One Player to Watch on Each Euro 2024 Team

Euro 2024 Soccer - Lamine Yamal of Spain

The countdown to UEFA Euro 2024 has begun, with the tournament opening on June 14 when host country Germany takes on Scotland. In this summer event that crowns a champion of Europe, squads are stacked with stars who play for many of the world’s biggest clubs. Although there are many players to keep your eye on, here is my list of players (one from each participating nation) that you should specifically find interest in throughout the tournament.

Group A

Germany: Florian Wirtz, CAM, Bayer Leverkusen

The host country looks strong ahead of this tournament, and one of their key options in the middle and attacking parts of the pitch is Wirtz, who totaled 18 goals and 20 assists as a centerpiece of Leverkusen’s masterful season. While already making 18 caps for Germany, an ACL tear in 2022 caused Euro 2024 to be his debut international tournament. Wirtz, 21, has an opportunity to shine on home soil, gain important international experience, and help Germany become the first host to win the Euros since 1984.

Hungary: Dominik Szoboszlai, CM, Liverpool

Szoboszlai took his talents to the Premier League when joining Liverpool this season from RB Leipzig. While injuries kept him out for much of the second half of his debut season in England, the Hungarian captain still put together a solid year and will return to England following the Euros as a locked-in starter for new manager Arne Slot. Now healthy, Szoboszlai is needed and will be an important factor all over the pitch for Hungary as they look to surprise and earn results.  


Scotland: Scott McTominay, CM, Manchester United

McTominay had an unusual season in Manchester; despite only playing 55 percent of available minutes in the Prem, he scored the third-most goals on the team (seven). Erik ten Hag acknowledged McTominay as a goalscoring force by playing him farther up in the formation later in the season. Scotland will need and rely on his attacking capabilities, which he delivered in the tournament’s qualifying stages, for the length of their tournament. 

Switzerland: Noah Okafor, LW/ST, AC Milan

Despite not playing a large amount for the Italian giants this season (25 percent of the available Serie A minutes), the 24-year-old is expected to be up top for Switzerland in the Euros. As Okafor heads into the prime years of his career, this tournament is a golden chance to impress his club, which is losing its starting striker, Olivier Giroud, to LAFC this summer. Productive Euro performances could result in increased playing time for Okafor in Milan next season and a longer Swiss stay in Germany.


Group B

Spain: Lamine Yamal, RW, Barcelona

Yamal, the youngest player to ever represent the Spanish national team, is undoubtedly the future of Spanish soccer. But after a breakout season for Barca in which he started 30 matches and entered another 20, the future is turning into the present with Yamal expected to start for Spain in this tournament. The 16-year-old will be an important source of offensive creativity and danger for Spain, who will look to use the momentum of their 2022-23 UEFA Nations League championship in Germany.

Albania: Armando Broja, ST, Fulham

Broja went on loan from Chelsea to fellow London-based club Fulham in the second half of the season, but in that time, he still did not have much playing time or production. Broja is due for a permanent transfer out of London this summer and clubs will be looking for him to take advantage of this opportunity to lead Albania’s front line against some of Europe’s best defenders.

Croatia: Joško Gvardiol, CB/RB/LB, Manchester City

Gvardiol was crucial in Man City’s Premier League title run and will be even more crucial for Croatia. He is tasked with leading Croatia’s defensive line, and the challenges will start early, as Croatia finds itself in the Euro 2024 “group of death.” Gvardiol has shown his ability to score goals when in the attacking third as well, so his nation will hope he can bring that from his club performances to his international game.

Italy: Nicolò Barella, CM, Inter Milan

Italy enters this tournament as the defending champions, yet the squad is not considered as prosperous this time around. They did not qualify for the 2022 World Cup and less than half of their starters from the 2020 final — only Federico Chiesa, Jorginho, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Barella — are on the traveling roster for this tournament. Still, the talent they have, especially from their own Serie A, gives them a shot to make a run. These Serie A players are headlined by Barella, who held down the fort in Inter’s midfield all season as his team flew to becoming title winners. Barella was dealing with an injury that kept him out of Italy’s final friendly, but he is expected to be ready for the group stage in Germany.


