Euro 2016 Key Players to Watch

Written By: Austin Tran and Chris Arora

The 2016 UEFA European Championship will come to France this summer in what is shaping up to be the most exciting soccer event of the year. Twenty-four teams from across Europe have battled their way through the qualifiers for a chance to become the next team to lift the trophy in the name of their country and declare themselves the champions of Europe.

Every four years the Euros capture the gaze of the world because it is a chance to see many of the world’s best players from many different generations compete for not only their nations, but for their own prestige as well. With over 432 players across twenty-four different teams it can become difficult to track all of the special players present in the tournament. To help with that we have compiled a list of 18 players from 18 countries to form a team of who we believe will have the most impact on their country’s success in the tournament.

While many recognizable names like Ronaldo and Ozil made the list, the primary criteria during the selection process was not simply how famous and renowned a player was but how that player could impact their team’s chance for victory relative to what was already expected of them. To find out who best fit this criterion we looked at everything from transfer rumors to a player’s current contract status to even their age, as all these factors contribute to a player’s desire to excel. Young players will look to develop their careers, old players will search for the final trophy before retirement, players who are looking to extend their contract or transfer clubs will attempt to prove their worth, etc. The following players are therefore not necessarily the biggest stars for their team, but they have the potential to have the biggest influence.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 3.10.40 PMStarting XI:

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović

Midfielders: Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modrić, Dimitri Payet, Robbie Keane, Arda Turan

Defenders: Jordi Alba, Vlad Chiricheș, Ashley WilliamsTaulant Xhaka

Goalkeeper: The Gianluigi Buffon


Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 3.24.09 PM


Forwards: Eden HazardJakub Błaszczykowski

Midfielders: Mesut ÖzilYevhen KonoplyankaGökhan Inler, James MilnerBalázs Dzsudzsák


How to cite this article: “Euro 2016 Key Players to Watch” Written by Austin Tran and Chris Arora (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)).