Best (and worst) of a belting Euro 2020: Our reporters pick their favourite moments

Euro 2020 has been electric and has thrown up some incredible results, unbelievable goals and some shocking off-pitch incidents.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, which concluded at Wembley on Sunday night, fans have been left to relive a thrilling few weeks.  

Sportsmail’s reporters reflect on a whirlwind tournament which saw Denmark rocked by Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest, Patrick Schick score a 49-yard lob against Scotland and Switzerland stun world champions France on penalties…

BEST GAME? 

Ian Herbert: Spain 1 Italy 1 (SEMI-FINAL).

A game of contrasting styles and attacking flair which deconstructed the idea that the biggest games cannot be the best of games. Utterly compelling.

Craig Hope: Spain 1 Italy 1 (SEMI-FINAL)

I was lucky enough to be at Wembley for this one, and for an hour it was the greatest game of goalless football you will ever see. The quality, intensity and noise was off the charts. 

Italy produced heroics in a penalty shootout to edge out Spain at Wembley in the semi-finals

Italy produced heroics in a penalty shootout to edge out Spain at Wembley in the semi-finals

Matt Barlow: France 3 Switzerland 3 (round of 16)

Twisting plot, breathless tempo, wonderful goals, vibrant atmosphere, a fabulous save to settle the shootout and a shock exit for the world champions.

Chris Wheeler: France 3 Switzerland 3 (round of 16)

Paul Pogba’s stunner, Switzerland’s fightback and Kylian Mbappe’s shootout miss as the world champions went out. A game that had a bit of everything.

Adrian Kajumba: Spain 5 Croatia 3 (round of 16)

There were a few high quality games with fewer goals but its rollercoaster nature means this extra-time win tops the lot.

Tom Collomosse: France 3 Switzerland 3 (round of 16)

The game that had everything – an underdog comeback, a penalty shoot-out, and the favourites eliminated on penalties.

World champions France were left devastated after they were knocked out by Switzerland

World champions France were left devastated after they were knocked out by Switzerland

Sami Mokbel: Spain 1 Italy 1 (SEMI-FINAL)

England have been involved in a couple of unforgettable nights but for sheer quality and drama, nothing beats this.

Ian Ladyman: England 2 Germany 0 (round of 16)

It was the first time we really felt the power of a thronged Wembley and it was intoxicating. On the field this England team took a huge step forwards. A great night.

Dominic King: France 3 Switzerland 3 (round of 16)

It had absolutely everything from amazing goals, outstanding individual performances, drama and a dramatic conclusion.

BEST GOAL?

IH: Aaron Ramsey (Wales v Turkey)

Gareth Bale’s pass bisected the defence and Ramsey intuitively arrived to take it on his chest and clip it beyond Ugurcan Cakir on the half-volley.

CH: Patrick Schick (Czech Republic v Scotland)

I was fortunate to also be at Hampden. From the moment it left his boot – 50 yards out – you knew it was going in. Audacious and ruthlessly executed.

MB: Patrick Schick (Czech Republic v Scotland) 

He scored from the halfway line at Hampden Park. Guaranteed to feature in every Euros montage for ever more.

Patrick Schick scored the goal of the tournament during the group stages against Scotland

Patrick Schick scored the goal of the tournament during the group stages against Scotland

CW: Luka Modric (Croatia v Scotland)

The fact he curled it in with a first time shot off the outside of his right foot made it better than the rest. An exquisite goal from an outstanding player. 

AK: Patrick Schick (Czech Republic v Scotland)

Once Schick scored from 50 yards the award was wrapped up.

TC: Manuel Locatelli (Italy v Switzerland) 

Played a fabulous pass to Domenico Berardi, then hared into the box to tap in when Berardi cut it back.

SM: Patrick Schick (Czech Republic v Scotland)

Paul Pogba’s against Switzerland runs this a close second but scoring from 50 yards – wow.

Aaron Ramsey scored a crucial goal for Wales against Turkey to send them into the round of 16

Aaron Ramsey scored a crucial goal for Wales against Turkey to send them into the round of 16

IL: Aaron Ramsey (Wales v Turkey)

A must win game and Ramsey had missed a couple of chances. But Gareth Bale’s chipped pass was world class and Ramsey’s finish was perfect.

DK: Andreas Christensen (Denmark v Russia)

There were plenty of candidates but I loved this howitzer in the group stage — always something wonderful about seeing a shot hit with such power flashing into the net. 

BEST PLAYER? 

