Euro 2020’s group stage is fast approach its conclusion with each team now aware of the permutations for progression, with the second round of fixtures having delivered shocks, comebacks and some brilliant attacking performances.
Following the latest action, we’ve decided to pick out some of the tournament’s star performers, here are six players who shone during Euro 2020’s gameweek two.
Robin Gosens – Germany
What a performance from Germany and what a showing from Robin Gosens, who tormented holders Portugal as Joachim Low’s side got their campaign back on track.
Gosens has formed part of a scintillating Atalanta side in recent seasons with his marauding runs from wing-back a staple of their game, with the 26-year-old at his buccaneering best in the German’s destruction of Portugal on Saturday.
Gosens charged up and down the left-hand side like a man possessed, giving Nelson Semedo a torrid time with his unrelenting willingness to push forward in search of goalscoring opportunities.
It was the wing-back whose driven first-time cross was deflected into his own goal by Ruben Dias to equalise, after Germany had fallen behind to an early Cristiano Ronaldo tap-in.
Gosens had earlier had a goal disallowed for a fractional offside, but the flying full-back was not to be denied as he first crossed for Kai Havertz to score Germany’s third goal, before powering home a header to make it four.
Gosens has taken an unconventional route to one of Europe’s top divisions and after starring for Atalanta could now be ready for an even greater challenge, his performances for Germany so far indicate he is more than capable of making his mark at one of the continent’s elite.
Alexander Isak – Sweden
Alexander Isak has stated his case to be named as the best young player at Euro 2020, with the forward stepping into the Zlatan Ibrahimovic-sized void in the Swedish attack to shine during the nation’s opening fixtures.
Isak has been tipped for a huge future ever since becoming Sweden’s youngest ever goalscorer as a 17-year-old, though struggled to find his feet following a move to Borussia Dortmund.
The forward enjoyed a productive season on loan at Willem II in the Eredivisie before signing for Real Sociedad two years ago, enjoying a breakout campaign in 2020/21 to score 17 league goals and be named as La Liga’s best young player.
Isak has taken that confidence into Euro 2020 and has impressed during Sweden’s opening fixtures, including a fine individual performance as Slovakia were edged 1-0 in gameweek two.
No player in the tournament has dribbled past more opposition players than Isak (12), with the youngster showcasing his fine footwork during one scintillating solo run against Slovakia that came close to a goal.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 18, 2021
Comparison with Ibrahimovic are easy to make given the potential emergence of a Swedish superstar, but there is also plenty of his illustrious compatriot in Isak’s game with his imposing frame and fleet footwork, a player capable of outmuscling, outpacing or outthinking opposition defenders.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have already been linked with a player whose release clause is understood to be around £60m and it is not difficult to see why, Isak the shining light of an ordinary Sweden side at Euro 2020 to date.
Gareth Bale – Wales
Wales are through to the last 16 of Euro 2020 following their group stage campaign, their finish as runners-up to Italy coming as a result of their gameweek two victory over Turkey.
Robert Page’s side will again be championed as plucky underdogs when facing the continent’s elite, but there’s no doubting that Gareth Bale deserves to dine at the top table of world football.
Bale’s fortunes may have suffered a sharp downturn in recent seasons, but his love for Wales shines through on international duty and Euro 2020 has already seen glimpses of the Bale of old.
Against Turkey the 31-year-old was sensational, his movement making him impossible to be shackled and there were no shortage of moments that emphasised his quality with the ball at his feet.
Bale finished the clash with five key passes and two assists, the first a beautiful ball over the top for the impressive Aaron Ramsey, before setting up Conor Roberts with one slaloming run down the byline late on.
His penalty was poor but proved utterly meaningless, with Bale proving Wales’ match winner once again.
Manuel Locatelli – Italy
Arguably the standout performer in the tournament’s most captivating side to date, few sides will fancy facing Roberto Mancini’s Italy following their flawless progression to the knockout stages.
Italy had never scored three times in a European Championship fixture before Euro 2020, but opened their campaign with back-to-back 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland.
The latter of those saw Manuel Locatelli star at the heart of this vibrant and energetic side, his passing brilliant throughout and his goalscoring instincts evidenced with Italy’s opening two goals.
Locatelli arrived into the box unmarked to fire home Domenico Berardi’s cross from close range, before drilling a crisp effort into the bottom corner to double the advantage and emphasise his status as one of the player’s of the tournament so far.
Unsurprisingly the gossip columns have already been filled with the midfielder’s name, a long list of suitors reportedly including Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Juventus appear the front runners to sign the 23-year-old who failed to make an impact at AC Milan, before thriving at Sassoulo alongside now Italy teammate Domenico Berardi.
The duo have been at the centre of a revitalised Azzurri team who have shown few signs of slowing down, their 30-game unbeaten run matching a national record and just five short of the all-time international landmark.
Denzel Dumfries – Netherlands
Denzel Dumfries has enjoyed a brilliant start to Euro 2020, the flying full-back having scored in both of the Netherlands opening two fixtures as the Oranje have secured their place in the last 16.
Dumfries had never previously scored in 19 appearances at international level, but has showcased his attacking qualities with goals against both Ukraine and Austria.
Against the latter the 25-year-old – who was playing non-league football just eight years ago – was directly involved in both goals, winning a penalty after bursting into the box, before surging forward once more to net the Netherlands’ second on the break.
Dumfries charged up and down the right flank all evening and his pace, power and endless energy looks tailor-made for the Premier League as clubs quickly circle the PSV Eindhoven star.
Reportedly possessing a release clause of just €15m, he could just prove a bargain buy for any side seeking attacking impetus at full-back.
Andriy Yarmolenko – Ukraine
Andriy Yarmolenko has been one of the players of the tournament so far and when watching the winger in action for Ukraine it begs the question as to why he has failed to deliver consistently at West Ham.
Yarmolenko is undoubtedly his side’s talisman and has enjoyed a brilliant start to Euro 2020, scoring in each of Ukraine’s opening two fixtures against the Netherlands and North Macedonia.
After a late defeat to the former, Andriy Shevchenko’s side have given themselves a fighting chance of reaching the knockout stages after beating North Macedonia, with Yarmolenko opening the scoring in the latter win from close range.
The Ukraine talisman then released Roman Yaremchuk for his side’s second with a perfectly-weighted first-time pass in behind the Macedonian defence, impressing all afternoon with his stylish wide play.
Yarmolenko has now scored 42 goals in just 96 appearances for Ukraine, just six short of levelling his manager as the nation’s record scorer, with his goal-per-game ratio at international level marginally better than Shevchenko – a man regarded as Ukraine’s greatest ever footballer.