Tuesday, 3 July 2012

My Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament

Every football fan in the world has gone through 3 weeks of entertainment mayhem with what we have witnessed what happened in Poland and Ukraine. UEFA EURO 2012 has now ended and will have to fill in the rest of our summers with something else to do than watch 16 teams kicking about a leathery spherical figure. 

We saw the surprising, the disappointing, and the inevitable. We saw how Netherlands and Russia bowed out of the tournament prematurely, with co-hosts Ukraine and Poland also just as disappointing. But we also saw how England managed to win a group they were predicted to finish bottom in, Italy beating pre-tournament favorites Germany in the semifinals, and how Denmark didn't become the whipping boys out of the 'Group of Death'.

But the inevitable events just had to happen. France fail to show up, Ireland going home with no points, and most importantly Spain defending their title with a 4-0 thrashing of Italy in the Final. We just knew those things were going to happen.

There were lots of players who showed what they were worth, but below are 11 players who stood out the most for me in every position. I will use a 4-2-3-1 formation since that formation was the most used by the teams this summer.

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Spain)

Saint Iker only conceded once throughout the tournament and he should be lauded for his impressive performance between the sticks. Spain's captain's inclusion was given a run for his money in this team by Italy's Gianluigi Buffon and England's Joe Hart, but Casillas was able to lead this side to 3 straight tournament victories and of course he played a big part of each of it.

Rightback: Glen Johnson (England)

To be honest, I was very skeptical of his inclusion after Kyle Walker injured himself and Micah Richards getting snubbed. His performances for Liverpool have declined but from all of the players in the England squad, he proved me wrong the most. He was far better in defending than I have ever seen him play ever. His inclusion above Portugal's Joao Pereira and Czech's Theodore Gebre Selassie in this team speaks volume on how I was surprised of how he performed.

Centreback: Sergio Ramos (Spain)

Cutting off his hair wasn't the only brilliant decision he made this summer. That chipped penalty in the semifinal shootout against Portugal silenced his critics since Real Madrid's Champions League semifinal exit. He did his defensive duties brilliantly despite being put of his normal right-back position for Spain.

Centreback: Mats Hummels (Germany)

Despite criticism early on his international career, his elegance in the center of Germany's defence helped the nation's cause. Pundits and fans alike were impressed by Hummels' performances even after a bad game against Italy where he was at fault in at least one of the goals conceded. Hope he bounces back from that semifinal outing.

Leftback: Jordi Alba (Spain)

Most analysts claimed this position were Spain's weak link for ages, but I myself certainly did not see that. I only managed to see him play a handful of times for Valencia and he wasn't that bad, but he certainly played way better for Spain and his move (back) to Barcelona doesn't look out of place. Due to Spain's formation of no strikers, everyone got a chance to attack and Alba took his in the final to score Spain's second of the game. I easily could have put either Germany's Phillipe Lahm or Portugal's Fabio Coentrao but Jordi here was something special. Barcelona next season would be frightening with him and Dani Alves bombing down the wings. *shivers*

Centremidfield: Andrea Pirlo (Italy)

During the Euro's, 70% of the male population would have experienced a man-crush towards Pirlo. At the age 33, his game is comparable to fine wine - becomes better with age. His assist for Di Natale in the opening match, his freak-kick scored against Croatia and a Panenka-esque penalty against England were only some of us men's reasons to fall for his skills. When someone gets mentioned in a dreamteam ahead of Xavi and Xabi Alonso, you know you've won loads of admirers.

Centremidfield: Sami Khedira (Germany)

I have never seen Sami Khedira play bad ever. In every game I've seen him play for Germany since the 2010 World Cup, he is always brilliant. It could be because he is one of the most consistent players in the tournament or because I rarely watch Real Madrid play. Either way, he definitely merits his inclusion in this team ahead of Steven Gerrard and his goal against Greece in the quarterfinals just sealed the deal.

Right Attacking Midfielder: Andres Iniesta (Spain)

Slightly cheating here on his position in this team because he didn't really play on the right for his country. Andres-Cesc-Silva switched places occasionally during the match so it was a bit hard to slot one of them in this team, but I decided to go with Iniesta for his pass for Cesc in the final that actually set up Silva. He was also named Player of the Tournament and deservedly so.

Centre Attacking Midfielder: Mesut Ozil (Germany)

Again, his inclusion was difficult due to challangers in the form of Cesc and Silva. The reason why I chose Ozil was for his vision in how he covered for Schweinsteiger's mediocre form in the knockout stages. 3 assists in the tournament added by a ruthless taken penalty against Italy in at the end of the game. He's only 23, I can't imagine how good he will be when he reaches his peak.

Left Attacking Midfielder: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

I had this position reserved specially for him. His appointment of being made captain may raise a few eyebrows and his hairstyle changes may confuse a few stylists as well. But he did carry the team to semifinals albeit not on his own. Scoring twice in an important match against Netherlands showed the critics who said he couldn't perform during the big games were wrong. Even though he only manage to score 3 goals, he was Portugal's main goalscoring threat and he did it well considering Portugal doesn't have a well developed striker in their ranks.

Striker: Mario Balotelli (Italy)

What? No Torres? Yeah, No Fernando in this team. Sure he got the Golden Boot (which he totally deserved by the way), but all his goals came in 4-0 thrashings of Ireland and Italy. And with Spain usually not playing a striker should put his place in this team into huge consideration

Mario Balotelli also only scored 3 goals but all of his goals were worldclass and looked consistent throughout the tournament. A no-look volley against Ireland, a bullet header from close range against Germany, and a top corner finish also against Deutschland displayed he was the best. Mario Gomez didn't cut it in this team, he was good in 2 games and then came back into his normal international form. I could just wonder if only Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden and Nicklas Bendtner's Denmark got through the group stages...

SOOOOOOOOOO this was my team. Thanks for reading. I now you may have other opinions but this is my blog, so I'll write what I want.

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