Ronaldo and Mbappe both feature in the European Championship qualification best XI



The European Championship qualification campaign got underway during the international break and here we present a best XI of those players to have made at least two appearances. Portugal and France are represented by two players each, as the Euro 2016 finalists got off to the perfect start winning their opening two matches. Croatia, Denmark, England, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Romania and Switzerland are also represented in the team. 


Mike Maignan (France) - 8.06 


Though it was a relatively routine win for France against the Netherlands, winning 4-0, Mike Maignan was still called upon to make five saves during the win to maintain a clean sheet. While in France’s 1-0 win over Ireland, he didn’t have to make a save until the 84th minute, but the three he made in total during the match, including an inch perfect one to deny Nathan Collins what would have been an equalising goal, were vital in securing his side maximum points. Maignan was one of six goalkeepers to keep two clean sheets during the European qualifiers opening matches and was well worth his 8.06 WhoScored rating.

Conor Bradley (Northern Ireland) - 7.83 


Starting the defence is Bolton’s Conor Bradley. Earning the man of the match for his performance in Northern Ireland’s 2-0 win over San Marino, Bradley was a presence all over the pitch, making six tackles and an interception as well as completing four dribbles, registering two key passes and recording four shots. Though his side lost 1-0 to Finland, he was yet again the stand out player working hard off the ball to deny the opposition; including making five tackles, and tried his utmost to make things happen in an attacking sense too, registering more key passes (3) than any other player on the pitch. Overall, Bradley earned a WhoScored rating of 7.83 for his efforts. 


Nico Elvedi (Switzerland) - 7.79 


With a WhoScored rating of 7.79 is Switzerland centre-back Nico Elvedi. The Swiss won both of their games during the break, scoring a combined total of eight goals, but most importantly where Elvedi is concerned, they maintained a clean sheet in both matches against Belarus and Israel. The 26-year-old as well as seeing a shot of his hit the post against Belarus, was only dribbled past once during the two games and in total won all seven of the aerial duels he contested and he maintained a pass success rate of 91.4% across both fixtures. 

Andrei Burca (Romania) - 7.83 


Partnering Elvedi is Romania’s Andrei Burca. Romania like Switzerland are in Group I and they too come away with a 100% record from their opening two matches, beating Andorra and Belarus. Burca scored the second of Romania’s two goals during the win over Belarus after only 19 minutes and made a combined total of six tackles, six clearances and seven interceptions across the two games to earn himself a WhoScored overall rating of 7.83. 


Nathan Ake (Netherlands) - 7.99 


Despite opening day defeat to France, Nathan Ake’s perfect 10 rating display against Gibraltar was enough to earn him a WhoScored rating of 7.99 and a place in this team. In that 3-0 win, Ake scored a brace, recorded the joint most shots (9), the joint most key passes (7) and even completed two dribbles as well in a superb all-round performance which also saw him make the joint most tackles (3). 


Bukayo Saka (England) - 7.96 


Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka starts the midfield four, earning an overall WhoScored rating of 7.96. Though his display in England’s win over Italy was solid enough to earn the third highest rating on the pitch (7.25), it was his commanding display against Ukraine which boosted his rating, contributing to both of England’s goals with an assist for Harry Kane and a goal of his own which he struck from outside the area, while registering three key passes, two dribbles and two tackles, to earn himself the WhoScored man of the match award for that match, as well as a place in this team. 

Ronaldo and Mbappe both feature in the European Championship qualification best XI 


Mateo Kovacic (Croatia) - 8.35 


Croatia came away with a draw against Wales and a win over Turkey in their opening two matches of their group. Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic, a key figure in their run to a third-place finish at the last World Cup, was yet again pivotal in the middle, especially against Turkey where he earned the WhoScored man of the match award after scoring a brace, completing three dribbles and making three tackles, three clearances and two interceptions. Overall, Kovacic’s WhoScored rating across the two matches was 8.35. 


Joao Palhinha (Portugal) - 8.55 


The fourth Premier League representative in the side is Fulham’s Joao Palhinha who was solid in both of Portugal’s big wins. Though he was unable to find his name on the scoresheet, Palhinha assisted one of his side’s six goals against Luxembourg, setting up Bernardo Silva for Portugal’s third goal. But it is his work deeper in midfield, which he is of course best known for, which included winning 12 aerial duels against Liechtenstein, which was at least nine more than any other player on the pitch, while against Luxembourg, 54 of his 56 passes found a teammate. Palhinha’s overall rating for the two matches was 8.55 as a result. 


Kylian Mbappe (France) - 8.34 


The 2022 World Cup top goalscorer, Kylian Mbappe, makes it into the team on the left-hand side, with a WhoScored rating of 8.34. PSG’s all-time top scorer was the WhoScored man of the match in France’s 4-0 win over Netherlands scoring a brace from a total of five shots and providing an assist alongside registering eight touches in the opposition box. Though he was unable to contribute towards a goal in the win over Ireland, Mbappe was still able to record six successful dribbles in the game, at least four more than any other player on the pitch, highlighting his continued attacking threat in that game too. 


Rasmus Hojlund (Denmark) - 9.17 


Already being dubbed as the Danish Erling Haaland, Rasmus Hojlund, who with an overall WhoScored rating of 9.17, is the player of the week. He leads the goalscoring charts in the current qualification process after scoring a hat-trick in Denmark’s 3-1 win over Finland and a brace in their dramatic 3-2 defeat to Kazakhstan, earning the WhoScored man of the match in both games and a place up front in this team. 


Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - 8.62 


Completing the team is Euro 2016 winner and the all-time top scorer in European Championship qualification history, Cristiano Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’or winner earned an overall WhoScored rating over the course of the two games of 8.62 scoring four of Portugal’s ten goals, with two braces, including in the 6-0 win over Luxembourg where he earned the WhoScored man of the match. Ronaldo had a total of nine shots in the two matches, five of which were on target, giving him a conversion rate of 44.4% and a shot accuracy rate of 55.6%, underlining his conviction in front of goal.

Ronaldo and Mbappe both feature in the European Championship qualification best XI