Modric, Lewandoski… Top players eliminated in Euro 2024 group stage

 Modric, Lewandoski… Top players eliminated in Euro 2024 group stage

The UEFA EURO 2024 group stage has come and gone with some of the biggest names in European football gone with it.

The tournament started on Friday, June 14, 2024, and the group stage was concluded on Wednesday, June 26th.

While some teams have advanced to the knockout rounds, others like Scotland, Hungary, Croatia, Albania, Serbia, Poland, Ukraine, and Czechia have been eliminated from the tournament.

Several high-profile players Luka Modric and Robert Lewandowski failed to make an impact in the group stage, leading to their teams’ early exit even with the favourable system of the current Euro Cup that lets 16 out of 24 teams move on to the knockout stages.

More on football: 

Italy, Spain… Full list of teams that qualified for Euro 2024 Round of 16

France vs Belgium, Austria vs Turkey… Euro 2024 round of 16 fixtures dates

Here are some of the biggest football stars who were eliminated in the group stage: 

Luka Modric

Croatia’s shocking group stage exit from Euro 2024 is a devastating blow. They were eliminated after two heartbreaking draws against Albania and Italy, following a dispiriting 3-0 loss to Spain in their opener. Luka Modric struggled to find his world Cup form throughout the group stage as he managed only one full match against Albania.

His solitary moment of brilliance, a goal against Italy, was overshadowed by a missed penalty and a late equalizer by Zaccagni, sealing Croatia’s fate. Despite being Croatia’s most-capped player with 178 appearances, Modric has never progressed beyond the quarterfinals in five Euro Cup appearances, the very opposite of his impressive World Cup achievements.

Luka Modric is one of the very few players with zero haters in Europe which was why after the game that sealed their fate, an Italian journalist decided to thank him for his contributions to the beautiful game (as that was his last international match) instead of asking him questions.

Robert Lewandowski

Poland pinned their hopes on their main man, Robert Lewandowski to turn their fortunes around, despite his injury-enforced absence in the opening match against the Netherlands and who wouldn’t? The talented Barcelona player is one of the best lethal strikers football world has seen in recent years.

However, Lewandowski’s performances failed to inspire, reflecting Poland’s dismal overall display. His first game against Austria was marred by a yellow card for a reckless elbow, followed by Austria’s 3-1 win and their early exit.

Although Lewandowski scored a penalty in Poland’s final match against France, resulting in a 1-1 draw that pushed France into a tougher knockout bracket, his overall impact was disappointing. Lewandowski boasts an impressive record of 152 appearances and 83 goals for Poland.

Dušan Vlahović

Serbia’s hopes were dashed once again as their highly-touted striker, Dusan Vlahović, failed to score in Group C, which featured England, Denmark, and Slovenia. Despite the hype surrounding his big-money transfer to Juventus, Vlahović’s performance fell short of expectations.

His closest attempt at a goal came against England, but was thwarted by a impressive save from Pickford. Serbia’s disappointing campaign ended with a mere two points, as Vlahović’s struggles on international football continues.

Josko Gvardiol

Highly-rated Josko Gvardiol, failed to inspire the new crop of Croatian players, following a disappointing Euro 2024 campaign. After a promising display at the World Cup in Qatar, The Manchester City defender fell short of expectations as his performance in the tournament was a total letdown.

Gvardiol struggled against Spain’s Lamine Yamal, made errors against Albania, and appeared exhausted against Italy. As Croatia’s veteran players face uncertainty especially with the expected retirement of Luka Modric from international football, Gvardiol must rediscover his form and leadership qualities to become the team’s defensive rock and guide the next generation of players.

These stars were expected to lead their teams to glory, but ultimately failed to deliver. While some may argue that they were let down by their teammates, others may say that they simply didn’t show up when it mattered most.

Either way, their early exit from Euro 2024 is a disappointment for football lovers and a poignant reminder that the world of international football can be cruel and unpredictable, where the brightest stars can dim and even the most celebrated players can stumble.

Read more: Spain, Portugal… List of countries qualified for Euro 2024

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