Group C

England: Phil Foden, RW/CAM/LW, Manchester City

England have top-tier attacking depth and talent, but Foden is a must-start for Gareth Southgate after the year he just had with City. In 53 appearances in all competitions, Foden tallied 27 goals and 12 assists and won the Premier League Player of the Season. Foden could find himself playing either on the wing or in the middle of the pitch depending on how Southgate decides to line up and will have a vital role in helping the Three Lions try to finally get the job done in the Euros.

Denmark: Rasmus Hojlund, ST, Manchester United

Ahead of the 2023-24 season, Hojlund moved from Atalanta to United for a transfer fee of $92 million. In his first year in Manchester, the Danish striker had ups and downs, much like the rest of his team, but still got to double-digit goals in the Premier League. Now, Hojlund turns his attention to being the main goalscoring man for his nation like he was in Euro qualifying matches when he delivered seven goals in eight matches. While those numbers cannot be repeated in the actual Euro tournament, and Denmark’s performance at Euro 2020 likely will not either, the 21-year-old striker’s responsibility generates a spotlight he may shine in.

Slovenia: Benjamin Šeško, ST, RB Leipzig

Despite both Chelsea and Arsenal pushing to sign him through his release clause, Šeško has decided to stay put and continue his development at Leipzig, the club he joined from Red Bull Salzburg a year ago. The striker scored 11 goals in 16 matches during the second half of the Bundesliga season, including seven in the last seven matches. Slovenia will hope that the 21-year-old maintains his recent goal-scoring form, and if he can do so, it may give opposing teams a run for their money.

Serbia: Dušan Tadić, CAM, Fenerbache 

Despite participating in three World Cups in the 21st century, Serbia is making its Euros debut in Germany. Therefore, so is Tadić, 35, who is likely making his first and last appearance in the tournament. Tadić captains this team, and his role on the field satisfies that title. Serbia’s attack will connect through Tadić’s passing and the midfielder should be tasked with set pieces as well. Tadić’s soccer wit and skill will be great assets to Serbia as the nation steps onto this new international stage. 

Group D

France: N’Golo Kanté, CDM, Al-Ittihad

The midfielder made a move from Chelsea to Saudi Arabia following the 2022-23 season and after being a consistent starter when healthy for many years, there are many more questions now than in the past about where he stands in the French squad. France has plenty of midfield options, especially with the advancement of Real Madrid’s young stars Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga, so manager Didier Deschamps has some vital decisions to make ahead of and during the tournament. Whether or not Kanté remains in the playing rotation at the age of 32 will be a storyline to watch.

Austria: Marcel Sabitzer, CM, Borussia Dortmund

Sabitzer, after returning to Bayern Munich from a loan at Manchester United, signed with Dortmund this season and made his presence known, especially through the Champions League. Sabitzer started all seven knockout stage matches, proving to be a vital source of composure and chance creation for the German side. His impact included a goal and two assists against Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the quarterfinals to inspire Dortmund’s comeback in the tie. Sabitzer’s experience on the European stage will be needed for Austria as they face some of the world’s best talents in the group stage.

Netherlands: Xavi Simons, CAM/LW/RW, PSG

Simons made the most of his full-season loan to RB Leipzig, as he started all 32 Bundesliga matches he was available for and provided eight goals and a team-high 11 assists. In his first of what will be many Champions League competitions, Simons had two goals and two assists in eight appearances. A versatile and dynamic attacker, Simons may be the x-factor for a Dutch team that needs some offensive firepower to supplement its defensive proficiency. If Simons can do for the Netherlands what he did at Leipzig, he could help the Dutch have one of the longest stays at Euro 2024.

Poland: Nicola Zalewski, LM/LW/LB, AS Roma

When you think of Polish soccer, your mind goes directly to Robert Lewandowski. However, Zalewski is a player to watch because of his ability to play both defensively and offensively, as well as the expectation that Roma will move on from him following the Euros. Zalewski is set to start at left midfield and, accordingly, will be tasked with controlling that wide channel, a role that causes him to function as both a left-back and winger. His effectiveness will be observed by clubs interested in the potential of the 22-year-old who has been at Roma since beginning his youth career in 2011.

