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Champions League Group Stage Ultimate XI

Group Stage Ultimate XI

The Champions League group stages are done and dusted with Chelsea becoming the first holders in the history to be knocked out in the group stages, Manchester City completely out of Europe, Real Madrid finishing second and Lionel Messi in fine form.

Here, IntoTheTopCorner picks its Group Stage Ultimate XI, containing the very best performers over the six matchdays in a 4-5-1 formation. There’s an alternative to each selection, so have a look at the team below…

GK – FRASER FORSTER (CELTIC)

Forster

Celtic are through to the knockout stages for the first time since the 2007/08 season and they had some individual performances to thank for. The former Newcastle United shot-stopper is one of them, as he had two brilliant games against Barcelona that actually secured their qualification. A last-gasp defeat at the Camp Nou and a historical win at Celtic Park did their confidence a world of good, and their final matchday win over Spartak Moscow was more than deserved.

Alternative – Joe Hart (Manchester City)

RB – PHILIPP LAHM (BAYERN MUNICH)

Lahm

Bayern’s skipper and Mr. Consistent, Philipp Lahm, has proved dependable yet again as the Bundesliga leaders secured the top spot in Group F ahead of Valencia. Though, the German international captain did his best work on the left flank he comes in our side as a right-back. He managed three assists and won one penalty in the five matches he played and looked very solid at the back.

Alternative – Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund)

CB – THIAGO SILVA (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN)

Thiago Silva

The Brazilian is known as one of the best defenders in the world of football at the moment and he didn’t let anyone down. The former AC Milan centre-back was very consistent throughout the group stages as he helped the French side to first place in Group A in their long-awaited return to Europe’s elite. He scored two goals including the opener in PSG’s important win over Porto on Matchday six.

Alternative – Martin Demichelis (Malaga)

CB – MATS HUMMELS (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)

Hummels

Dortmund – surprisingly – topped the Group of Death and they had their solid defence to thank for it. Hummels, the integral part of the reigning Bundesliga champions’ back four, was at his very best as Die Schwarzgelben remained unbeaten in all of their six group games and also managed to keep three clean sheets in the process.  All the defence played their part, but the German international was perhaps the standout performer in Jurgen Klopp’s back four.

Alternative – Nicolas Otamendi (Porto)

LB – GIORGIO CHIELLINI (JUVENTUS)

Chiellini

Juventus secured their passage through to the knockout stages as Group E winners thanks to an unbeaten run of six games. Their last three were impressive wins and also clean sheets, while the Old Lady came out victorious in Donetsk – a feat achieved by very few teams in the past 12 months or so. The Italian international was perhaps the most impressive player in Antonio Conte’s back three.

Alternative – Christian Fuchs (Schalke)

CDM – ARTURO VIDAL (JUVENTUS)

Vidal

The Chilean international has to be one of the players of the group stages. The former Leverkusen man is a typical box-to-box midfielder combining defensive steel with goal-scoring prowess at the highest level. His partnership with Claudio Marschisio is the engine of Conte’s team. In the group stages, he averaged 4.8 tackles per game and scored three goals with one assist—an absolutely remarkable feat for a defensive midfield.

Alternative – Victor Wanyama (Celtic)

CM – WILLIAN (SHAKHTAR DONETSK)

Willian

The Brazilian alongside the Chilean gives our side some South American feel in the midfield. Willian, who has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League clubs like Chelsea and Tottenham in the past, was one of the top performers for Shakhtar scoring four goals and creating two as they made it through to the last-16 and dumped the holders out of the competition in the process.

Alternative – Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk)

CM – ISCO (MALAGA)

Isco

The 20-year-old Spaniard scored twice and assisted two in six games to announce himself on the European stage and walk straight into our line-up. While he has failed to to translate this form into his La Liga games, Isco has been in super form in the Champions League. It’s his form in the in Europe’s elite competition that has clubs scrambling to meet his €18.5 million buyout clause before Malaga extend his contract, and it’s clear this kid has something slightly special.

Alternative – Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich)

RW – CRISTIANO RONALDO (REAL MADRID)

Ronaldo

Love him or hate him, but the Portuguese is surely one of the best players in the world and he proved it with his performances for the Spanish champions in the group stages. The former Manchester United star managed to scored six goals in the group of death and will be hoping to score many more in the later stages as he hopes to guide the Los Blancos to their first ever Champions League title in over a decade.

