SBI All-Euro 2008 Team


                                                                                         Photo by ISIphotos.com

With the European Champions now over, it is time to look back at the players who made the tournament one to remember.

From the daring Turks to the high-flying Russians to the dynamic Dutch, there were plenty of standout players in the tournament, but only 11 can make the Euro 2008 Best XI. Among the players who did NOT make the Best XI are Roman Pavlyuchenko (though he made himself a lot of money), Edwin Van Der Sar (close, but quarters exit hurt him) and David Villa (close, but just missed the cut).

Who did make the cut? Player of the Tournament Xavi made the squad, as did Michael Ballack, to name two.

Here are the eleven players who did make the cut:

SBI All-Euro 2008 Team






Goalkeeper– Van Der Sar had this on lock early, and Buffon was also deserving of consideration, but Casillas’ performance in the penalty shootout win in the quarters earns him this spot.

Defenders– Spain didn’t allow a goal in the knockout rounds, which is how they get two defenders on. Puyol was a beast all tournament while Sergio Ramos was his usual dynamic self (for those of you keeping track, I switched from including Ramos, to swapping him out for Marchena, to putting Ramos back in. Call me John Kerry). Zherkov made him himself some money this tournament with his showing at left back for Russia. Germany’s Per Mertesacker and Portugal’s Pepe deserved consideration as well, and yes, Giorgio Chiellini deserves mention.

Midfielders– So many to choose from here. Xavi and Senna were key to Spain’s ability to dominate in midfield. Schweinsteiger gave the German attack another gear. Snjeider was the engine in the Dutch attack while Ballack was the backbone for Germany’s push to the final. Luka Modric and Hamit Altintop also deserved consideration, as did Cesc Fabregas and Lukasz Podolski.

Forwards– As usual, the toughest to pick. Torres gets in because scoring the tournament-winning goal gets him in. Pavlyuchenko was solid all tournament and edges out teammate Arshavin, but damn if Arshavin’s first two games weren’t too tough to top (Yes, I changed my mind). David Villa finished top scorer of the tournament, but three of his four goals came in the opening match. The one team I felt bad about not having a player in from is Turkey and both Nihat Kahveki and Semih Senturk deserved consideration here.

Who did you think were the tournament’s best players? Do you agree with these picks? Feel free to share your own picks for the All-Euro 2008 team below.

  • Chris

    I would have suggested Chiellini over Puyol or Mertesacker (especially Per Mertesacker). Chiellini’s performance against Spain alone was worth earning a spot.


  • Igor

    I’m tired of people putting Zhirkov on Best XI lists. His lackadaisical defense cost Russia the tournament. He is a converted winger, and it shows. As in, he plays no defense. It’s even worse than Lahm.

    Also, Pavlyuchenko missed far too many chances, though he did score some good ones. I’m just saying that Arshavin was by far the best Russian player, and Pavlyuchenko definitely does not deserve to go ahead of him.


  • EDB

    I think zambrotta or grosso need to be in there.. Italy showed much more when they were the full backs because of the overlaps and crosses they could deliver..


  • mig22

    You know what, I have no significant arguments with your best XI! Cool.

    To quibble, I would have included Sergio Ramos and left out Ballack. I thought Ballack disappeared far too often. Ramos was very active coming forward but still managed to not give up much on defense.

    Casillas…I thought the D played so well for Spain that he didn’t have much to do in the later rounds. But he was the winning keeper and I can’t think of anyone else right now.



  • HE from NJ

    You left sergio ramos & Mertesacker out? they played a great tournament, but I guess some good players had to be left out. i like the list. what about arshavin in the midfield?


  • mig22

    Arshavin is tough to include since he played two great, great games and one poor one. Semturk I would have agreed with.


  • Ives

    I agree on Arshavin and made the change. I know the Torres pick will create a stir, but who cares? The guy did a lot of the work in so many games, including the tournament opener, and he scored the tournament winner.

