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Euro 2020 Team of the Week - Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku

Euro 2020 Team of the Week - Pogba, Ronaldo, Lukaku
© Reuters
Sports Mole selects its Euro 2020 team of the week for matchday one of the competition, including Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The first gameweek of Euro 2020 came to an end on Wednesday night, with tournament favourites France recording a 1-0 win over Germany in what was, on paper at least, the standout match in the opening set of fixtures.

Earlier in the evening, Portugal had got their Group F campaign underway with a 3-0 success over Hungary, as Cristiano Ronaldo became the highest goalscorer in the history of the European Championship with a brace.

The competition – delayed 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic - officially began on June 11, with potential dark horses Italy recording a 3-0 victory over Turkey. Elsewhere, in Group A, Wales opened their tournament with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland.

Saturday's clash between Denmark and Finland will forever be remembered for the Christian Eriksen incident, and the Danes left the field as heroes despite suffering a 1-0 loss in Copenhagen after the match restarted. Belgium have taken charge of Group B, though, courtesy of a 3-0 success over Russia.

In Group C, Austria recorded a 3-1 victory over newcomers North Macedonia before the Netherlands ran out 3-2 winners over Ukraine in what was a brilliant game of football.

England got their campaign off to a winning start courtesy of a 1-0 success over Croatia, with Raheem Sterling netting the only goal of the contest, while the Czech Republic beat Scotland 2-0 to move to the top of Group D.

Group E, meanwhile, saw Slovakia record a 2-1 win over Poland on Monday before Spain were held to a goalless draw by Sweden later in the evening, and it will be fascinating to see what occurs in the second set of fixtures.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Euro 2020 team of the week from the opening set of fixtures at this summer's competition.


Milan Skriniar celebrates scoring for Slovakia against Poland at Euro 2020 on June 14, 2021© Reuters

Robin Olsen's performance for Sweden on Monday night was certainly one of the main reasons why his side were able to hold Spain to a goalless draw. The 31-year-old made five saves in Seville, with the pick of the bunch coming when he managed to claw away a header from Dani Olmo in the first period.

Leonardo Spinazzola operated as a left-back against Turkey on the opening night but has been shifted to the right for the purposes of this XI; the 28-year-old was a constant threat in a wide area, while he also played a key role in Italy claiming a clean sheet, meaning that a spot had to be found in this side.

David Alaba, meanwhile, played as a centre-back for Austria against North Macedonia, but he has been moved to the left of the back four here. The 28-year-old was in excellent form for his country, providing the assist for Michael Gregoritsch's goal and also defending superbly over the course of the match.

A number of centre-backs impressed in the opening set of fixtures, with France's Raphael Varane and Sweden's Victor Lindelof two that stood out, but Giorgio Chiellini and Milan Skriniar have been included as the two central defenders.

Chiellini, at the age of 36, showed his quality against Turkey on June 11, dominating in both penalty boxes, while Skriniar was excellent in Slovakia's 2-1 win over Poland on June 14, and the Inter Milan defender scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 69th minute of the contest.

In the full-back areas, Czech Republic's Vladimir Coufal and Austria's Stefan Lainer are slightly unfortunate to miss out, and the overall standard of defending at this summer's championship has been relatively impressive thus far.


England's Kalvin Phillips in action against Croatia at Euro 2020 on June 13, 2021© Reuters

There simply had to be a place for England's Kalvin Phillips in the middle of the park. The Leeds United midfielder was absolutely outstanding against Croatia on Sunday, providing the assist for Sterling to make the breakthrough, and helping to keep Luka Modric quiet.

It was a real breakthrough performance from the 25-year-old, who came into the tournament off the back of a fine season at club level.

Paul Pogba also makes it, with the Manchester United midfielder playing a starring role in France's 1-0 win over Germany; it was the 28-year-old's wonderful pass that released Lucas Hernandez in the 20th minute, and the defender's low cross was ultimately put into his own net by Mats Hummels.

The World Cup winner was the best player on the field for long stages of the contest and gets the nod over the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, who impressed for the Netherlands against Ukraine, Italian pair Jorginho and Nicolo Barella, and Czech Republic's Tomas Soucek.

The final spot in the middle of the park goes to Danilo Pereira, who was excellent for Portugal in their 3-0 win over Hungary on Monday evening. The 29-year-old's power and strength came in handy on a number of occasions, and he was also not afraid to move the ball forward when Portugal were finding it difficult.


Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Hungary at Euro 2020 on June 15, 2021© Reuters

Ronaldo absolutely sails into this side, with the 36-year-old netting a late brace against Hungary to become the all-time record goalscorer at European Championships. The Juventus forward, who now has 11 strikes in the competition, found it tough in the first period, but as he often does, ended up playing a leading role in Portugal picking up a much-needed three points.

Romelu Lukaku, meanwhile, scored twice in Belgium's 3-0 win over Russia on Saturday evening. The 28-year-old made the breakthrough in the 10th minute of the contest before registering a second in the final exchanges, and it would not be a surprise to see him among the top scorers this summer.

The final spot in the XI also goes to a player who scored twice in his first match at Euro 2020, with Patrik Schick netting both of the Czech Republic's goals against Scotland on Monday, including that stunning long-range effort in the second half.

The Bayer Leverkusen attacker registered from all of 54 yards, and it will take some effort to prevent the strike from being named the goal of the tournament this summer.

Ciro Immobile is very unfortunate to miss out on a spot in the final third, with the 31-year-old both scoring and registering an assist in Italy's 3-0 win over Turkey, but it was difficult to leave out either Ronaldo, Lukaku or Schick considering what the trio achieved in their first outings.


Euro 2020 TOTW GW1

Sports Mole's Euro 2020 team of the week (4-3-3): Olsen; Spinazzola, Chiellini, Skriniar, Alaba; Phillips, Danilo, Pogba; Ronaldo, Lukaku, Schick

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Kieffer Moore celebrates scoring for Wales against Switzerland at Euro 2020 on June 12, 2021
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Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

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· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

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