Spain are Euro 2024 champions.

La Roja got the job done on Sunday in Berlin, with Mikel Oyarzabal's late effort seeing off England in a 2-1 victory.

But with the tournament now done and dusted, which teams and players really stood out and, conversely, which ones disappointed?

Here, with the help of Opta data, we take a look.

THE TOPS

Spain

An obvious one, but where else to start but with the champions? La Roja crashed out of the 2022 World Cup, losing to Morocco on penalties, but what Luis de la Fuente has done since replacing Luis Enrique is outstanding.

While Luis Enrique had a possession obsession. De la Fuente has added a direct aspect to that possession-based build-up. Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal (more on him to come) were fantastic, while Rodri and Fabian Ruiz dovetailed brilliantly in midfield.

Dani Olmo surely put himself into the shop window for Europe's elite with some superb individual displays, first from the bench and then as a starter. He shared the Golden Boot, scoring three goals.

In defence, Marc Cucurella was picked ahead of Bayer Leverkusen's excellent Alejandro Grimaldo, but more than repaid De la Fuente's faith with some tenacious performances, while he then teed up Oyazarbal's winner in the final.

Spain were simply the best team at this tournament, winning all seven of their matches without needing penalties.

Since the 2002 Champions League final, Spanish teams and the Spanish national team have played in 23 major finals (Champions League, UEFA Cup, Europa League, World Cup, European Championship) against non-Spanish teams and won the trophy on all 23 occasions.

La Roja are now the first team to win the Euros on four occasions, too. Vamos!

Lamine Yamal 

A special word for Williams, who became the second-youngest player to score in a Euros final, but Yamal was the star of the show.

Having turned 17 on Saturday, Yamal is now the youngest player to appear in a Euros or World Cup final, surpassing Pele's record from 1958.

The Barcelona winger curled in a sensational equaliser against France in the last four to become the youngest player to score at the Euros, while he also supplied four assists throughout the tournament.

He is the first Spain player to register four assists in a single European Championship. It is also the joint most any player has ever assisted at a Euros that Opta has on record (from 1980 onwards).

This kid is special.

Niclas Fullkrug

Julian Nagelsmann's free-flowing, attacking football caught the eye as the host nation impressed, and German football looks to have a bright future following a few years in the wilderness. But for all the flair of youngsters Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, and the neat and tidy build-up play, Germany were arguably more potent when they had a classic number nine on the pitch.

Fullkrug was that man, coming on from the bench to score twice, including a last-gasp equaliser against Switzerland in the group stage that ultimately landed Germany in the tougher half of the draw, while he also went agonisingly close to sending the tie against Spain to penalties.

Fresh from helping Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final, Fullkrug has now scored seven goals under Nagelsmann for Germany, more than any other player.

The main debate is probably whether he should be leading the line from the off, rather than having to settle for a super-sub role, given that of any player to score at least twice at the tournament, Fullkrug had the best minutes per goal ratio (80.5).

Giorgi Mamardashvili

Mamardashvili actually conceded more goals at Euro 2024 than any other goalkeeper (eight), but it is worth noting that four of those came in the last 16 against Spain.

And Georgia's shot-stopper deserves his place on this list of the standout performers.

After a fantastic season in LaLiga with Valencia, Mamardashvili finished as the goalkeeper with the most goals prevented (4.67) based on Opta's expected goals on target (xGoT) conceded model.

Mamardashvili made 30 saves in total, with a save percentage of 78.95%. Could he now be in for a big move ahead of next season?

Turkiye

It came three years later than many expected, but Turkiye - supposedly dark horses at Euro 2020 - finally impressed this time around.

Vincenzo Montella gave youth a chance in Germany, where Turkiye were buoyed by their fanatical support, giving six starts to teenagers – three for Kenan Yildiz and three for Arda Guler – a joint-record in a single edition of the finals, along with Spain at Euro 2020.

Guler was a standout performer. He became one of only three teenagers to both score and assist a goal at a single Euros, after Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo (both at Euro 2004).

The Real Madrid youngster provided his second assist as Turkiye came unstuck against the Dutch in the quarters; there had been just two occasions on record (since 1968) of a teenager providing multiple assists at a single tournament in each of the 14 previous editions combined (Enzo Scifo 1984, Ronaldo 2004).

Ultimately, the Netherlands had too much for Turkiye, but their last-16 defeat of Austria and Montella's front-foot approach saw them win admirers, and make up somewhat for losing all of their matches at Euro 2020.

THE FLOPS

France

Didier Deschamps is the most successful French coach in terms of wins - indeed, Les Bleus' victory over Austria on matchday one meant he brought up a century of victories.

But it is fair to say France, World Cup runners-up in 2022, did not impress in Germany. Indeed, it was not until the semi-finals that one of their players even managed to score a goal from open play, with their strikes before then having come via two own goals and a Kylian Mbappe penalty.

Mbappe did break his Euros duck with that successfully converted spot-kick against Poland, but the broken nose he suffered in the opening game seemed to knock France's focus, and they never got back on track.

And their 2-1 loss to Spain in that thrilling semi-final showed that a team cannot just bundle its way through a tournament without playing well; eventually, it will catch up with you.

The pre-tournament favourites could point to some bad fortune, as they did record the fourth-highest non-penalty xG figure of any team at Euro 2024 (8.38), but Deschamps' team looked short of ideas at times, with Antoine Griezmann also struggling to wield his usual influence.

Italy

The holders were hardly well fancied ahead of Euro 2024, but it really was a forgettable attempt at defending their title from Italy. The Azzurri fell behind to the earliest goal in Euros history, after just 23 seconds, in their opening match against Albania, and while they came back to win that match, it was the only triumph they managed.

Indeed, Italy were heading out until Mattia Zaccagni curled home in the 97th minute against Croatia, sealing a point that sent them through, but they had been comfortably beaten by Spain and subsequently capitulated without much of a fight against Switzerland in the last 16.

