Euro 2016 awards: Who makes the team of the tournament, who was the best coach, what was the best match?

11 Jul

Ian Herbert

Chief Sports Writer


XI of the tournament

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McGovern, Northern Ireland’s no 1, performed admirably (Getty)

Michael McGovern (Northern Ireland)
Self-selecting member of this XI simply because of his number of phenomenal saves. His performance against Germany will always live in the mind’s eye.

Chris Gunter (Wales)
Blended attacking wing play and strong aerial defence better than all of the supposed star names. One of the crosses of the tournament to secure third goal v Belgium.

Jerome Boateng (Germany)
So what was it that Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini didn’t see in him? Beautiful distributor of the ball and stronger than ever defensively as he matures.

Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
A rock in the Italian back line and particularly integral to the 2-0 win over Spain, in which he produced one of the best defensive displays of the tournament.

Raphael Guerreiro (Portugal)
One of the unexpected stars of France, who for a 22-year-old demonstrates immense game intelligence.

Aaron Ramsey (Wales)
The architect of Chris Coleman’s team. His vision and creativity made him the semi-finalists’ stand-out player.

Toni Kroos (Germany)
Was there a more consistently excellent passer of the ball at the tournament?  Accurate in his distribution but also ambitious, always trying to break the lines.

Dimitri Payet (France)
Such a variety of weapons to surprise and cause problems, linking by coming in off his line or else finding a shot off either foot. France could have been out in the early stages without him.

Antoine Griezmann (France) – star man
The tournament’s stand-out player, with everything: incredible pace, workrate and, of course, a clinical capacity to finish.

Mesut Ozil (Germany)
A tournament which showed him at his technical best. Virtuoso football against the Northern Irish, a game he ran single-handed at times, but brilliant passing exhibition throughout.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Provided the play-within-a-play of every game but the one without who the winners would not have been the winners. Saved the day v Hungary and drove the side on.

Team of the tournament

Wales
Joy, laughter, Ramsey, Robson-Kanu ‘Cruyffing it’, Coleman’s oratory. How much more do you need?

Coach of the tournament

Fernando Santos (Portugal)
Found a pragmatic response to a limited group of players and ended up the winner.

It was actually a good thing that England went out because…

It means that the team can start again under new management. Hodgson was shown patience and time but the muddle and fog of his management in France revealed he shortcomings of a tenure was going nowhere. He might be muddling on towards Russia now, had England made it past Iceland.

Did 24 teams work?

Totally, because the smaller nations came with verve, determination, a sense identity and blew away the self-appointed establishment’s air of entitlement. Wales made England’s air of pomposity look ridiculous.

What I will most miss about France…

The thunderclap, which we all appropriated in the end. Huh!

What I will not miss about France…

The England fans’ ‘50 German bombers’ song and Parisian Metro ticket machines that don’t work.

Most amusing moment

The lyrics of the ‘Will Griggs on Fire’ song being beamed onto the big screen and sung by 10,000 after Northern Ireland lost to Germany

Best match

Wales 3 Belgium 1

Naughty boy of the tournament

It was no joke. Russia’s striker Artem Dzyuba blamed the England media for Russian gangs beating the English to within an inch of their lives. “You were no angels”, he said.
 


Mark Ogden

Chief Football Correspondent

XI of the tournament

Hugo Lloris (France) 
France captain led from the back and produced a heroic performance in semi-final win against Germany.

Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
At 21, the midfielder was outstanding at right-back for Germany. Potentially another Philipp Lahm

James Chester (Wales)
The West Bromwich Albion centre-half emerged from Wales’ French adventure as an unsung hero, displaying exceptional reading of the game.

Ashley Williams (Wales)
Performed like a true captain for Wales, offering inspiration on and off the pitch.

Raphael Guerreiro (Portugal)
Portugal’s French-born left-back gave the country of his birth even more to be miserable about with an outstanding performance in the final.

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Dier’s displays provided some hope for England (Getty)

Eric Dier (England)
The only England player to emerge with any credit, Dier’s group performances were outstanding until a virus compromised him against Iceland.

Renato Sanches (Portugal)
Just 18 years old, Bayern Munich have snapped up a potential world-beater in the Portugal midfielder.

Toni Kroos (Germany)
 Oozed class in midfield for Germany. Controlled the tempo of every game he played.

Gareth Bale (Wales)
Stepped into true world-class status with his performances, on and off the pitch, for Wales.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Heartbreak of his injury in the final should not overshadow his match-winning performances against Wales and Hungary.

Antoine Griezmann (France) – star man
Such a classy and silky forward, with the cool and clinical touch to finish the tournament as top scorer. 

