Euro 2021 is widely thought to be one of the better international tournaments in recent times. I agree. The ultra-cautious approach of the last World Cup and the last Euros was mostly absent and both we, the viewers, and the sport itself was better for it. It is fair to say that no single player had a tournament that ranks among the very best in history: there was no Zidane 2000, Iniesta 2012, or Neuer 2014, to name three recent(-ish) examples. Still, many players impressed and this blogpost triest to name the very best. A big thank you goes out to my co-authors Daniel Roßbach, Rob Fielder, Lewis Ambrose, and Niklas Baumgart. Daniel is a journalist for the Lausitzer Rundschau and your no. 1 source if you’re interested in the most recent Union Berlin pressing schemes. Rob is simply an authority when it comes to the history of football and the author of the only two histories of the World Cup and European Championship that can rightfully be called ‘complete’. If you like this blog, you will love his books! Lewis is a football writer for arseblog and One Football and, if I may say so, a damn good football player. (The Saka to Daniel’s Chiellini.) Niklas is a journalist at the world-famous Kicker magazine and his Baumgarts Fußballblog is perhaps the best German football history blog within the (broadly-speaking) analytical tradition. Highly recommended if you speak German! (It pains me to say that so far I cannot comment on the footballing skills of Rob and Niklas, but the day will come, my friends, the day will come!)
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The co-authors enriched this blog by contributing player profiles, but keep in mind that the selection was mine alone. So if you are the kind of person who gets upset by selections like these, please direct your anger towards me. To immediately pick out one controversial decision: Jorginho is the 12th man, someone who did more than enough to warrant inclusion, someone who is among the top five players of the tournament, but who is relegated to the bench because there is another player in his position who I see narrowly ahead (primarily based on the match in which they met). Sorry, Jorginho.