Luciano Spalletti only took over in September 2023 after Roberto Mancini's sudden departure, but there's plenty of work for the former Napoli boss to do.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Euros' record goalscorer could not add to his tally, not that it was down to a lack of trying. Indeed, Ronaldo had 23 shots without scoring at Euro 2024, with only another Portuguese great, Deco, having more attempts without registering at least one goal in a single edition of the Euros (24 at Euro 2004).

This was surely Ronaldo's final Euros. He has played at six of them, becoming the only player to do so, but it is time to bow out.

Portugal flattered to deceive the whole way through, one emphatic win over Turkiye aside, and never got back on track after losing 2-0 to Georgia at the end of the group stage. Roberto Martinez's team staggered past Slovenia on penalties, before ultimately losing by the same method to France.

Now, it should be time for Ronaldo, who was the biggest expected goals underperformer at the tournament, failing to score from 3.6 xG, to pass the baton over to the next generation. But will he want one more shot at the World Cup?

Harry Kane

Unlike Ronaldo, Kane did score. Indeed, the England captain ended up sharing the Golden Boot, as one of six players with three goals to his name.

However, that does not wholly tell the story of what was a frustrating tournament for the 30-year-old.

Kane was taken off 60 minutes into the final, having also gone off in the semi-final and quarter-final when England were level.

Across his seven appearances, he had just 27 touches in the opposition box (3.8 per game). Indeed, a startling statistic for England fans is that, across the last two Euros finals, Kane had just one touch in the opponents' area.

Scotland

Going up against the hosts in the opening game was never going to be easy, but that 5-1 hammering in Munich set the tone for a dismal tournament for Scotland.

Steve Clarke's team had peaked in qualifying, and though an admirable performance in a 1-1 draw with Switzerland gave them some hope, they came unstuck at the death against Hungary.

They exited the competition having had just 17 shots, nine fewer than any other team, and mustering an xG of just 0.95, the lowest figure in the competition.

Romelu Lukaku

It was another tournament to forget for Belgium, and one has to wonder why Domenico Tedesco's team were so lacklustre against Ukraine in their final group game, when a win could have ensured they would fall into the easier half of the draw (albeit they would have faced the Netherlands, rather than France, in the last 16).

But matters might have been different had Lukaku had his shooting boots on, too.

It is quite extraordinary that Lukaku did not manage to find the net. VAR was the bane of his existence in Belgium's shock loss to Slovakia.

Based on his xG (1.7), Lukaku should have netted at least once, probably twice, but instead, he headed home without a goal to his name.

Luciano Spalletti has said Italian fans have not seen the best he can offer yet after it was confirmed he would remain as Azzurri coach.

And the former Napoli boss promised that he will continue to freshen up Italy's squad, adding he has not been given the answers he wanted from the selection he made for Euro 2024.

Italy put in a poor display as they lost 2-0 to Switzerland on Saturday, with the holders crashing out of the tournament having managed just one win from their four games.

But on Sunday, FIGC president Gabriele Gravina reiterated the organisation's backing of Spalletti, who replaced Roberto Mancini last year.

"We have nothing to hide, but we must continue to take responsibility," Gravina said, as quoted by Football Italia.

"There was a long chat with the coach yesterday and I think that it is unthinkable to solve the problems by abandoning a multi-year project after eight to nine months.

"Central to our project is a coach who has been here for nine to 10 months, who has not always had all the players available."

Spalletti's task will be to guide Italy to the 2026 World Cup, with the Azzurri having failed to qualify for the last two editions of that competition.

But the 65-year-old wants to do that by "rejuvenating" Italy's squad.

The Azzurri had the fifth-youngest squad at Euro 2024, with an average age of 26 years and 348 days when the tournament began.

"Yesterday's match took us back down to zero and we'll start again from there," he said.

"I will rejuvenate this squad and try to create a group. I wasn't given the answers I was looking for regarding leadership. The future will be younger with new energy and strength."

Spalletti added: "You haven't seen [the best of me] over these 10 months.

"I was told that I raised the intensity in training too much, that I told fairytales to motivate the players, but that's my life. You always need examples to follow otherwise there is no path to follow.

"I came in when there was an immediate urgency for results and given what was required, we were looking good up to a certain point. We were unable to grow in this mini-journey we took yesterday, we took a significant step backwards and that cannot be accepted. But we will start again from there. I know what to do and I will put it into practice."

The knockout rounds of Euro 2024 got underway on Saturday, with the first two teams booking their places in the quarter-finals.

Switzerland stunned the defending champions, sending Italy home after a 2-0 victory in Berlin.

Later, Germany also prevailed by the same scoreline to take a step closer to potential success on home soil, beating Denmark.

Here, we round up the best Opta statistics from the first set of Euro 2024 round-of-16 ties.

Switzerland 2-0 Italy: Vargas ends Azzurri defence

The teams on Switzerland's side of the draw will be looking over their shoulders after they dumped Italy out, largely thanks to Ruben Vargas' standout performance.

He set up Remo Freuler's opener before curling in a stunning effort himself, becoming the first Swiss player to score and assist in a knockout match of a major tournament on record (since 1966 - World Cup and Euros).

The winger's strike came just 27 seconds after kick-off in the second period, the second-fastest goal in the second half of a Euros match after Marcel Coras netted against West Germany within 21 seconds in Euro 1984.

Switzerland will face either England or Slovakia in the quarter-finals, reaching the last eight in consecutive editions after failing to make it out of their group in three of their previous four participations in the competition (reached the last 16 in 2016).

 

Despite being reigning champions, Italy were not touted as one of the favourites going into the tournament, and they struggled to mount a real title defence.

Their early exit means the reigning champions have been eliminated in the round of 16 at each of the last three European Championships, with Portugal losing to Belgium at Euro 2020 and Spain going out to Italy at Euro 2016.

In fact, Italy conceded more goals at Euro 2024 (five) than they did in seven matches at the last edition of the tournament, when they conceded just four goals on their way to lifting the trophy.

