The football might not be as brilliant as one would expect, but the players at Euro 2016 are up and running and we do mean running as fast as the wind! Here’s a list of the quickest footballers of the tournament so far. Just to be clear, UEFA measures “the fastest two-metre stretch of an individual sprint”, so there are some pretty unexpected names to be seen here.
30.7 km/h Alessandro Florenzi (Italy v Sweden, June 17)
Starting off our list is Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi, whose teammates aren’t that far behind, really. Gigi Buffon is among the five fastest players on the team, and the Italians have been performing brilliantly so far, defying critics and doubters alike.
30.9 km/h Georgi Schennikov (Russia v Slovakia, June 15)
Russia might be the team that has most underachieved at Euro 2016, but at least they’ll find some consolation in the fact Georgi Schennikov is among the tournament’s fastest players. Actually, they probably won’t.
31.0 km/h Nani (Portugal v Iceland, June 14)
An underwhelming string of performances for Portugal is proving more and more annoying for Portuguese fans, as the team’s struggles to score goals has prevented them from registering a win so far. In a team desperate for creativity, Nani (alongside the frustrated Cristiano Ronaldo) is probably the team’s safest bet. At least his pace might prove useful later on.
31.1 km/h Ragnar Sigurdsson (Iceland v Portugal, June 14)
Nordic passion is what it’s all about for Iceland, as one of Europe’s northernmost countries has managed to win two games, including a sensational one against England, and draw twice, much to the annoyance of Cristano Ronaldo in this game. Ragnar Sigurdsson, one of the team’s most industrious players, clocked one of the fastest running speeds of the Euro’s against the Portugese.
31.2 km/h Dragos Grigore (Romania v Albania, June 19)
Romania had a brilliant qualification run prior to very disappointing performances in a group they might have been expecting to compete in. Dragos Grigore tried his best to be as tenacious as possible in defence, and the Al-Sailiya man is now the seventh quickest man at Euro 2016.
31.2 km/h Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland v Poland, June 12)
Yet another defender on our list is the former Manchester United player Jonny Evans. Unfortunately, Northern Ireland’s celebrations of their unlikely achievement – qualifying for the knockout phase – were short-lived as they lost to Wales in the next round. Evans had been critical in providing leadership, determination and grit for his team. Apparently, he provided quite a bit of pace, too.
31.4 km/h Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland v France, June 19)
Xherdan Shaqiri has been one of Switzerland’s most important players during the tournament, and his agility, quickness and raw speed have contributed to his team’s success so far. He has even measured up to that famous yardstick of English football: ‘But can he do it on a rainy Tuesday night in Stoke?’ The answer last season certainly appeared to be yes.
31.4 km/h Birkir Saevarsson (Iceland v Portugal, June 14)
Birkir Saevarsson is Ragnar Sigurdsson’s teammate and also one of the tournament’s top runners, playing in the fullback position. What’s so special about that, you might ask? Well, for starters, he is 31. And 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in). He’s even played as a centre back during his career.
31.5 km/h – Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (Iceland v Portugal, June 14)
What? Iceland again? Dear me, Usain Bolt might be having a panic attack right about now. It appears, there’s an entire white-haired team ready to pounce and take his titles away. But seriously, Iceland’s dedication has produced wonders for the team. Kudos to Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.
31.6 km/h – Richard Guzmics (Hungary v Austria, June 14)
Hungary will look back on the summer of 2016 very fondly, as their national team managed to reach the second round after only two matches. The team captained by Gabor Kiraly will even have an important stat to boast – Richard Guzmics’ sprint during a 2-0 win against Austria has landed him on the second spot of the tournament’s top runners. At least for now.
32.8 km/h – Kingsley Coman (France v Switzerland, June 19)
The undisputed champion of speed this summer is, of course, the phenomenal Kingsley Coman. The Juventus man has proved a menace for opposing defenders, as his dribbling skills complement his pure athleticism brilliantly. Coman’s season on loan at Bayern had already shown us glimpses of Coman’s running ability, but one never gets tired of watching it again and again.
Who were you expecting to see on this list? Tell us in the Top Eleven comments section!