After the first four days of action at this summer’s European Championships, several Manchester City stars have been involved in some of the tournament’s most exciting action to this point. Following Spain’s 0-0 draw with Sweden, nine City players have featured for their national teams so far.
England: Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden
The Three Lions got off to a perfect start by winning arguably their toughest group game against Croatia 1-0 in a rematch of the 2018 World Cup semi-final. The spotlight was on Sterling, who was controversially selected ahead of the likes of Jack Grealish, but he came good despite inconsistent club form by scoring the winner. Foden was also solid, coming agonizingly close to scoring himself as he hit the inside of the post on a trademark left-footed curling shot. Walker and Stones played well as England kept a clean sheet in a statement win that validated their place among the tournament’s favorites.
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Netherlands: Nathan Aké, Ukraine: Oleksandr Zinchenko
Two of City’s defenders faced off to open Group C action in an enthralling match. Zinchenko played in his natural central midfield role, as per usual for his country, and was influential throughout. The Dutch jumped in front with a dominant display, but two quick goals in the span of seven minutes from Ukraine put the Oranje on the verge of total capitulation. Aké, who had entered the match as a substitute, found Denzel Dumfries with what proved to be the winning assist in an incredible game. Even without the presence of Virgil Van Dijk, Aké could not find his way into the starting lineup over Stefan De Vrij, Daley Blind, or even the young Jurrien Timber, but he clearly remains in Frank De Boer’s plans and deservedly so.
Spain: Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Ferran Torres
For the first half, Spain played arguably the most dominant football of the tournament against quality opponents in Sweden but were let down by poor finishing. Laporte and Rodri were at their very best, maintaining control of the ball and making tackles in advanced areas to cut out breaks before they began. Further up the pitch, Torres was involved on an active right hand trio with Atlético Madrid’s Marcos Llorente and Koke.
Despite creating several clear-cut chances, including a horrifying one-on-one miss from Álvaro Morata, Spain were held down by a tough Swedish team. The second half began and Spain’s edge wore down as they slumped until the late introduction of Gerard Moreno, who nearly found the winner but was denied by the excellent Robin Olsen. Rodri and Torres were removed for Thiago Alcântara and Mikel Oyarzabal, respectively, but both played well and should expect to start along with Laporte for Satuday’s match against Poland. With City’s Portuguese and German stars set to feature tomorrow, there is much more for City fans to follow as the group stage continues.