Karim Benzema (France)
It is THE big surprise of the selection concocted by Didier Deschamps for the Euro. Banned from the Blues since the so-called “sextape” affair, the Real Madrid striker had not appeared in the selection since November 2015. Sparkling with the “White House” (30 goals in 45 games this season, 26 goals in 45 games last season) where he has become the attacking leader since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, he also takes advantage of Olivier Giroud’s starving playing time with Chelsea to sign his return to the selection. The trio he forms with Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann is enticing. And scares all the Euro defenses.
Thomas Müller (Germany)
Absent since 2018, Thomas Müller is back in the German team for this Euro, like defender Mats Hümmels. “We made this decision at the time because we wanted to leave space and time for young players to develop. But the pandemic slowed down this progression, and now was the right time to call them back, ”said Nationalmannschaft coach Joachim Löw.
In addition to the elimination in the first round of the World Cup in 2018, Germany was swept away last fall by Spain (0-6) and then surprised at home by North Macedonia in March (1-2) , and several big names in German football had called for their return.
Memphis Depay (Netherlands)
Nothing says that Memphis Depay would not have been selected for the Euro in 2020. But the question of its form would have arisen. Victim of a rupture of the cruciate ligaments of the knee in December, the Dutch striker of Olympique Lyonnais had worked hard to be back for the Euro. The postponement of the competition allowed him to recover. Author of a very good season with the Rhone club (21 goals in 40 games), he arrives launched.
Phil Foden (England)
It is the big revelation of the season in Europe. Able to play an attacking or attacking midfielder, Phil Foden is the X factor for Manchester City, England champion and Champions League finalist. In a bloated workforce, the 21-year-old has, in major games, been preferred by Pep Guardiola to Sergio Agüero, Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and, above all, Raheem Sterling.
The most expensive player in Europe according to CIES, Foden was called up for the first time with the Three Lions in September 2020. The postponement is very beneficial for him. And for England.
Aymeric Laporte (Spain)
He dreamed of the blue of the France team, yet it is with the red of Spain that he will experience his first international competition in selection during this Euro, at the age of 27. A victim of competition in central defense among the 2018 world champions, with whom he was called up three times without ever coming into play, Aymeric Laporte was naturalized Spanish, he who was trained at Athletic Bilbao (2010-2018) .
With Spain, he will have an important role to play, in an orphan defense of the pair Sergio Ramos-Gerard Piqué, and in full reconstruction.
Virgil Van Dijk (Netherlands)
He is considered the best defender in the world, one of the symbols of the renewal of the Netherlands and Liverpool, his club with whom he gleaned the title of champion of England. Victim of a cruciate ligament rupture in one knee on October 18 during the Mersey derby against Everton, he has not reappeared since. On May 12, he confirmed that he would not be back in time for the Euro. A big tile for the Netherlands.
Sergio Ramos (Spain)
He too is a central defender and the emblematic captain of his selection. Sergio Ramos, 35, was not called up by Luis Enrique to play the Euro with Spain. The reason given by the coach? “He hasn’t been able to play this season, especially since January,” a period during which the Real Madrid captain, also affected by covid-19 in April, was injured four times. “I fought to be able to reach 100% for Real and the national team, but things do not always work as we would like”, for his part explained the player with 180 selections, a record in Europe. In his place, Luis Enrique will be able to count on the naturalized Frenchman Aymeric Laporte.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Germany)
He should have been Manuel Neuer’s understudy in Nationalmannschaft goals. And what a lining! Holder with FC Barcelona, Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Hit in the knee, the 29-year-old goalkeeper chose to undergo surgery and forfeited the Euro.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (England)
The last minute absentee. Selected from Gareth Southgate’s list of 26, Trent Alexander-Arnold played England’s opener against Austria. Injured in the thigh at the end of the match, the right side of Liverpool is forfeited for the Euro. An injury that confirms the mixed season of the 22-year-old player, inside with Liverpool (3rd in the Premier League and released in the quarter-finals of the Champions League) after having walked on the water from 2018 to 2020 (victory in Champions League, then English champion).
Blaise Matuidi (France)
It could have been his last dance in blue. If the Euro had taken place, as planned, in the summer of 2020, Blaise Matuidi would have applied to join the list of Didier Deschamps. Soldier of all international campaigns since Euro 2012 and called in October 2019 against Turkey, Matuidi had missed the last gathering before the pandemic. A forced absence, since the player was injured. In addition, in 2020, he was leaving a new 40-game season with Juventus Turin. But the pandemic has passed that way. Euro postponed. The former Parisian chose to go into exile at Inter Miami in the summer of 2020. And Didier Deschamps has not called him since.
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