Best players of 2020–21 UEFA Nations League
France forward Kylian Mbappé finished Alipay Top Scorer for the 2021 UEFA Nations League finals. Read on to find out more about the best players of 2020–21 UEFA Nations League.
The 2020 -21 UEFA Nations League was the second version of the biennial tournament. France national football team ended up winning the title after defeatingSpain
2 – 1 in the final match, while EURO 2020 champions, Italy, finished 3rd upon a 2 – 1 victory over Belgium in the 3rd place play – off match.
There were 4 leagues in the tournament, with Leagues A, B, and C consisting of 16 teams and League D being formed of 7 national European teams.
The 55 associations were split into these leagues based on their final ranking in the inaugural tournament (2018 – 19), while promotions and relegations were also taken into account. In the first 3 league, teams were subdivided into 4 groups of four.
In each group, the participating teams played each other on a home – and – away basis, and the four group winners of League A qualified for the UEFA Nations League finals, which entail semi-finals, a third-place play – off match and the final game.
As mentioned, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and France were the group winners present in the finals. Italy suffered a 2 – 1 defeat against Spain in the semi – finals and couldn't advance to the final, andFrance
beat Belgium 3 – 2 upon completing an astonishing comeback after they were 2 goals behind.
The Blues went on to achieve the trophy after beating Spain 2 – 1 in the finals, as the Azzurri defeated the Belgians with the same result in the third – place match. The group winners in Leagues B, C and D gained promotion and those who finished bottom of the groups in Leagues A and B were relegated.
Although the competition was primarily established to replace the numerous friendly matches that were previously played on the FIFA International Match Calendar, the teams seemed to have taken the tournament seriously, and they mostly played the games with their full squad.
Best players of 2020–21 UEFA Nations League:
The UEFA Nations League became more appealing for football fans as they were watching the best players of the continent play. Who have been the
best players of 2020 – 21 UEFA Nations League
? Read on to learn more about the most shining players of the tournament.
Full name: Kylian Mbappé Lottin
Date of birth: 20 December 1998 (age 23)
Place of birth: Paris, France
Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Current team: Paris Saint-Germain
drew praise from across the continent with his outstanding performance for Les Bleus throughout the competition, especially in the finals. He managed to score a total of 4 goals and provide 3 assists within 6 appearances in the competition.
Moreover, the 23 – year – old superstar was awarded the "Alipay Top Scorer Trophy" as the top scorer of the UEFA Nations League finals upon scoring 2 goals and providing 2 assists within the semi –finals and the final match.
and Ferran Torres had scored the same number of goals, Mbappe achieved the trophy due to the 2 assists he set up his teammates with. The talented player played the pivotal role in France's astounding come – from – behind against Belgium where he scored a goal and provided an assist in the 3 – 2 victory.
Three days later in the final, Mbappe shined again and led his team to the conquest of title, having found the net once again and assisting Benzema in the 2 – 1 win over the Matadors.
Furthermore, the fast and technically talented player was a luminous player on the pitch not only as a goal scorer, but also as a fantastic player with staggering dribbling skills who is a nightmare to defend against.
Mbappe recorded 4.0 successful dribbles per match, more than any other player in the competition. Moreover, he set up his teammates with a total of 7 key passes throughout the tournament, only fewer than Antoine Griezmann (17) in France squad.
According to many pundits, Mbappe was Nations League best player of 2021. However, Spain's Sergio Busquets was officially named the Player of the Tournament.
Kevin De Bruyne
Full name: Kevin De Bruyne
Date of birth: 28 June 1991 (age 30)
Place of birth: Drongen, Belgium
Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Current team: Manchester City
Regarded as one of the greatest midfielders in the world right now, as well as the last few years, the visionaryKevin De Bruyne
usually impresses fans and by his elegant creativity on the field, and the UEFA Nations league was no exception.
He delivered on the expectations throughout the tournament and finished as the best assist provider of the
2020–21 UEFA Nations League
with 6 assists, which was at least 3 more than any other player.
Moreover, upon making 4 big chances, he was one of the 4 players with the most number of big scoring chances created alongside Memphis Depay, Lorenzo Insigne, and Joao Cancelo. In addition, "KDB" averaged 2.5 key passes per game during the competition, standing him only behind Bruno Fernandes (3.0) and Lorenzo Insigne (2.7).
Undoubtedly, he played a key role in Belgium winning their group and advancing to the finals. In the finals he maintained his good form, although Belgium lost both matches: De Bruyne assisted both Yannick Carrasco and Romelu Lukaku's goals in the 3 – 2 defeat against France, and went on to set up Charles De Ketelaere with another assist as Belgium lost 2 – 1 in the third – place play – off match to the Italians.
Full name: Romelu Menama Lukaku Bolingoli
Date of birth: 13 May 1993 (age 28)
Place of birth: Antwerp, Belgium
Height: 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Current team: Chelsea
is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Chelsea and the Belgium national team.
The 28 – year – old striker was the 2020 -21 UEFA Nations League joint – top scorer with 6 goals alongside the Spanish Ferran Torres with 6 goals.
