An outrageously good XI of world-class superstars we can’t wait to watch at Euro 2024

The final international break of the 2023-24 season is almost at an end, meaning that attention will soon turn back to club football, the climax of a thrilling Premier League title race and a heavyweight last eight of the Champions League.

But these friendlies and final play-off qualifiers have given us a taste for Euro 2024 this summer, and we reckon it’s shaping up to be a classic tournament in Germany.

Unlike Qatar and Russia, there aren’t too many uneasy moral quandaries about the hosts, who are home to some iconic stadiums, solid infrastructure and a football-obsessed population.

The football itself should be sensational, too. We’ve put together a full XI – featuring a maximum of one player from each nation – of brilliant ballers we can’t wait to watch at Euro 2024.

GK: Jan Oblak

Spoiler alert: Most of our XI features players who represent the big hitters and tournament favourites.

But we begin with one of our favourite things about international football – a world-class player, one of the very best in his position in world football, representing a team that doesn’t have a chance.

Oblak’s stock has fallen a little throughout a couple of comparatively so-so campaigns with Atletico Madrid, but he offered a reminder that he’s still unbeatable on his day with his heroics in Atleti’s Champions League penalty shootout victory over Inter.

His team-mates in the Slovenia squad represent clubs in Italy, Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Russia, Switzerland and Norway but none of them are household names.

Oblak will have to be at his very best if they’re to upset the odds and make it out a group that features England, Serbia and Denmark.

READ: Going to Euro 2024? The 10 amazing host stadiums in Germany this summer

RB: Joao Cancelo

It’s been a strange up-and-down couple of years for Cancelo, who not long ago was regarded by many as the best full-back in the Premier League.

After suddenly falling out of favour under Pep Guardiola, he failed to show up the Manchester City boss with a forgettable loan stint at Bayern.

He’s since gone out to Barcelona and is quietly enjoying a very solid campaign, despite the Catalan club’s struggles.

For Portugal, he faces competition from an in-form, resurgent Diogo Dalot – but we still back him to start and prove his quality at Euro 2024 this summer.

CB: Alessandro Bastoni

It’ll feel weird seeing the Azzurri at a major tournament without Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, but Italy continue to do what they do best and produce grizzled, hard-as-nails centre-backs.

Bastoni is approaching Euro 2024 after the best season of his club career. He’s played a key role in Inter’s imminent Scudetto, one in which they’re likely to break all kinds of defensive records.

With the 24-year-old at the heart of their backline, the Nerazzurri have conceded just 14 goals in 29 games – by some distance the best defensive record in Europe – and have kept 17 clean sheets.

CB: Virgil van Dijk

The Liverpool captain has looked back to his very best in their title charge this season. He’s never quite reached the same glorious heights representing his country, although they are at least back to regularly qualifying after a fallow period.

With Van Dijk and a selection of other exceptional defenders – Nathan Ake, Matthijs De Ligt, Micky van de Ven – it won’t be easy to breach the Oranje backline.

LB: Andrew Robertson

Scotland had gone over two decades without qualifying for a major tournament, but now they’ve made it to back-to-back European Championships under manager Steve Clarke and skipper Andy Robertson.

They made it past a tough qualification campaign, beating Martin Odegaard and Erling Haaland’s Norway to a runner-up spot to Spain.

That experience will stand them in good stead for a group that features hosts Germany as well as Switzerland and Hungary – but the Liverpool left-back is relishing the chance.

“We’ve given them some great nights here with this campaign, but we’ll give them a great summer,” Robertson said after securing Scotland’s place at the tournament with a 3-3 draw against Norway back in November.

“Anyone I speak to, they’re already booked for Germany or planning to go. It’ll be a proper tournament this time.

“The last time it was just starting to get fans back in and things like that. Although it was a home Euros, we only had 10,000 in here [Hampden Park] and that’s all that was allowed.

“This time, I guarantee there’ll be more than 10,000 [Scottish fans] in Germany. We’re excited. It feels a long way off but I’m sure it’ll come around quite quickly.”

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the top 30 Scottish goalscorers in Premier League history?

DM: Rodri

Widely regarded as the best defensive midfielder in world football for good reason; it’s been well over a year since Rodri tasted defeat with Manchester City.

While Spain don’t quite boast the array of world-class superstars they once did, having Rodri at the base of their midfield will give them a platform to dictate the tempo and impose their possession-focused style on any opponent.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne

Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ has gradually ebbed away, while star ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois looks likely to miss Euro 2024 after suffering another serious knee injury.

But the Red Devils still have a De Bruyne that’s as good as he ever was. The playmaker has notched 13 assists in 12 appearances since returning from injury in early 2024.

With Romelu Lukaku – still wildly prolific for his country – to supply, that makes for a dangerous combination.

CM: Luka Modric

The era-defining Croatian – undoubtedly his country’s greatest-ever player – looks set for a last dance in Germany this summer.

Modric, 38, is out of contract at Real Madrid at the end of the season. With a midfield rebuild already complete, it looks like it’ll finally be time for him to depart the Bernabeu. And he’ll be 40 by the time the next World Cup rolls around.

Euro 2024 could well be the last chance to see the midfield magician at the top level one last time. Savour every second.

QUIZ: Can you name the most capped player for these 25 European nations?

FWR: Jamal Musiala

The squarest peg in this XI, Musiala has tended to feature on the left or in central areas for Bayern this season. But he has featured on the right on occasion – including with success in a 3-0 victory over in-form Stuttgart earlier this season – and that’s good enough for us.

The golden rule for Germany is to never write them off. But after their recent struggles and tournament disappointments, many have foolishly forgotten that.

Their recent 2-0 friendly victory over Euro 2024 favourites France demonstrated they might just be getting it together in time for hosting it.

And in Musiala, Julian Nagelsmann is blessed with one of the most exciting attackers in Europe.

The 21-year-old looks as though he’s peaking at the perfect time, with five goals and four assists in his last five Bundesliga appearances. He’s also among the most terrifyingly good dribblers around right now.

ST: Harry Kane

Thirty years old and already England’s all-time top scorer, Gareth Southgate’s captain may end 2023-24 extending his trophy drought but he’s in the form of his life right now.

Kane looks almost certain to lift the European Golden Shoe for the most goals scored in Europe’s five major leagues. He’s already hit his career-best tally and he might yet break Robert Lewandowski’s Bundesliga record.

FWL: Kylian Mbappe

In the coming months, Mbappe is eyeing the two major honours that have eluded him so far in his glittering career – the Champions League and European Championships.

A relatively forgiving quarter-final draw could well see PSG in the Champions League final, giving him a shot at a fairytale goodbye at his hometown club.

Then it’s on to more European glory with Les Bleus. In this kind of form – 38 goals in all competitions in 2023-24 – you’d be a fool to bet against him delivering on either front.

The really terrifying thing is his goalscoring record for France when you compare it to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the same age. He’s on track to smash all kinds of records.

The full best XI of players at Euro 2024 this summer, featuring Virgil Van Dijk, Rodri, Luka Modric and Harry Kane

BENCH: Martin Dubravka, David Alaba, Radu Dragusin, Vladimir Coufal, Granit Xhaka, Dominik Szoboszlai, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Arda Guler, Armando Broja, Rasmus Hojlund

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TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the top scorers for these 25 European nations?