Like many of you, we were looking forward to the European Championships this summer. With Euro 2020 pushed now back a year, we’ve been thinking about some of the highs and lows of recent times. Thanks to that defeat, Euro 2016 sticks in the mind.

Iceland’s victory over England wasn’t the only shock that summer, though. Whilst the boys in blue had a memorable tournament, Wales also made it to semi-finals for the first time in their history. Who could forget Hal Robson-Kanu momentarily transforming into a prime Zinedine Zidane in the quarters?

The official UEFA Team of The Tournament threw up quite a few surprises, too. We look back at the names selected and tell you where they are now plying their trade.

GK – Rui Patrício (Portugal)

Then: Sporting CP
Now:  Wolverhampton Wanderers

With ten years of experience at club level, Patrício was a regular starter for eventual winners Portugal by 2016. The commanding goalkeeper played in every minute of the underdog’s successful campaign, keeping three clean sheets along the way.

Despite not winning a single game in the group stage, Portugal managed to navigate their way to a final by winning just one game in normal time. Patrício came to the fore with a penalty shoot-out save versus Poland in the quarters. He followed that up with superb shutouts against Wales and then hosts France in the final.

Amid tensions surrounding the Portuguese side, Patrício sealed a somewhat controversial move to newly promoted Premier League side Wolves in 2018. The goalkeeper has been fundamental to the side’s success over the last two years, with the West Midlands side currently playing in Europe for the first time since 1980.

RB – Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

Then: Bayern Munich
Now: Bayern Munich

Only three players named in the Team of the Tournament are still at the same club that they were then. Kimmich is the one of them, having been at Bayern Munich since 2015.

Amazingly, Kimmich made the team despite not having played a single minute of competitive football for Germany before the tournament. The Bayern utility man hasn’t looked back since coming on as a substitute in their third game of Euro 2016.

After conceding no goals in his first two games, Kimmich stepped up to score a sudden-death penalty in Germany’s shootout win over Italy. Germany were knocked out by France in the next round.

CB – Jérôme Boateng (Germany)

Then: Bayern Munich
Now: Bayern Munich

Like Kimmich, Boateng still plays for Bayern Munich. After an injury-disrupted campaign so far (as well as recently breaking lockdown rules), he could well find himself looking for a new club when the transfer window reopens.

The commanding centre-back was an integral part of his national team’s World Cup victory in 2014. Boateng followed that up with four consecutive clean-sheets at the beginning of Euro 2016 as he established himself as one of European footballs best players.

He also bagged in the Round of 16 tie against Slovakia. And what a volley it was…

CB – Pepe (Portugal)

Then: Real Madrid
Now: Porto

After an injury-ravaged season, the no-nonsense defender came into the tournament fresh off the back of a Champions League victory with Real Madrid.

Pepe was crucial to Portugal’s success with solid performances at the back. Surprisingly, he only picked up one booking throughout the tournament but did miss the semi-final against Wales through injury.

The centre-back has returned to his homeland and, at the age of 37, still plays regularly for FC Porto.

LB – Raphaël Guerreiro (Portugal)

Then: FC Lorient
Now: Borussia Dortmund

With regular left-back Fábio Coentrão injured, a star was born during Euro 2016.

Guerreiro officially joined Dortmund two days after Portugal’s opening match versus Iceland. The 1-1 draw shocked many at the time, but turned out to be a decent result in the end as A Seleção claimed their first major international title.

Unknown to many at the time, Guerreiro announced himself on the international stage with a delicious assist for Cristiano Ronaldo in the semi-final victory over Wales.

Guerreiro’s performances for Dortmund this season have been electric. From a more advanced left-sided position, he has scored 8 goals in 25 Bundesliga appearances so far.

DM – Toni Kroos (Germany)

Then: Real Madrid
Now: Real Madrid

Kroos might not have much pace, but the elegant playmaker ran the show from midfield during Euro 2016.

Euro 2016 was the Real Madrid player’s fourth major international tournament, aged just 26. Known for being incredibly comfortable in possession, he dictated the play in the majority of games he played.  Against Northern Ireland, he registered more passes (111) than the entire Green and White Army combined (106). Pretty impressive.