The Azzurri have ended a run of six games without defeat in the knockout stages (90 minutes only, three wins, three draws), with their last such defeat coming in the 2012 final against Spain, by a 4-0 scoreline.

This is also the first time they have lost more than one match at a single edition of the Euros.

Germany 2-0 Denmark: Musiala draws level in scoring charts

With plenty of VAR drama, and a break midway through the first half due to adverse weather, it was certainly an entertaining tie in Dortmund.

Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala were the heroes for the hosts with their second-half goals, with the latter netting for the third time in the tournament to put him level with Georges Mikautadze in the Golden Boot race.

In fact, only Wayne Rooney (four) has scored more goals aged 21 or younger at the Euros than Musiala (three), while the midfielder has also scored more goals in four games at this tournament than he managed in his first 29 appearances for the national side (two).

 

Germany are into their first quarter-final at a major tournament since Euro 2016 - reaching the semi-finals on that occasion - and their four-game unbeaten run at Euro 2024 is their longest streak in such matches since then.

Manuel Neuer continues to break appearance records every time he steps on the pitch - he now has the most caps at the European Championships for Die Nationalelf (19, overtaking Bastian Schweinsteiger), while it was his 39th appearance at major tournaments overall, levelling the midfielder's tally.

After another toothless performance in front of goal, Denmark will not be able to recreate their run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020. Indeed, they have failed to win any of their last eight games at major tournaments (four draws, four defeats).

Switzerland head coach Murat Yakin knew his team would "destroy" Italy in the last 16 at Euro 2024 when he saw the Azzurri had made a change of formation.

Switzerland are into the European Championship quarter-finals for just the second time after beating the defending champions 2-0 in Berlin, having also reached the last eight by claiming the scalp of France at Euro 2020.

Yakin's team were good value for their victory, leading Italy for shots (13 to 11), shots on target (four to one), expected goals (1.3 to 0.78 xG) and touches in the penalty area (24 to 12).

Azzurri boss Luciano Spalletti made several changes to his starting lineup for the match, reverting to his usual 4-3-3 shape after employing a 3-5-2 versus Croatia in their last group game.

After that match – a 1-1 draw which saw Italy sneak through Group B in second place – Spalletti hit out at reports that his players had forced the change of system.

Yakin believes Italy's revised setup played into the hands of his team on Saturday, telling SRF: "It's unbelievable what's going on here. We've enjoyed ourselves in every stadium. Big praise to the fans.

"I knew if the Italians came with a back four, we would destroy them. Then we would let them run. 

"Dan [Ndoye] closed down the midfield. His man, [Stephan] El Shaarawy, hardly saw the ball."

 

Switzerland will now face either England or Slovakia in the last eight next Saturday, as they bid to reach the semi-finals of a major tournament for the very first time.

Yakin has no preference regarding his team's next opponent, saying: "You'd have to ask the fans if they prefer England or Slovakia.

"We won an important game, and that's crucial. As for what happens tomorrow, and what comes after that, we'll prepare well again for our next opponents."

England face Slovakia in their last-16 tie on Sunday, with the Three Lions looking to reach the last eight at back-to-back editions of the Euros for the first time ever.

Luciano Spalletti has taken responsibility for Italy's Euro 2024 exit, though the Azzurri boss feels his limited time to prepare the team contributed to their poor displays.

The defending champions crashed out in the last 16 on Saturday, with Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas scoring as Switzerland claimed a deserved 2-0 victory in Berlin.

Following the Azzurri's defeat, the reigning champions have been eliminated in the round of 16 at three successive editions of the tournament, with Spain going out to Italy in 2016 and Portugal doing so versus Belgium at Euro 2020.

The loss was Italy's first in a knockout game at the Euros since the 2012 final versus Spain (90 minutes only), ending a run of six such matches unbeaten (three wins, three draws).

Spalletti only became Italy coach last September after Roberto Mancini quit to take the Saudi Arabia job, and he used Saturday's post-match press conference to remind reporters of his late appointment.

"I have to say this, even if it may seem like I'm looking for alibis. Before this competition the other coaches had 20 or 30 games," he said.

"I had 10 and I already had a gun pointed at me, saying that I had to win. 

"Then we had several injured players that I was counting on, and today we saw that in terms of the intensity we were inferior. Switzerland qualified in a fair way."

 

Spalletti was then asked whether he was likely to stay on as Italy coach in the aftermath of their worst Euros performance since 2004's group-stage exit.

The former Napoli boss has no intention of stepping down but admits things must change for the team, responding: "It's a natural question, don't feel guilty for asking me.

"It changes nothing for me in the sense that I take responsibility for what happened. 

"I picked the players. I am not happy with the performance we produced or the performance against Spain.

"I am partially happy with the other two matches we played. This time I rested them up and changed the team. 

"After the previous game, I blamed it on myself, regardless of team selection, for not making too many changes."

Switzerland qualified for the Euro 2024 quarter-finals and ended Italy's title defence with a richly deserved 2-0 victory in Berlin, with Ruben Vargas contributing a goal and an assist.

Vargas curled a wonderful shot home from the corner of the penalty area just 27 seconds into the second half, having earlier supplied the cross from which Remo Freuler opened the scoring.

If anything, the scoreline flattered Italy, who produced another miserable performance after barely scraping through Group B with a 99th-minute equaliser in their last game against Croatia.

The result means Spain remain the only team to win back-to-back European Championships (in 2008 and 2012), with Luciano Spalletti's first tournament as Azzurri boss ending in disappointment.

Switzerland, meanwhile, will face either England or Slovakia in just their second European Championship quarter-final in Dusseldorf next Saturday.

Switzerland dominated from the first whistle and should have gone ahead after 24 minutes, Breel Embolo being denied by a one-on-one save from Gianluigi Donnarumma after latching onto Michel Aebischer's lofted pass.

They had their opener after 37 minutes, though, as Freuler's expert run allowed him to take in Vargas' low cross, his first touch sitting up nicely for a volleyed finish which beat Donnarumma at his near post.

