Four things we loved about West Ham United's UEFA Euro 2020

Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice celebrate


1. Declan Rice comes of age

While every West Ham United supporter knew this before UEFA Euro 2020, the wider football world is now in absolutely no doubt that Declan Rice is an outstanding footballer.

The 22-year-old, who captained the Hammers on the pitch for much of the Club’s record-breaking 2020/21 season, had already appeared for England at the 2019 UEFA Nations League finals and helped his country qualify for Euro 2020. However, it was at this tournament that his all-round quality shone through.

The deep-lying midfielder started all seven of England’s ties, playing in tandem with the impressive Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips, as Gareth Southgate’s side conceded just two goals in 690 minutes of football.

Of the 14 England players who started more than one match, Rice ranked first in tackles won (14) and interceptions (12), second in pass completion percentage (90.4%), third in clearances (eight) and fourth in passes made (320) and dribbles (ten).

Time and again, Rice was in the right place at the right time, proving his value and rewarding his manager’s faith in his all-round ability.

On and off the pitch, the young West Ham player’s personality and character shone through, while every fan could understand when he shed a few tears at Wembley Stadium following the heart-breaking penalty shootout defeat by Italy in Sunday’s final.

2. Czech Mates show their quality

Tomáš Souček and Vladimír Coufal carried their outstanding form for West Ham United into UEFA Euro 2020, excelling in the Czech Republic’s run to the quarter-finals.

Souček captained his country in their final two matches after skipper Vladimír Darida was injured in training ahead of the knockout stages. Darida has since retired from international football and the Hammers star has been appointed captain on a permanent basis.

Souček started and completed all five of his nation’s games and assisted striker Patrik Schick’s unforgettable long-range goal in the group-stage win over Scotland.


Soucek, Coufal and Rice


Coufal, meanwhile, created two goals, providing the cross for Schick’s header in that Scotland victory before setting up the Bayer Leverkusen centre-forward’s goal in the quarter-final defeat by Denmark.


3. Yarma leads by example

Tomáš Souček was not the only West Ham United player to inherit his nation’s captain’s armband during UEFA Euro 2020.

Andriy Yarmolenko went into the tournament as Ukraine’s second most-experienced squad member behind goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov, but the Shakhtar Donetsk veteran was left out of the starting line-up by manager Andriy Shevchenko.

As vice-captain, Yarmolenko inherited the armband and led his country to the quarter-finals, where they were eliminated by England.


Andriy Yarmolenko celebrates scoring for Ukraine against North Macedonia


The West Ham star was in outstanding form, too, curling in a wonderful goal in the 3-2 group-stage defeat by the Netherlands before opening the scoring in a 2-1 win over North Macedonia. The 31-year-old’s goals took him to 42 for his country, behind only his manager and former teammate Shevchenko.

And he added assists for Roman Yaremchuk against North Macedonia and for Oleksandr Zinchenko in the 2-1 round of 16 win over Sweden.


4. Former Hammers shine

Martyn Margetson with Jordan Pickford
While West Ham United had five current players represent the Club at UEFA Euro 2020, three former Hammers coaches also impressed.

For England, goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson, who was part of Sam Allardyce’s backroom staff between 2011-14, can take huge credit for the outstanding performances produced by Jordan Pickford throughout, including his penalty shootout saves from Andrea Belotti and Jorginho in the final.

Chris Powell, who helped West Ham win promotion from the Championship in his sole season with the Club in 2004/05, was also a valuable member of Gareth Southgate’s coaching staff.

And north of the border, Steve Clarke, who was assistant manager to Gianfranco Zola in east London between 2008-10, guided Scotland to a first major tournament in 23 years and a goalless group-stage draw with England at Hampden Park.