Italy made it two out of two on Friday thanks to their rock-solid back three, with Giorgio Chiellini doing his best to ensure the PUMA evoPOWER looks the safest pair of the boots in France this month.
Antonio Conte’s Azzurri faced accusations of being the most limited set of players in the country’s history ahead of Euro 2016.
But a second consecutive clean sheet, in a 1-0 against Sweden, saw trusty Juventus trio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli cement their status as the meanest defence at the tournament as they kept Zlatan Ibrahimovic at bay in Toulouse.
Standing opposite Chiellini at the other end of the field was Sweden’s Andreas Granqvist, whose performances have helped boost the Nike Mercurial to fourth place in the overall INTERSPORT Football Boot Ranking for defenders with a rating of 9.3/10 – five places ahead of the evoPOWER.
Granqvist has won nine 1vs1 duals at Euro 2016, more than his fellow leading Mercurial-wearing defenders: compatriot Martin Olsson and Portugal’s Vieirinha.
On Friday the big Swede won more aerial challenges and completed twice as many successful clearances as the three Chiellini managed, despite periods of sustained pressure for the Italy defence in what was an even contest at Stadium Municipal.
All the talk ahead of the clash had focused on whether Chiellini could stop Zlatan, with both men having labelled the other as the toughest opponent they had faced in their long and glittering careers.
Chiellini lost Zlatan just once, from a set piece in the second half, but Ibrahimovic fired over from close range as the assistant’s flag was raised for offside.
Granqvist would not get so lucky as an otherwise productive afternoon was undone right at the last. As Eder jinxed in from the left only to run straight into the path of the Swedish defender, it looked like the attack was over.
But Granqvist was overzealous in his attempt to go to ground and win the ball. He instantly realised his mistake as Eder shifted the ball on, but he could not regain his balance and Eder breezed past him to place his shot into the corner of the net.
The Mercurial currently leads the evoPOWER, but on Friday Chiellini and PUMA came out on top.
The INTERSPORT Football Boot Ranking has been created to empower football fans to choose the best available boot for their needs.
Leading the category among defenders as we head into the second week in France is the Nike Tiempo, which have scored a perfect 10/10, thanks largely to their owners stepping up into attack.
Georgy Schennikov, Adil Rami and Seamus Coleman have all recorded assists in the Nike boots, while Spain’s Gerard Pique came forward to head a vital goal to give the reigning European champions a 1-0 win over Czech Republic in their tournament opener.
The INTERSPORT Football Boot Ranking looks at which boots the game's biggest stars are wearing and links the data to statistics from competitions across Europe, and fans can track the progression of their favourite boots throughout the Euros by navigating the rankings online. Discover which football boot performs the best now.