Donnarumma prevented Italy from falling further behind before the break, pushing Fabian Rieder's clever free-kick against his post in first-half stoppage time.

Things got worse for the Azzurri in the first minute of the second period, Nicolo Fagioli carelessly losing possession from kick-off and Vargas curling a fine effort into the top-right corner.

Fabian Schar almost let Spalletti's team back in when he comically headed Fagioli's cross against his right post, and the other upright was struck with 16 minutes remaining.

Gianluca Scamacca could only turn his close-range effort against the woodwork as Italy continued to toil in the final third, and Switzerland almost added further gloss late on as substitute Steven Zuber flashed a low drive across the face of goal and wide.

Italy caught cold

As the players re-emerged for the second half and Spalletti hooked Stephan El Shaarawy in favour of Mattia Zaccagni – the man who sent Italy to the last 16 with his last-gasp equaliser against Croatia – Italy's supporters must have expected an upturn.

The Azzurri registered just one shot in the first half – a Federico Chiesa attempt with an expected goals (xG) value of 0.03. The last time they managed fewer efforts in the first half of a match was in a 2-0 friendly loss to Argentina in March 2018 (none).

Those Italian hopes were not realised, however, as the Azzurri conceded possession cheaply before watching Vargas bend home for one of the goals of the tournament.

Coming 27 seconds into the second half, Vargas' strike was the second-quickest ever scored after half-time in a Euros match, after Marcel Coras for Romania versus West Germany in 1984 (21 seconds).

Vargas the star in memorable win

Having seen Switzerland dump pre-tournament favourites France out at the same stage of Euro 2020, also failing to win two head-to-head meetings in 2022 World Cup qualifying, Italy were surely well aware of their opponents' qualities.

They were second-best in every department as Murat Yakin's team produced a polished display, of which Vargas was the star.

The forward – who plays his club football in Germany with Augsburg – became the first Swiss player on record (since 1966) to both score and assist in a knockout match at a major tournament (World Cup/European Championships).

He is the seventh different player to score for the Swiss at Euro 2024, their most goalscorers at any major tournament in their history.

After two long days without any Euro 2024 action, Saturday brought the start of the knockout round.

But aside from the first two last-16 ties taking place in Berlin and Dortmund, there was plenty else going on around the tournament.

From Belgium's Kylian Mbappe gaffe to Anthony Gordon receiving a tongue-in-cheek gift, here is the best of the social media output from Friday and Saturday at Euro 2024.

Belgium backtrack on Mbappe video

France will take on Belgium in perhaps the most high-profile round-of-16 tie on Monday, and the Red Devils' social media accounts have upped the tensions between the neighbours.

A video posted to Belgium's channels showed comedian Pablo Andres, who works extensively with the Belgian Football Federation, asking; "who will kick Mbappe's shin?"

Midfielder Amadou Onana then answers with his own name.

The video was swiftly deleted and was the subject of an apology from spokesperson Stefan van Loock, who said: "The video was intended to be humorous but has since been taken offline. 

"We would like to apologise to anyone we may have offended. This concludes the matter for us."

The video was not received particularly well in France, and on Monday, we will find out whether it provided Mbappe with any additional motivation… not that any is required.

Birthdays and anniversaries in England camp

It was a big day in the England camp on Saturday, and not just because Gareth Southgate's men were put through their paces for the final time ahead of Sunday's clash with Slovakia.

Both Jude Bellingham and Eberechi Eze celebrated their birthdays, the former turning 20 years old and the latter 26.  

Saturday was also a big day for the Three Lions for another reason, though, as it represented the three-year anniversary of their memorable Euro 2020 last-16 victory over Germany.

Harry Kane was on target in that match, his diving header giving England a two-goal cushion and clinching their most famous win of recent years.

A repeat performance on Sunday would certainly be welcome.

Buffon still has it

Italy goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon took up a role as delegation chief with the national team last year, succeeding the late, great Gianluca Vialli.

The Azzurri's touchline representatives always look effortlessly cool, and Luciano Spalletti's Armani suit turned heads during the group stage.

Buffon took the style stakes to a new level when he arrived at the Olympiastadion in the Friday evening sunshine, though. 

Food fights continue 

A bit of friendly back-and-forth between opposing groups of fans helps to make a major tournament special, and throughout the group stage, supporters clashed over food.

Albania fans snapped spaghetti in front of their Italian counterparts in one viral clip, while France's baguettes got similar treatment ahead of one of their matches.

On Saturday, the official Euro 2024 account on X attempted to settle some scores by running through the most popular half-time snacks across the continent.

Gordon gets given stabilisers

England and Newcastle United winger Anthony Gordon raised a few eyebrows this week when he was seen with a grazed chin, having fallen off his bike during what was supposed to be a recovery ride.

On Friday, he was presented with a pair of stabilisers by the Daily Mail, which Southgate will hope can prevent any further mishaps.

With England crying out for dynamism on the left flank, the last thing they need is another fall for Gordon.

Records tumble as group stage closes

Finally, Saturday saw UEFA publish a summary of the group stage, which many onlookers believe to have been the most entertaining since the Euros expanded to 24 teams for 2016.

From the Tartan Army's short-lived German adventure to the Netherlands' fans painting host cities Oranje, we have seen plenty of outstanding footage from UEFA's fan zones.

A record number of people, between 430,000 and 440,000, attended the zones through the group stage, while the tournament has also made waves online.

UEFA says the tournament's official social media channels accumulated 145 million engagements and 1.35 billion video views in the group stage – both more than in the entirety of Euro 2020!

Luciano Spalletti believes Italy may start to relax and improve at Euro 2024 as the knockout stages await on Saturday.

The Azzurri will return to Berlin's Olympiastadion where they lifted the World Cup in 2006, facing Switzerland in the last 16 after an unconvincing Group B progression for Spalletti's side.

Italy had to come from behind to defeat Albania, were outclassed by Spain and then needed last-gasp heroics to draw 1-1 with Croatia and progress in second place.

