The 5 Stand Out Stars of Euro 2016 So Far

John Balfe
By John Balfe
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Now that we're approaching the business end of the Euros, it's time look back on the players (and indeed teams) who have made the biggest impact on the tournament so far. Names like Andres Iniesta, Harry Kane, Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo were predicted by many as being the tournament's defining players but, as we have learned in France so far, the reality has been entirely different.

Robbie Brady

With one nod of his head against the Italians Robbie Brady added his name to the most exclusive list of Irish footballers and, much like Ray Houghton, Ronnie Whelan, Packie Bonner and David O'Leary before him, he has now become one of the most beloved players to ever pull on a green jersey.

It may seem out of place to mention the Norwich man in an article amongst the European elite but without his contribution in France, Ireland's Euro 2016 journey was have ended with a very different taste in the mouth. But even without that considered, Brady was outstanding for Ireland in parts against Sweden and France and throughout the 90 minutes against Italy.

Brady's delivery from set pieces added a whole new dimension to Ireland's attacking options and his ability to pick out a pass with that cultured left foot of his is about as far removed from the long ball days of yesteryear as is possible.

The Ireland Euro 2016 jersey is available from Life Style Sports here.

Eden Hazard

There was a lot of talk in advance of the tournament about whether Eden Hazard could recapture the form which led to him being far and away the best player in the English Premier League a couple of years back after a frankly disastrous nine months in the blue of Chelsea last season.

It seemed like Hazard saved his best form for this summer's tournament, only coming to life towards the end of the season - notably at Chelsea's match with Spurs where he seemed to take Tottenham's race for the title as a personal affront and that late form has very much carried into the Euros.


Hazard was trusted with the captain's armband by coach Marc Wilmots and was one of the his team's top performers as a result. While they didn't achieve the heights expected of them and were dumped out in the quarter finals by Wales, Hazard's performances in France suggest that he'll be ready, willing and able to tear up the Premier League next season.

The Belgium Euro 2016 Euro jersey is available from Life Style Sports here.

Giorgio Chiellini

For a nation who once counted the attacking talents of Roberto Baggio, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero among their ranks, this Italian team in France was entirely built upon the solidity of their defence and, for a while at least, it looked as though it might take them all the way in this tournament.


The defensive trio of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini had proved to be immovable objects in Antonio Conte's defensive system but it's Juventus stopper Chiellini who has always stood out as being the truly unpickable lock at the heart of the Italian defence.

Despite being knocked out of the Euros on penalties, Chiellini can be proud of his performances throughout the tournament.

The Italy Euro 2016 jersey is available from Life Style Sports here.


Dimitri Payet

All hopes for French glory on home soil at Euro 2016 seemed to be resting on the incredible skills and massive reputations of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann ahead of the tournament and, while those players haven't exactly disappointed (ask Ireland and Iceland), it has allowed West Ham's Dimitri Payet to slip under the radar to become one of Les Bleus' chief attacking threats.

Payet saved some considerable French blushes with a last minute winner in the tournament's opening game against Sweden with a goal that hasn't been topped yet throughout the tournament and followed that with another cracker against Albania five days later.


While Ireland managed to contain the him in Lyon, it would be surprising if Payet is one of the chief players in a team who are beginning to look like champions elect.

The France Euro 2016 jersey is available from Life Style Sports here.

Jerome Boateng

It might probably be considered quite unusual that, for a team containing the likes of Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze, it's been Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng who has made the biggest impressions for Germany at either end of the pitch.


His acrobatic goal line clearance in Germany's clash with Ukraine was one of the defensive highlights of the tournament so far and THAT goal against Slovakia in the round of 16 is up there with any other goal scored at this tournament. His bizarre decision to throw his hands up in the air like he just didn't care against Italy threatened to nullify all of that but we've decided to keep him here in spite of that decision.

Boateng really seems like a player coming into his own and you can be sure that Pep Guardiola is fuming that Manchester City let him go so easily.

The Germany Euro 2016 jersey is available from Life Style Sports here.



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