After being postponed for a year due to the ravaging effects of Covid-19, the Euro 2021 Championships are here. Unlike in the previous tournaments, we may not see the partying that comes with such competitions due to the coronavirus restrictions across Europe and the fact that this competition will be staged across different cities in Europe.
Apart from the carnival mood missing, we are also set to miss a number of top players at the competition due to injury or their nations failing to qualify for the showpiece. Top players set to miss the Euro 2021 has shown. So who are these big players set to watch the competition from home?
At 39, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was going to be one of the oldest players to feature at the competition. The Swede had earlier in March announced his return from retirement from international football and even feature for Sweden in a game in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. With a good run of form for his Italian employers, AC Milan, Ibra was definitely going to feature in Euros this summer but a knee injury in the second half of his team’s 3-0 win over Juventus ended all hopes of that.
Virgil Van Dijk
Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk suffered a knee injury in a poor challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside Derby in October last year. His treatment started immediately and it was thought he’d be back sometime early in 2021. It hasn’t come to pass and in the past week, he announced that he is focused on being fit for Liverpool’s 2021/22 season. Participation in this competition would have jeopardized his recovery, experts say, and just like that, a man who has been key to Netherlands’ recovery is going to miss the topmost competition in Europe.
Despite their wealth in talent, Netherlands missed the last two major competitions – the 2016 Euro and 2018 World Cup – and was forced into a period of transition. A lot of focus will be trained on the team as their progress is assessed. They’ll play in Group C which has Austria, North Macedonia, and Ukraine.
Barcelona youngster Ansu Fati has emerged as another top player in Europe since making the decision to turn out for La Furia Roja. He’s already featured for the former world and European champions with great effect but a knee injury slowed his progress, setting him for multiple surgeries. He hasn’t featured much for Barcelona and is definitely out of the Euro Championships.
Marc Andre Ter Stegen
Ansu Fati is not the only Barcelona player who is set to miss the Euros. Goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen will not be in the Germany squad for the competition too. He suffered a knee injury last week and Barcelona has already confirmed he will be needing an operation. He was out of the team’s final game of the season and is definitely out of the Euros.
The Liverpool center-back star had started shining well and he even had Gareth Southgate looking his way. However, while on international duty with England in November, all the bright prospects were shattered as he suffered a knee injury. Joe Gomez would not resume action again for the season and is not even in consideration for the competition.
Without these injured players, there will definitely be others coming up as replacements and it will be interesting to see how these nations’ chances are rated on Euro 2020 predictions on Wincomparator.
While a horde of top players will miss with injury, there are also those who are set to miss out after their nations failed to qualify. Top of this list is definitely going to be Norway’s, Erling Braut Haaland. The Borussia Dortmund forward was one of the tops forwards in the world this season but in spite of his form and immense talent, he couldn’t help his nation qualify.
It is hard to assess how Odegaard’s season has been, after serving the second half of it at Arsenal, on loan from Real Madrid. He was a key addition at Arsenal and helped a lot with his creativity in midfield. Arsenal had an underwhelming season but Odegaard was a standout player and not being at the Euros will be a big miss.
Miralem Pjanic hasn’t had the desired effect at Barcelona this season but there’s no denying he’s a top player. The midfielder, rated at £36m, with his talent and experience playing at the top, could not aid Bosnia book a ticket for this competition. His nation was knocked out by, of all teams, Northern Ireland.
Jan Oblak has to be one of the most unfortunate players when international football comes to the picture, maybe only rivaled by Ryan Giggs. The Atletico Madrid goalkeeper can easily command a transfer fee of £80m but he has never played at a major competition since making his debut, as Slovenia hasn’t qualified for a major tournament since. He will miss the 2021 Euros too.