Yet Spalletti sees his players calming down for the knockout rounds, having struggled for portions of the group stages in Germany.

"We had this difficult group and you could tell the pressure was on the players, and on me," Spalletti said at Friday's pre-match press conference. 

"Now we are through this group, I expect to see the team more relaxed because you cannot make calculations in a knockout round, the kind of mindset that can affect your performance in the group phase.

"We will only go through if we win this game, otherwise we won't, so we need to focus like that. There are no permutations."

A strong history remains between Italy and the stadium in Berlin, dating back to 18 years ago when the Azzurri beat France on penalties in the World Cup final after Zinedine Zidane was sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi.

"Everyone remembers that moment in Berlin, but we had Gigi Buffon with us on the bus and he talked to all of us about that situation, helping us to experience what we had only seen from home," Spalletti added.

"We know there is this memory to be honoured, that we must be at the level of those players who brought home the trophy in this stadium.

"We have the responsibility of knowing we have fans all over the world. Even if against Albania and Croatia we were in the minority in the stadium, we knew that all our fans were there in front of their televisions pushing us on.

"We can feel it anyway, even if they are not physically present."

Spalletti confirmed his side will be without wing-back Federico Dimarco on Saturday, while Riccardo Calafiori is out suspended after two cautions in the group stages.

Italy also have concerns over Alessandro Bastoni's fitness, with Nicolo Fagioli appearing likely to get the nod ahead of Jorginho in midfield as well.

"Bastoni needs to be evaluated, he had a bit of training today, which allowed us to breathe a sigh of relief," Spalletti continued. "Dimarco cannot recover, he is out.

"We will play with something that resembles a four-man defence because we must try to be more attacking than what we've seen so far.

"You have young talent pushing and we must create the space that they deserve. Fagioli has this natural, calm way of doing things, so seems perfectly suited to that role.

"It's just about having the courage to give him that space."

With the group stages behind us, Euro 2024 now enters the business end of the tournament, when there's no more margin for error.

The favourites are all through in the main, with Croatia the biggest name to drop out in the group stage.

There are some surprise packages that have made the last 16 too, though: tournament debutants Georgia stunned Portugal to reach this stage, while Austria finished above France and the Netherlands to top Group D.

But as the tournament goes on, there are some serious questions being asked of the respective coaches when it comes to team selections, while other players nurse knocks ahead of the knockouts.

And here, using Opta data, we take a look at some of those selection dilemmas.

 

Should Southgate drop Foden and can Shaw stay fit?

Phil Foden came into Euro 2024 on the back of a magnificent season for Manchester City. He was named the Premier League Player of the Year, scoring 19 goals in 35 top-flight appearances in 2023-24.

Yet playing out on the left side of England's attack, with Jude Bellingham deployed centrally, Foden has failed to replicate that form for the Three Lions.

Anthony Gordon directly contributed to 21 Premier League goals for Newcastle United (11 goals, 10 assists), and appears able to offer the kind of directness that seems to be missing from England's attack.

Gordon would seemingly replace Foden if he were to start, so what is England's recent record at major tournaments without the City star?

 

Foden has featured in 10 games at the World Cup and Euros for England, who have won six of those games, drawing three and losing one. They score 1.8 goals per game with him in the team compared to 1.6 in the five tournament matches in which he has not featured.

Defensively, England do seem a little more solid when Foden does not feature, with their goals conceded per game dropping from 0.6 with him in, to 0.2 without the 24-year-old.

Behind Foden, though, the left-back position is an issue. Luke Shaw has not played for club or country since February, but Kieran Trippier has failed to offer the same attacking output or balance while deputising, and could be an injury doubt ahead of England's clash with Slovakia.

The sense of Southgate in taking an unfit Shaw can certainly be questioned, though when factoring in major tournaments only, you can understand why.

England have a 58.3% win percentage (7/12) when Shaw is in the team compared to a 35.3% (6/17) success rate when he is not, while conceding double the amount of goals per 90 without Shaw (1.0 to 0.5).

Does Ronaldo deserve Martinez's backing?

Cristiano Ronaldo is the record appearance maker (28) and goalscorer (14) at the Euros, but at 39, should he be spearheading Portugal's attack?

 

Ronaldo failed to score from 12 shots in the group stage, as for the first time at a major tournament, he did not manage to hit the back of the net in the first round.

The Al-Nassr striker scored 10 goals from qualifying, but against more resilient defences, he has found it tougher, and against Georgia he was kept quiet, though he did spurn one Opta-defined 'big chance'.

Ronaldo's appearance against Georgia marked his 50th such match at a major tournament, a European record, with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner having only sat out two fixtures at a World Cup or Euros since 2004. Portugal have a 46% win ratio with him in their team in major competitions, but is it time to cut the cord?

 

France need Mbappe's magic

Kylian Mbappe recovered from a broken nose to play, while donning a mask, for France against Poland last time out, and it was his penalty that put Les Bleus ahead before Robert Lewandowski equalised from the spot.

That marked Mbappe's first goal at the Euros, while he is now just one behind Michel Platini (14) in France's all-time list of record goalscorers at major tournaments.

France recorded 2.32 xG against Poland, with Mbappe accounting for 1.31 of that. In the match that he missed, a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands, Les Bleus mustered only 1.43 xG, showing how much Mbappe was missed.

Missing out

There are some big players who definitely will not be featuring in the last 16, and that is due to the fact they are suspended after picking up two yellow cards throughout the group stage.

Italy's Riccardo Calafiori has been one of the stars of the tournament, but the Bologna defender will not play against Switzerland on Saturday.

Hosts Germany will also be without a key defender in Jonathan Tah.

This campaign has been Tah's first at a major tournament, but the Bayer Leverkusen centre-back has been impressive so far and will be a miss when Germany go up against Denmark.

Turkiye, meanwhile, will have to play Austria without Hakan Calhanoglu.

The Inter playmaker has only missed one match for his country at a major tournament, though Turkiye did win that one, but facing in-form Austria without their best player is a daunting prospect. 