IH: Raheem Sterling (England) 

Arrived at the tournament amid doubts about his club future and was by no means a universal first pick but he’s been the heartbeat of the England side and a clinical finisher. 

CH: Pedri (Spain)

I will pick a player I’ve seen live, and this lad took my breath away. I couldn’t stop watching him. Is he really 18? I’ll say it now, he’s a future Ballon d’Or winner. 

MB: Jorginho (Italy) 

Has excelled, dictating tempo in Italy’s midfield and rolling in nerveless penalties. 

CW: Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)

Brilliant down the left for the Italians. Never stopped running until a torn achilles cruelly ended his Euros at the quarter-final stage. 

Italy's hopes were jeopardised when star man Leonardo Spinazzola was ruled out injured

Italy’s hopes were jeopardised when star man Leonardo Spinazzola was ruled out injured

AK: Raheem Sterling (England)

Has been inspired during the Euros and every contribution has been absolutely vital. He’s the main reason England reached Sunday night’s final. 

TC: Pedri (Spain) 

What a tournament for the 18-year-old Spain midfielder, who – health permitting – should be a global star for at least the next decade. 

SM: Raheem Sterling (England)

Has been electric throughout the tournament. Goals, assists, absolutely everything. And all within a stones throw of his childhood home. 

IL: Sergio Busquets (Spain)

One of my great regrets is that we have never seen this chap play in England. Playing in the centre of midfield can be discombobulating. Busquets makes it look as though there is nobody else on the pitch. 

DK:  Raheem Sterling (England)

He’s been absolutely brilliant.

There’s nothing wrong with debating a player’s form and – there were valid questions – but the young man is as hard as nails. His response has been emphatic. 

Raheem Sterling produced a brilliant tournament despite ending the season in poor club form

Raheem Sterling produced a brilliant tournament despite ending the season in poor club form

WHO’S YOUR HERO? 

IH: Simon Kjaer (Denmark)

Only when the dust settles may we know more about those terrible moments when Christian Eriksen collapsed but by seemingly ensuring his friend’s airways were kept clear, he may have saved his life. 

CH: Raheem Sterling (England) 

I didn’t want him in the team, based on his form of last season, and I was far from alone in that thinking. Hasn’t he proven all of us wrong? A role model, on and off the park.

MB:  The paramedics who saved Christian Eriksen’s life and turned tragedy into joy and relief.

CW: Simon Kjaer (Denmark)

The Denmark captain’s response and leadership in the wake of Christian Eriksen’s collapse in their opening game against Finland was truly inspiring.

Denmark captain Simon Kjaer was the hero of the tournament for many of our reporters

Denmark captain Simon Kjaer was the hero of the tournament for many of our reporters

AK: An honour shared among all those who helped save the life of Christian Eriksen. 

TC: Simon Kjaer (Denmark)

The captain gave Eriksen CPR on the pitch before medics arrived, and then comforted the playmaker’s partner as he fought for his life. 

SM: Christian Eriksen (Denmark)

Thank God he is still with us. A fighter.

IL: Every volunteer and lowly paid steward at every venue. Without these folk, these tournaments do not happen. I hope they got to see some of the football. 

DK: The doctors who saved Christian Eriksen’s life. We have had a brilliant month of football but could you imagine how this tournament would have been had Eriksen slipped away in front of us?

ONE THING YOU’VE LEARNED?

IH: The superstars are not the be-all and end-all. All the talk pre-Euros was of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne but teams, rather than individuals, have won through. Collectivism is alive and well.

CH: That, free of the tactical constraints of the super managers at club level, international football can be a joy to behold — I believe that is why we’ve seen so many crazy, wonderful games.

MB: Premier League officials might be Europe’s worst in the VAR era.

CW:  VAR can operate effectively and inconspicuously without all the nonsense we have to put up with in the Premier League.

AK: Referees are not all bad and VAR can work without all the fuss and controversy. Referees have shown how it should be done. Not blown up every time a player falls and let games flow. A lesson for the Premier League.

VAR can work, as proven in this tournament, and the Premier League can learn plenty from it

VAR can work, as proven in this tournament, and the Premier League can learn plenty from it

TC: This format is ridiculous – like organising a kids’ tournament where some teams play at their local park, but others have to walk several miles in their boots to each match. Thank goodness it will be scrapped. 

SM: I sort of knew this anyway – but football without supporters is rubbish.

IL:  To trust senior and proven players. The one person in England who didn’t look fazed by Harry Kane’s early lack of form was Harry Kane. Imagine if Gareth Southgate had dropped him…

DK: Not so much learned but had something reinforced: never make assumptions in football, never write off teams on the basis of reputation. 