He also provided 1 assist in the competition, which takes his tally of goal involvement to 7 within only 6 appearances during the competition. Moreover, Lukaku averaged 90 Minutes per goal, the 3rd best record of the tournament.
Full name: Ferran Torres García
Date of birth: 29 February 2000 (age 22)
Place of birth: Foios, Spain
Height: 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Current team: Barcelona
FC Barcelona's new signing was a solid presence for Spain national team during the Nations League. He was the competition's top scorer with 6 goals alongside Romelu Lukaku (both group stage and the finals are taken into account).
In the semi – finals against Italy, Torres scored a brace and led his team to a 2 – 1 victory over EURO 2020 champions. Moreover, he recorded an average of 87 Minutes per goal throughout the competition, which stood him only behind Domenico Berardi (68 Minutes per goal).
Furthermore, the skillful winger was the most prolific dribbler player among Spanish players upon having finished an average of 1.5 successful dribbles per match. Moreover, Torres displayed his vision upon setting up his teammates with a total 12 key passes during the tournament, more than any other Spanish player.
Remarkably, Torres won a total of 13 ball possessions in the midfield, in addition to 6 in the final 3rd of the pitch, and was among the best players of the tournament in that respect.
has emerged as a highly promising talent across the continent, and Spain fans have pinned their hopes on him and a couple of other young players for the future.
Torres has been praised for his speed, great work – rate of the ball, technique, and versatility. 2022 World Cup will be a suitable tournament for the 22 – year – old to showcase his aptitude on international level once again.
Full name: Domenico Berardi
Date of birth: 1 August 1994 (age 27)
Place of birth: Cariati, Italy
Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Current team: Sassuolo
Despite having featured in only 4 matches for Azzurri throughout the tournament,Berardi
's performance was luminous enough to be included o the list of the
best players of 2020-21 UEFA Nations League
The 27 – year – old winger managed to score 3 goals and averaged the best Minutes per goal ratio among all players in the competition, having scored a goal every 68 minutes. He netted the match – winning goal in the third – place play – off 2 – 1 victory over Belgium on home soil.
Moreover, Berardi sent a total of 5 key passes for his teammates. He averaged 1.5 completed dribbles per match and was the 3rd best Italian player in taking on defenders after Federico Chiesa (2.3 successful dribbles per match) and Nicolo Barella (1.6).
In addition, the tenacious and hard – working player also managed to contribute to the midfield line and was one of the best players of the tournament upon winning a total of 8 ball possessions in the midfield and 6 in the final 3rd.
He has deservedly been revered by Italian fans for his bright performances during the competition, and currently in Serie A for his club Sassuolo.
Full name: Paul Labile Pogba
Date of birth: 15 March 1993 (age 29)
Place of birth: Lagny-sur-Marne, France
Height: 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Current team: Manchester United
Undoubtedly, the exceptional performances from the tall midfielder played a pivotal role in France's achieving the UEFA Nations League title.Paul Pogba
's outstanding performances in the semi – finals and the final have not received enough admiration yet.
So, let us do this: In the semi – finals against Belgium, Pogba played his holding role as well as possible, he had the most tackles in the match, sent 57 accurate passes (90% accuracy), completed 2 dribbles, recovered 5 balls and won 7 duels during the match.
He also hit the woodwork once during that match. France came from behind and won the game 3 – 2, having been behind by 2 goals earlier, and Pogba was a vital element in fulfilling this memorable comeback.
Three days later in the final match, the physically strong midfielder shined again in the 2 – 1 victory over Spain in the final match, where he managed to complete the most dribbles in the match (6), won the most duels in the match (13), recovered 11 balls, and even had 2 shots toward the goal.
These numbers get more impressing once you recall that Spanish midfielders are among Europe's best midfielders when it comes to getting control of the game and wining the midfielder from the opponent.
Moreover, upon completing 2.0 dribbles per match with a success rate of 85.7%, the skillful stood 6th in the list of players with the most successful dribbles per match, and 2nd among France squad after Kylian Mbappe. Although his performances for his club, Manchester United, have been criticized often, "Paul the Octopus" rarely disappoints France fans.
Full name: Sergio Busquets Burgos
Date of birth: 16 July 1988 (age 33)
Place of birth: Sabadell, Spain
Height: 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Position(s): Defensive midfielder
Current team: Barcelona
The 33 – year – old defensive midfielder was named the Nations League best player of 2021 at the end of the tournament. As the prominent Spanish manager, Vicente del Bosque once said," If you watch the whole game, you won't seeSergio Busquets
But watch Busquets, and you will see the whole game." his presence on the field is least noticed, yet it is one of the most pivotal roles for his team. Although he does not record extraordinary numbers due to his position on the pitch, Busquets plays a role for Spain and Barcelona that no one can replicate.
He managed to win 12 ball possessions in the midfield, as well as 7 in the final 3rd, which was only 1 fewer than the best record of the tournament (Breel Embolo with 8 possessions won final 3rd).
