The most underwhelming and disappointing players of Euro 2020

Stefan Bienkowski
Stefan Bienkowski Updated: 8 Jul 2021 15:55 BST 8 min read
PSG star Kylian Mbappe missed the penalty that saw France knocked out of Euro 2020

Now that we finally know which two nations will be fighting over this year’s Euro 2020 crown, we can begin to dig through the rubble of the other teams to find the most underwhelming players of the tournament.

Rather than pick out the worst players at the European Championship, it’s far more intriguing to take note of which players were expected to flourish over the course of the tournament and instead stumbled throughout it.

Here is a list of the most underwhelming and disappointing players at Euro 2020.

Thomas Muller

Off the back of an impressive season with Bayern Munich that saw him bag 15 goals and 24 assists, Jogi Low wasted no time bringing Thomas Muller back into the Germany national team fold to try and provide a spark of inspiration up front.

Muller did nothing of the sort. After stumbling through the first two games against France and Portugal, the Bayern forward was then deemed injured and didn’t start the third clash with Hungary but was back in time to do very little aside from missing a glaring one-on-one opportunity against England.

All in all, Muller failed to provide a single goal or assist in four appearances for Germany.

Ilkay Gundogan

As a crucial member of Manchester City’s title-winning side, Ilkay Gundogan arrived at Euro 2020 as a celebrated Premier League midfielder and potentially the real engine in Germany’s team.

However, the former Borussia Dortmund star instead looked jaded and out of ideas in a midfield partnership with Toni Kroos and managed to stay on the pitch for the duration of the game in just one of his three appearances for Low’s side, before being dropped for the Last 16 clash with England.

Matthijs de Ligt

Unfortunately a single moment can ruin a player’s entire tournament and that’s exactly what happened to Juventus and Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt in his side’s Last 16 clash with the Czech Republic.

When the score was still 0-0 and the Dutch were certainly still in the game, De Ligt had a moment of madness when he went to ground and effectively scooped the ball out of his opponent’s path with his own hand.

The action results in a red card, his team going down to 10 men and undoubtedly them eventually losing 2-0.

Bruno Fernandes

Portugal know all about bending their shape and tactics to accommodate tremendous individual players, but Bruno Fernandes isn’t Cristiano Ronaldo and that was made perfectly clear to the Manchester United midfielder at Euro 2020.

After starting in the opening games against Hungary and Portugal, Fernandes was then dropped against France and then Belgium as manager Fernando Santos went searching for a more rigid and defensive midfield structure.

As such, Fernandes played little more than a late substitute role in the draw with France and the eventual defeat to Belgium and was by no means the key player he is at Old Trafford.

Alvaro Morata was hero and villain in equal measure for Spain

Alvaro Morata was hero and villain in equal measure for Spain

Alvaro Morata

Gone are the days when Spain had an abundance of attacking talent, particularly in the central striker role. There is no Raul, no David Villa, no Fernando Torres.

And as such, the polarising figure of Morata entered the tournament as Spain’s undisputed number one striker, for all his faults.

The problem with Morata is that he can play very well within a game and then miss a series of golden opportunities, and unfortunately for him, it is the chances missed people tend to remember.

He scored a fabulous volley versus Croatia, but that was his best moment of the tournament, while his worst moment was crucial as he missed the losing penalty in the shootout versus Italy.

Benjamin Pavard

Even before a ball was kicked at Euro 2020, there were concerns over the form of France right-back Benjamin Pavard.

Although these were not entirely realised in the opening game against Germany, he was badly exposed in a 1-1 draw versus Hungary.

Perhaps his poor club form had placed a seed of doubt in Didier Deschamps’ mind, as Pavard was dropped for the final group match against Portugal, with Jules Kounde, a centre-back by trade, taking his spot.

Presnel Kimpembe

None of France’s defenders covered themselves in glory at Euro 2020, but few struggled as significantly as PSG’s Presnel Kimpembe.

Not a player noted for his temperament, the young centre-back was guilty of numerous errors of judgement throughout the competition and generally looked shaky.

This had a knock-on effect on those around him. Is capable of much better.

Kylian Mbappe looked exhausted for France at Euro 2020

Kylian Mbappe looked exhausted for France at Euro 2020

Kylian Mbappe

Arrived at Euro 2020 promising to be one of the stars of the tournament, but was the most disappointing player in a France side that was eliminated by Switzerland at the semi-final stage.

While Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann both found the target over the course of the competition, Mbappe remained frustratingly mute, providing only glimpses of his undoubted talent.

His tournament was summed up by a horribly fluffed effort against the Swiss from close range.

Questions over his future seemed to preoccupy his mind and he was subsequently criticised in heavily in the media.

Gerard Moreno

There were high hopes for Moreno heading into the Euros, so much so he was probably viewed as the best forward in the squad due to his exploits for Villarreal.

In 2020/21, he scored 30 goals and recorded 12 assists in all competitions for the Yellow Submarine.

But, he flattered to deceive for La Roja and would ultimately only start two matches.

He had a golden opportunity to open his major tournament account from the penalty spot, but missed versus Poland.

Burak Yilmaz

Due to their performance in qualifying and their general style, many tipped Turkey as dark horses for actually winning the European Championship.

They ended up arguably being one of the worst teams, if not the worst.

Yilmaz, deputising for first-choice centre-forward Cenk Tosun, came into the competition in superb form.

He won the Ligue 1 title with Lille after scoring 16 goals in the top flight, but he struggled hugely on the international stage, like Turkey as a whole.

He played 90 minutes in each of the group games, and failed to find the back of the net.