Sunday, 9 November 2008

Bit late, but here's my team of Euro '08

I appreciate this may be a tad late in the day/month/year, but I had time on me hands, got all nostalgic, and thought hows about giving this a go. There were some truly Stella performances this summer and, as an England supporter, may I just add how refreshing it was to sit back and enjoy the cream of the Europe's top talent compete against one another at the highest level. Well, World Cup aside.

Here are my eleven, no doubt many of you will have your own say, and feel free to post your own thoughts in the comments section.

Iker Casillas
The Real Madrid stopper had an excellent tournament, keeping three consecutive clean sheets in the knock out stages to lead his side to their fist trophy in 44 years. A standout performance in Spain's penalty shootout victory over Italy in the quarter-final stages.

Sergio Ramos
The young full back had an outstanding tournament, bombing up and down the right flank offering both offensive and defensive excellence. After finally seeing off his predecessor Míchel Salgado, the Real Madrid man is sure to be a firm fixture in the national setup for many years to come.

Carlos Marchena
Yet another Spaniard. The Valencia Captain grew in stature as the tournament developed. Renowned for his man-marking ability, this hard-nut was not to be crossed and was integral to their solid defensive displays.

The Euros elevated this Portugezer to new heights with his impressive displays at the heart of Luiz Felipe Scolari's back line. Solid in defence, the Real Madrid player also proved a nuisance in opposition's penalty areas, getting on the score sheet in his side's opening victory against Turkey.

Philipp Lahm
Not blessed with Crouchy-esque height, this nipper from Bayern Munich proved why Sir Alex has been casting a watchful eye over him lately. Assured on the ball, he hit the crucial injury-time winner versus Turkey at the semi-final stage. One for the future as well as today.

Andre Arshavin
Received interest from Europe's elite clubs following his outstanding attacking midfield displays. The Zenit St. Petersburg magician turned matches and heads and is largely responsible for Edwin Van der Saar's premature retirement from international football with his man of the match display in their 3-1 extra time victory over Holland.

Cesc Fabregas
Despite starting the vast majority of the games on the bench, the Arsenal prodigy appeared from the touchline to produce some mesmerising displays. Comfortable in possession of the ball, the Spanish starlet was a key component in their eventual triumph. Hit the winning penalty in the shoot-out against the Italians.

Marcos Senna
Unquestionably the unsung hero of Luis Aragonés side. This midfield general marshalled his side to glory, providing an excellent shield to an already impressive defence. The Villarreal man was crucial in dead ball situations, able to deliver the ammunition to Torres and Villa.

Wesley Sneijder
When Holland topped Group C comprising of France, Italy and Romania, much of what the Oranges did well came through the Ajax graduate. Now at Real Madrid, Sneijder demonstrated why he is regarded as one of Europe's finest playmakers, scoring key goals in their victories against Italy and France.

David Villa
Took the tournament by storm in Spain's opening fixture, putting Russia to the sword with an impressive hat-trick in their 4-1 triumph. Despite only adding one more to his tally for the competition, he terrorised opposition defences and was the perfect foil for the equally dangerous Torres, who just misses out on my eleven.

Roman Pavlyuchenko
Now finding his feet at White Hart Lane, the Russian forward hit an impressive three goals as the Russians continued to defy the odds in their route to the semi-final. With eloquent grace on the ball for one so tall, he was able to bring team-mates into the game as well as score important goals. As the Harry Redknapp revolution gathers pace, Premiership defences beware.


Schooler said...

largely in agreement - the likes of lahm and senna are often overlooked. lahm in particular has been playing well for quite some time and it continues to surprise me he has not been signed by one of the big european clubs. however, surely there is room in there for iniesta - replacing arshavin perhaps?

Groundsy said...

Iniesta did have a decent tournament; he would certainly have made the bench. Torres was also unfortunate not to be in it, but, then again, he only hit 2 goals and Pav was massive in Russia's surge towards the semi's. Lahm and Senna should definately look to move on, however, Lahm is playing for one of the top clubs in Germany, if not the biggest. Fergie will come calling soon!