Euro 2016: UEFA announce Team and Player of the tournament
Four Portugal players made the Team of the Tournament
Following the grand finale of UEFA Euro 2016 where Portugal beat France 1-0 to clinch their first ever European trophy, UEFA have announced the team of the tournament. The Player of the Tournament was also announced and it came as no surprise that tournament top scorer Antoine Griezmann took home the prize.
The best goalkeeper of the tournament was Portugal’s Rui Patricio. The goalkeeper did not top the table for the most saves over the course of the entire tournament but he did make the most crucial ones. The Sporting Clube de Portugal keeper kept out the likes of Gareth Bale in the semi-final and Antoine Griezmann in the final to ensure the Seleccao went home with the prize.
The defensive back-line sees two players each from Germany and Portugal. Jerome Boateng and Pepe form the central defensive partnership. Boateng almost saw his side get knocked out when his handball gifted Italy a penalty but made up for it in the shootout. He was a rock at the back and also made a crucial goal line clearance that has become one of the ‘saves’ of the tournament.
Pepe was not initially first choice at Real Madrid this season and was considered a player in decline. But since the turn of the year, the 33-year-old has steadily improved and was arguably the best defender at the tournament. He literally did not put a foot wrong in the final conceding zero fouls – an unnatural stat for a player of his calibre.
The full-backs voted into the team were Joshua Kimmich and Raphael Guerreiro. 21-year-old Kimmich was brought in to replace the limited Benedikt Howedes and put in fine performances for a youngster in defence. Although his mistake saw France score a second and put the game out of reach, his overall performances were lauded. As too was Guerreiro’s performances after he impressed in both defence and attack with assists and shots on goal that gave goalkeepers a scare.
The midfielders picked for the team were Germany’s Toni Kroos, Wales duo Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey. Kroos was instrumental in operating Germany’s midfield engine and, no matter who partnered him, he was the midfield general who kept the ball moving and threatened to carve open defences with his set pieces.
Wales’ Ramsey topped the assists charts with four to his name and his impact was sorely missed when he was suspended for the semi-final. Allen, too, came into his own at the Euros and circulated the ball well between defence and attack.
The forward line saw France’s Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet and Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo. Griezmann topped the goalscoring charts with six goals while Payet was Les Bleus’ key player in the group stages when the French side struggled to find their ideal lineup.
Ronaldo had his worst nightmare when he was stretchered off in the final but ultimately saw his tears of sorrow turn to joy after his side managed to win without him in extra-time. Ronaldo finished with three goals and two assists to his name.
Griezmann voted Player of the Tournament
Not many expected Griezmann to top the goalscoring charts with so many other big names in the tournament. But with a brace in two games in the knockout stages, the highlight being the two goals scored in the 2-0 semi-final win over Germany, the Atletico Madrid forward will now see his transfer value rise.
But he was obviously disappointed after losing the final, saying: “I've just lost my second final in just over a month and it sucks.” Atletico had also lost the UEFA Champions League final to derby rivals Real Madrid.
Even France coach Didier Deschamps praised Griezmann. “Antoine is a great player and we owe him a lot,” he said.
Golden Boot: Antoine Griezmann (France)
Silver Boot: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Bronze Boot: Olivier Giroud (France)
Young Player of the Tournament: Renato Sanches (Portugal)