Despite the off-field troubles that forced its postponement and caused other nightmares while the tournament was ongoing, Euro 2020 will go down as one of the best European Championships in history.
The wait ramped up the anticipation and the action didn’t disappoint when it eventually came, with few poor games and plenty more excellent contests from start to finish.
Italy lifted the trophy, while England reached a first international final in 55 years, Spain marked the start of a new generation and Denmark over came great tragedy to reach the semi-finals. There were also shocks, upsets, early fallers and incredible goals.
Here’s a look at 90min’s team of an unforgettable tournament…
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
Gianluigi Donnarumma capped off a superb tournament by saving two penalties in the final shootout and became only the second goalkeeper to be named player of the tournament after Denmark legend Peter Schmeichel in 1992.
RB: Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)
One of the players of the tournament until he ruptured an Achilles in the quarter-finals against Belgium, Leonardo Spinazzola actually played at left-back in his five appearances at Euro 2020. But such was the competition on that side, he has to be shoehorned in on the right.
He is right-footed and has played at right-back during his club career.
CB: Harry Maguire (England)
Harry Maguire missed England’s opening two group games because an ankle injury suffered towards the end of his club season with Manchester United. But when he returned for the final group game and knockout stages he was a rock solid foundation at the back.
CB: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
Giorgio Chiellini missed out on World Cup in 2006 at the start of his career and Euro 2020 was most likely his last chance to win an international trophy, a month before his 37th birthday. Ultimately, it felt like nothing would stand in his way and he did everything to win.
LB: Luke Shaw (England)
Luke Shaw only regained his international place earlier this year and still established himself as one of England’s best players of the tournament. An early goal in the final was the stuff that dreams are made of, although the Three Lions were unable to hang on in the end.
CM: Jorginho (Italy)
A missed penalty in the final shootout is now irrelevant for Italy’s midfield general. Jorginho was at the top of his game for the Azzurri and added Euro 2020 glory to his Champions League medal with Chelsea from his 2020/21 club season.
CM: Pedri (Spain)
An 18-year-old Pedri was Spain’s best player at Euro 2020 and signals new hope for the next generation. After 52 appearances for Barcelona at club level last season, more than any other player at the club, he was an ever-present and played every minute of his country’s six games.
CM: Marco Verratti (Italy)
Marco Verratti was a major injury doubt ahead of the tournament but made a comeback against Wales in Italy’s final group game. From then on, he outranked all other midfielders in chances created, passes completed, progressive carries, tackles and recoveries of possession
RW: Federico Chiesa (Italy)
Federico Chiesa scored two of the best goals of the tournament, one against Austria in a difficult last 16 tie and another against Spain in the semi-finals. The Juventus winger was also Italy’s most dangerous player for much of the final against England until injury forced him off.
ST: Patrik Schick (Czech Republic)
Patrik Schick finished as joint top scorer for the tournament, netting five times for a Czech Republic that overachieved and exceeded expectation by reaching the quarter-finals. His long-range stunner against Scotland will go down as one of the best European Championship goals of all time.
LW: Raheem Sterling (England)
Raheem Sterling was the player that dragged a defensively resolute but limited England through the group stage. He also netted the crucial opener in the historic last 16 clash with Germany and set one up in the rout of Ukraine to underline his status as one of the best.