Alternative – Juan Mata (Chelsea)

LW – LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA)

Messi

A Champions League team without the best player in the world? Not possible at all. The Barca striker is at his very peak and was again at his very best in the group stages scoring five goals and creating two as he helped the Catalans top their group. The Argentine has had the best year having scored 90 goals and will be hoping more of the same in 2013 as he looks to guide his team to yet another European success.

Alternative – Burak Yilmaz (Galatasaray)

ST – ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC (PARIS SAINT-GERMIAN)

Ibrahimovic

Out strike force is a nightmare to any team and Ibrahimovic leads it. The Swede has played for the many elite club during his career but his contributions for the French capital side in this season’s campaign can’t be ignored. He has managed to score just two goals in the six games but it’s the five assists that are the most impressive. Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez must really enjoy playing alongside the Swede as he continues to impress.

Alternative – Jackson Martinez (Porto)

Group Stage Ultimate XI

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The Best Goal Ever?

Whether you are a fan of Marco van Basten, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi or Wayne Rooney, everyone has their own favourite goal from football’s history.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stunning, long-range propeller-kick for his fourth goal against England in the midweek was the latest to enter the half of fame. But was it the best goal ever?

Here, IntoTheTopCorner takes a look back at some of football’s greatest goals..

Diego Maradona v England – 1986

Marco van Basten v USSR – 1988

Tony Yeboah v Liverpool – 1995

Roberto Carlos v France – 1997

Roberto Mancini v Parma – 2000

Paolo Di Canio v Wimbledon – 2000

David Beckham v Greece – 2001

Steven Gerrard v West Ham United – 2006

Paul Scholes v Aston Villa – 2006

Ronaldinho v Villarreal – 2007

Lionel Messi v Getafe – 2007

Wayne Rooney v Manchester City – 2011

Zlatan Ibrahimovic v England – 2012

Steven Gerrard’s Top Five England Matches

It was a sunny afternoon in May 2000 when Steve Gerrard made his promising England debut against Ukraine and more than 12 years later the Liverpool midfielder is set to win his 100th cap for the Three Lions when he captains them against Sweden on Wednesday night.

He may not have picked up any medals with the national team, but he has surely given his all in the national cause on many occasions. Here we have a look at his top five matches for the Three Lions..

September 2001 – Germany 1-5 England

Gerrard scores his first goal for his country as England come from a goal down to achieve one of their most memorable wins in Munich’s Olympic Stadium and revive their World Cup qualification hopes. Michael Owen scores a hat-trick and there is even a rare goal from Emile Heskey.

June 2006 – England 2 -0 Trinidad & Tobago

Gerrard puts the agony of missing out on the 2002 finals through injury behind him by netting his first World Cup tournament goal to seal victory after Peter Crouch nets the opener with only seven minutes remaining.

March 2007 – Andorra 0-3 England

Gerrard single-handedly wins it for England with an inspired second 45 minutes in this Euro 2008 qualifier against Andorra in Barcelona after a dismal first-half performance. He scores twice before David Nugent nets his only international goal.

September 2009 – England 5-1 Croatia

Revenge is sweet for Gerrard and his team-mates after missing out on the Euro 2008 finals as Croatia are hammered at Wembley to secure a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Liverpool skipper and Frank Lampard share four goals with Wayne Rooney the other man on the scoresheet.

June 2012 – England 1-1 France

One can sense the pride as Gerrard leads England into a major tournament – UEFA Euro 2012 – as official captain for the first time. He sets up the opener for Joleon Lescott with a pinpoint cross only for Samir Nasri to equalise. Gerrard was later named in the UEFA team of the tournament.

Top Ten Most Capped England Internationals

England captain Steven Gerrard is set to win his 100th international cap in the international friendly against Sweden on Wednesday in Stockholm.

Gerrard said at England’s Tuesday press conference

“I’m excited. I’m slightly nervous, which I haven’t been for quite a while in an England shirt, maybe because there is a bit more attention on me getting to the milestone. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait for the game to start.”

The Liverpool midfielder will become only the sixth England player to reach a century of caps, joining record-holder Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Billy Wright.

In our today’s Picture Special, we have a look at the top ten most capped England internationals..