Full name: Mikel Oyarzabal Ugarte
Date of birth: 21 April 1997 (age 24)
Place of birth: Eibar, Spain
Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Position(s): Winger, forward
Current team: Real Sociedad
The left – footed winger was undoubtedly one of the best players of the tournament. He netted 3 goals and provided 2 assists within 6 appearances for the Matadors.
Most notably,Mikel Oyarzabal
assisted both of Ferran Torres's goals during the 2 – 1 victory in the semi – finals against Italy, and also scored his team's goal in the final match against France, which ended with a 2 – 1 defeat for the Spanish players.
Oyarzabal averaged 125 Minutes per goal throughout the tournament, third best record Spain's squad after Ferran Torres (87) and Gerrard Moreno (118).
He also sent a total of 5 key passes and also created 2 big chances, with the latter being the best among Spanish players alongside Jose Gaya.
Moreover, Oyarzabal managed to win a total of 10 ball possessions in the midfield, which added to 4 further in the final 3rd and showcased his ability in reading the game.
Full name: Antoine Griezmann
Date of birth: 21 March 1991 (age 31)
Place of birth: Mâcon, France
Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Position(s): Forward, attacking midfielder
Current team: Atlético Madrid (on loan from Barcelona)
You wouldn't be much impressed if you looked at his number of goal and assists throughout the Nations League: 2 goals and 1 assist. However, his role in France national team line – up has been about some other vital things.
So vital that the 30 - year – old player was a starter in each and every game during the competition. As seen from the attacking point of view,Antoine Griezmann
had the responsibility to set up the team's strikers.
He managed to send a total of 17 key passes throughout the tournament, which was the 2nd best record of the competition behind the Portuguese Bruno Fernandes (18). Moreover, Griezmann created 3 big chances, best among French squad alongside Anthony Martial, while only 4 players succeeded in making 4 big chances as the best record.
Having been deployed as a play maker, he played his role in an astonishing way. Moreover, as it was expected from the hard – working player who is also known for his huge contributions to defensive set – ups, Griezmann won a total of 21 ball possessions in the midfield, and 7 in the final 3rd of the pitch, with the latter number being only fewer than Switzerland's Breel Embolo (8).
Griezmann is a tactically intelligent player who excels at reading the opponent's mind and take advantages of different situations. He proved it once again throughout the Nations League.
Full name: Memphis Depay
Date of birth: 13 February 1994 (age 28)
Place of birth: Moordrecht, Netherlands
Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Current team: Barcelona
Although Netherlands finished 2nd in Group A1 behind Italy with only 1 point fewer than Azzurri and thus failed to qualify for the UEFA Nations League 20201 finals,Memphis Depay
's performances throughout the group stage were staggering enough to name him among the best players of the tournament.
The 28 – year – old attacker player in 5 matches, netted 2 goals, and provided an assists for 1 further. Moreover, he was one of the most luminous players of the league in almost every attacking factor: Depay recorded 1.6 shots on target per match as the 3rd best record of the tournament behind Cristiano Ronaldo (2.0), and surprisingly, Sergio Ramos (1.7).
Moreover, the technically gifted player stood 2nd in the list of players with the most number of successful dribbles per match (3.6) behind only Kylian Mbappe (4.0).
He also excels at play making duties, having sent a total of 12 key passes (2.4 per game) throughout the tournament, which stood him 5th in the list of players with the most key passes per match.
Depay was one of 4 players who managed to create a total of 4 big chances during the league alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Lorenzo Insigne, and Joao Cancelo, and the number of the best record of the Nations League.
Furthermore, he helped the defensive tactics and won 4 ball possessions in the midfield and 4 in the final third of the pitch. Depay had previously reached the final match of the tournament in the inaugural tournament in 2018/19 where they suffered a 1 – 0 defeat against Portugal.
None of the teams present in the 2018 – 19 UEFA Nations League managed to repeat the feat in the second version. However, Depay was unquestionably one of the
best players of 2020–21 UEFA Nations League
group stage round.
Full name: Lorenzo Insigne
Date of birth: 4 June 1991 (age 30)
Place of birth: Frattamaggiore, Naples, Italy
Height: 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
Current team: Napoli
is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club Napoli, for which he is captain, and the Italy national team.
The diminutive let – winger managed to provide 3 assists for his teammates throughout the tournament. Moreover, he created 4 big chances as the joint best record of the competition.
Insigne recorded an average of 2.7 key passes per match which was the second best record of the league after Bruno Fernandes (3.0). He was an integral part of the squad and helped Azzurri to the 3rd finish significantly.
Full name: Hugo Hadrien Dominique Lloris
Date of birth: 26 December 1986 (age 35)
Place of birth: Nice, France
Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Current team: Tottenham Hotspur
is a French professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper and captains both Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and the France national team. He is a three-time winner of the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year award.
France's 35 – year – old goalkeeper is still the national team's No.1. He kept 3 clean sheets within 8 appearances throughout the tournament. Moreover, Lloris made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the competition (24), and stood 6th in the list of most Saves per Match with (3).
He played a pivotal role in the triumph especially due to his bright performance in the final match against Spain.
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