Europe’s festival of football is now just a week away as the rescheduled Euro 2020 prepares to begin on June 11, a major tournament where some of world football’s finest will be hoping to make an impression.
The presence of a leading goalscorer is often essential to any side with ambitions of winning the trophy and Euro 2020 will feature some of best centre-forwards in the game at present.
As the tournament edges ever closer, we look at five of the best out-and-out strikers at Euro 2020 this summer.
5. Ciro Immobile
Italy shape as potential dark horses for the tournament with the Azzurri returning after failing to qualify for the World Cup three years ago, Roberto Mancini’s side securing their place at this summer’s Euros with a flawless record in qualification.
Mancini’s team will possess an experienced backline, strong midfield and exciting frontline, which should be spearheaded by Lazio talisman Ciro Immobile.
Immobile’s goalscoring exploits have perhaps gone somewhat under the radar for those unfamiliar with Italy’s top division, though the 31-year-old has scored 150 goals in just 219 appearances across five seasons with Lazio.
The forward became the first player outside of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez in over a decade to win the European Golden Shoe in 2019/20, after netting a record-equalling 36 Serie A goals.
Immobile is yet to quite recapture those heights at international level with 12 goals in 45 caps, but after a 25-goal haul in 2020/21 he appears ready to make a goalscoring impression at Euro 2020.
4. Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku will be tasked with firing Belgium’s challenge for the trophy, the Red Devils currently ranked as the number one ranked nation according to FIFA and a popular pick with punters looking to pick a winner at the rescheduled Euro 2020.
Belgium blitzed through the qualification process with 10 wins from 10 fixtures, scoring more goals than any other nation after averaging four per game.
Lukaku has compiled a brilliant goalscoring record at international level with a record 59 goals in 92 caps and arrives into this summer’s tournament off the back of a career-best campaign with Inter Milan.
The 28-year-old has long been an elite goalscorer but has taken his game to new levels since making the move to Italy, the Antonio Conte regime having extracted the best from Lukaku’s array of talents.
The Belgian scored 24 league goals and provided a further 11 assists as Inter were crowned champions in 2020/21, ranking second in Serie A on both metrics to underline his improvement and evolution into one of the most complete centre-forwards in Europe.
3. Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema was a shock inclusion in the France squad for this summer’s tournament, the world champions recalling the Real Madrid star following a six-year absence from international duty.
Benzema’s international career had looked over with the forward having not featured for Les Bleus since 2015, due to his alleged involvement in a blackmail scandal involving former teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
That absence has ridden France of one of their most talented names and his return is a welcome boost to Didier Deschamps, with Benzema having enjoyed arguably the best period of his career over the past three seasons.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid has seen the forward step out of the Portuguese’s considerable shadow, becoming a talismanic figure for the Spanish giants and scoring 87 goals across the past three campaigns.
Benzema provides both a clinical goalscoring edge and a selfless ability to make things happen for those around him, his 30 goals in 2020/21 added to with an impressive nine assists.
France have the best squad of any side at Euro 2020 and Benzema’s addition is just another leading threat for opposition sides, the prospect of the 33-year-old linking up with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann an exciting one for the neutrals.
2. Harry Kane
England fans are cautious regarding pre-tournament expectations, but a side brimming with potential has the opportunity to make an impression this summer, after reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
Leading an emerging crop of talented footballers is Harry Kane, who will captain Gareth Southgate’s charges as he looks to add to the Golden Boot he won in Russia three years ago.
Kane was the leading scorer in qualification with 12 goals for the Three Lions, his current record standing at an impressive 34 goals in just 54 caps to stand sixth in nation’s the all-time goalscoring rankings.
The 27-year-old is currently at the peak of his powers and enjoyed a brilliant individual season in a mediocre Tottenham team, finishing as both the leading scorer and leading assist provider in the Premier League during the 2020/21 season.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) November 16, 2020
Kane is as complete a centre-forward as there is in world football right now and with a supporting cast including Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho, has an array of players capable of providing the ammunition.
England’s hopes will depend greatly on Kane’s performances at this summer’s finals.
1. Robert Lewandowski
Arguably the best player in world football at present and Poland’s finest ever footballer, Robert Lewandowski will have the hopes of a nation upon his shoulders at Euro 2020 once again.
Few expect Poland to reach the latter stages, though Paulo Sousa’s side will be hoping to reach the knockout rounds as they face Slovakia, Spain and Sweden in Group E.
Lewandowski has the ability to fire his side through and boasts a record of 66 goals in 118 caps, with the 32-year-old having played the best football of an incredible career over the past two seasons.
The Poland captain scored 55 goals in all competitions to fire Bayern Munich to a treble in 2019/20, before scoring a barely believable 41 goals in 29 league appearances last season – breaking the all–time single season Bundesliga record set by Gerd Muller in 1971/72.
Lewandowski is the current favourite to add the Ballon d’Or to a burgeoning collection of accolades and a successful Euro 2020 could clinch the award for a generational goalscoring genius.