another effortless display as Germany ran out 2-0 winners against Denmark. In a stormy Signal Iduna Park, the Bayern Munich star was in his element.

Having already scored twice at Euro 2024 so far, Musiala added his third of the competition. Racing in behind the Denmark backline, the youngster showed tremendous composure to slot beyond the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel. He is now the tournament's joint top scorer.

His trickery once again proved difficult for the opposition to contain, floating across the front line without his usual attacking midfield partner Florian Wirtz.

5. Rodri

Rodri put in another exquisite display / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

When is Rodri not sensational? The Manchester City ace has taken his terrific club form to the national team for Euro 2024 and looked well rested for the 4-1 last 16 victory over Georgia having been suspended for Spain's final group game.

Of course, the defensive midfielder produced another clutch moment. He is now renowned for big goals at key intervals and offered La Roja their equaliser with a superb left-footed drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

However, it was his all-round display that was so tantalising. Unsurprisingly, he had more touches than any other player (129), misplaced just eight of his 117 passes and recovered the ball 12 times - four more than anyone else on the field.

Rodri really is a cheat code in the base of Spain's midfield.

4. Ruben Vargas

Ruben Vargas
Vargas scored a screamer against Italy / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

Ruben Vargas has been quietly impressive at Euro 2024 bombing up and down the left flank, but he saved his most memorable display for the last 16 tie with Italy. Playing in a more advanced role, the Augsburg man was at the heart of everything for Murat Yakin's side.

It was Vargas' powerful run and neat cross that found Remo Freuler in the box for Switzerland's opener. The 25-year-old's explosive pace proved too much for Giovanni Di Lorenzo and he found the pass to match his energetic dart in behind.

However, his most eye-catching contribution came just 30 seconds after the break. Finding space inside the Italian penalty area, Vargas bent a sensational effort into Gianluigi Donnarumma's far top corner. It was an unstoppable strike and the moment that booked Switzerland's spot in the quarter-final.

3. Fabian Ruiz

Fabian Ruiz
Ruiz starred in an excellent Spain display / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Fabian Ruiz has been one of Spain's brightest sparks in a star-studded midfield, with the Paris Saint-Germain star asked to play closer to the opposition penalty area than he usually does in the French capital. Luis de la Fuente's instructions have paid dividends.

The 28-year-old grabbed his second goal of Euro 2024 against Georgia, providing the strike that put Spain in front for the first time in the tie just six minutes after the restart. He would later provide the assist for La Roja's clinching third.

His attacking influence was clear when looking closer at the stats. He attempted seven shots across the game, completed four of his five dribbles and made 12 passes into the final third - creating two chances in the process.

2. Nico Williams

Nico Williams
Nico Williams has been unplayable at Euro 2024 / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

If you're only to watch one player for the rest of Euro 2024, let it be Nico Williams. The most exciting player at the tournament and one of the brightest starlets in world football, the winger has been relentless and devastating for La Roja.

Surprisingly, Williams actually registered his first goal contributions of the tournament in the last 16. He set up Rodri's effort and a turn of speed, dart past a defender and sublime finish added a third to Spain's tally. It was no more than the 21-year-old deserved for torturing another defence.

He boasted ten touches in the opposition penalty area, with only Lamine Yamal managing more, and finished the game with the second-highest expected assists total of any player on the pitch.

1. Diogo Costa

Costa was Portugal's saviour / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/GettyImages

Portugal may have underwhelmed in the last 16 but Diogo Costa certainly didn't. Offering his best Emiliano Martinez impression, the Porto goalkeeper was the deciding factor in his nation's progression to the final eight in Germany.

Having been largely untested for the bulk of the match, Costa was called upon in extra-time with the game goalless. A mistake from veteran Pepe allowed Benjamin Sesko a one-v-one, but Costa's strong outstretched leg denied the Slovenian forward in a pivotal moment.

Then came the penalty shootout. Goalkeepers can be proud of themselves if they save a single spot-kick but Costa managed to stop all three of Slovenia's efforts. Slovenia's penalties were decent strikes but simply matched by better saves.

Costa's ferocious leaps left and right spared both Portugal's and Cristiano Ronaldo's blushes.