England’s goalless draw with Scotland aside, matchday two at the Euros was just as exciting as the first. There weren’t any goals that quite reached the levels of Patrick Schick’s halfway life effort against Scotland but there were still plenty of them. From a superb Germany display against Portugal to the Hungarians drawing with the World Cup champions, here is the second Euros team of the week!
GK- Peter Gulacsi, Hungary
Starting in between the sticks and given that everyone assumed Hungary would lose all three of their group games, for Marco Rossi’s side to draw with the World Cup champions is quite remarkable. Mbappe, Griezmann and Benzema linked up well but it was the relative minnows who took the lead, Griezmann of Barcelona then pulling the French level in the second half. RB Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi has a wealth of experience against forwards of this quality and it showed, he made a number of impressive stops and commanded his area well in a historic affair for his nation. France’s chances of beating Portugal and Germany took a lot of damage from this result!
LB- Robin Gosens, Germany
Remaining in the group of death and many were quick to dismiss Germany as the third best side, their most recent result proving otherwise. Low’s men hosted Portugal in Munich and it was Germany that came out on top, their wingbacks causing Nelson Semedo and Dortmund’s Rapha Guerreiro a lot of stress. Kai Havertz was excellent in the attacking third but the standout man was in fact Atalanta’s Robin Gosens, he forced Ruben Dias into scoring an own goal, assisted Havertz before then scoring one of his own. He may have only played about sixty minutes but Gosens was the difference maker in a eye-opening win for Germany.
CB- Marcus Danielson, Sweden
Sweden maybe haven’t been one of the more exciting teams to watch thus far but their defensive stability is clearly effective and they will be playing in the knockout stages because of it. Victor Lindelof and Pontus Jansson of Brentford are the centre backs known to a wider English audience but Marcus Danielson has been a bit of a revelation besides the Manchester United man. They kept out Spain in the opening game and then again weren’t breached when they faced Slovakia, Forsberg’s penalty seeing the three points go the way of the Swedes.
CB- Denzel Dumfries, Netherlands
It is often more difficult for defenders to stand out than attackers and thus there weren’t many centre-halves that caught my eye, that combined with the form of wingbacks means Denzel Dumfries is squeezed in in the middle. The PSV man has scored in both of their group games to date and he has been a general nuisance going both ways. Throughout the Dutch side there have been big performances from the likes of Memphis, Wijnaldum and Frenkie De Jong, Dumfries’ adding to Depay’s opener to seal the three points against Austria and guarantee that De Boer’s men will top the group.
RB- Stephen O’Donnell, Scotland
The reason that Dumfries is being played out of position in this completely hypothetical team is that Scotland’s Stephen O’Donnell also makes the cut. There are plenty of Premier League players in Steve Clarke’s squad and then the majority of the rest are from either of the Old Firm sides. One of the rare exceptions is Stephen O’Donnell who plays his club football for Motherwell, he also operated in a wingback role and he came quite close to beating Jordan Pickford, the Everton man making a top save.
CM- Manuel Locatelli, Italy
Italy yet again put on a defensive masterclass and the source of their goals at the other end was quite a surprising one. Lorenzo Insigne of Napoli and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile were both on target in the group opener but Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli struck twice against Switzerland. The first saw him tuck home from close range courtesy of a cross from his club teammate Berardi and he then made it two from much further out, both goals equally impressive in their own right.
CM- Gini Wijnaldum, Netherlands
Dumfries isn’t the only Dutch representation in the squad as their captain and PSG’s new man Georginio Wijnaldum also put in a stellar performance. He scored in the opening game and although he failed to do so this time out, he was the key cog in the middle of the park against a resolute Austrian side. The former Liverpool man kept driving his side forward and again sent to a message to his former employers regarding what they’ll be missing.
CAM- Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium
Making up the midfield three is a man that didn’t even start Belgium’s come-from-behind win over Denmark, Kevin De Bruyne. On a poignant day for Danish football and the wider community, Youssef Poulsen scored the earliest goal of the tournament so far to shock Roberto Martinez’s side. Belgium were struggling to get back into the game but the introduction of Champions League runner-up De Bruyne made all the difference. The Man City man played a big part in the build-up to Thorgan Hazard’s equalizer before then putting the Red Devils ahead himself, a sumptuous effort from distance on his weaker left foot being a helpless Kasper Schmeichel.
LW- Ivan Perisic, Croatia
Croatia’s game against Czech Republic didn’t bring a whole lot of attacking talent to the table, Patrick Schick netting a penalty to make it three for the tournament for the Leverkusen forward although this was VAR’s first Euros error. On the flipside, Ivan Perisic had Croatia on his back really with the likes of Rebic and Kramaric struggling, the Inter wide-man putting his country back on level terms. It was a great strike past Sevilla’s Tomas Vaclik but the Croats still have a lot to do against the Scots if they are to reach the knockouts.
RW- Andriy Yarmolenko, Ukraine
The penultimate player in the side is West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko, a player who seems to be on a different level when they don their beloved national team jersey. He scored a superb goal in Ukraine’s loss to the Dutch and he was again on target here, being in the right place at the right time to poke home the opener against North Macedonia. Just minutes later, Yarmolenko then set up Roman Yaremchuk for the forward to also make it two-in-two for him personally.
ST- Alexander Isak, Sweden
Finally then to a second Swede and this player is at the other end of their career. Alexander Isak is just starting out and has had a couple of very good seasons with La Liga side Real Sociedad. He may be yet to score at the Euros but his hard work on and off of the ball has been integral in his country’s surprisingly strong start to the tournament. Isak has played beyond his years and especially given a lack of support in the attacking third, he was again very exciting to watch.