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16th Jun 2024

Football purists rejoice as ‘big man’ strikers shine at Euro 2024

Ronan Calvert

Big man strikers

Oh what a beautiful sight.

Pep Guardiola can ruin the Premier League all he wants but he can do sweet nothin’ about the glorious international game.

The EURO group stages are a sacred space. They’re less Bernardo Silva and more Wout Weghorst, less Kevin De Bruyne and more Niclas Fullkrug.

While we are seeing some pretty football at the Championship, the difference makers are turning out to be the prematurely dismissed ‘big men’.

Football hipsters may have outgrown the Niall Quinns of this world, but Quinn’s disciplines are outshining their nimble contemporaries when it matters most.

Doubters are getting what they deserve. Believers are getting their flowers.

And now we’re about to give those believers a rundown of the great ‘big man’ moments the tournament has seen so far.

EURO 2024: The tournament of the ‘big man’.

This all started on Friday when Germany’s full-throttle bruiser Fullkrug bounced from the bench to squat Scots aside and boom the ball past a hapless Angus Gunn with charming ignorance.

Fullkrug made himself popular with an impressive campaign for Dortmund over the last year but we all knew deep down that international tournament football was where he would truly shine.

Just as Artem Dzyuba was the face of the 2018 Russian World Cup, Fullkrug must be favourite to become the face of the German Euros of 2024.

He’s just got it all.

Saturday brought more charm as Hungary’s 6-foot-3 battering ram Martin Adam endeared himself to European viewers with a frame not seen in the Premier League since the last century.

Adam, who plays in the South Korean K-League, was surprisingly unable to help Hungary to a win against Switzerland but will definitely be one to watch in the coming weeks.

One X user thought Hungary had accidentally sent on a Scottish rugby player, but Adam has actually won some matches recently.

Thankfully for ‘big men’ enjoyers, Italy’s big man Gianluca Scamacca was on the winning side later that day.

Someone’s gotta fly the flag and this guy goes one further by being the flagpole.

The six-foot-five Atalanta giant led the line well for Lucino Spaleletti’s side, creating two chances as they beat Albania 2-1 in their opening game.

That, despite Albania scoring just twenty seconds into the first half.

Done there? Not a chance.

Sunday afternoon’s entertainment was a Lewandowski-less Poland up against a Netherlands team featuring Memphis Depay, Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simons in attack.

Favourites? Yes. Talented? Yes. But could the Dutch find a lead until the 83rd minute? No, they certainly could not.

With 21 shots in total, they tried and tried, huffed and puffed, but you see – sometimes you’ve just got to go back to basics.

81st minute. Six-foot-six-inch Wout Weghort springs from the bench. Two minutes later and it’s a goal.

Nothing fancy. Nothing complicated. Netherlands win 2-1. Simple as.

Now a prayer please (or not) for England fans as their team comes up against Serbia later this evening – a tricky team spearheaded by the biggest of all big men – the formidable – and big – Alexandar Mitrovic.

Mario Mandzukic ended English dreams in the latter stages of the 2018 World Cup, Mitro might just do the damage before EURO 2024 dreams can even begin.

One way or another, we are so incredibly back.

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