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Euro 2012 has been a fantastic spectacle so far. We have seen some excellent quality football from the likes of Spain, Germany and Portugal. We have seen some poor team performances from the likes of Holland.
Shocks are also the order of the day, Czech Republic and Greece contrived to knock Russia out, and nobody in Europe will soon forget Denmark’s excellent 1-0 win over Holland anytime soon, regarded as one the best rearguard victories in recent European Championships memory.
The group stages have known concluded, and there have been some fantastic individual performances in games, Ronaldo vs Holland, Gerrard vs Ukraine, Pirlo vs Croatia, Agger vs Holland and Ibrahimovic vs France, all come to mind; overall the tournament has yet to disappoint, the calibre of team and player on show is immensely high, and we are highly looking forward to an intriguing set of Quarter Finals.
But what is the Team of the Tournament so far? Which Goalkeeper has stood out? Who have been the stand-out defenders? Which midfielders have shone and who have been the best predatory attackers so far. To be able to determine each of these, we have looked at many factors, many different contenders and overall performances and contribution to their nations progress in the tournament.
Goalkeeper: We are possibly witnessing a tournament with the three best goalkeepers in world football participating. Joe Hart (England), Iker Casillas (Spain) and Gianluigi Buffon (Italy) all have forged formidable reputations and have backed this up at this tournament. All have served there country with distinction so far and have made world class saves to earn points in games. Quite possibly the most important of the three is Gianluigi Buffon.
|Taken from the Daily Mirror|
His excellent performance against Spain and Croatia helped earn Italy two vital points as they made the Quarter Finals. He will be a highly important figure against England, but has earned his spot as the man between the sticks in our line up.
Right Back: A position that his seen some of the excellent defenders and attackers at the tournament so far. There have been some immense performances from household names, such as Glen Johnson (England) and Jerome Boateng (Germany), and from lesser known names such as Theodo Gebre Selassie (Czech Republic), who has shone and put himself on the radar of a lot European clubs, but it is France’s young right back Mathieu Debuchy who has received the spot in the team, due to his excellent performances against England and Ukraine.
|Taken from A Different League|
He has received his chance due to an injury to Bacary Sagna and has made the most of his chance. He has shone and has established himself as a key threat in France’s team.
Centre Back: Here is a position where we have seen goal scorers and goal savers shine! There have been many stand out performers, England’s very own Joleon Lescott among them. The first player to earn his spot in this prestigious XI is Germany’s Mats Hummels who has been a prominent force in his team’s perfect start to the tournament, his first tournament and he has adapted like a duck to water.
|Taken from the Ministry of Soccer|
Rated by many media outlets as the defender of the tournament so far, the Bourissia Dortmund centre back has firmly established as the first choice. His defensive partner Holger Badstuber has also played a massive part.
Spain’s Gerard Pique and Denmark’s Daniel Agger also deserve notable mentions for there immense performances so far, they have shown themselves to be key in their teams successes so far.
However Portugal’s Pepe is the man to earn the spot alongside Hummels. Pepe has shown himself to be a warhorse in a successful Portugal team.
|Taken from The Telegraph|
He has provided excellent cover to a suspect goalkeeper and has even scored a key goal in his teams 3-2 triumph over Denmark, which ultimately contributed to Portugal’s progress in the tournament. He will be important to Portugal’s future progress in this tournament.
Left Back: Euro 2012 has been blessed with the world two leading full backs: Ashley Cole of England and Philip Lahm of Germany. Both have provided their countries with moments of quality and have aided their respective nations progression so far, but it is two newcomers that go head to head for the left back berth.
The first is Fabio Coentrao (Portugal), who has established himself not only as a competent defender but as an attacking threat as a part of Portugal’s dangerous counter attacking play. The man who has earned the spot just ahead of Coentrao is Jordi Alba (Spain).
|Taken from Bettor|
Alba has slotted into the world champion’s line up and seems like he has been a part of the team for years. He has established himself as a part of Spain’s line up for years to come.
Right Midfield: Wingers have struggled so far as a whole in this tournament, but one man has stood out, after a fantastic club season for Manchester City, Spain’s David Silva has showed exactly why he is an important part of the world champion’s squad.
|Taken from Bitter and Blue|
He has 3 assists and 1 goal so far and has established himself as the best creative force in Poland and Ukraine.
Central Midfield: Euro 2012 has seen the emergence of top central midfielders as well as re-emergence of players forgotten. Players such as Jakub Błaszczykowski (Poland), Petr Jiráček (Czech Republic) have come to the forefront and won their nations hearts with masterful performances.
Players such as Giorgios Karagounis (Greece), Steven Gerrard (England) and Andrea Pirlo (Italy) have re-established themselves as the powerhouses of Europe that they once were. But it has been the masterful performances of Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger, the 27 year old is now a leader of the youthful German side, and has contributed with excellent link up play, and providing key assists to the attack.
|Taken from Goal|
Steven Gerrard has rolled back the years and has come to the fore to lead England to the top of their group. He has assisted key goals such as the winner against Ukraine and the key goal against France.
|Taken from The Sun|
Euro 2012 is being seen by some as the rebirth of the England captain! Other notable mentions go to Mesut Ozil (Germany), Daniele De Rossi (Italy) and Sami Khedira (Germany).
Left Midfield: A key position, and one that we have not seen an abundance of talent in so far. The obvious names have sparkled, Nani, Samir Nasri, are the obvious talents that have shone for their countries, other players such as Alan Dzagoev have really come to the fore in this tournament, and it is too bad that we have seen the last of him at Euro 2012.
The man who has made the left midfield spot his is a truly world class talent and a player widely considered to be a Top 3 world talent, Andres Iniesta of Spain.
|Taken from Soccerway|
Iniesta has impressed with his assist and intricate passing, and has been ever reliable as an attacking force for Spain.
Strikers: We have been treated to some sublime goals at Euro 2012, Danny Welbeck (England) scored a neat backheel against Sweden, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) scored what many are tipping to be the goal of the tournament against France. Fernando Torres rediscovered his shooting boots for Spain.
Andriy Shevchenko gave a real heroes performance for Ukraine on home turf against Sweden. But the first forward to earn a spot is Germany’s main marksman Mario Gomez.
|Taken from Top Football|
Gomez has shone and is currently the joint top scorer at the European Championships. It’s not only his quantity of goals, but the sheer quality of goals that have shone. His double against Holland oozed world class and he has firmly established himself as a star of the tournament.
His strike partner, unfortunately will no longer be apart of the tournament, but has established himself as another star of the tournament. Croatia’s Mario Mandžukić is the joint top scorer, and has scored important goals against Ireland and against Italy to put his nation within a whisker of qualifying for the Quarter Finals.
|Taken from Sports World Report|
He has established himself as a star of the future, one that could become a big name in Europe. And finally, what about Europe’s number one player? Cristiano Ronaldo has just started to sparkle, giving a truly world class performance against the Dutch.
Look out for him to be in the final Team of the Tournament should he maintain this level!
TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT (SO FAR)
SUBS: Hart (ENG); Lescott (ENG); Gebre Selassie (CZE); Coentrao (POR); Ozil (GER); Dzagoev (RUS); Ronaldo (POR)
Also, please sign up and join Dafabet’s Euro 2012 competition which is going to end soon, and get the chance to win shirts and free bets here!
Written by Hemang Karia
Follow me on Twitter @hemang14
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