Football Features

The best strikers at Euro 2024 ranked

By Harry Edwards

The best strikers going to Euro 2024 ranked

Published: 12:15, 10 June 2024 | Updated: 17:43, 16 June 2024

We’re just a day away from the start of Euro 2024 and excitement is building.

24 nations will travel to Germany looking to be crowned kings of Europe, with Italy the defending champions. The best of the continent’s best will be on show over a month in Germany, particularly in the attack.

There will be a number of top scorers hoping to secure the Euro 2024 Golden Boot while trying to lead their nations to glory. Cristiano Ronaldo took the Golden Boot at Euro 2020, scoring five goals — the same number as Patrik Schick, but getting the edge with one assist. The past two Golden Boot winners haven’t gone on to lift the trophy, but both David Villa (2008) and Fernando Torres (2012) did with Spain.

So, heading into the tournament, which strikers have been catching the eye?

To create a list, we’ve used the Twenty3 Discovery Tool to find the best striker and created a ‘Squawka Score’, which is based on 20 different metrics, including goals scored, non-penalty expected goals, touches in the opposition box, shot placement, shot-ending sequences and shooting accuracy.

For this list, we’ve looked at players playing in Europe’s top seven leagues who have lined up from the start of at least one full half of international football this calendar year.

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10. Kai Havertz

  • Country: Germany
  • Squawka Score: 62%

Kai Havertz’s transformation to an out-and-out striker was wonderous to watch last season and played a vital part in Arsenal finishing second in the Premier League once again. The former Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen man ended the campaign with 13 goals and seven assists in 37 Premier League appearances, with only Bukayo Saka notching more direct goal involvements (25) among Arsenal players.

15 of those goal involvements (9g/6a) came in Havertz’s final 14 Premier League appearances of the season as the  Gunners took Manchester City to the final day in the title race. What’s more, the 24-year-old appears to have established himself as Germany’s starting striker, lining up as their No.9 in each of their last four matches and scoring two goals, extending his overall record for Die Mannschaft to 16 goals in 46 caps.

9. Benjamin Sesko

  • Country: Slovenia
  • Squawka Score: 63%

Alongside Jan Oblak, Benjamin Sesko carries the majority of Slovenia’s hopes of performing well this summer but thus far, he’s risen to the occasion for his country. Still only 21 years old, Sesko has 11 goals and six assists to his name in 29 senior caps — a record made even more impressive considering 16 of those involvements have come in his last 19 outings.

Sesko heads into the Euros following an 18-goal season (all comps) for RB Leipzig, while he was fourth among Bundesliga strikers for shooting accuracy (53.19%) and second for headed goals (5).

It’s little wonder Sesko is one of the most in-demand strikers in Europe right now.

8. Olivier Giroud

  • Country: France
  • Squawka Score: 64%

Olivier Giroud will join LAFC following the conclusion of the European Championships, so will be desperate to leave the continent with another trophy in hand.

The 37-year-old’s list of achievements to date are far too long to list here but it’s important to note that he’s still producing incredible numbers now, heading to Germany following a season where he notched 15 goals and eight assists in 35 Serie A appearances for AC Milan, leaving him at least three clear of any other teammate for direct goal involvements.

Didier Deschamps will go with his usual France set-up of Antoine Griezmann as a No.10, Kylian Mbappe as the maverick and Giroud as the battering ram who will occupy opposition centre-backs. It’s a role he’s performed expertly for years, arguably better than anyone else.

7. Robert Lewandowski

  • Country: Poland
  • Squawka Score: 68%

Robert Lewandowski isn’t at the peak of his powers, being the subject of a lot of frustration from Barcelona fans at times across the season. But the Polish striker was still directly involved in 27 goals in La Liga. That was split into 19 goals and eight assists, with no Barcelona player directly involved in more goals, while he was third overall in La Liga. Lewandowski also led the way for shots and shots on target in La Liga.

For Poland, Lewandowski scored three goals in qualifying and provided two assists, including one of the latter in the play-offs against Estonia. He also scored three goals in three games at Euro 2020, with 82 in 149 caps overall.

6. Artem Dovbyk

  • Country: Ukraine
  • Squawka Score: 68%

Sitting at the top of the goal contribution list in La Liga is Artem Dovbyk. The Ukrainian was La Liga’s top scorer last season with 24 goals, while adding eight assists. No player scored more big chances in La Liga than Dovbyk’s 21, and he also leads La Liga for Expected Goals (24.29) and Expected Goals on Target (22.96).

Dovbyk has scored nine goals in 27 games for Ukraine so far, including two during qualifying, netting the winner in their play-off semi-final comeback against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

5. Alvaro Morata

  • Country: Spain
  • Squawka Score: 71%

Alvaro Morata gets a lot of stick, but he is enjoying his football with Atletico Madrid, scoring 15 goals in La Liga last season. Five of those were headers, with no player scoring more in La Liga last season. Morata’s aerial ability has always been one of his biggest strengths, and he also posted 4.76 headed xG last season — another La Liga high. Even his xG of 13.78 was the fifth-highest in La Liga.

