With the group stages done & dusted on Tuesday and the knockout stages to begin from today, with the Czech Republic v Portugal match at the National Stadium in Warsaw, we have decided to create the team of the group stages. A team consisting of the best performers in every position from the three group game. Here is the team below using the 4-2-3-1 formation..
IKER CASILLAS (GK) – SPAIN
Casillas has been by far the most consistently performing goalkeeper in the this year’s European Championship. The Real Madrid shot stopper has been an inspirational skipper and has led his country from the front making several very important saves in the three games he has featured in. The most important of all his saves has to be the terrific save from a Ivan Rakitic close range header in the second half against Croatia which kept Spain in that game and most importantly in the tournament.
THEODOR GEBRE SELASSIE (RB) – CZECH REPUBLIC
Selassie has been one of the gems of the the tournament. The right back from African origin was completely unknown outside Czech Republic before the European Championships, but with his energetic performances for his country in the three group games so far he will surely attract many and bigger European clubs in the summer. The Slovan Liberec full back has impressed everyone with his pace and work rate on the right side of the Czech defence and also created his side’s second goal in the important win over Greece.
PEPE (CB) – PORTUGAL
Pepe has been the rock in the center of the defence for both Portugal and Real Madrid this season. The former FC Porto man has been a determined customer at the back and at times has been seen shouting out instructions to his fellow defenders and kept them well organised. He is not only a very good defender but also an attacking threat from the set-pieces. He scored his side’s opener from a corner against Denmark in the second group game and was very close of doing the same against Germany in the first game.
MATS HUMMELS (CB) – GERMANY
If Pepe was the reason for Portugal’s success from the so called Group of Death, then the Dortmund defender has been Germany’s reason for success in the same group. Hummels has been an imperious presence in the heart of the German defence that have conceded just two goals in the three group games they have played. His aerial ability and no-nonsense defending has been the keys aspects to his defending. At the same time he is a threat from the set-pieces and is also good going forward with ball, as he showed against the Dutch.
JORDI ALBA (LB) – SPAIN
The Valencia full back, who is expected to sign for Barcelona in the summer, has been one of the players to watch during the European Championship and he has not let anyone down by his performances. The fast improving left back has been very impressive for La Furia Roja in Poland/Ukraine, as he has been a threat to deal with when going forward, and at the same time solid at the back. He has been the important part of the Spanish defence that has kept two cleans during the group stages and will be hoping to do the same against France in Donetsk.
STEVEN GERRARD (CM) – ENGLAND
In the absence of Wayne Rooney, all eyes were on Gerrard on how he would lead his team in the European Championship and he has done a brilliant job. Played in a bit defensive role by Roy Hodgson, the Liverpool skipper has shown his class in all the three group games he has played in, and has led his team from the front with some clam performances. He has been the inspiration figure on and off field, and at the same time has been his side’s and tournament’s top goal creator with three assists. His good form in the knockout stages will be the key for England success in the competition.
CLAUDIO MARSCHISIO (CM) – ITALY
Coming from winning the Serie A with Juventus, Marschiso has carried his club form for his country in the European Championship. The center midfielder has been Italy’s top performer in Poland/Ukraine. The Juventus man has put in energetic displays in all the three group games but the game against Spain stands out. He showed some great stamina to run the Spainish defence to the end and force a late save from Casillas. At the same time, he was solid in the midfield and often stole possession for his side.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (AML) – PORTUGAL
Ronaldo was not at his best against Germany in the opening group game and missed a couple of golden chances against Denmark in the second game but when it mattered the most, he scored twice against the Dutch in the final game and guided his country to the last eight. The Real Madrid star has been a constant threat to defences in this tournament with his pace, trickery and his ability to shoot from distance. The Czech defence will have to be at their best to deal with threat possessed by Ronaldo, and if they succeed in keeping him quite then Petr Cech’s side are in with a huge chance.
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC (AMC) – SWEDEN
Even though Sweden are not through to quarter finals, Ibrahimovic makes the team as he has been the most valuable player of the tournament. Playing just behind the main striker, the AC Milan hitman has been very impressive for Sweden by scoring goals and creating chances for his teammates. He scored a goal against Ukraine but it was all overshadowed by Andriy Shevchenko’s brace and Ukraine’s victory, he was his team’s best player against England and scored most probably the goal of the tournament against France which won him the Man of the Match in the final group game. Sweden ended at the bottom of Group D, but Ibrahimovic has been one of star performers this summer.
ANDRES INIESTA (AMR) – SPAIN
Cesc Fabregas grabbed the headlines for scoring the equaliser against Italy, Fernando Torres did the same after scoring a brace against Ireland and Jesus Navas got took the back pages with the winner against Croatia, but the real hero in all three three matches was Andres Iniesta. The Barcelona playmaker has been Spain’s unsung hero in the tournament so far. The Spainiard has been superb throughout the tournament creating numerous chances for his teammates and has hardly misplaced a pass. He has adapted very well to the advanced role when Vicente Del Bosque has opted to play without a striker.
MARIO GOMEZ (ST) – GERMANY
Gomez has scored 41 goals this season for Bayern Munich and he has continued his club form for his country in the European Championships. The German striker has been deadly in front of goal and leads the race for the Golden Boot award with three goals in three matches so far. The former Stuttgart striker scored a powerful header that turned out to be the winner against Portugal in the first game and then scored a brilliant brace against the Netherlands in the second game that guaranteed his side a place in the quarter finals.
Manuel Neuer (Germany), Stipe Pletikosa (Croatia), Alvaro Arbeloa (Spain), Olof Mellberg (Sweden), Joleon Lescott (England), Fabio Coentrao (Portugal), Vaclav Pilar (Czech Republic), David Silva (Spain), Mario Mandzukic (Croatia), Alan Dzagoev (Russia), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Karim Benzema (France).