FAVOURITE MOMENT?

IH:  The bewildered staff in a Baku bar called the Hairy Lemon cottoning on to the fact that the Wales fans like Tom Jones songs and ultimately standing on the bar to lead an enthusiastic rendition of Delilah.

CH: Italy celebrating with their supporters after the semi-final win at Wembley. To think, Roberto Mancini was worried they might not have much backing. It felt like Rome transported. 

MB: The roar of 60,000 inside Budapest’s Puskas Arena when Attila Fiola gave Hungary the lead against France. That and Andrea Bocelli’s Nessun Dorma. Two spine tinglers.

Attila Fiola sent the Puskas Arena wild when he put Hungary into the lead against France

Attila Fiola sent the Puskas Arena wild when he put Hungary into the lead against France

CW: The 10th minute of Denmark’s game against Belgium in Copenhagen when the game was stopped to pay tribute to Christian Eriksen. He had team-mates on both sides which made it all the more poignant. 

AK: The celebration from Hungary’s Attila Fiola when he hurdled a barrier and then scared the life out of commentator Edit Szalay, trashing her workstation in his euphoria of scoring against France. 

TC: As France’s campaign fell apart against Switzerland, Adrien Rabiot’s mother Veronique traded insults in the stands with the families of Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe. Wonderful stuff. 

SM: Declan Rice trying to join in celebrations after Harry Kane scored the second against Germany… only to collapse in a heap due to cramp.

IL: Paul Pogba’s nine choreographed celebrations after scoring from 30 yards against Switzerland was pure theatre. Looked ridiculous but when you have scored a goal as good as that, do what you like. 

DK: The noise that accompanied England’s goals against Germany. It was raucous, it was frantic, there were arms and legs everywhere but, heaven knows, it was brilliant to a see a football stadium come to life again.

England's win over Germany caused wild celebrations at Wembley Stadium in the round of 16

England’s win over Germany caused wild celebrations at Wembley Stadium in the round of 16

BOLT FROM THE BLUE? 

IH: Breel Embolo (SWITZERLAND)

The Cameroon-born centre forward’s performance of pace, athleticism and finishing against Wales suggested that the Borussia Monchengladbach player can be a star. 

CH: Billy Gilmour (SCOTLAND)

OK, I knew of him and knew he was good, but I didn’t realise he was that good. To come in for his first Scotland start and boss that game against England was sensational. I can’t wait to see him play again.

MB: Leonardo Spinazzola (ITALY)

Italy’s attacking threat from left back until his unfortunate achilles injury in the quarter-final win against Belgium. 

CW: Jeremy Doku (BELGIUM)

The teenage winger from Rennes came in for Eden Hazard in the quarter-final against Italy, and looks a sensational prospect. 

Belgium's Jeremy Doku, a teenager of Rennes, impressed in his fleeting appearances

Belgium’s Jeremy Doku, a teenager of Rennes, impressed in his fleeting appearances

AK: Leonardo Spinazzola (ITALY)

What a player he has looked during the Euros. A relentless force down Italy’s left. Tournament cruelly ended by injury in the quarter-finals. 

TC: Mikkel Damsgaard (DENMARK)

How could such a gifted playmaker start so many games last season on the bench at Sampdoria? That is surely about to change.

SM: Pedri (SPAIN)

Pedri played over 50 games for Barcelona last season so I probably should have known about him. I didn’t, really. I do now.

IL:  Jeremy Doku (BELGIUM) 

Lightning fast on the left side, the Lille forward terrified Italy every time he got the ball in their quarter-final.

DK: Mikkel Damsgaard (DENMARK)

Played in such a way that Sampdoria will have a task on their hands keeping hold of him.  

Denmark's Mikkel Damsgaard (right) has added plenty to his transfer value at Euro 2020

Denmark’s Mikkel Damsgaard (right) has added plenty to his transfer value at Euro 2020

BIGGEST LETDOWN?

IH: Kylian Mbappe (FRANCE)

He glittered against Wales in a pre-tournament friendly in Paris and seemed sure to light up these finals as he did the 2018 World Cup. It never happened. 

CH: Diogo Jota (PORTUGAL)

Only because I tipped him to be top scorer and in the running for player of the tournament. I really believed he and Ronaldo could carry Portugal all the way. Ronaldo turned up. Jota did not.

MB: Bruno Fernandes (PORTUGAL)

Not a glimpse of the brilliance he produces for Manchester United as champions.