Despite all the criticism, Morata boasts a decent record for Spain and is very reliable, with 35 goals in 73 caps. The 31-year-old has scored three goals in each of his three major tournaments for Spain, including one in each group stage game at the 2022 World Cup.

4. Goncalo Ramos

  • Country: Portugal
  • Squawka Score: 74%

Goncalo Ramos has slightly fewer minutes than others on this list, having to fight with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Randal Kolo Muani at Paris Saint-Germain. But he’s made the most of his time on the pitch. The 22-year-old scored 11 goals in Ligue 1 this season at an average of 0.70 per 90 minutes — the fourth-best return in the division among players with at least 558 minutes and 15 matches played. With those same thresholds, Ramos did sit top for non-penalty xG at 0.64, with 0.69 xG per 90 overall.

Ramos has also had to play support to Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal, but he’s proving that he can replace the icon. Ramos has scored eight goals in 13 appearances for Portugal so far, including three against Switzerland at the World Cup when all eyes were on him having been picked to start over Ronaldo.

Squawka’s Euro 2024 predictions

3. Lois Openda

  • Country: Belgium
  • Squawka Score: 80%

The Bundesliga was the place for goals last season, so much so that Lois Openda’s 24 was only enough to place him third in the list of top scorers. The Belgian was fantastic for RB Leipzig last season, directly involved in 31 goals in total, 40.25% of Die Roten Bullen‘s total. Openda took 121 shots and hit the target 62 times, the second-most in the Bundesliga for both tallies. Openda was also second for xG (22.24) and xGOT (23.78), as well as non-penalty xG (19.88).

Openda has had to play second fiddle to Romelu Lukaku for Belgium, but this could be his moment to add to his two goals for the Red Devils.

2. Harry Kane

  • Country: England
  • Squawka Score: 81%

The man sitting above Openda in most of the Bundesliga charts is, of course, Harry Kane. The Englishman had a fantastic first season at Bayern Munich after finally calling time on his stay at Tottenham Hotspur. Kane scored 36 goals in the Bundesliga and coming close to equalling the record for most goals scored in a single season in the competition despite missing two games through injury. He led the way for shots and shots on target at 146 and 67 respectively, as well as xG (30.63) and xGOT (32.88) among other metrics.

Of course, England’s attack relies heavily upon Kane, their captain and all-time top scorer. Kane scored eight goals in qualifying, having also netted two at the 2022 World Cup and four at Euro 2020.

1. Kylian Mbappe

  • Country: France
  • Squawka Score: 83%

It feels like Kylian Mbappe flew under the radar last season, as the Frenchman had just another standard campaign by his high standards. In 29 Ligue 1 matches, Mbappe scored 27 goals, winning yet another Golden Boot. He also added seven assists, with no player directly involved in more goals than Mbappe’s 34 — nine clear of his closest rival. Mbappe also led Ligue 1 for shots and shots on target, as well as xG and xGOT. The difference between Mbappe’s xG and goals scored is pretty remarkable too, with the Frenchman scoring 27 goals from an xG of 20.96. That’s a difference of +6.04!

For France, it’s 47 goals in 78 games, including nine in qualifying for Euro 2024. He’ll be hoping for another Golden Boot, winning the award at the 2022 World Cup, albeit with a different result for France in the final.

Mbappe’s long-awaited move to Real Madrid has finally been made official and he’d love nothing more to arrive in Spain with another major international trophy under his belt.

Squawka Score metrics and weighting

We used Twenty3 Sport’s Discovery Tool to run a customised search. The Discovery Tool rates a player’s per 90 output in the metrics detailed below to produce a percentage score, referred to above as the Squawka Score.

Each player’s stats are compared to the average output of strikers across the past three seasons of big-five European league football. The higher the score, the closer they rank to the 95th percentile and above for each metric.

We also weighted each stat from 1 to 5 to highlight the most important aspects of a striker’s play style.

Here are the metrics used and weighting given to each metric to come up with the overall Squawka Score:

  • 5: Goals Scored, Non-Penalty Expected Goals, Conversion Rate %
  • 4: Touches in Opposition Box, Goal Contribution, Non-penalty Expected Goals on Target, Big Chances Scored, Shooting Accuracy, Shots on Target
  • 3: Shot Placement, Shots, Expected Assists, Percentage of Open-play Chances Created that are Big Chances
  • 2: Chances created, Possession Won in the Final Third, Retention Rate, Take-ons completed, Shot-Ending Sequences
  • 1: Duels won, Aerial Duel Success, Ground Duel Success

To be awarded a score, a player must have reached the automatically calculated minutes threshold, in this case, 1,000 minutes in one of Europe’s top seven leagues this season.