1. Peter Shilton (Goalkeeper | 125 Caps)

 

2. David Beckham (Midfielder | 115 Caps)

 

3. Bobby Moore (Defender | 108 Caps)

 

4. Bobby Charlton (Midfielder | 106 Caps)

 

5. Billy Wright (Defender | 105 Caps)

 

6. Steven Gerrard (Midfielder | 99 Caps)

 

7. Ashley Cole (Defender | 99 Caps)

 

8. Frank Lampard (Midfielder | 93 Caps)

 

9. Bryan Robson (Midfielder | 90 Caps)

 

10. Michael Owen (Forward | 89 Caps)

Liverpool’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets


Liverpool have had a very strange season. Their performance in the league has been very terrible and they ended the season in eight position behind their Merseyside rivals Everton. However, their performances in the cups have been very impressive, as they won the Carling Cup and reached the finals of the FA Cup.

This summer, big changes have been made at Liverpool. A new management is in place along with a new head coach. Kenny Dalglish was shown the door after a poor season and he was replaced by the impressive young Brendan Rodgers. No new players have arrived at Anfield so far this summer but the Reds’ squad has been boosted by the returns of Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani from their season-long loans.

HUGO LLORIS – LYON (GOALKEEPER)

There have been doubts raised over the future of Pepe Reina in the past couple of weeks. Reina has attracted some interest from Italy and has been linked with the likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan. Lloris is seen as a possible replacement for Reina, if the Spaniard decides to end his stay at Anfield. The Ligue 1 club are ready to sell the France skipper for a fee around €20m, but the Reds will face competition from the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham, who are also interested in the 25-year-old stopper.

JOLEON LESCOTT – MANCHESTER CITY (DEFENDER)

Despite the England man putting in some solid performances during UEFA EURO 2012 and having a very good previous season, Roberto Mancini is reportedly considering selling the former Everton player maybe because he isn’t glamorous enough to play for Manchester City. Lescott’s availability has interested Liverpool, who face the prospect of losing either Daniel Agger or Martin Skrtel. Lescott would be more than good replacement for either of them but price tag could be a stumbling block.

RASMUS ELM – AZ ALKMAAR (MIDFIELDER)

The 24-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move to Anfield ever since the end of last season but nothing at all developed. According to some reports, the Reds have cooled down their interest in the AZ Alkmaar midfielder since the departure of Kenny Dalglish. If Liverpool do sign Swede international, he would be a good addition to the squad and will cost the Anfield club in the region of £8m.

VICTOR WANYAMA – CELTIC (MIDFIELDER)

The Kenyan international has earned rave reviews during his spell in Scotland with Celtic and has attracted interest from many top clubs from Italy, Spain, France and England. The 21-year-old who is valued around £6m-£7m arrived at Celtic Park last summer, for bargain fee of £900k from Belgian side Beerschot. The Kenyan midfielder who surely be a good signing for the future but won’t be a certain first team option and more of a cover for Lucas.

MARK DAVIES – BOLTON WANDERERS (MIDFIELDER)

According to the gossip columns, the Reds are reportedly interested in the Bolton Wanderers’ midfielder Mark Davies. The 24-year-old England U-19 international, who got relegated with the Wanderers, has also been target by Aston Villa and Newcastle United. The £5m rated midfielder would be a decent addition and increase the depth of the squad, but surely not regular first choice option.

JUAN MANUEL VARGAS – FIORENTINA (MIDFIELDER)

The 28-year-old Peruvian international has been linked with a move to Anfield a lot in the past couple of months but nothing has developed at all. Papers suggest, the Reds are still interested in Fiorentina winger, who can also play as a left back. The Serie A club value Vargas around £8m and he would really be a great addition to the Liverpool squad – keeping in mind they need a creative winger with Stewart Downing failing in his first season – but his age could count against him.

ADAM JOHNSON – MANCHESTER CITY (MIDFIELDER)

Adam Johnson is another winger Liverpool are interested in signing this summer. With Downing and Henderson both failing to deliver on the wings, so naturally strengthening the wings is Rodgers priority this summer. Johnson has fallen out of favour under Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and is looking to leave the Etihad Stadium in search of some regular first team action. The England international has attracted many Premier League clubs but he won’t come cheap as the asking price is said to be around £15m.

GASTON RAMIREZ – BOLOGNA (MIDFIELDER)

According to the reports, the Reds are set to step up their interest in the Bologna playmaker having missed on signing Gylfi Sigurdsson. The 21-year-old is an attacking central midfielder with an eye for goal and was impressive for his Serie A side during last season. Ramirez is rated around £16m by his Italian club and has attracted interest from many European clubs in the past one year with Manchester City being one of them. A chance to play alongside his Uruguayan teammates – Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates – could swing him in favour of Anfield over City.