Team of the tournament 

Northern Ireland

Wales achieved a minor miracle reaching the semi-finals, but they had Gareth Bale. Northern Ireland were the true surprise package – a team without stars, but a true team moulded by a bright manager in Michael O’Neill.

Coach of the tournament

Fernando Santos (Portugal)

Portugal were dour and defensive at times, but Santos devised a plan which got the best from Ronaldo and made his team hard to brat. Proved his credentials with smart tactics and substitutions in the final.

It was actually a good thing that England went out because…

It highlighted the fault-lines which continue to compromise tournament performances – lack of certainty from the manager, square pegs in round holes and the FA and squad taking themselves too seriously. But will it ever change?

Did 24 teams work?

No. The tournament was too long, with too many tedious games sparked by a desperation to avoid defeat and stay in with a chance of third place. Sixteen teams should be the maximum – quality over quantity.

What I will most miss about France…

The weather in Nice.

What I will not miss about France

The failure of a nation to embrace the tournament. Even on final day, the apathy outweighed anticipation.

Most amusing moment

Roy Hodgson saying ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here’ at his post-resignation press conference. Amusing, but in a head-shaking, fist-biting kind of way.

Best match

Wales 3 Belgium 1
Belgium dominated for 20 minutes in Lille, but the team ethic of the Wales team swamped their individualistic opponents and led to the greatest victory in Welsh football history.

Naughty boy of the toumament

Michel Platini
The former Uefa president, and French football icon, was persona non grata at the tournament, but it was his idea to expand to 24 teams, so he deserves the naughty step just for that.
 


Jack Pitt-Brooke

Football Reporter

XI of the tournament

Hugo Lloris (France)
Would have captained France to success but was let down in the final by mistakes at the opposite end of the pitch.

Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
Proved why Pep Guardiola rates him so highly as he excelled as a right-back and right wing-back for Germany.

Pepe (Portugal)
Inspirational leadership from the back for Portugal including a titanic performance in the final.

Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
Anchored the famous Italian defence, which heroically held off Spain in the last-16, and scored a pressure penalty against Germany.

Raphael Guerreiro (Portugal)
Endless running up and down the left flank for the winners, including over 120 minutes in the final.

Toni Kroos (Germany)
Set the tempo for Germany from the base of midfield.

Aaron Ramsey (Wales)
His forward runs linked up the whole Wales team, as was apparent when he was suspended for their semi-final defeat to Portugal.

Nani (Portugal)
Portugal did not see much of the ball but they made the most of it when they did, thanks not just to Ronaldo but also the quality of Nani.

Antoine Griezmann (France) – star man
The player of the tournament, showing his amazing eye for goal, unfortunate not to end up as a champion.

Gareth Bale (Wales)
Wales’ talisman, he was not only deadly in front of goal but also ran himself into the ground for the team.

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Despite injury in the final, Ronaldo ended the tournament victorious (Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Even though he could not influence the final, it was only Ronaldo who got Portugal there, scoring a famous header against Wales in the semi-final.

Team of the tournament

Wales
For a country whose qualification was a surprise, to reach the semi-finals was as astonishing achievement. What is even more exciting is the promise of more to come.

Coach of the tournament

Fernando Santos 
Realised after the group stage that Portugal were a better counter-attacking team than possession side. Four clever wins followed as opponents struggled to break through his system.

It was good England went out because….

For their own sakes. England were so clearly nervous and anxious, especially when they chased a goal against Slovakia and Iceland, that they cannot have been enjoying themselves. Their exit was a sweet release.

Did 24 teams work?

Yes, because the eventual winners Portugal came third in their group. The new structure meant it was always going to be decided by the team who made the biggest step up between group stage and knock-outs, and that is what Portugal managed to do.

What I will most miss about France… 

The presence of fans of 24 different European countries – with only a few dishonourable exceptions – enjoying the football together peacefully. 

What I will not miss about France… 

The pre-match attempts at taking atmosphere away from the fans, with an excessively loud PA system and intrusive ‘kiss cam’, rather than letting the fans create the atmosphere themselves.

Most amusing moment

It was impossible not to smile when Ronaldo, Nani, Jose Fonte and Ricardo Carvalho danced a conga through the mixed zone at the Stade de France at about 2.30am on Sunday night.

Best match

Italy’s tactical masterclass against Spain at the Stade de France, inflicting the first European Championship defeat on Spain since 2004, was something to behold. 

Naughty boy of the tournament

Mario Goetze must be wondering what has happened to his career, as he looked rusty and out of touch for Germany, not least when he was thrown on as they tried to get back into the semi-final against France.

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