After an action packed tournament The Panenka names its selection for Team team of the Tournament.
Lining up in an attacking 3-5-2 formation we have gathered our best and favorite performers from the 15th installment of the European Championships into one team.
Goalkeeper – Gianluigi Buffon, Italy
The Italy stalwart only conceded once in his four games and pulled off some important saves when stops against Belgium and Spain were particularly memorable. Furthermore, his inclusion is forced by the fact this will be the Juventus stopper’s final European Championship, he’s simply a legend of the game.
Center Back – Ragnar Sigurdsson, Iceland
Boasting some of the best defensive statistics with 27 clearances, seven tackles and three blocks to his name at Euro 2016, the Iceland defender was a Viking colossus at the back for the tournaments surprise package where the FC Krasnodar defender embodied the rise of Icelandic football.
Center Back – Leonardo Bonucci, Italy
The Italy defender drew the headlines, as he became Antonio Conte’s defensive playmaker. His assist against Belgium will be remembered, as will the defender’s nerves of steel as he stepped up to convert a late penalty versus Germany.
Center Back – Jerome Boateng, Germany
The Germany defender is lucky to be included here after the Bayern Munich man’s handball nearly cost his country a place in the semi-final. However, Germany’s elimination was down to other factors rather than defensive failings. Boateng’s goal against Slovakia and the acrobatic clearance versus Ukraine underlined what the 27-year-old is capable of.
Right Midfield – Eden Hazard, Belgium
After a disappointing season with Chelsea, the Belgium captain reminded the world what he is capable of in man of the match performances against Hungary and Republic of Ireland. Had it not been for a defensive crisis the 25-year-old could have taken his team further and added to his one goal and four assists.
Defensive Midfield – Toni Kroos, Germany
The Germany midfielder recorded a 93% passing accuracy over an attempted 653 passes at Euro 2016, making him the best in his field. He was often seen carrying his side on their way to the semi-final defeat to France. In the semi-final the Real Madrid man moved to a more advanced role.
Central Midfield – Aaron Ramsey, Wales
Billed as a mere supporting actor to main man Gareth Bale, the Arsenal and Wales midfielder stole the show for the historic Wales team with four assists and one goal. Amid tireless running the box-to-box midfielder’s touch and assist for Hal Robson-Kanu’s winner against Belgium was a noteworthy high point.
Central Midfield – Joao Mario, Portugal
The Sporting Lisbon midfielder has been hailed as the natural successor to Andres Iniesta and might not be in the Portuguese capital for much longer. The 23-year-old has been a dependable ever present in the Portugal team and one of the stand out performers among a host of young talent.
Left Midfield – Dimitri Payet, France
The West Ham winger was reduced to tears after scoring one of goals of tournament with a last gasp winner in the 2-1 victory over Romania. It was at that point the France team really began to understand the magnitude of the task ahead. Anyone who hadn’t been watching the English Premier League last season and hadn’t heard of the wide man, certainly does now.
Center Forward – Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
The Real Madrid forward left the field in the Euro 2016 final in tears due to injury, just like he had done after the 2004 defeat to Greece. He attracted attention for some underwhelming performance and some bizarre media behavior he was the talisman of the Portugal team. Rousing Joao Moutinho to step up and take a penalty versus Poland, breaking the deadlock against Wales and lifting the side with two goals in the crucial 3-3 draw with Hungary, Ronaldo has earned his place in history by becoming the joint leading scorer in European Championship history. With Euro 2016 successs a fourth Ballon d’Or now looks a certainty.
Center Forward – Antoine Griezmann, France
The Golden boot winner and Player of the Tournament was reportedly drained from an exhausting and silverware-less season with Atletico Madrid. However, his performances agaisnt Germany, Iceland, Republic of Ireland and a second half cameo against Albania gave the host nation hope of lifting the trophy on home soil.Two headed attempts were denied by Rui Patricio in the final to abruptly halt French celebrations and Griezmann’s early charge at a 2017 Ballon d’Or claim.
Coach – Fernando Santos, Portugal
Making a reputation for himself of getting the best out of his players through tactical acumen and squad rotation, the former Greece coach has surpassed all expectations as Euro 2016 after reaching the knockouts with a 3rd place finish in Group F. The coach led his side to glory and even with the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo in the final. He handled the big decisions with aplomb. Introducing striker Eder, the match-winner, before the 90 minutes had elapsed should be seen as a gutsy and inspired decision.
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