Image 1 of 7: Mario Gomez scores 3. At 26, the German of Spanish descent, made a good break in the early stages of the tournament. Given a rocky career, that looks to be peaking now, it seems he has found his game. He compensated for a bland performance with Bayern Munich in the UCL final, with 3 decisive goals this week - 1 v. Portugal, 2 v. the Netherlands.
Image 1 of 7: Mario Mandzukic The Croatian made 3 goals so far in the tournament. The Wolfsburg player compensated for the injured Ivica Olic showing why at 26 he was a good alternative, placing 2 goals against Ireland and 1 against Italy. This good form matched the decent season his German team Wolfsburg were enjoying.
Image 1 of 7: Alan Dzagoev the 21 year-old Russian who plays for CSKA Moscow has come through with a respectable performance so far in the form of 3 goals: 2 against the Czech Republic, 1 v. Poland. Not a total dark horse, but perhaps underrated before this tournament, though the young Russian already has an international player career under his belt.
Image 1 of 7: Andriy Shevchenko the Ukranian legend, at 35, is the veteran reminding us why he's the best the Ukraine's had. Reared with Dynamo Kyiv, and having his second wind with them, after peak peforming with AC Milan, his international career- beset by injuries & doubt - might end on a high note. His 2 winning goals against Sweden silenced the doubters.
Image 1 of 7: Spain's Fernando Torres maturing at 28 and on the back of a poor season with Chelsea, performed weakly in the 1st match against Italy, casting some doubt on his career. However, he was able to restore some confidence in why he'd played for the defending Spanish Champions when he scored 2 convincing goals against the Republic of Ireland, Thursday.
Image 1 of 7: Andrea Pirlo, Italy's 33 year-old veteran, was quite a revelation already this tournament. Everyone had written him off last year. But after leaving AC milan for Juventus, he had an excellent season and seems to have carried this winning streak into the crowd-pleasing Euros. So far, he made an assist against Spain and scored against Croatia.
Image 1 of 7: Nicklas Bendtner has carried over his decent season on loan to Sunderland, over to Euro 2012. So far so good, the 24 year-old Danish, on a personal note, has made his mark with 2 goals against Portugal. Though these were not enough to score a victory for Denmark, they secured the Arsenal player a good show for the critics and talent scouts.
Mid-way through the group stage of Euro 2012, and about to finish the second round, there have been some eye-opening individual player performances. The tournament is already delivering poetic displays and tales for veteran players who were written off but making timely comebacks. Young players too are making their mark, laying down ripe and promising futures. Strikers are scoring like they should and international players are showing their worth in the international arena.
The people and the pundits have been anticipating the start of Euro 2012 where dreams are made and careers sealed or broken - with critics abuzz with expections from the individual players as much as pressure on the national teams. Some of those players under the spotlight haven't been able to show their worth so far, while others still are proving they aren't quite history.
We take a look at some of the players that made their marks with their teams in the European Championship so far. The early bloomers and rising stars of Euro 2012.