Players who have broken through at EURO 2016

UEFA European Championships have a habit of kick-starting careers and UEFA EURO 2016 has been no different – we pick out eight players whose lives may never be the same again.

Hannes Þór Halldórsson (Iceland)

Raphaël Guerreiro (Portugal)
Age:
22
Before EURO 2016: Finished 15th in Ligue 1 with Lorient.

Only made the starting 11 due to injury to Fábio Coentrão but has excelled in France. The left-back's hard work paid off when he delivered the cross against Wales from which Cristiano Ronaldo powered Portugal towards the final, highlighting why Borussia Dortmund had signed him early in the tournament.

Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales)
Age: 27
Before EURO 2016: Scored three Championship goals for Reading before leaving as a free agent.

The striker headed to France as a relative unknown but that all changed with his classy Cruyff turn and finish against Belgium. Throw in his scrappy late winner in the opener against Slovakia and clubs are queuing up for his signature.

Nolito (Spain) Nolito celebrates a goal against Turkey©Getty ImagesNolito (Spain)
Age: 29
Before EURO 2016: Enjoyed a splendid campaign with Celta Vigo but has never played European club football.

A late call-up to a squad brimming with tournament pedigree, Nolito looked right at home in Spain's attack, giving a mesmerising display in the 3-0 win against Turkey and showing Europe what they had been missing. Manchester City took note, quickly recruiting the ex-Barcelona B man.

Michael McGovern (Northern Ireland)
Age:
31
Before EURO 2016: Narrowly avoided Scottish Premiership relegation with Hamilton Academical.

A goalkeeper who has spent his whole career in Scotland, McGovern gained wider fame after repelling shot after shot against Germany, limiting the world champions to a single goal from 26 attempts. His miraculous saves had a lasting impact as Northern Ireland made the last 16 on goal difference.

Watch Iceland's celebrations after their win over England
Watch Iceland celebrate victory against England

Hannes Halldórsson (Iceland)
Age: 32
Before EURO 2016: Came to the EURO midway through the Norwegian top-flight season with Bodø/Glimt.

The keeper and part-time film director only turned professional three years ago but proved more than a match for Europe's elite, thwarting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, David Alaba and Harry Kane during Iceland's journey to the quarter-finals – making more stops than any other custodian.

Arlind Ajeti (Albania)
Age: 22
Before EURO 2016: Was relegated from Serie A with Frosinone.

A roller-coaster campaign for the defender, who watched the opener with Switzerland from the bench, then suffered concussion against France after an impressive showing. He produced a man-of-the-match performance in the historic victory against Romania, joining Torino a fortnight later.

Kamil Glik & Michał Pazdan (Poland) Michał Pazdan (centre)©AFPMichał Pazdan (Poland)
Age: 28
Before EURO 2016: Made the UEFA EURO 2008 squad but was an unused substitute; won the 2015/16 Polish Ekstraklasa with Legia Warszawa.

When Pazdan received his first Poland call-up, the concierge at the team hotel refused to believe he was part of the squad. The unassuming centre-back has ended up a national hero after his efforts in France, helping register three clean sheets in Group C, most notably against rivals Germany.

Thomas Meunier (Belgium)
Age: 24
Before EURO 2016: Lifted the Belgian First League title with Club Brugge.

Omitted for the opening defeat by Italy, Meunier justified his recall against Ireland with a lively display and planted the ball on Axel Witsel's head for Belgium's second goal. The right-back continued to shine against Sweden and Hungary, being snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain after the Red Devils' Wales reversal.