Euro 2016’s ten players of the first round

Date published: Wednesday 15th June 2016 11:25

Dimitri Payet

With the first round of fixtures at Euro 2016 now finished and the groups beginning to take shape, WhoScored.com look at the top 10 players of the tournament so far using their unique rating system…

 

10) Wes Hoolahan (WhoScored.com rating 8.27) – Republic of Ireland
The boys in green were somewhat unfortunate to not secure a vital three points in Group E on Monday, with a Ciaran Clark own goal cancelling out Wes Hoolahan’s fine opener. The Norwich playmaker caught Seamus Coleman’s cross perfectly to leave Andreas Isaksson grasping at thin air. The 34-year-old defended from the front effectively, making three tackles during his 78 minutes on the pitch and was fouled three times as Sweden struggled to limit his impact in the 1-1 draw.

 

9) Gareth Bale (8.38) – Wales
Wales’ first match at a European Championship resulted in victory for the Dragons, who finished the weekend top of Group B. Part of that was down to Gareth Bale, who was tasked with spearheading the attack against Slovakia. The Real Madrid star netted the opening goal with a trademark free-kick, though it has to be said that goalkeeper Matus Kozacik should have done better with the 26-year-old’s effort from distance. The Slovakian number one was routinely tested by Bale over the 90 minutes, as the Welshman mustered five shots on goal in the win – only Cristiano Ronaldo (10), David Alaba and Marcelo Brozovic (both 6) have had more at Euro 2016 so far – with the Welsh attacker primed to enjoy a successful tournament.

 

8) Zoltan Gera (8.44) – Hungary
In what was one of the surprise results of the tournament so far, Hungary’s 2-0 win over Austria meant Bernd Storck’s side ended Tuesday atop of Group F. Austria dropped just two points in qualifying, which added to the shock factor of the result. At their heart was the experienced Zoltan Gera, who ensured Austria’s attack was nullified. The 37-year-old made more tackles (7) than any other player in the first round of fixtures to help get Hungary’s European Championship campaign off to a flying start.

 

7) Andres Iniesta (8.44) – Spain
As the minutes ticked towards the 90, it seemed as though Spain would be forced to settle for a draw against Czech Republic on Monday afternoon, only for a moment of Andres Iniesta magic to settle matters for the defending European champions. The Barcelona star was an efficient performer in the middle of the park for Spain, completing 90.3% of his 93 attempted passes, while one of his five key passes resulted in the assist for Gerard Pique’s headed winner. Not only that, but Iniesta came away from the testing encounter with a 100% dribble success rate, with the 32-year-old once again reaffirming his position as one of Spain’s most important players.

Andres Iniesta graphic

 

6) Hannes Thor Halldorsson (8.54) – Iceland
While Cristiano Ronaldo did all he could to steal the limelight after the match, it was impossible to take away just how effective Iceland were in their first ever European Championship encounter. Hannes Thor Halldorsson was a solid last line of defence for the Icelanders, making eight saves against Portugal, the most in a Euros game since Joe Hart’s display against Italy at Euro 2012. In what was arguably their toughest game of the group, Iceland came through relatively unscathed to secure a crucial point, with Halldorsson deserving of the WhoScored.com man of the match award on Tuesday night.

 

5) Fabian Schar (8.60) – Switzerland
Having netted early on, young Fabian Schar was a fine performer at the heart of the defence to ensure Switzerland kept a clean sheet and secure three points against Albania. The 24-year-old put in a proactive showing on Saturday to make eight clearances, help alleviate danger on Yann Sommer’s goal and deal with the direct threat Albania offered, winning five of seven contested aerial duels. Schar ensured that Switzerland maintained a patient pressing approach in the 1-0 win, finding a teammate with 91.1% of his 79 attempted passes to help the team to victory.

 

4) Luka Modric (8.72) – Croatia
The lynchpin in Croatia’s midfield, it was no surprise to see Luka Modric play a starring role in their 1-0 win over Turkey on Sunday. The Real Madrid maestro struck a sumptuous first-half volley minutes before the interval to help Croatia to all the spoils in Paris, yet it wasn’t just his work on the ball that helped the Blazers to all three points. Only Zoltan Gera (10), Shkodran Mustafi and Ozan Tufan (both 9) have made more tackles and interceptions combined than Modric (8) at Euro 2016 so far. An impressive reading of the game is one of the 30-year-old’s greatest assets, with his five interceptions the third most at the tournament. Similar outings will help Croatia go far in France, of that there is no doubt.

 

3) Shkodran Mustafi (8.82) – Germany
The centre-back started the 2-0 win over Ukraine alongside Jerome Boateng, with Jogi Loew’s selection reaping the benefits in the first half after Shkodran Mustafi headed Toni Kroos’ free-kick into the top corner. While he only played at the heart of the defence due to Mats Hummels’ injury, the Valencia man put in a good account of himself, making more interceptions (7) than any other player at the competition so far to help instigate attacks from the back. This in turn helped Kroos…

 

2) Toni Kroos (9.41) – Germany
…who put in a dominant display in the middle of the park against Ukraine, with the Real Madrid ace picking out a teammate with 93.6% of his 109 attempted passes in Sunday’s late kick-off. 12 accurate long balls is the second most of all outfielders at Euro 2016, while Kroos is one of two players to play at least two accurate through balls so far. One of his five key passes resulted in Mustafi’s first-half headed goal, with Kroos also one of seven players to create at least two clear-cut goalscoring opportunities in the first round of fixtures. A WhoScored.com rating of 9.41 was enough to land the man of the match award, though his performance was outshone by a Premier League star.

 

1) Dimitri Payet (9.59) – France
With France on course to stutter to a 1-1 draw with Romania on Friday, Dimitri Payet rose to the occasion to rifle in a stunning effort to hand the hosts victory in Saint-Denis. The West Ham playmaker had been pulling the strings in the final third for Les Bleus, registering eight key passes – more than any other player – one of which resulted in Olivier Giroud’s second-half headed goal. Only Kyle Walker (6) has completed more dribbles than Payet (5) at Euro 2016 so far, with the 29-year-old quickly establishing himself as France’s most crucial attacking outlet.

 

Ben McAleer

 

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app.

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