ALAS, all good things must come to an end. The European Championships gave us an unforgettable summer of international football, and our big name columnists were there to guide you through every kick of the ball.

From Scotland’s short-lived return to the big stage and the agony of watching a 50-yard lob sail over David Marshall, to Italy’s eventual triumph over England at Wembley and Gianluigi Donnarumma’s final penalty save from Bukayo Saka, Shelley Kerr, Alex McLeish and Gordon Strachan gave you the invaluable insight of those who have competed at major tournaments for their country.

Here, Shelley looks back on the Euros and give us her winners and losers, highlights and lowlights from 31 days of thrilling action.


Pedri. It might be controversial given Spain didn’t get to the final but given his age he’s been outstanding. He potentially could be a big global superstar. At 18 years old to play in a Euros, reach the semi-finals and be one of the best players for his country was incredible. I thought about Italy’s Federico Chiesa and a few others but Pedri’s performances and maturity for such a young guy swayed it for me. He has the potential to be up there one day with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo.


Andy Robertson. Every game he was the stand-out for Scotland. I thought Grant Hanley had a brilliant tournament too but in every game Robertson was the one who set the tone starting from the Czech match. I felt that was probably one of his best ever games for Scotland. Off the pitch he spoke really well in the media and on the pitch he was a real leader and inspirational figure. He was instrumental in the game at Wembley and was a brilliant captain throughout the tournament.


France 3 Switzerland 3 in the last 16, with the Swiss winning after extra-time and penalties. It was a terrific match with the way that it ebbed and flowed, with Switzerland showing terrific determination to come back from 3-1 down with nine minutes left to take it to extra time. And then there was the added drama of the shoot-out with Kylian Mbappe missing his penalty. France at times looked on a different planet going forward but defensively they got caught out too often. For entertainment value this match was different class.


Unfortunately it was against Scotland but I have to go for Patrik Schick’s long-range effort for the Czechs against Hampden. It was a terrific piece of technique to execute it but even just to have the vision and confidence to try to beat the goalkeeper from so far out in such a big game was so impressive. It was a world-class finish and you’ll be lucky to ever see a better goal than that.


On a personal level it was being at Hampden for the Czech game and listening to the Scotland support before kick-off. It was almost a surreal moment after finally qualifying for a major tournament after 23 years. Even though there were only around 9000 fans in the ground it felt like there were 50,000 there. It was an incredible feeling to be there and to be a part of it. The fans were in good voice that day and you could see how much it meant to everyone to be back on the big stage again.


France. I just felt with the quality that they’ve got individually you would have expected so much more from them. They were one of my tips at the start of the competition but just fell short when it mattered most. But that’s sport at the highest level, even the favourites can have an off day or not play to the levels expected of them. They had a few moments of brilliance but they were defensively flawed. I had expected them to go all the way so it was a major disappointment.


Italy. In my eyes the best team won the tournament. To now be 34 games unbeaten is an incredible record in international football. They came into the Euros in good form bearing in mind they didn’t even qualify for the 2018 World Cup. And after blowing Turkey away on the opening night of the tournament, they just kept it going all the way through. To beat Belgium in the quarter-finals, Spain in the semi-finals and then England in the final means nobody can say they don’t deserve to be champions.


Roberto Mancini. I just loved the way he approached every game. He got his Italian team playing in such a fashion that they became so difficult to beat.


England changed during the tournament from a back four to a back three and in the final it became a back five. And the way Gareth Southgate changed it for the Germany game in the last 16 means he deserves a lot of credit. That was a tactical moment in the tournament that was really good.

But over the piece Italy and Mancini just got it spot-on. He combatted England brilliantly in the final. He had Lorenzo Insigne and Chiesa on the left and right, with Ciro Immobile up top. And then behind them the three midfielders, Nicola Barella, Marco Verratti and Jorginho, were outstanding.

They put England under so much pressure after falling behind early on. Italy just had so much of the ball, 63 percent possession against an England team that people expected to dominate the ball at home. And they also completed double the amount of passes. That meant Italy kept the ball so well and occupied the pitch. And when they lost it they had a brilliant strategy to win it back.


He wasn’t a pundit per se but I really enjoyed listening to Ally McCoist as the co-commentator alongside Clive Tyldesley on STV. Ally’s football knowledge is one thing but his personal skills to captivate an audience is like no other.


The Denmark team and the medical staff for how they reacted following the incident with Christian Eriksen in their opening game against Finland. They were instrumental in supporting the process at a really difficult time and they all deserve enormous credit for that.