 

The Euro 2024 group stage is done and dusted.

Croatia were the biggest name to fail to make the knockouts, as they and Hungary were the two third-placed sides to miss out on the last 16.

Previous finalists Italy and England progressed along with the likes of hosts Germany, France, Spain and Portugal, though some nations were more fortunate to advance than others.

Here, we use Opta data to assess the unlucky losers and the lucky winners from the Euro 2024 group stage, both in terms of individual matches and the first phase of the tournament as a whole.
 

UNLUCKY LOSERS

Croatia

Let's start with the tournament's biggest expected goals (xG) underperformers so far... and the big-name casualty of the group stage.

Luka Modric became the oldest player to score at the Euros in the tournament's history on matchday three, and that goal against Italy seemed to be sending Croatia through from Group B, only for Mattia Zaccagni to rescue the Azzurri late on.

That 1-1 draw condemned Croatia to third place. But they were highly unfortunate not to take more than two points.

 

They lost 3-0 to a rampant Spain on matchday one, despite accumulating 2.38 xG to La Roja's 2.01. They then amassed 2.69 xG against Albania, only to concede late on in a 2-2 draw.

Indeed, Croatia finished with an accumulative xG total of 6.55, which leads the tournament, yet they only managed three goals.

Defensively, they can consider themselves unfortunate too. Croatia conceded six goals from an xG against (xGA) of 4.37, though their 15 shots on target faced does rank joint-fifth worst. Ultimately, Zlatko Dalic's team allowed too many efforts on goal, and they paid the price for profligate finishing at the other end. 

Czechia

Czechia finished bottom of Group F, with Georgia the surprise package as they stunned Portugal to claim third place.

Despite not winning a match, Czechia recorded 5.11 xG in total, the sixth-highest figure in the tournament.

 

Interestingly, the four Group F teams (Portugal, Turkiye, Georgia and Czechia) all rank in the top nine for xG so far.

Czechia converted that xG into just three goals, though, with Patrik Schick - who shared the Golden Boot with Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2020 - failing to spark like he did three years ago.

But, we can't pin Czechia's failure on their finishing. Their xG on target (xGoT) of 6.01 shows they were forcing opposition goalkeepers into action, with Ivan Hasek's team leading the way for shots on target (20, equal with Germany). Czechia's 6.82% shot conversion rate was the lowest in Group F, though.

Ukraine

For the first time in the history of the Euros, four teams in one pool all finished level - that was in Group E, with Romania, Belgium, Slovakia and Ukraine all collecting four points.

Ukraine were the unfortunate team to miss out, as they became the first side in Euros history to finish bottom of the group while earning four points. Ouch.

What do the metrics say? Well, they should probably have scored a goal more than the two they managed, having accumulated 3.07 xG. Their shot conversion rate of 5.13% ranks 19th out of 24, though.

At the other end of the pitch, even though they only had a total xGA of 2.95 across the three games, they were punished by some quality finishing from Romania in an opening 3-0 defeat, which ultimately proved decisive in their exit.

LUCKY WINNERS

Italy

It's a good job for the holders that Zaccagni curled in late on against Croatia. If not, and if results in other groups had gone as they have done, then the Azzurri would not have made it through as one of the best third-placed teams.

As it was, they did get that crucial goal against Croatia, despite mustering just 0.9 xG, so they made it through in second and will now face Switzerland in the last 16.

With Germany, Spain, France and Portugal on the other side of the bracket, could a path be opening up for Luciano Spalletti's team to defend their title, against the odds?

Italy generated just 2.62 xG across their three games, the sixth-lowest in the competition, while they have only had nine shots on target, more than only Scotland (three), Serbia (six) and Slovenia (seven).

They are on the kinder half of the draw, but it's fair to say they are fortunate to be there.

Georgia

It is fantastic to see tournament debutants Georgia make it into the knockouts, and based on their performance against Portugal, in a 2-0 win, it is hard to say they didn't deserve it.

Georges Mikautadze is the first player to score or assist in each of his first three games at the European Championship since Gareth Bale for Wales in 2016, and as it stands, he is also the unlikely leader in the Golden Boot race.

That being said, the metrics do not reflect particularly well on Willy Sagnol's team, who have been defensively wide open, facing a tournament-high 71 shots, with 25 of those (another competition high) hitting the target. In fact, they have given up over 3.0 xG in two of their three matches so far.

 

They have been hugely reliant on goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili, who has prevented the most goals of any shot-stopper in the tournament based on Opta's xGoT model (four goals conceded from 7.6 xGoT).

Mamardashvili is likely to have to be on top form again if Georgia are to shock Spain on Sunday.

Going the other way, Georgia have only had 26 shots (only Scotland, with 17, managed fewer), but their shot conversion rate is an impressive 15.38%, the third-highest in the tournament. 

You have to have luck on your side to win a tournament, but is this going to be sustainable in the knockouts?

England

Much has been made of England's poor performances in Germany, considering the attacking talent Gareth Southgate has at his disposal.

 

And the metrics do support those moans and groans - the Three Lions' 2.19 xG is the third-lowest in the competition.

However, they also have the stingiest defence, having kept two clean sheets and given up just 1.15 xG. 

England, though, have certainly been fortunate that Denmark, Serbia and Slovenia hardly offered the sternest of opponents in Group C. They have landed in the kinder half of the draw, but it's time for the pre-tournament favourites to click into gear.

Switzerland midfielder Remo Freuler has insisted his team-mates are not afraid of Italy ahead of their Euro 2024 last-16 meeting in Berlin. 

Murat Yakin's side, who finished second in Group A behind hosts Germany, face the Azzurri on Saturday with the hopes of ending their 11-game winless run against their opponents. 

Freuler, who was on loan at Bologna from Nottingham Forest last season and was previously with Atalanta, says this will be no ordinary game for him.

"Of course, it's not a match like any other for me. In Italy I built my career, also finding an ideal country to spend my life with my family," he said.