Group E

Belgium: Amadou Onana, CDM, Everton

While Belgium’s “golden age” in terms of player talent may be in the past or coming to a close, the nation is still producing talent that can help them win on the international stage. Onana is one of those talents. The midfielder has been impressive for Everton in the Premier League but has not quite established himself as a household name in the Belgium squad just yet. Soon to join one of Europe’s biggest clubs, Onana is a player all spectators should monitor.

Romania: Radu Drăgușin, CB, Tottenham Hotspur

Drăgușin, 22, completed a midseason transfer to join Tottenham from Genoa. The Romanian was on the roster for 18 matches and only played in half of those, so Euro 2024 is a great time for Drăgușin to gain exposure ahead of an increased role in London next season. Drăgușin played in all 10 Euro qualifying matches, helping Romania only give up five goals and, in the end, go undefeated with six wins and four draws. It will be key for Drăgușin and co. to repeat that defensive success if Romania is to make noise in this tournament. 

Slovakia: Dávid Hancko, CB/LB, Feyenoord

The 26-year-old defender started every match in the Eredivisie, Champions League, and Europe League this season. With Feyenoord manager Arne Slot moving to Liverpool, there are rumors that Hancko could be making the switch with him. Hancko has also been linked to recently promoted Leicester City, another move that would bring him to the Premier League. While usually playing center back for the club, Hancko is expected to start in the left-back spot for Slovakia, looking to take advantage of the attacking opportunity that can come with it. He scored two goals and assisted three during Euro qualifiers in the position. 

Ukraine: Artem Dovbyk, ST, Girona

In his first year in La Liga, Dovbyk scored 24 goals in 36 matches, leading Girona to a third-place finish and, of course, turning the heads of some of Europe’s giants like Chelsea and Inter Milan. Ukraine will be making their fourth straight appearance at the Euros, courtesy of play-off qualification, and hopes to make it to the knockouts a second time in a row. Dovbyk will be tasked with being the most threatening attacking option in the squad, likely playing in the front line alongside his current teammate, Viktor Tsyhankov, and potential future teammate Mykhailo Mudryk.

Group F

Portugal: Rafael Leão, LW, AC Milan

Leão has established himself as one of soccer’s most electrifying wingers, and his ability to create will be on display in the Euros. Portugal enters this tournament with one of the most stacked rosters, especially in the attackers category. Leão, assuming he gets the left-winger spot, will play alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, and Bruno Fernandes. There is no better time for Leão to show out and certify his spot in the Portugal starting lineup for years to come. 

Turkey: Kenan Yıldız, ST/LW, Juventus

Most soccer fans know Real Madrid’s Arda Guler, but Juventus’s Yıldız is another Turkish youngster to watch out for in the Euros. Yıldız will be the main feature of the Turkish front line despite only having six caps thus far. He appeared in 27 league matches for Juventus, starting in nine and substituting in 18, during his first season in the Serie A. With more playing time expected in the near future, Euro 2024 may serve as a way for Yıldız to make a name for himself on the international stage at only 19.

Czech Republic: Patrik Schick, ST, Bayer Leverkusen

Schick returned in Oct. 2023 from a groin injury that kept him out for over 200 days. He regained a role with Leverkusen during their historic year. A consistent starter before his injury, Schick did see his role diminish this season as he started 18, substituted in 15, and remained on the bench in five of the 38 matches he was healthy for. However, in his 33 appearances, Schick netted 13 goals, including a 67-minute hat trick in the Bundesliga and a super-substitution brace in the second leg of the Europa League’s last 16. Schick is scary opposition for goalkeepers, which is why he will start up top for the Czech Republic in Euro 2024.

Georgia: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, RW/CAM/CF, Napoli

Kvartskhelia is the household name on the Georgia roster. The Napoli man won the 2022-23 Serie A Most Valuable Player award. Kvaratskhelia scored four goals in nine matches during Euro qualifying for Georgia, who ended up getting into the tournament in a penalty shootout against Greece in the playoff final. Likely playing as one of the center forwards, Kvartskhelia will be the main challenge and attention point for opposing defenses, so his productiveness may decide how competitive Georgia is in Euro 2024. 

It is difficult to win the Euros — some may say even more difficult than the World Cup — and the quality of the players on this list is a small glimpse into why. 

Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images


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