CW: Kylian Mbappe (FRANCE)

Never got going in the tournament and looked way off his game long before his missed penalty against the Swiss. 

Kylian Mbappe was one of the biggest letdowns at the tournament as he struggled for France

Kylian Mbappe was one of the biggest letdowns at the tournament as he struggled for France

AK: Bruno Fernandes (PORTUGAL)

Central and undroppable at Manchester United, very underwhelming for Portugal. Benched after two starts. 

TC: Ruben Dias (PORTUGAL)

The Manchester City centre back was deservedly named Footballer of the Year last season but looked all at sea here.  

SM: Kylian Mbappe (FRANCE)

Not just because of his penalty miss but his general demeanour. Never looked like his heart was in it.

IL: Leroy Sane (GERMANY )

This was a German team crying out for pace against England but Sane was given just three minutes as a substitute. Before that he started just one game, the 2-2 draw against Hungary.

Germany were looking for creativity but got little end product out of Bayern's Leroy Sane

Germany were looking for creativity but got little end product out of Bayern’s Leroy Sane

DK: Kylian Mbappe (FRANCE) 

Is it wrong to say the PSG man? It probably isn’t a popular answer but he just didn’t electrify in the manner I hoped he would. His story was summed up by his missed penalty against Switzerland. 

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO ON HOLIDAY WITH? 

IH: Connor Roberts (WALES)

He radiates joy and enthusiasm at the best of times but six weeks on the beach should be enough time for him to re-create his goal against Turkey. 

CH: Simon Kjaer (DENMARK)

Just seems like a good fella, doesn’t he? And he’s Danish. I love the Danes. Very sarcastic nation. And they usually enjoy a beer. 

MB: Bukayo Saka (ENGLAND)

Or rather, the Arsenal man’s inflatable, flying unicorn.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka captured the imagination of the nation in a pool on an inflatable unicorn

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka captured the imagination of the nation in a pool on an inflatable unicorn

CW: Giorgio Chiellini (ITALY)

Anyone who can guffaw their way into a semi-final shootout at the Euros must be up for a laugh. 

AK: Bukayo Saka (ENGLAND)

The Arsenal man has seemingly kept spirits high in the England camp. I’d take his biggest fan with me as well, pundit Ian Wright.

TC: Luis Enrique (SPAIN)

Fine coach, seems a good guy and could show everyone how to pour cider, Asturias-style.

SM: Jack Grealish (ENGLAND)

Needs no explanation.

Jack Grealish has been in and out of the line-up but he has lit up the tournament for England

Jack Grealish has been in and out of the line-up but he has lit up the tournament for England

IL: Neil Diamond 

We wouldn’t be paying for any drinks and I would have a decent karaoke partner.

DK: Jack Grealish (ENGLAND )

If he’s found a way to get a week for ‘relaxation’ in Las Vegas, I’m more than happy to get my passport out the drawer for the first time in 18 months.  

WHO WOULD YOU NOT LIKE TO GO ON HOLIDAY WITH? 

IH: Frank de Boer (HOLLAND)

The Holland manager will be looking for a dark cave to spend the rest of the summer in, such is this Dutch angst about their failing football team. Wouldn’t make for great conversation.

CH: Lorenzo Insigne (ITALY)

I’ve learned that he uses his height (5ft 4ins) to hide in wardrobes and jump out on people. You can do without that when you’re trying to relax.  

MB: Cristiano Ronaldo (PORTUGAL)

No fizzy pop allowed. Only water. Lots of tutting disapproval.  

CW: Joachim Low (GERMANY)

His personal hygiene doesn’t seem to have improved over the years.  

Joachim Low was trolled on social media for being caught with questionable personal hygiene

Joachim Low was trolled on social media for being caught with questionable personal hygiene

AK: Veronique Rabiot (MOTHER OF FRANCE MIDFIELDER ADRIEN)

Holidays are supposed to be stress free and fun. Not sure how much it would be if away with someone capable of kicking off anywhere and at anytime. 

TC:  The fool who started singing It’s Coming Home during Italy v Spain, one of most absorbing semis in modern times. 

SM: Frank de Boer (HOLLAND)

Has he ever cracked a smile? 

IL:  All of them. Imagine how inferior you would feel by the pool.  

DK: Roberto Mancini (ITALY)

It’s a time for relaxation by the beach. You would have to spend every possible second in the gym or risk being put to shame! 

Roberto Mancini is in supreme shape and would be a gym-obsessed roommate on holiday

Roberto Mancini is in supreme shape and would be a gym-obsessed roommate on holiday

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