VICTOR MOSES – WIGAN ATHLETIC (STRIKER)

Having helped Wigan Athletic survive relegation and stay in the Premier League last season, the Nigerian is ready to move to an ambitious club this summer and the Reds along with a few other Premier League clubs are interested in signing him. Moses will be a good addition to the squad but his consistency is a huge question. Liverpool are interested in signing the pacey forward but the papers in UK suggest that the former Crystal Palace man is close to signing for Chelsea.

DANIEL STURRIDGE – CHELSEA (STRIKER)

The Chelsea striker is said to be unhappy at the lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas. With Liverpool struggling for goals during last season and reliable Dutchman Dirk Kuyt leaving the club; a move to bring in some addition attacking options seems almost certain. The 22-year-old pacey forward – who can also play on the wings – will add something different to the Liverpool attack but the Reds will face some tough competition for his signature from both Tottenham and Arsenal.

DEMBA BA – NEWCASTLE UNITED (STRIKER)

With Liverpool in need of some striking reinforcement, the Newcastle United forward – Demba Ba is another name linked to the Reds this summer. The Senegal international had a fantastic start to last season and went on to score 16 goals in 36 matches in total. With the 27-year-old available for just £7m till the end of July, due to a clause in his contract, the Reds are expected to face some stiff competition from a host of Premier League clubs including the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United.

FABIO BORINI – AS ROMA (STRIKER)

Another striker linked to the Reds this summer is the former Chelsea and current AS Roma forward Fabio Borini. The 21-year-old Italy international is a known face to Rodgers having worked under him on loan at Swansea. Borini had a great time at the Liberty Stadium scoring 6 goals in 9 matches and later went on to become a hit with Roma. The young Italian, who has a £7m buyout clause in contract, will surely be a great signing for the Reds and will give the new boss with plenty of options upfront.

IntoTheTopCorner’s UEFA EURO 2012 Awards

Spain created history on Sunday night in Kiev by winning their third successive major tournament, with a dominating 4-0 win over Italy in the UEFA EURO 2012 final at the Olympic Stadium in Ukraine.

UEFA EURO 2012 has been an exciting and very competitive tournament with some tight, action-packed and mouth-watering matches.  Looking back to last 23 days’ of action, IntoTheTopCorner brings you it’s own UEFA EURO 2012 awards.

TEAM AWARDS

BEST TEAM – SPAIN

Many have criticised La Roja for being boring at times during the tournament, but when it mattered the most they turned on the style and silenced all the critics with emphatic 4-0 win in the final over Italy. Although Vicente Del Bosque’s men have not been at their best throughout the competition, they have done what is needed to win the trophy and ended the campaign with an outstanding performance in the final.

WORST TEAM – REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Some fans expected Ireland to cause some upsets or shocks in Group C, but it never happened. The team had a good blend of players but completely failed to perform when needed. They were completely out of depth and ideas. Giovanni Trapattoni’s men lost all of their three group games, conceding nine goals and scoring just one.

OVERACHIEVERS – GREECE

Most didn’t expect Greece to make it through to knockout stages from Group A, but in the end they were eliminated from the competition along with the likes of England and France. Coming into the tournament as huge outsiders to make it to the last eight, the 2004 winners stunned Russia in the last group game and then scored twice – without their inspiration skipper – against Germany in the quarter-finals.

UNDERACHIEVERS – NETHERLANDS

Group B or the “Group of Death’ was always going to be tough but everyone expected Netherlands to reach atleast the last four if not the finals. The 2010 World Cup finalists came into the Championships with virtually the same squad that was present in South Africa but yet they failed to deliver. The team showed no unity at all with every player playing for himself rather than the team. In the end, the Dutch ended at the bottom of the group with no points on the board.

WORST CHOKERS – RUSSIA

Russia came into the tournament as the favourites in Group A, and they made the best possible start with a win (4-1) and a draw (1-1) in their first two matches. With a point needed from their final group game against Greece, they were surely going through to the last eight. But they choked badly and lost 1-0 to the 2004 champions, which saw them drop down to third – from the top spot – in the group table and that meant they were going back home.

BEST MATCH – GERMANY 1-2 ITALY

Although this tournament has thrown up many great games to watch, the semi-final clash between Germany and Italy was a great game for the neutrals. Germany were the favourites to defeat Italy and progress to the finals, Mario Balotelli struck twice to give Italy a shock two goal lead in the first half. The second half had more end-to-end action and the game could have gone either way but Cesare Prandelli’s men held on to a 2-1 victory and made the final.

