Romelu Lukaku – Belgium
Belgium have underwhelemed us given the extraordinary level of talent Robert Martinez has at his disposal.
However, if they are to step up and win a major tournment with this golden generation, then former Chelsea, West Brom, Manchester United and current Inter striker Romelu Lukaku will need to hit top form.
And the good news for fans of the goalscorer is that he has had a fantastic season in Italy with his 24 Serie A goals cementing a first title for the Milan club in over a decade.
Frenkie de Jong – Netherlands
For all their great stars down the years, Holland have more often than not flattered to deceive when it comes to these championships. After disappointing in 2012 and then failing to qualify for 2016, there is a hunger in Fran de Boers team to go a long way this time.
The talisman of this side is Frenkie de Jong in midfield where he runs games for the men in orange. The Barcelona star may have had a disappointing club season in terms of failing to win anything, but students of Spanish football point out that he was one of the best performers week in-week out for Ronald Koemans side.
Only Lionel Messi carried the ball further up field than the de Jong and his pass completion rate at around 90 per cent is off the charts.
Kylian Mbappé – France
Undoubtedly this young man is an attraction all by himself in the way his scintillating pace carves up defences and sets up opportunities for himself or his attacking teammates.
France are a team laden with stars but Mbappé gives them that something extra that is often needed to come out on top in such tournaments.
Much is indeed expected of the PSG star who after a disappointing domestic and European club season, will be going all out to make sure the summer makes up for earlier disappointments.
Thomas Müller – Germany
Before every Euro and indeed every World Cup fans predict winners without ever giving due consideration to Germany. Right now they look inferior on paper to France, England and one or two other countries, but this nation has a knack of growing through a championship – which makes them the most successful country in Europe over major championships.
Thomas Müller doesnt atract the headlines like Mbappé or Harry Kane or Robert Lewandowski but he is such a fundamental player in the cause of Bayern Munich and Germany.
German boss Joachim Low thought his legs had gone at one stage but was forced to recall him after three years in the wilderness – such was his form at club level.
He played a key role in Bayern’s ninth consecutive championship during the season just ended and was the only player with double figures of goals (11) and assists (18) in the competition.
Robert Lewandowski – Poland
If ever one man was responsible for lifting a team – other than Maradona for Argeninta in Mexico in 1986 – then Lewandowski is probably that figure in the Polish colours.
Yet he will feel that he owes his country folk something as while his goals got his nation to the 2016 Euros and 2018 World Cup, he failed to ignite on those two big stages, scoring just two goals in 11 matches.
So the stage is set for a 32-year-old to make Euro 2020 a perfect platform for him to deliver. Right now he is in the form of his life. After hitting 41 league goals for Bayern Munich, he also managed to break the record of a legend called Gerd Müller who had scored 40 goals from the 1971-72 Bundesliga.
Since the end of the last World Cup, the Polish star has scored a staggering143 goals in 134 club games for Bayern – more than any one else in the top five European leagues and 23 ahead of his nearest rival, Lionel Messi (120 in 141 games).
Harry Kane – England
If England are to bridge a gap that goes all the way back to July 1966, then it isn’t rocket science to state that Harry Kane will need to be firing on all cylinders for Gareth Southgate’s side to deliver.
The Tottenham strikes is already the bookies’ favourite to end up as the Golden Boot in the competition, after recently collecting a similar award for his scoring exploits in the Premier League.
With 23 goals already under his belt, the 27-year-old is gagging to get going. The Euros have acted as a great distraction for the striker, who is already being sought by all the top European clubs since he let it be known he will quit Spurs this summer.
Kane was the star man at the World Cup in 2018 after six goals earned him the Golden Boot. Now he wants a team victory to go with all thos personal accolades.
- Dublin Gazette – Digital Edition – June 08, 2023
- Aldi partnership help prevents over a million KG of food from going to waste
- Cruinniú na nÓg programme begins
- Councillor brands removal of public consultation ‘undemocratic’
- Increase in Housing Adaptation Grants for older and disabled people