"On Saturday, however, there won't be all this love. It's a round of 16 and there will be no room for feelings."

Freuler knows the next part of the tournament is where the Swiss will really be judged but insists they have nothing to fear from the reigning champions. 

"Doing well in the first part of the tournament is important. The matches that make the difference, those capable of changing the dimension of a national team, however, are others," Freuler said.

"But I'm not afraid. Switzerland are not afraid of Italy."

Italy, meanwhile, continue their quest to become the second side to win back-to-back European Championships, having notched four points from their three group games. 

The Azzurri were on the cusp of being eliminated from the tournament until Mattia Zaccagni's late strike secured a 1-1 draw with Croatia on matchday three.

Head coach Luciano Spalletti is looking for a much-improved display from his side, who he described as soft following the conclusion of their Group B fixtures. 

"We deserved to go through in terms of what we produced out there. We were a bit soft at times during the game, we did not necessarily play our best football," he said.

"We were timid and need to do more. We have players who have the quality to play these games on an equal footing, but sometimes we make trivial mistakes.

"Whenever there is a challenge or a 50-50, we don’t win any. It is not a technical question, it comes down to experience, getting into these physical challenges and being willing to do the dirty work. We need to improve on that score."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Switzerland - Remo Freuler

Remo Freuler has assisted three goals in his last four European Championship appearances for Switzerland, with his latest coming in their 1-1 draw with Germany. 

The only Swiss player with more assists at the European Championships is Steven Zuber (four), and the midfielder will be keen to add to his tally in Berlin. 

Italy - Gianluigi Donnarumma

Having scored just three goals in their three group games, Italy captain Donnarumma was often the busier goalkeeper in the Azzurri's Group B fixtures. 

The Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper made 11 saves for Italy in the group stages, the most by an Italian goalkeeper in that part of a major tournament since Gianluigi Buffon at Euro 2012 (also 11).

 

MATCH PREDICTION: ITALY WIN

This will be Switzerland and Italy’s fifth meeting at a major international tournament, with the Swiss winning both games at the 1954 World Cup (2-1 in the groups and 4-1 in a group-stage play-off).

However, Italy have won the last two, both in the group stages and both times 3-0, in the 1962 World Cup and at Euro 2020, and are unbeaten in their last 11 matches against Switzerland in all competitions (six draws, five losses).

But the contest in Berlin has the potential to go beyond the 90 minutes. Fifteen of the Azzurri's last 26 knockout matches at major international tournaments have gone to extra-time, including four of their last five. 

Switzerland may be outsiders, but they come into the encounter with confidence, having lost just one of their last 13 matches at the European Championships (four wins, eight draws) and they will be hopeful of improving their woeful record in the knockout stages of major tournaments. 

Excluding shoot-outs, they have failed to win any of their seven last-16 matches at major international tournaments (three draws, four defeats), progressing to the quarter-finals on just one occasion at Euro 2020 by beating France on penalties. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Switzerland - 31.4%

Draw - 30.3%

Italy - 38.4%

And with that, the Euro 2024 group stages conclude on yet another dramatic day of action across Germany. 

Turkiye, Georgia, Romania, Belgium and Slovakia were the final teams to secure their place in the knockout stages of the tournament. 

Here, we unpack the best of Wednesday's social media clips from the football at the European Championship.

Germany eyeing Denmark task

Julian Nagelsmann's side now know their opponents for the knockout stages of Euro 2024 following the conclusion of Group C on Tuesday.

The hosts will travel to Dortmund this Saturday to play Denmark at the Westfalenstadion for a place in the quarter-finals. 

Having had two extra days of rest compared to their opponents, Germany will be hopeful of continuing their impressive start to the tournament. 

Varga returns to Hungary

Following a successful operation, Hungary striker Barnabas Varga has been discharged from hospital and returned home to continue his recovery. 

The 29-year-old was left with multiple broken facial bones and a concussion after colliding with Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn last Sunday. 

Varga's club side, Ferencvaros, posted a picture to X of the striker waving to the camera upon his return back.

Skills on show from Zinchenko

Ahead of Ukraine's meeting with Belgium in Stuttgart, defender Oleksandr Zinchenko was seen showing off his skills. 

The Arsenak full-back was introduced as a second-half substitute against the Red Devils, but was unable to prevent his side from finishing bottom of Group E. 

Ukraine became the first side in European Championship history to fail to progress to the knockout stages of the competition after claiming four points. 

A night to remember for Kvaratskhelia

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia starred in a landmark triumph for Georgia over Portugal, and was able to grab a souvenir to remember the occasion. 

In a video posted to his Instagram, the Napoli forward managed to grab Cristiano Ronaldo's shirt at full-time.

With that memento to cherish, Kvaratskhelia will hope to power Georgia through Sunday's last-16 meeting with Spain, the only side still boasting a 100 per cent record in Germany.

Nagelsmann's future number one?

Germany confirmed top spot in Group A on Matchday 3, coming from a goal down to draw with Switzerland in Frankfurt. 

Manuel Neuer has kept one clean sheet from his three games, but could have found his future replacement in goal. 

The Bayern Munich goalkeeper was seen sharing a moment with a ball boy prior to kick-off, with the youngster approving of Neuer's throw to him with a thumbs up. 

De la Fuente thanks Spanish journalists

The relationship between footballers and journalists can often come into question but that is not the case for Spain manager Luis de la Fuente. 

La Roja's head coach met with the Spanish media to thank them for their coverage of Spain's perfect start to the tournament, even sharing food and drink with them. 

Kane ready for important part of Euro 2024

After failing to dazzle in their three group games, England captain Harry Kane insists his side are ready to shine in the knockout stages of Euro 2024. 

The Bayern Munich striker joined Josh Denzel on Wednesday's episode of the Lions' Den, discussing finishing top of Group C and controlling their destiny moving forward. 

"Got a game on Sat!"

The Azzurri face a stern test in the last-16 as they look to retain their European Championship crown. 