WORST MATCH – CROATIA 0-1 SPAIN

UEFA EURO 2012 has had very few matches which were boring or not entertaining, and the Croatia-Spain game was one of them. The final Group C game had a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs but Spain -who started the game without a striker – made it an one side affair by keeping possession with no real threat or penetration. Croatia had a couple of chances in the second half but Spain tired their opponents by keeping the ball and went on to score a late winner.

SHOCK OF THE TOURNAMENT – NETHERLANDS 0-1 DENMARK

There have been quite a few upsets throughout the tournament but this one was perhaps the biggest of them all. Everyone expected the Dutch to perform well in Poland/Ukraine but they were shocked in the first game itself. Netherlands completely dominated the possession and create a lot of chances but just failed to convert one of those chances. While on the other hand, the Danes had a very few chances but were very clinical and scored the only goal of the game in first half, which was enough in the end.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

BEST PLAYER – ANDRES INIESTA (SPAIN)

In the team loaded full of superstars, Andres Iniesta is one of the most underrated player. His control of the ball, accurate passing and deft touches lifts him way ahead of his teammates.   The Barcelona midfielder was the spark that carried his team forward. He was a constant attacking threat for the opposition and with Spain playing without a true centre-forward his penetration and positioning in the last third was very important. Completely deserves the Golden Ball award.

WORST PLAYER – ARJEN ROBBEN (NETHERLANDS)

After coming from a poor season with Bayern Munich, everyone expected Arjen Robben to show his true colors for his country in Poland/Ukraine but it didn’t happen so. The former Real Madrid and Chelsea winger was a complete failure and at times was very selfish. His behavior was no good and his worst moment came when he was substituted off against Germany. Rather than cross the pitch and complete the substitution normally, he merely stepped over the nearest touchline, ripped his shirt off and walked angrily around the side of the pitch.

BEST MANAGER – CESARE PRANDELLI (ITALY)

This one was a tough choice but the former Fiorentina boss deserves credit for his work with Italy. He dragged a team made up of players past-their-peaks and misfits all the way to the final. He did this with a combination of tactical innovation and expert man-management. Reinvented Italy as an attractive, attacking team, and showed himself to be a thorougly decent man on and off the field.

BEST YOUNG PLAYER – MARIO BALOTELLI (ITALY)

Mario Balotelli was already hyped for his on-and-off field antics prior to the tournament, but he showed his real talent and class on the field with his performances in Poland/Ukraine. The Manchester City man was not so impressive in the first two games but scored a classic volley against Ireland in the last group game and then put in a solid performance against England in the quarter-finals. His real moment came against Germany in the semi-finals, when he displayed his true talent, potential and class and also scored both the goals that helped his side reach the final.

BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE – CRISTIANO RONALDO (PORTUGAL 2-1 NETHERLANDS)

After being heavily criticsed for his below-par performances in the first two games of the tournament against Germany and Denmark, the Real Madrid man came to life when it mattered the most. In the final group game against the Netherlands, Portugal needed a win to make it through and the former Manchester United star put in a man-of-the-match performance and scored twice which ensured his side won 2-1 after the Dutch had taken an early lead.

BEST GOAL – ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC (SWEDEN 2-0 FRANCE)

With Sweden already out of the tournament with defeats to Ukraine and England in their first two games, the Scandinavians were playing for pride in their final Group D game against France. The AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic was one of the stars of the tournament and he ended his tournament in style with an acrobatic volley past keeper Hugo Lloris from the edge of the area, which helped his side to a shocking 2-0 win.

BEST PENALTY – ANDREA PIRLO (ENGLAND 0-0 (2-4P) ITALY)

With Ricardo Montolivo already having missed one of Italy’s penalty during the quarter-final penalty shoot-out against England, the Juventus playmaker Andrea Prilo stepped up to the mark. With Joe Hart jumping around and making faces to put his opponent off, the former AC Milan midfielder causally chipped his spot-kick down the middle and completely fooled the Manchester City keeper who dived to his right.

BEST SAVE – IKER CASILLAS (CROATIA 0-1 SPAIN)

May not be the best save of the tournament, but surely was the most important one. Just after the interval, Luka Modric put in a cross from the outside of his right foot, which was perfectly met by the head of Ivan Rakitic from 6 yards, but the Real Madrid and Spain skipper produced a great reflex save to deny the Sevilla man from scoring the goal which could have knocked out the defending champions in the group stages itself.

BEST GOAL CELEBRATION – MARIO BALOTELLI (GERMANY 1-2 ITALY)

Having already scored the opener against Germany in the semi-finals, Mario Balotelli rifled the second past Manuel Neuer – which turned out to be the winner in the end – before running away towards the edge of the area, taking his jersey off and showing his upper body in Hulk style.

