It took a year for Euro 2020 to get underway but it did not disappoint and in the end, it was the Azzurri who took home the hardware and ended a 53-year drought for mother Italy. And although the tournament is over, it is interesting to look back and give credit where it is most assuredly due as we applaud the top five goalkeepers of Euro 2020. Let’s discuss this below.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
The 22-year-old was exactly what the Azzurri needed guarding the woodwork and over the course of seven matches, Donnarumma conceded four goals but won two pivotal shootouts to send the Italians to the winner’s circle. And now with the prestigious Euro 2020 trophy added to his mantle, there will be plenty of money to decorate around it after he signed a five-year contract worth a total of €60 million with Paris Saint-Germain on July 15th of 2021
Although some of the best online sportsbooks like YouWager were dealing Italy as one of the favorites of the tournament, it had been so long since the Azzurri had won, that many of the team’s most ardent fans still had their doubts. However, Donnarumma proved the naysayers wrong and he will get paid as one of the best keepers in the world, as he should.
As an aside, when Donnarumma saved the game-winning penalty kick against England and clinched the Euro Cup win for Italy, he calmly walked away from the keep before being mobbed by his teammates. Many questioned his unemotional reaction but the truth was far less complicated. When asked about it, Donnarumma told Sky Sport Italia: “I didn’t celebrate because I didn’t realize we had won!”
Jordan Pickford (England)
The 27-year-old had been going through a rough patch last year and into 2021 before he got back on track and kept the engine humming right through the Euro 2020 before his team ultimately bowed to Italy in a shootout. However, Pickford proved to be worthy of his lofty reputation and had clearly shaken off whatever funk ailed him.
Pickford would end with five clean sheets and plenty of highlight-reel saves. His Everton coach, Alan Kelly, described his performance thusly, “On a personal level, Jordan was superb in the final, as he has been throughout the tournament. He’s really stepped up and been a shining light for his country.
“It wasn’t just his penalty saves in the final, his performance throughout the 120 minutes was superb. He was faultless.
“He was calm, cool, and controlled. He stood up and was counted on when the big moments happened. In terms of the penalties, you can do no more than he did as a goalkeeper, making two brilliant saves.”
Yann Sommer (Switzerland)
Like his counterpart from England, Jordan Pickford, Sommer had been having his fair share of difficulties leading up to the Euro 2020 but he rose to the occasion and played magnificently despite shoddy defense from his Swiss teammates. When the dust settled, Sommer had recorded a whopping 21 saves, the most in the tournament, despite playing in only five games.
After the Swiss stunned France in a 3-3 game that was ultimately decided by penalty kicks, Sommer stated, “What an evening of football,” Sommer said. “It was our chance to finally go through the round of 16 because we never made it before. It’s incredible. We played with heart and with character. It’s amazing.”
Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
Courtois has settled nicely into his role with his team, Real Madrid, after an initial season in which the road was rather rocky. And that confidence carried over into his performance at the Euro Cup. The 6’7” tower of power enjoyed three clean sheets in four games and was a star for Belgium until they fell, 2-1, to Italy.
After his outstanding performance against Portugal, in which the Red Devils triumphed, 1-0, Belgium coach, Roberto Martinez, made this observation when chatting with Belgian channel RTBF, “I liked his performance and his dribbling. He is at the level of the World Cup, if not more. And in the World Cup, he was designated the best goalkeeper.”
Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark)
The Leicester City legend had a stellar tournament for Denmark and nearly took his team to the finals but ultimately bowed to England in a 2-1 thriller. But the game was marred by allegations of a laser being pointed at Schmeichel’s face as he faced a penalty kick that he initially saved but was scored on the rebound.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Schmeichel said: “Yes, I did not experience it (the laser) on the penalty kick because it was behind me on my right side. But I experienced it in the second half. I told the referee and he went to say something to the other officials.”