Luciano Spalletti's side face Switzerland in Berlin on Saturday, with Italy's social media account quick to remind them of getting back into training. 

Ferdinand backs Mainoo and Palmer to take England to glory

There were perhaps only two positives from England's draw with Slovakia; topping the group and the introductions of Kobbie Mainoo and Cole Palmer. 

The Three Lions young guns made their case for a starting spot against Slovakia in their last-16 fixture on Sunday.

And Rio Ferdinand believes Gareth Southgate must start the pair in Gelsenkirchen, and for the rest of the tournament to stand any chance of success. 
 

Luciano Spalletti raged at suggestions a pact with his players resulted in Italy's switch to a 3-5-2 formation for Monday's draw with Croatia, as they scraped into the last 16 at Euro 2024. 

Following a 2-1 win over Albania and a deserved 1-0 defeat to Spain, the defending champions entered their final match in Group B with their fate in the balance.

Luka Modric's goal – which made him the oldest goalscorer in Euros history at 38 years and 289 days – put them on the brink of a third-place finish, which would have left them waiting nervously on other results to discover whether they had qualified.

However, Mattia Zaccagni stepped off the bench to curl home a brilliant equaliser after 97 minutes and 19 seconds, the second-latest goal in Euros history (excluding extra time), after Hungary's Kevin Csoboth versus Scotland one day earlier (99:33).

Italy will now face Switzerland for a quarter-final spot on Saturday, but their performances have not been universally welcomed at home.

Reports in the Italian media suggested Spalletti abandoned his favoured 4-3-3 setup for a 3-5-2 shape at his players' behest, and the former Napoli boss was furious when asked about those claims in his post-match press conference.

"In my opinion, this is what you were told," Spalletti said, before asking the reporter his age.

"You're 51, you still have 14 years before you get to 65 like me. I speak to the players, I need to hear with their ears and see with their eyes, so I talk to them, what is the problem?"

 

Spalletti went on to claim someone in the Italy camp had leaked details of his conversations with the squad, saying: "Don't claim this is your poetic licence, this is just a weakness of those who leak things.

"There is an internal environment and an external one and if in the internal environment there are those who speak of certain things outside, it's someone who harms the national team.

"I did my thesis at Coverciano on 3-5-2. I'll let you see it later. It's only natural that I speak to the players."

Though Italy attempted over twice as many shots as Croatia (13 to six), they only hit the target three times and lost the expected goals (xG) battle, 1.49-0.98.

Asked whether he was afraid of failing at his first major tournament, Spalletti said: "Am I afraid? 

"What am I afraid of? If I was afraid, I would have just come here like you guys to watch the games. I would have done another job.

"I know so many people that would have given me free tickets. It's only natural that there's pressure, but we go out there to play."

Luka Modric conceded he cannot go on forever as he was left to rue Italy's "cruel" last-gasp equaliser against Croatia, which leaves their hopes of progressing to the Euro 2024 knockout stages hanging by a thread.

The 2018 World Cup finalists looked set to finish as Group B runners-up behind Spain after Modric's 55th-minute strike - just moments after Gianluigi Donnarumma saved his penalty - put them a goal to the good in Leipzig.

However, there was to be a late twist when, in the eighth minute of stoppage time, substitute Mattia Zaccagni curled past Dominik Livakovic to snatch a share of the spoils - and second place from under Croatia's nose.

Amassing just two points, having also conceded a stoppage-time equaliser against Albania, Zlatko Dalic's side failed to win any of their group games at a European Championship for only the second time - also achieving the feat in 2004.

They can still qualify for the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams, but are relying on England beating Slovenia by a three-goal margin in Group C on Tuesday.

That means Modric could well have played his final match at a European Championship where, aged 38 years and 289 days, he became the oldest scorer, and only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo (five) to find the net at four editions.

The Real Madrid midfielder is uncertain about his future.

"I'd like to keep playing forever, but there probably will come a time when I must hang up my boots," he said. "I'll keep playing on, but I don't know for how much longer.

"That was very stressful. We kept battling right until the end but, unfortunately, football was merciless with us tonight. It was cruel above all today, but also in our last match. when we also conceded a late goal.

"But that's part and parcel of football. Often, it gives you plenty of smiles, but on other occasions, it makes you very sad as it did today, losing in the manner we did.

"It's hard when you lose like this to find the words to describe how you feel. Of course, we need to bounce back. But that's the way it is.

"And as I said earlier, perhaps it's unfair because we all really fought for Croatia right from the first whistle until the last, and the result is what it is.

"The footballing gods don't necessarily always smile on us, but we should be proud of the way that we represented our country tonight."

Team-mate Luka Ivanusec added: "I'm empty, we don't know what to say. Until the last minute, we have everything. We are disappointed."

Mattia Zaccagni says he and Italy are eager to repay head coach Luciano Spalletti, after the substitute's dramatic late equaliser against Croatia sent the Azzurri through to the Euro 2024 knockout stages.

The reigning champions appeared set to finish third in Group B and face a potentially nervous wait for confirmation of their fate, as they trailed to Luka Modric's goal in Leipzig.

However, in the eighth minute of stoppage time, substitute Zaccagni made himself the hero, curling a stunning first-time shot beyond Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

Snatching second place from under the 2018 World Cup finalists' nose, Italy kept their title defence alive and will play Switzerland in the last 16 on Saturday.

Spalletti is overseeing the Azzurri's fortunes at a major tournament for the first time and, following his last-gasp heroics, Zaccagni saluted the former Napoli boss.

"[I feel] immense satisfaction," he said. "I'm excited, it's a beautiful evening. It was important to draw to qualify in second place.

"We did well to stay in the game with a great second half. We deserved this draw. The coach did well to create this group, we will try to repay him on the pitch."

Spalletti added: "There are things that happen in our matches that are illogical, but we need to take what the boys have in their qualities and put them in a position to express themselves at their best.

"We passed through the group stage on merit. Now, we will have a chance to think about the next match."

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