Real, Everton & Leeds players among the best XI not to make Euro 2020
With the line-up for Euro 2020 finally settled, there will be plenty of talented players with unwelcome free time next summer.
The enlarged tournament format has allowed for more of Europe’s mid-ranking nations to qualify for the finals. However, plenty of countries with proud footballing histories will still not be present when Euro 2̶0̶2̶1̶ 2020 kicks off in Rome next June.
We’ve created an XI of players who will not compete for the Henri Delaunay trophy, lining up in a 4-2-3-1.
GK – Jan Oblak
Slovenia have not threatened to qualify for a major tournament since their appearance at South Africa 2010, where they were a John Terry diving header block away from eliminating England in the group phases.
This means one of the world’s finest goalkeepers will be absent next summer. Oblak was made first choice for Slovenia after the international retirement of Samir Handanovic, and the Atletico Madrid custodian would be an imposing last line of defence in our team.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) November 13, 2020
RB – Seamus Coleman
The Republic of Ireland made a positive impression at Euro 2016, beating Italy in the group stage before narrowly losing to hosts France in the last 16. However, they won’t have the chance to repeat their exploits this time after being knocked out on penalties by Slovakia last month.
The 32-year-old Coleman, who captains the team, will be hoping Ireland rediscover their goalscoring mojo under Stephen Kenny to challenge for a spot at the 2022 World Cup.
CB – Stefan Savic
Savic has played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, having turned out for Manchester City and Fiorentina before moving to Atletico Madrid in 2015.
Unfortunately for him, Montenegro have declined significantly since almost making Euro 2012. In their attempt to qualify for next year’s finals, Montenegro lost 5-1 and 7-0 to England, finishing bottom of their group.
Despite only being 29, it would be a surprise if Savic ever graced a major tournament.
CB – Jonny Evans
It would be remiss to exclude a centre-back of Evans’ quality. Evans remains a class act at 32 and marshals the Northern Ireland defence with distinction.
After missing out on automatic qualification to Germany and Holland, Northern Ireland fell to an agonising defeat to Slovakia in extra-time of their play-off in Belfast.
LB – Stuart Dallas
Despite the talents of Aleksandar Kolarov and Sead Kolasinac,
our Leeds-supporting editor forced us to include we couldn’t ignore the claims of Dallas.
Already proving a Fantasy Football stalwart, the left-back played all but one of Northern Ireland’s qualifying matches. After appearing at Euro 2016, the Leeds man will remain an important part of the national set-up going forward.
Even Erling Haaland knows he’s mint.
Erling Haaland to Norwegian TV on why he wanted Stuart Dallas' shirt 🗣
"I think he is a great player and the best player out there today."
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) September 8, 2020
CM – Miralem Pjanic
After appearing for Luxembourg, the country of his childhood, at youth level, Pjanic made the switch to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2008 and has made 98 appearances for his country.
Although Pjanic and Edin Dzeko are quality players, Bosnia-Herzegovina are one of Europe’s most frustrating national teams and regularly underwhelm in qualifying. After finishing behind Italy and Finland in qualifying, the team lost to Northern Ireland on penalties in their Nations League semi-final.
It remains to be seen whether Pjanic will add to his three appearances at the 2014 World Cup at another major tournament.
CM – Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
The Lazio midfielder is one of Europe’s most talented central midfielders and has regularly been linked with Manchester United.
Having appeared at the 2018 World Cup, Milinkovic-Savic would have expected to grace the Euros next summer. However, Serbia managed the almost impressive feat of losing an important match to Scotland.
A Sergej Milinkovic-Savic brace saw Serbia reach their #EURO2020 play-off final 🇷🇸
That second goal is just ridiculous 😳pic.twitter.com/dcjCa6QkOu
— Goal (@goal) October 13, 2020
RW – Martin Odegaard
Norway are making a tentative comeback after two decades in the wilderness, with Odegaard impressing on loan at Real Sociedad in recent seasons before returning to Real Madrid for this campaign
However, the Scandinavians failed to oust Spain or Sweden in their tough qualifying group before being edged out by Serbia in their play-off semi-final.
With talent such as Odegaard in their ranks, Norway are a country to keep an eye on during World Cup qualification.
AM – Josep Ilicic
Ilicic rose to prominence during Atalanta’s fairytale run in the 2019-20 Champions League, scoring five goals during their path to the quarter-finals.
The striker also scored four goals for Slovenia during Euro 2020 qualifying, but his country fell victim to Poland and Austria.
At 32, and having made his debut just after the 2010 World Cup, time is not on Ilicic’s side if he wishes to play at a major tournament.
LW – Dusan Tadic
In truth, we could have added a plethora of Serbs to our team, by some distance the biggest team to fail in qualification.
We’ve limited ourselves to two though, with Tadic joining Milinkovic-Savic in our line-up. The winger has been instrumental in Ajax’s recent successes, including their run to the semi-finals of the 2019 Champions League.
He’d also be handy for any indirect free-kicks in the penalty area.
Everyone loves an indirect free-kick in the penalty box…
Dusan Tadic with the dead-ball strike for Ajax 💥 pic.twitter.com/I2ikU6lG5a
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 3, 2020
ST – Erling Haaland
We were spoilt for choice when it came to selecting our striker – Dzeko, Josh King, Luka Jovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic all presented valid claims for inclusion.
But there’s no way we can look past Haaland, and not just because he’s a big fan of Stuart Dallas.