A tournament dominated by Chelsea’s presence ended with five Blues going head-to-head at Wembley for the right to call themselves champions of Europe with club and country, despite Euro 2020 being played under the shadow of the Covid pandemic.

There were a lot of challenges faced by football, and the rest of the world, during the period when Covid forced us all to adjust to a new reality of quarantine and social distancing. Things were slowly starting to feel normal by the time Euro 2020 came around, but the half-empty stadiums and the very fact the tournament was being played a year late in 2021 were constant reminders we weren’t quite there yet.

However, the delay in starting Euro 2020 did have a couple of benefits. Firstly, the anticipation and excitement seemed bigger than ever as fans and players prepared for the first international tournament since lockdown, being treated as a sign that we were approaching the end.

Secondly, it meant that by the time Euro 2020 began, the Chelsea players representing their countries did so as European champions at club level, after our victory over Manchester City in the 2021 Champions League final in Porto.

The chances looked promising of someone joining the elite ranks of those who have been crowned kings of Europe for club and country in the same year, repeating the feat of Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, who became the first to do so in the Champions League era when they followed Chelsea’s triumph in Munich with another with Spain in Kyiv in 2012. Following our victory in Porto, no less than 17 Blues were called up by their nations for Euro 2020, more than from any other club.

Blues at Euro 2020

Michy Batshuayi

Mateo Kovacic

Andreas Christensen

Ben Chilwell
Reece James
Mason Mount

Olivier Giroud
N’Golo Kante
Kurt Zouma

Kai Havertz
Toni Rudiger
Timo Werner

Emerson Palmieri

Billy Gilmour

Cesar Azpilicueta

Ethan Ampadu

Among the favourites were our Italian duo Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri, after helping their nation to an impressive 10 wins from 10 matches in qualifying, and they continued that 100 per cent record through the group stage, winning all three games while scoring seven goals without conceding once.

Another player who seemed to enjoy the group stage was Kai Havertz, scorer of the winning goal in the Champions League final. Playing alongside Toni Rudiger and Timo Werner in a German side competing in a record 13th consecutive Euros, Havertz’s goals against Portugal and Hungary helped them recover from a defeat to N’Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud and Kurt Zouma’s France to qualify from a tough group.

A couple of defenders were also busy doing Chelsea proud. The once mighty Spain made big changes after less-than-inspiring draws with Sweden and Poland – one of which was the introduction of Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back. It did the trick as they sealed their progress by thrashing Slovakia 5-0.

The emotional story of the group stage came at Denmark, though, where the collapse of Christian Eriksen in their opening match had rocked the players. After two defeats, they knew they had to win their last game against Russia to have any chance of going through. Eager to do their absent star proud, the Danes duly delivered, a rare Andreas Christensen goal contributing to a 4-1 victory.

By the time the knockout rounds began, it had become clear that the level of entertainment on offer at this tournament was of the highest quality. By the end, Euro 2020 averaged more goals per game than any European Championship since the group stage was introduced, while there was a record low of just two 0-0 draws, out of 51 matches.

Never was that more apparent than when Mateo Kovacic and Azpilicueta went head-to-head in an incredible last-16 clash. It even had the rarest of treats, an Azpi goal, as Spain initially came back from a goal down to take a 3-1 lead, only for Croatia to fight back themselves. In the end it needed extra time to separate them, before the Spanish triumphed 5-3.

Elsewhere, there was a confidence-boosting win for England over Germany, with current Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling getting on the scoresheet, en route to joining Jorginho in the team of the tournament, a year before moving to Stamford Bridge.

By the time of the semi-finals, England had become the villains of the tournament, as they stood in the way of a potential fairytale final appearance for Denmark. There was no question who the neutrals were rooting for, after Christensen and Co had continued to channel the emotion following Eriksen’s collapse to become Euro 2020’s surprise package, but it was the Three Lions who made it to the final after more extra time.

Their opponents would be Italy, after Jorginho netted the decisive spot-kick as they needed a penalty shoot-out to triumph over Azpilicueta’s Spain in the other semi. That meant at least two Chelsea players were guaranteed to become European champions for club and country, with Jorginho, Emerson and Mason Mount all starting the Euro 2020 final, while Ben Chilwell and Reece James were also in the England squad.

A tense match went all the way to penalties again, but it didn’t pan out quite the way many expected. While the result was anyone’s guess, with these two countries holding the worst two records in shoot-outs at major international tournaments, the one thing Chelsea fans would have banked on was our penalty specialist Jorginho finding the back of the net.

However, on this occasion his effort was saved by Jordan Pickford. Thankfully for the midfielder and his Italy team-mates, Bukayo Saka suffered the same fate with the next penalty, meaning the Italians had won regardless.

And so it was Jorginho and Emerson who joined their Blues predecessors Torres and Mata as having won the Champions League and European Championship in the same year. Only a select few have ever achieved that – the others being Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal and Real Madrid in 2016 – meaning an impressive four of the six double kings of Europe have come from Chelsea.