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Goal, Player, Game, Flop and Pundit of Euro 2020 so far - do you agree with our selections?

The Football Family podcast hand out a few awards now that the group stages are finished.

SHANE KEEGAN AND David Sneyd joined Gavin Cooney on the latest Euro 2020 edition of our Football Family podcast today, as the lads reflected on the dramatic crescendo of the group stages along with looking ahead to the last-16. 

The show is exclusively available to members of The42, so if you don’t want to make like Scotland and end up left behind, subscribe now at members.the42.ie. 

There was also an opportunity to look back on the group phase as a whole, a joyous 13 days packed with drama, thrills, goals, storylines, and a remote-controlled car. 

The lads polished off a few (virtual) prizes to hand out for the group phase, so do jump into the show’s WhatsApp group and let them know how strongly you disagree with their selections.

Best Player of the Group Phase

David: I am going to say Manuel Locatelli. I am going to tie this in with all of them, really, but he has played in the best team, under the best manager. Honestly, I wouldn’t have known a great deal about him before the tournament so he has caught the imagination in that sense. 

Shane: I am going with Georginio Wijnaldum. Major tournaments aside I don’t get to watch a huge amount of international football, but I can’t believe it’s the same fella we have seen for Liverpool. Those who watch Netherlands more often than me say, ‘Yeah, this is him, he plays a completely different role and is a different player’ when he pulls on  a shirt for them. He has been absolutely fantastic in everything that he has done so far. It’s not that he has been a bad player for Liverpool at all, he has been very effective for them, but he is not the Wijnaldum we have seen at this tournament. 

Best Manager of the Group Phase 

David: Roberto Mancini.

Shane: Yeah, Mr Mancini has walked away with that one. Best manager, best-dressed manager, coolest manager, he has it all in the bag. Italy have been super effective so far, whether they can maintain that over the next few weeks is the question. You would be extremely surprised if they don’t come past Austria with reasonable ease, and then they are into facing the big dogs. It’s either Belgium or Portugal and then probably France. They have looked so, so good. 

Best Game of the Group Phase 

David: I have a few. Germany/Hungary, because of how mad it was and because there was a happy ending, as Hungary got dumped out. It was beautiful to see. I really enjoyed Wales/Turkey, I thought Aaron Ramsey was superb in that game. The game gripped me, and Wales were quality. Germany/Portugal too, Denmark/Russia for emotional reasons, but the game I most enjoyed was Wales/Turkey. 

Shane: I am going with Germany/Portugal. When players allow for it I am a 3-4-3 man, I love it when teams set up with two No.10s, and I just thought Germany gave an exhibition of how to play that system that night. It is so rare that your two wing-backs are your best players on the pitch, but they really were outstanding in that game. 

Best Goal of the Group Phase

David: Manuel Locatelli’s first goal against Switzerland. I watched it back last night: the ball is bouncing around in midfield, he sees the pass and plays it first time. A lot of midfielders would then say, ‘that’s my job done’, but he bursts into the box, times everything to perfection and it’s an easy tap-in in the end. It’s one of my favourite moments of the tournament so far. It’s what a midfielder in that position should be about, he should have that vision to knock it wide and have the courage and conviction to burst into the box. 

Shane: I am going for the flash Harry one: Patrik Schick’s second goal against Scotland. I thought it was good on first viewing, but then I saw the view from behind the goal: it starts off about 30 metres left of the goal before swinging in. Just the cleanest of strikes; a brilliant, brilliant goal. 

Flop of the Group Phase 

David: The first one that came to my mind was Bruno Fernandes. But also Mbappe, has he really been great? Maybe just because of the expectation with him – and he might blitz the knockouts – and maybe I’m totally wrong. 

Gavin: I don’t think Shane agrees?

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Shane: For two reasons: I am on him for Player of the Tournament, and secondly, he is joint-top in the tournament for successful take-ons. He has gone past a player more often than anyone else, along with Isak from Sweden and Embolo with Switzerland. 

Gavin: I shamefully backed Burak Yilmaz for Player of the Tournament. 

Shane: You have led me on to it: I have gone with a team rather than a player, Turkey. They have been shocking. The Turkey goalkeeper, believe it or not, has made the most saves at Euro 2020. For him to have made the most saves and for them still to be utterly deplorable and to concede as many goals as they have. He is well clear, he has made 18 saves, so that goal has been peppered. 

TV Pundit of the Group Phase 

David: I haven’t really watched ITV as I haven’t got it, but I do enjoy Damien Duff and his slightly dour way of cutting through bullshit. Richie Sadlier has been very good. RTÉ deserve a bit of credit, as they haven’t shied away from some of the issues, last night they were very good talking about the disgraceful way that Uefa dealt with the rainbow flag. 

Duff and Sadlier were very good, in terms of a combo up top: they complemented each other very well in terms of how they reacted to it. You had Duff’s acerbic anger – I was half-expecting him to punch me down the screen – and Sadlier was just spot-on in how he dealt with it. 

It’s important that isn’t glossed over. If you’re the national broadcaster it’s important you touch on it. It doesn’t have to dominate your coverage, but the way RTÉ have dealt with some of the issues that have come up should be applauded, they haven’t shied away from it. 

Shane: I see Richie Sadlier as the voice of reason on pretty much everything. You could pull any topic in world politics and throw it at him and he will speak fluently about it. But the same applies to his football analysis: it is always very measured. He is not one for too much hype or going overboard on anything, he is filled with common sense and that appeals to me. 

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