Connect in the back of the net

Gareth Bale and Dimitri Payet have emerged as stand-out performers at the 2016 Euros in France having inspired their respective teams to attain qualification into the last 16.

Bale scored a goal apiece in each of the three group stage matches to advance his side’s hopes while Payet scored two goals as France finished top of Group A with seven points.

There have however been some marquee names that have been disappointing in every sense of the word: names that have not lived up to the pre-tournament hype.

Here are four players that are yet to impress at the Euros.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo

The three-time World Player of the Year has failed to impress despite having played two group games already.

Ronaldo was more of a passenger in his side’s opening match against Iceland that ended one-all, but the pinnacle of his abysmal showing was exhibited during Portugal’s barren draw against Austria.

The Real Madrid superstar missed a culpable chance to put Portugal in the driving seat after blasting a penalty wide of the mark against the Austrians.

Fernando Santos’s side now face the embarrassment of making a premature exit from the Euros should they register anything short of a win against Hungary on Wednesday.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may not need a Champions League winners’ medal to prove himself, but the Suede has been a perennial underachiever in the major tournaments for his national team.

With time clearly not on his side, the 34-year old looks done and dusted on the international scene as Sweden are unlikely to oust Belgium to finish second in Group E.

Be that as it may, Sweden’s performance in the Euros is unlikely to dent Manchester United’s chase for the lethal marksman.

 

Mario Gotze

As expected Germany look odds on to make it through to the last 16, heading into their last group match against Northern Ireland.

Without a natural number nine following the retirement of Miroslav Klose after the successful 2014 World Cup campaign, the Die Mannschaft have opted to play with Mario Gotze as their furthest man: a position he has diminished and fizzled in.

The Bayern Munich forward never made an impact as a false number nine against Ukraine, and it was no surprise when he was taken off in the 60th minute against Poland.

With no goals to his name thus far in the competition, his disappointment supersedes the tournament with talks of a Bayern Munich exit increasingly spreading.

 

David Alaba

From one Bayern Munich star to another and David Alaba has been far from impressive for Austria.

Despite playing in an advanced midfield role, the 23-year old hasn’t done much to propel his country’s endeavors in the Euros.

As such, Austria’s last match against Iceland will be for good measure as they have already been eliminated from the competition having accumulated a single point from their two opening matches.

They currently sit in fourth and could be joined at the exit door by either Iceland or Portugal, depending on the outcome of the last round of group matches.

 

Written by Brian Humphrey

Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum

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