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Euro 2016's breakthrough stars: Renato Sanches, Samuel Umtiti and more

Renato Sanches is one of the best young players at Euro 2016

Which young players have made the biggest impact at Euro 2016?

Sunday's final between Portugal and France featured rising stars Renato Sanches and Samuel Umtiti but they are not the only youngsters to have made an impression.

Here, we pick out six young players who have caught the eye in France…

Renato Sanches

Renato Sanches celebrates his equaliser for Portugal
Image: Sanches celebrates his equaliser for Portugal against Poland

Sanches had to bide his time to break into Portugal's starting line-up but he became indispensable with a string of dazzling displays. The 18-year-old impressed as a substitute against Iceland, Hungary and Croatia, and he made a big impression on his first start against Poland, scoring a superb goal in normal time and netting coolly from the spot in the shootout.

His dynamic, all-action style has been central to Portugal's success, and he has also shown great confidence and composure for a player of just 18 years old. After such an impressive international breakthrough, it's easy to see why Bayern Munich were keen to clinch his signing before the Euros started. He leaves France with a winner's medal and was named Young Player of the Tournament by a panel that included Sir Alex Ferguson.

Samuel Umtiti

Samuel Umtiti impressed for France against Germany
Image: Samuel Umtiti impressed for France against Germany

French centre-back Umtiti has burst onto the scene in brilliant style at Euro 2016. The 22-year-old probably wouldn't have even made the squad if it wasn't for injuries to Raphael Varane and Jeremy Mathieu and Mamadou Sakho's failed drug test, but he has grasped his opportunity with both hands.

He made his international debut in France's quarter-final against Iceland due to Adil Rami's suspension, and he impressed enough to keep his place against Germany. The youngster completed every one of his 77 passes against Iceland, and he shone in the face of heavy pressure against Joachim's Low's side. Though the tournament ended in disappointment, at £20.5m, he looks like a snip for his new club Barcelona.

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Joshua Kimmich

Dimitri Payet controls the ball under pressure of Joshua Kimmich
Image: Joshua Kimmich vies for the ball with France's Dimitri Payet

Kimmich broke into the Bayern Munich team last season and he was hugely impressive after replacing Benedikt Howedes as Germany's first-choice right-back during Euro 2016. The 21-year-old looked comfortable on the big stage and held his nerve to score from the penalty spot in their shootout against Italy.

He was particularly impressive in an attacking sense, with only Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil averaging more chances created per game. He tackled tenaciously and tracked back diligently, and while his error led to France's second goal in the semi-final, he was still one of the major positives from Germany's tournament.

Raphael Guerreiro

Raphael Guerreiro (L) and Wales' midfielder Joe Allen vie for the ball
Image: Raphael Guerreiro wins a free kick from Wales midfielder Joe Allen

Left-back Guerreiro was linked with Liverpool and Arsenal before Euro 2016, but it was German side Borussia Dortmund who eventually won the race for his signature, confirming his arrival from Lorient two days after Portugal's Euro 2016 opener against Iceland.

It has become clear why he is so highly-rated during the tournament. Guerreiro is hard-working and quick, and he offers a real threat going forward. The 22-year-old has created more scoring chances per game than any of his team-mates, and he took the corner for Cristiano Ronaldo's opener against Wales.  

Adam Nagy

Adam Nagy has been linked with Leicester after impressing for Hungary
Image: Adam Nagy has been linked with Leicester after impressing for Hungary

Hungary defied expectations in France, topping their group to reach the knockout rounds in their first major tournament since 1986. The adventure ended with a 4-0 thrashing by Belgium in the last 16, but not before some eye-catching displays from central midfielder Nagy.

The 20-year-old showed impressive passing ability and technical skill in their 2-0 win over Austria and their 1-1 draw with Iceland, and Leicester City are said to be among the clubs now interested in signing him. Hungarian side Ferencvaros might find it hard to fend off any suitors this summer.

Julian Draxler

LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 12:  Julian Draxler of Germany runs with the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-
Image: Julian Draxler in action for Germany at Euro 2016

Draxler was a member of Germany's World Cup-winning squad in 2014, but this was the first major tournament in which he has featured prominently. The 22-year-old made four starts on their left flank, and he was particularly impressive against Slovakia in the last 16, scoring one and setting up another as Germany won 3-0.

He was unfortunate to lose his place when Low changed Germany's formation against Italy, but he returned to their starting line-up against France. While he was unable to help them reach the final, Draxler is another young player who leaves the tournament with his reputation enhanced.

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