Euro 2016: Best XI from the semi-finals
After 50 games over the past month, we finally have the two finalists for UEFA Euro 2016. Portugal will take on the hosts France in Paris on 10 July, Sunday, as the world waits to see a new Euro champion.
Portugal made short work of Wales with a 2-0 win thanks to the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo while France knocked Germany out – one of the pre-tournament favourites and world champions – with a similar scoreline. This is the third time Les Bleus play a major tournament final on home soil. They had reached the final of Euro 1984 and the 1998 World Cup, winning both.
The two semi-finals were contrasting in nature but the game between Germany and France was arguably the best of the tournament so far. But both semis saw some fine performances and we tried to put them into a playing XI.
The position between the sticks was a toss-up between Portugal’s Rui Patricio and France’s Hugo Lloris – both of whom kept clean sheets in their respective semi-finals. However, it would be unfair to pick Lloris over Patricio based on their individual performances.
Make no mistake; although France won 2-0 on the night, it was Germany who dominated the game. France simply capitalised on two individual errors and made them count. But not before Lloris was tested time and again by the Germans.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker was beaten a couple of times and was lucky to see shots miss by mere inches or come off the woodwork. On the other hand, Rui Patricio was well in control of shots that were on target. He looked composed, never spilled the ball and denied a frustrated Gareth Bale many times when the Welsh forward took shots from distance.