After watching pretty much every match of Euro 2012 this is what I think has been the team of the tournament and the reasons why I’ve chosen them.
IKER CASILLAS, 5 Clean Sheets out of 6 says it all and one goal conceded, granted he is playing in a team that always seem to have the ball but when called upon he has been been brilliant. His performance in the final was top draw he made a number of saves and without holding the ball managed to have the vision to get the ball clear of the oncoming attackers.
Not an abundance of great Right Backs in the tournament so my choice is PHILLIPE LAHM. Although he made the mistake for Balotelli’s second in the Semi Final hes been pretty solid at the back and also had an influence going forward. His goal against Greece was class and settled the Germans nerves
SERGIO RAMOS normally plays on the Right for Spain but with Puyol injured hes deputised brilliantly. Not only as he been solid and strong he knows how to pass a football. His partnership with Pique has been the best in the Tournament.
Germany haven’t had a commanding centre half for a long time and for a country that used to produce them all the time it is a bit of a surprise but in MATTS HUMMELS they have found one. Consistent class performances through the group stages and into the knockouts have only enhanced Hummels growing reputation and despite getting “done” by Cassano in the semi hes shown his one of Europe’s finest.
There can only be one man than takes this position and will probably be in everybody’s team and that is JORDI ALBA although you could say he hasn’t really been tested defensively his attacking attributes have been that of a world class wing back, his goal in the final put the icing on the cake for one of the players of the tournament. Barcelona have got themselves a proper player.
He was quiet in the final but probably because Spain played against him early in the tournament but without ANDREA PIRLO Italy wouldn’t have been in the final, defied his years to put in tireless performance against England and Germany, sometimes it seemed he had an eternity to pick out a pass. Shame he’ll retire soon.
UEFA’s player of the Tournament was ANDRES INIESTA and its difficult to argue against it, always seem to finds space against any team he comes up against. Some of the incisive passes hes played including for Silva’s goal have been immense.
XABI ALONSO sits and does the simple things for Spain allowing Xavi, Iniesta and Silva to work there magic and hes done that in the tournament, rarely gave the ball away and helped himself to a couple of goals.
JOAO MOUTINHO was the main creative influence in Portugals midfield 3, sitting in front of Veloso and Meireles he played in a free role supporting the attackers. He always seem to want the ball and when he did have it never tended to lose it. Could be a decent signing for Man Utd if the rumours are true.
CRISTIANO RONALDO was Portugals stand out player, although supported well by the midfield 3 he’s was a class above. Almost Single handedly beat Holland and his goal got them through to the Semi. Tried a bit too hard against Spain and should have scored late on but his class shines out.
Not a Centre Forward and not a Forward at all but CESC FABREGAS has performed an unusual role with aplomb. Spain have looked more dangerous when hes played instead of the Torres or Negredo. Took his goals well and set up Silvas important goal in the final.
Other players worth mentioning.
Mario Ballotelli, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Mario Mandzukic, Daniele De Rossi, Gabre Salesse, Matheiu Debuchy and pretty much all the other Spanish players have had good tournaments but not quite enough to get into my team of the tournament.
Let downs of the Tournament
A lot was expected from Wayne Rooney when he finally arrived after suspension but despite a goal against Ukraine he failed to deliver, in my opinion he seemed to try a bit too hard, maybe we expect too much of him. Robin Van Persie failed to deliver on the big stage but that can be said about the Dutch national team as a whole. The biggest let down for me was Karim Benzema, had a cheeky couple of quid on him to be top scorer but he seemed disinterested and appeared like he wanted to be somewhere else, far cry from the lad we see playing for Real Madrid week in week out.
Overall a good tournament some brilliant football was played and in the end Spain proved that their era wasn’t coming to and end were worthy winners.
Feel free to comment if you disagree with my team, im also on twitter @AWFootballBlogs if you want to follow me.
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