Euro 2016: Best XI of the group stage
Belgium and Ireland both struck late winners to beat Sweden and Italy respectively and qualified for the knockout stages along with Italy. Their victories drew the curtains on the group stages of Euro 2016and the tournament has so far witnessed a number of exciting and dramatic encounters with many unheralded nations like Northern Ireland and Iceland qualifying for the last 16 and much-favoured teams like Sweden,Romania, Austria and Russia being shown the door.
The final 16 have some pretty exciting encounters including the rematch of the 2012 final between Spain and Italy and Croatia’s encounter against Portugal. With a couple of days left before the commencement of the knockout stages, let’s take a look at the best XI of the tournament in the group stages.
Goalkeeper- Michael McGovern, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland did begin their campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Poland but had it not been for their goalie Michael McGovern, the margin of defeat would have been a lot worse. The 32-year old kept a clean sheet in Northern Ireland’s 2-0 win over Ukraine, denying scoring opportunities to the likes of Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka time and again.
However, the best of McGovern was to come in Northern Ireland’s final group game against World Champions where he put up an excellent performance between the sticks which included some wonderful saves from close range to deny the likes of Mueller, Gomez and Gotze from scoring.
The goalkeeper's heroics paid off as Northern Ireland qualified for the knockout stages of their first European Championship as one of the best third-placed teams.McGovern might be without a club right now but based on his performances in the Euros, clubs would really be looking forward to signing him.