WORST MISS – CRISTIANO RONALDO (DENMARK 2-3 PORTUGAL)

With the Denmark-Portugal game finely balanced, the Portuguese skipper Cristiano Ronaldo had a glorious chance to gives his side 3-1 lead when he was one-on-one with the Danish goalkeeper Stephen Andersen.However, very unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, he placed his effort well wide of the right-hand post.

OTHER AWARDS

HIGHLIGHT OF THE TOURNAMENT – ENTERTAINING FINAL

Everyone expected the Spain-Italy final to be a cagey affair with both teams trying to keep the possession a lot and defend, but the it was anything but that. The game was an open, end-to-end affair with Spain – as expected – dominating the game with a lot of possession, but at the same time playing some attacking football and creating a lot of goal scoring chances. Italy, on the other hand, also had chances to score but they failed to do so. In the end, as the scoreline shows the final was an entertaining affair and the defending champions completely outclassed their opponents.

LOWLIGHT OF THE TOURNAMENT – RACISM AND UEFA FINES

Despite it being a good tournament played in the right manner generally, ugly incidents of racism reared their ugly heads at times. No place for this in society or the beautiful game. Another low point of the tournament was the ridiculous fines by UEFA. Most of the racist fans of various countries were fined way less than Nicklas Bendtner for showing the sponsors on his underpants.

BEST FANS – REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Republic of Ireland didn’t give their fans much to cheer about in terms of performance or goals, but the travelling Irish fans created quite the noise at their side’s Group C games and at the same time were not involved in any trouble in and out of the stadium.

BEST TATTOO – DANIELE DE ROSSI

While most of the footballers opt to ink their wives’ or children’s names, tribal symbols or pair of angel wings on their skins, Daniele de Rossi’s road-sign design tattoo to leave his opponents in no doubt as to what is in store was by far the best tattoo and a true innovation up to which the rest of the football world show now be aiming to live.

WORST HAIRSTYLE – RAUL MIERELES

The Portugal and Chelsea midfielder’s pathetically scruffy skull-fuzz, stuck halfway between a total shave and a Mohican with the style points of neither, combine with his off-putting wall of tattoos on his whole body put him only one step away from the ‘Derelicte’ range of homeless fashion as invented by Will Ferrell’s Mugatu in ‘Zoolander’.

BIGGEST GAFFE – RUSSIA DAY CELEBRATED IN WARSAW

Biggest blunded was by the person who allowed 20,000 Russia fans to march through Warsaw to celebrate ‘Russia Day’. That’s 20,000 Russians marching through the Polish capital. What could possibly go wrong? It resulted in 183 arrests in the biggest incidence of hooliganism for decades.

Top 5 Goals Of UEFA EURO 2012

The European Championships in Poland/Ukraine have come to an end with Spain creating history by successfully defending their crown by defeating Italy 4-0 in the final. A total of 76 goals have been scored by the 16 teams that took part in the competition and here’s our pick of the top five goals.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden 2-0 France)

Sweden were already out of the tournament and were just playing for some lost pride against France in the final game in Group D. Sebastian Larsson crossed from the right for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who twisted superbly to dispatch a flying volley past Hugo Lloris from the edge of the area.

2. Sami Khedira (Germany 4-2 Greece)

The Real Madrid midfielder timed his run perfectly to meet Jerome Boateng’s cross on the volley and smash the ball past Michalis Sifakis to restore Germany’s advantage, after Georgios Samaras had shockingly equalised for Greece.

3. Mario Balotelli (Germany 1-2 Italy)

Ricardo Montolivo looked for Balotelli following a Germany corner, his ball over the top evading Philipp Lahm. The Manchester City striker sped away from his pursuers to rifle a shot into the top corner for finish every bit as emphatic as his first of the match.

4. Jakub Blaszczykowski (Poland 1-1 Russia)

Poland broke quickly down the right and Jakub Blaszczykowski cut inside Yuri Zhirkov, level with the edge of the area, and unleased a fiercely struck shot with his left boot which found the top left-hand corner.

5. Roman Pavlyuchenko (Russia 4-1 Czech Republic)

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker took just nine minutes to make his mark on UEFA EURO 2012 after coming off the substitutes’ bench. He cut in from the left-hand side of the penalty are and rifled an efford into the top left-hand corner to seal an impressive victory for his side over the Czech Republic.