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Olympics 2024 Daily Missions July to August – EN
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Euro 2024: The Lamine Machine is Something Special

Euro 2024 has seen some of the best players of the past decade on show, with “Golden Oldies” strutting their stuff and some making their fond farewells.

The Portugal duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, at 39 and 41, and Croatia Legend Luka Modric have all taken their bows and are ready (maybe) to make way for the next generation of superstars, and there have been plenty of young players winning fans in Germany and worldwide.

So let’s take a look at the SBOTOP pick of five players who have produced the best Euro 2024 highlights and are vying for the Young Player award, and there is only one place we can start.


Lamine Yamal, Spain

Anyone who was at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Tuesday night witnessed a piece of history and a special moment in our beautiful game, as the 16-year-old Lamine Yamal scored a sensational equaliser during Spain’s 2-1 victory over France.

His wonder strike in the semi-final to level against Les Bleus was simply sensational and is a leading contender for the goal of the tournament.

Yamal shifted the ball onto his left foot, some 25 yards out, and hit a curling beauty with pace and precision into the top left corner. France goalie Mike Maignan was nowhere near it, and no keeper in the world could have stopped Yamal’s shot.

He is the youngest player to ever score at the European Championships, and Yamal’s electrifying play on the right wing, with the quicksilver Nico Williams on the other flank, is one of the big reasons the Euro 2024 betting odds are backing La Roja to win the title.


Nico Williams, Spain

Yamal’s opposite on the other wing, Athletic Bilbao’s exciting wide-man Nico Williams, is our number two. While his 16-year-old buddy had the game of his life on Tuesday, Williams continued his impressive form from the beginning of the tournament.

The 21-year-old is lightning fast and has a box of tricks which will strike terror into many a defence for years to come. He’s a hot property, and Europe’s top clubs are closely tracking Williams’ progress.


Kobbie Mainoo, England

The Three Lions have made it to the semi-finals of Euro 2024 and will meet the Netherlands on Wednesday night, and the emergence of Kobbie Mainoo as a starter has coincided with the improvement in England’s play.

Kobbie Mainoo is one of the key players of England in their Euro 2024 campaign
Kobbie Mainoo in action during their quarter-final match against Switzerland

Their best performance so far came in the quarter-final victory over Switzerland, eventually won on penalties, and England have looked much better with Manchester United’s 19-year-old at the heart of midfield.

He exploded onto the scene at Old Trafford as an 18-year-old and immediately won international recognition for his mature performances, calm head, energy in pressing, and precision of passing.


Arda Guler, Turkey

One of the least known youngsters playing for an unfancied nation, Arda Guler has possibly been the most surprising of all the breakout stars. Not that Real Madrid fans will be too shocked as the 19-year-old made 10 appearances for Los Blancos last term, scoring six goals.

Turkey have been a joy to watch at the Euros, playing without fear, and Guler is the epitome of his team’s spirit. He was brilliant from start to finish and was the architect of Turkey’s goal in their quarter-final clash with the Netherlands, and Guler has won a lot of admirers for his inventive play and constant involvement in Turkey’s creative moves.

With the great Toni Kroos announcing his retirement from football this summer, this young Turk has every chance of making his mark at the Santiago Bernabeu next season.


Xavi Simons, Netherlands

The Oranje worked hard to see off a dangerous Turkey in the quarter-finals, and now Ronald Koeman is readying his team for a winner-take-all clash with England on Wednesday night.

And one player we’ll be watching closely is PSG winger Xavi Simons. The 19-year-old can play out wide or as an inverted forward, and he was at his very best when the Oranje swept aside Romania in the Round of 16, terrorising the Romanian’s backline and providing a couple of assists.

Simons was unlucky to see a goal ruled out during the Netherlands’ 0-0 draw with France, and he’ll be a serious threat to the England defence on Wednesday.

After impressing on loan at RB Leipzig last term, scoring eight goals in 32 games, Simons is another young star whose stock has risen in Germany.


 

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