Still only 30, Kroos is a regular fixture for a Los Blancos side currently sitting second place in La Liga.

DM – Joe Allen (Wales)

Then: Liverpool
Now: Stoke City

Perhaps the most surprising name on the list.

Allen spent much of the 2015-16 season on the bench for Liverpool. He did, however, become much more of a regular fixture towards the end of the campaign. The midfielders started in the Reds’ Europa League final defeat to Sevilla.

Surrounded by players from the Championship, Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale controlled much of the play for Wales during the tournament. The deep-lying playmaker laid on a delicious assist for Ramsey in the final game of the group stage as Chris Coleman’s side romped to a 3-0 victory.

Nowadays, Allen is playing in the Championship himself. He made the move to Stoke City shortly after the tournament to secure more regular football. The Potters were relegated in 2018 and Allen, who now captains the side, has recently come in for a fair amount of criticism from his own fans. How times change.

AM – Antoine Griezmann (France)

Then: Atlético Madrid
Now: FC Barcelona

After an impressive World Cup in 2014, Griezmann’s stature in the game was far exceeding his diminutive figure. Le Petit Prince was integral to France’s run to the final at their home tournament. He scored six times and assisted twice before France lost in extra-time to Eder’s winner.

It wasn’t a straight-forward competition for Griezmann, though. His below-par performance in Les Bleus’ opening game against Romania saw him start on the bench for the second match. He made up for lost time by coming off the bench to score against Albania, before netting twice versus Ireland.

The creative forward went on to score a wonderful chip in the quarter-final over Iceland. He followed that up with a performance that secured his status as a household name across Europe – scoring both goals in the 2-0 victory against Germany.

After years of speculation, Griezmann finally sealed a dream move to Atlético’s Spanish rival, FC Barcelona. After a difficult start, he could finish his debut season with the Catalan side as La Liga champion.

AM – Dimitri Payet (France)

Then: West Ham United
Now: Olympique de Marseille

Dimitri Payet might not get much of a look in now, but back in 2016 he was a huge part of France’s run to the final.

He added to an assist in the opening match of the tournament with a trademark curling strike in the final minutes of the game. He netted again in his side’s next match against Albania, and was also on target in the quarter-final versus Iceland.

His tournament, however, will be remembered by many for a crunching tackling on Cristiano Ronaldo. The tackle resulted in a yellow card and took Ronaldo out of the game. Cristiano’s mother was not best pleased

AM – Aaron Ramsey (Wales)

Then: Arsenal
Now: Juventus

Few would have predicted two Wales players would have made the Team of the Tournament before a ball was kicked.

Ramsey carried much of Wales’ attacking threat throughout the tournament from midfield. Sporting bleached blonde hair for the occasion, the then-Arsenal playmaker scored just once but registered four assists in a stellar campaign.

His booking in the match against Belgium, however, meant that he would miss a historic match against Portugal in the semi-final. His presence was missed as Wales fell to a 1-0 defeat.

After a mixed ten years at Arsenal, including a career-threatening leg break against Stoke and FA Cup Final winning goal against Hull, Ramsey sealed a switch to Kings of the Free Transfer, Juventus, in 2019.

ST – Cristiano Ronaldo

Then: Real Madrid
Now: Juventus

Ronaldo’s impact on the game has since reached new heights. His honours list now includes league titles in three countries and five Ballon D’ors and despite now being 35 years old shows no sign of slowing down just yet.

Ronaldo’s staggering career reached new heights in 2016. Portugal’s win was his first international honour after suffering a crushing defeat back in the final versus Greece twelve years prior.

In typical fashion, CR7 lit up the tournament with dominant performances. Despite this, he scored just three goals in France that summer although he did head home a crucial semi-final winner against Wales.

It seems slightly unfair, therefore, that his final was cut short by injury early on in the first half. Perhaps even more unfair was the vicious attack he received from circling mosquitoes as he laid on the floor…

Looking ahead

Well Euro 2020 might now be Euro 2021, but we still have plenty of football to look forward to this summer. Many of the major European league are back already, and the Premier League is just days away.

We’re looking forward to seeing some of the names on this list back in action, as well as the grassroots football season coming back in good time. Until then, enjoy the football on the television and take care.

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