Tyton would not have been many people's pick to fill a spot in a Euro 2012 best of XI when he was battling with Lukasz Fabianski for a place on the bench at the start of the year. Even at half-time in the group opener against Greece he might have expected not to see any on-field action for his country. But Wojciech Szczesny's sending-off thrust the PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper into the heart of the action, with his countrymen in the National Stadium in Warsaw holding their breath. They need not have worried. Tyton saved the subsequent penalty from Giorgos Karagounis in brilliant fashion and saw off some late Greek pressure to help Poland to a point and become an overnight hero.
Srna has frequently been used as a right-midfielder by Slaven Bilic at international level but this was the 30-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk man at his best - marauding from deep and causing all kinds of problems for Ireland. Aiden McGeady was supposed to be the closest thing to a luxury player that Giovanni Trapattoni had. He was the man responsible for asking questions of Croatia defensively. As it was, McGeady was utterly overwhelmed by Srna, who pinned Ireland's left-side back for much of the game - nullifying their threat and providing a constant line of attack for his own side.
Hummels has been one of the world's finest defenders for some time now and this was another imperious display from the Borussia Dortmund centre-back. At his best, the 23-year old has an air of calmness that gives the impression he has all the time he needs - quite a feat when faced with a Portuguese attack that includes Europe's best player in Cristiano Ronaldo. Germany were one of only two teams to keep a clean sheet in the opening series of matches and while they rode their luck a little when Pepe hit the woodwork, the achievement owed much to the effort and skill of Hummels at the heart of the defence.
It wasn't so much that the Denmark defence snuffed out the Dutch threat in their 1-0 upset win - Wesley Sneijder created a number of chances only to find Robin van Persie in shockingly wasteful form. But those opportunities should not detract from the efforts of the Danish centre-backs given that Morten Olsen's team adopted an open approach for much of the game. William Kvist and Niki Zimling offered some protections but this was no backs-to-the-wall effort until late on. Agger had to deal with a barrage of attacking talent as Holland finished the game with Sneijder, Van Persie, Arjen Robben, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Rafael van der Vaart and Dirk Kuyt all on the field. But ultimately Denmark - and the Liverpool man in particular - deserved their fortune.
The Danish left-back might not be the most accomplished full-back with the ball at his feet. Indeed, his opposite number in Denmark's next two games will be Fabio Coentrao then Philipp Lahm - technically far superior footballers who both impressed in their opening games too. But Poulsen's energy caught the eye as he produced a robust performance in the surprise win over Holland. He dealt manfully with the significant threat of Robben, despite minimal help early on. And he was also not afraid to make powerful runs going forward, providing a good outlet and giving the Dutch plenty to think about at the other end.
It was a deliberate tactic of the Republic of Ireland to have their central midfielders Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews sit deep. It was probably the right tactic - prevent players getting in between the lines and protect a slow defence. But it also meant we had the joy of watching Luka Modric run the game at his leisure, with his team-mates keenly aware that he should be the starting point for Croatia's attacks. The 26-year-old Tottenham man had the freedom of Poznan and his intelligent use of the ball left the Irish seemingly at his mercy. There will be tougher tests to come for Modric but this was a treat for his many admirers.
For one of the great deep-lying playmakers the game has seen, Pirlo could have been forgiven for feeling apprehensive about a contest against the Spanish possession machine. Ninety minutes of chasing the ball but enjoying only a glimpse of it is the antithesis of the 33-year-old's forte. And yet, in a congested midfield, Pirlo still managed to find a foothold in the game. Indeed, he provided the key moment of quality in the match. The Juventus man produced a surprisingly direct run down the left-channel before sliding a trademark pass through to Antonio Di Natale with his weaker foot that the veteran forward finished beautifully to give Italy the lead. Still got it.
The Greece forward does not boast the most prolific of goalscoring records, having been converted to a right-midfield role and made keenly aware of his defensive duties at international level. But this was Salpigidis in his element - performing a dual role from the right. Coming on for the golden boy of Greek football, Sotiris Ninis, with his team a goal and a man down was far from ideal. But the 30-year-old PAOK forward responded with a barnstorming effort. He kept the shape but broke forward to equaliser before winning a penalty that could have won the game for his team.
The Manchester City midfielder must have expected it to be hard to find space in between the lines against Roy Hodgson's defensively-minded England side. But he did well to find little pockets and was the best player on the pitch for the much of the game. With France unwilling to commit too many players forward he was often starved of options when on the ball. But that did not stop him making his mark. Faced with seven English defenders and only one French shirt in front of him, the 24-year-old elected to pull the trigger and fired a vicious shot past his City team-mate Joe Hart.
Big things were expected of the talented 21-year-old at this tournament and he started it with a dynamic display to overpower the Czechs. Whether it was cutting inside from the flank or making darting runs in behind the defence, the attacking midfielder was a constant threat and thoroughly deserved his two goals. Having played over 100 games for CSKA Moscow already, it's easy to forget Dzagoev is just 21 and, while there were signs of a lack of composure at times, this was an excellent performance.
Shevchenko is one of the greatest goalscorers of his generation. But it isn't this generation. And yet, while the 35-year-old's contemporaries are sunning themselves on a beach in Brazil or contemplating the easy money on offer in the Middle East, Shevchenko has spent the past two years battling form and fitness just to be here for this tournament in his homeland. On Monday, he had his reward. After missing an easier chance early on, Sheva eluded his markers to produce two superb headers - turning the game around and sending the Olympic Stadium in Kiev into a state of delirium.