Zlatan & Haaland Among Star Players Who Will Miss Euro 2020
The array of stars present in the battle for the Henri Delaunay trophy promises a festival for the football fan.
For the first time in its 60-year history, the UEFA European Championships will be held across the continent, in 11 cities, beginning 11 June.
The host cities for the tournament are London, Seville, Glasgow, Copenhagen, Budapest, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Rome, Munich, Baku and Saint Petersburg. The semifinals and final will be held at the Wembley Stadium in London. The tournament was initially scheduled for 2020 but like most events that year, it was postponed.
Twenty-four countries will battle it out for European football’s top international prize this summer and the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Phil Foden will all be looking to drive their sides on.
The extensive array of stars present in the battle for the Henri Delaunay trophy promises a festival for the football fan. Will Ronaldo and Portugal retain the trophy or will the French, with an in-form Benzema back in the mix, put on yet another show.
Nonetheless, missing from the big stage will be some iconic players, who like the rest, will cheer on his former teammates from the comforts of home. Spain, especially, have made quite the statement in terms of selection, with Luis Enrique becoming the first to not pick a Real Madrid player at a major tournament.
Sergio Ramos (Spain)
When Luis Enrique announced his squad for the Euros, leaving out the talismanic skipper Sergio Ramos, most fans and experts were left stunned.
Ramos, who has had an injury hit season for Real Madrid, has been one of the mainstays of the Spain side from 2004. He was also part of the team that won the Euros twice (2008 and 2012) and the World Cup in 2012.
A lack of games for Ramos due to injury was a contributing factor and Aymeric Laporte has been called up instead. Since 14 January, Ramos has played three games for Real Madrid.
For Spain, Ramos has played 180 games and scored 23 games. Have we already seen the last of the iconic leader in the colours of La Roja?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
The former Sweden captain announced he was coming out of retirement for the Euros in March but a knee injury earlier in May ruined the much-awaited comeback.
Ibrahimovic made two appearances for Sweden in March, having quit the national team following their elimination from Euro 2016. He has scored 62 goals in 118 appearances for his country since making his debut in 2001.
At the age of 39, the Euros this year would have surely been his last international tournament and the injury will be a hard pill to swallow.
Zlatan has been central to the Swedish team’s success more often than not and coach Janne Andersson was understandably disappointed.
Virgil van Dijk (Holland)
The centre-back is one of the most crucial parts of the Liverpool defence and his absence had a major effect on them through the domestic season.
His injury in the early weeks (October) of the season has also ruled him out of the Euros, putting Holland in a spot of bother as they will be without their captain and also arguably their best player – a situation that won’t please the manager Frank de Boer.
After the Dutch failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, this seemed like the perfect time for him to get an international tournament under his belt but sadly that won’t be the case.
Earlier in May, Jurgen Klopp said the Liverpool defender is well away from full fitness and the man himself confirmed the case when he pulled out of the European Championships.
Jan Oblak (Slovenia)
One of the best goalkeepers in the world currently not being a part of Euro 2020 is quite disappointing. Unfortunately for him, Slovenia haven’t qualified for a tournament since the 2010 World Cup, and the trend continues into its 11th year.
Oblak was instrumental in helping Atletico Madrid win the La Liga in a closely contested title race this season in Spain.
The 28-year-old is yet to play a major tournament internationally.
Erling Haaland (Norway)
Since breaking onto the scene in 2018, Haaland has been wanted by almost all the top clubs in the world thanks to his unerring ability to score plenty of goals.
The Borussia Dortmund goal machine has been in fine form this season, scoring 41 goals in all competitions, and would definitely have added to that number in the Euros. However, Norway was knocked out in the qualification play-off semi-finals by Serbia, ending Haaland’s hopes.
But with six international goals in 10 games, the future is bright for his country and we will hopefully see him at next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
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