Republic of Ireland v Switzerland - International Friendly

Euros 2016 is definitely going according to the scripts for some players as they have produced nothing short of top quality thus far. Currently in the 2nd round of the group fixtures, the tournament has yet to clearly have a favorites as far as winning goes. The supposed minnows and underdogs have given the powerhouses tough times, and single moments of brilliance have been the saving graces most of the times. Here are 5 players that have impressed immensely so far.

DIMITRI PAYET

The France international leads the race for the golden boot with 2 goals and 1 assist. His contributions in both games secured all 6 points for the hosts, and if they are to win the tournament, Payet’s role and impact will be a great factor. The 29-year-old has successfully played both through the middle and from both flanks. Before the tournament, Paul Pogba was seen as the one to carry France on his shoulder and deservedly earned the poster boy tag, but he hasn’t been able to perform up to optimal level. Payet has done that. With every touch, every dribble, every pass, every cross and every set piece.

N’GOLO KANTE

The tough-tackling and never-tired Leicester City player is definitely bent on adding the Euros medal to his EPL’s. Kante has continually won the ball back from the opponents and made timely tackles. His runs and ability to cover for the fragile France defence are great advantages to the Deschamps-led side, and he has all it takes to emerge as best player of the tournament. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder is on his way to earning himself a legendary status if the hosts win the competition.

BONUCCI

Even Guardiola claims the Juventus central back is his best player in that position. And he has been so in France too. The Italian defender made the Azzurris miss Andrea Pirlo less with all his passes. The first goal particularly was just all his following his perfect lob to Emanuele Giaccherini. The likes of Lukaku and Origi weren’t given breathing spaces due to the defensive brilliance of the defender, and it is such players that make Italy a team to beat in France.

WAYNE RONNEY

Wazza is slowly discovering himself all over again in his new midfield role. Against Russia and Wales, the skipper was all over the place. Going forward, dropping back, aiming passes, shooting at goal and taking the set pieces. The team might still be rough around the edges, but Rooney has been able to rally his side to much needed results. Definitely the jury is out on how far the Three Lions can go, but if there is someone who will be responsible for how well they fare at the knockout rounds, it’s their highest goal scorer ever.

GRANIT XHAKA

Before Arsenal wrapped up the deal to land the Switzerland international, not many knew of his exploits in the less-covered Bundesliga. The fans of the North London side will however have been convinced of his quality after he was awarded man of the match for his country’s games against Albania and Romania. The 23-year-old defensive midfielder no doubt has helped make Switzerland an underdog to watch out for after they secured qualifications for the next round.

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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