Euro 2012 – Team of the TournamentPosted: July 2, 2012
As the dust begins to settle following another famous Spanish triumph, one argument that will be brewing up over the coming days will be the ‘Team of the Tournament’. I myself have been looking at the various stand-out performers at over the last few weeks, and after much careful consideration, I give you my Team of the Tournament.
Questions were asked of the veteran Juventus and Italy goalkeeper going into Euro 2012, but Buffon has been inspirational in this campaign and has certainly earned his spot in this list.
He made outstanding saves in the majority of Italy’s games, most notably from Glen Johnson of England in the Quarter-Final and a host of German efforts in the Semi-Final.
Although last night’s Final is one to forget for the 34-year-old, it would be harsh to let one game overshadow an otherwise fantastic tournament from the captain himself.
Theodor Gebre Selassie
One of the most overlooked talents of Euro 2012, Theodor Gebre Selassie was a joy to watch during the Czech Republic’s run in the tournament.
Selassie is comfortable in defence and is regularly seen bombing down the flank, most notably setting up the goal against Poland that set his nation up for a Quarter-Final tie with Portugal where they would finally be knocked out.
His form caught the eye of a number of top clubs, but German out fit Werder Bremen won the race for his signature when they signed him from Czech League side Slovan Liberec on June 22nd.
Hummels entered this tournament with a lack of International experience, but now it appears he may have formed a solid, long-term defensive partnership with Holger Badstuber.
Mats incredibly consistent form for Borrusia Dortmund earned him his spot in the side, and his Franz Beckenbauer-like traits have been a joy to watch, as he bombed forward constantly, proving to be just as effective as the likes of Mesut Ozil or Sami Khedira in that respect!
The 24-year-old has been compared to the German legend Beckenbauer and despite a forgettable game against Italy, it would be unfair to let it overshadow an otherwise very impressive tournament for Hummels, whose best days are still ahead him.
While Sergio Ramos would be familiar to a lot of football fans as a right-back, the Real Madrid man had a sensational tournament as a centre-back as he filled in there for the injured Carlos Puyol.
Alongside the equally reliable Gerard Pique, Ramos was like a rock at the back, showing great desire and passion as he was certainly determined to make sure his nation retained their European trophy.
Spain ended the tournament with the meanest defence as they conceded just one goal, so it was impossible not to include the 26-year-old.
Just how good has Jordi Alba been? It really takes something special to be ahead of Phillip Lahm and Fabio Coentrao in this list, but there is no doubt in my mind that Alba was the best of the three at this year’s tournament.
Solid defensively and threatening going forward, Alba was incredibly difficult to deal with for any side Spain came up against, and to put the icing on the cake for the 23-year-old, he grabbed his first senior goal in last night’s Final.
Barcelona acted quickly to try and land the signature of the left-back and at what could be a bargain price of €14 million, Alba could prove to be the answer to Barca’s weak link.
No Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament would be complete without the outstanding midfield maestro that is Andrea Pirlo.
Although Pirlo failed to produce a masterclass in the Final, don’t let it take away from his majestic performances in the games prior. He was instrumental in Italy’s surge to the Final as he pulled the strings in midfield and amazed us time and time again with his unbelievable vision.
With two goals, two assists and probably over 400 passes, it really is no surprise that the Juventus midfielder is a shoe in for Player of the Tournament.
Although I could have easily chosen Xavi or Iniesta here, Xabi Alonso just about edged it for me.
Alonso done what Alonso does best, he created chances, scored goals and as we come to expect, displayed his ever phenomenal range of passing. His most memorable appearance came in the Quarter-Final victory over France when he scored both of the games goals in what was his 100th game for La Roja.
Like Pirlo, this team wouldn’t feel right without one Spanish midfielder there, but really none of their midfield trio were at their very best for much of the tournament.
There have definitely been mixed views regarding Mesut Ozil’s performance at Euro 2012, but for me, he deserves a place here.
Being one of the best midfielder’s in the world, naturally enough much was expected of Ozil at Euro 2012. Although not outstanding, Ozil still done his job and his most memorable night came in the Group stages when his industrious performance in the 1-0 win over Portugal earned him the Man of the Match award.
At 23-years-old, there’s still much to come from Ozil and it will be interesting to see how much further he has come on in two years at the 2014 World Cup if (or more likely when) Germany qualify.
A star of the Group stages, it looked as if Alan Dzagoev was set to go on and have an outstanding tournament, but it was cut surprisingly short when Greece dumped them out of Group A.
Dzagoev scored three goals, two of which came in one game against the Czech Republic, but it still wasn’t enough to get his nation through to the Quarter-Finals, a team many tipped to get out of their Group with ease.
They may have went out early, but three goals in three games is an impressive feat in a major International tournament and there will more than likely be interest from the Prmeiership among other top League’s for the CSKA Moscow man.
While many are putting Mario Balotelli, Mario Gomez and Fernando Torres in their teams, a lot of people seem to have forgotten about Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
A top striker on his day, Zlatan looked in top form in this tournament. With two well taken goals against Ukraine and France respectively and a quality but goalless performance against England, I had to include the big forward in my Team of the Tournament.
Had Sweden managed to make it through Group D, I think the AC Milan striker could have left Poland and Ukraine with the Golden Boot.
The first ‘Team of the Tournament’ where Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t feature? Probably, because it seems people have forgotten about Michael Krohn-Dehli who was brilliant for Denmark in Group B.
A consistent performer with goals to his name against Portugal and Holland, the winger was able to leave Euro 2012 with his head held high and bring with him many happy memories.
A goalscoring winger is a valuable asset to any team, and even at 29 years of age, there is every chance Brondby could recieve bids for Krohn-Dehli this summer.
Some of you will disagree with certain inclusions, some of you will disagree, either way we would love to read your thoughts and perhaps even see what your ‘Team of the Tournament’ would look like, so please feel free to leave a comment below.