    I also hear the argument against Zherkov but he stood out for me outside of the Spain matches (and let’s face it, he didn’t cost Russia those games. They were losing to Spain twice regardless).

    I did like Chiellini a lot and had to be reminded of his performance (it seems like a month since Italy were ousted). I’d give him a nod before Grosso or Zambrotta.

    In the end you could go any number of ways with the Best XI. There weren’t too many clear-cut choices. For me, Xavi, Ballack, Senna, Schweinsteiger, Snjeider and Puyol were the only locks. The other five spots could go in any direction and I wouldn’t have a problem with it.


  • mig22

    makes sense, IG. It’s always a good discussion about best 11. Van der Sar….yeah, I could see that.


  • doug

    All No Show Team for Euro 2008

    GK-Cech- Nihat will be inviting him for holidays from now until forever

    LB-Evra-not his fault as much as Domemench shouldve been the starter from day 1

    CBs-Metzelder and Mertesacker. The worst CB pairing to reach a major final ever. Think about it Germany played Poland, Austria, Croatia, Portugal, Turkey and Spain. The only “world class “striker they faced in 6 games was Torres, in a 1 striker system, who got the cup winner

    RB-Zambrotta-what Philip Lahm wil be in 7 years if he doesnt shore up defensively

    CM-Emre–Turkey needed another central creative player besides Altintop

    CM-Ambrosini–over DeRossi in game 1? Really?

    CM-Iniesta–yes they won and yes he was good, but games 1 thru 3 and the qtrs we ALL thought Cesc should be in there

    FWD-Karim Benzema–great season, bad Euros. Transfer price dropping like Jenna Jameson’s panties

    FWD–Adrian Mutu–went from hero in Fiorentina, to goat, to hero for all of Italy in the space of about 5 seconds with that penalty miss

    FWD–Luca Toni–yes 1 striker system, we know the excuses but the guy alone had 4 chances in the Italy game and didnt capitalize. We didnt get to see him ring the bell like at Allianz Arena

    Coach: Co-Managers Donadoni and Domenech


  • Joe_in_ND

    Ballack didn’t have that good of a tournament. But I like the rest of your team. Good job.


  • William the Terror

    Ives — solid picks. No complaints here.

    @Doug: very good list of tourney disappointments. Although, in fairness to Jenna Jameson, her price actually goes UP when the panties go down. Find a better metaphor or abandon your literary ambitions.


  • HomeyBoehme

    I disagree mostly with Ballacks inclusion. That said, I can’t think of anyone to go in his place so I guess he can stay there.

    I would have to say that your Torres pick is spot on. Torres definitely could have mentally checked out after being an early sub in several of the games leading up to the final. He didn’t and won the tournament with a very classy finish.


  • Josh

    How do you leave the leading scorer Villa out? Without him, I don’t think Spain makes it to the finals. So if you want to leave the forwards as they are, I think you drop Senna, and add Villa for a 3-4-3 formation. Senna was solid, and probably had a better tournament than Xavi overall, but he is a d-mid, and who cares about them šŸ™‚


  • A.S.

    What, no Philip Lahm for all-tournament? I thought he was the player of the match in the final… for Spain, at least. I want to know what happened to that guy since WC2006, where he was really good.

    In any case, player of the tournament was, for me, Marcos Senna. Xavi was good, but I thought he wasn’t always as important as Iniesta, David Silva, and Cesc in running the offense. Spain’s defense was much more impressive than I thought it would be, and Marcos Senna not only anchored the defense but linked it to those attacking midfielders so well.


  • jeremy

    I can’t agree with picking a striker for a tournament best XI based on one goal. Unless you feel like his game was extra-great throughout but just didn’t show up on the scoresheet, that’s nuts. Semih over Torres, in my opinion… He scored three crucial equalizers for his team, two of them very improbable.

    Also, I’d pick Podolski over Schweinsteiger. Each of them disappeared here and there, but Poldi fired a couple of goals and had some nice assists from the run of play… and didn’t get himself ejected for retaliation.


  • jeremy

    I should add to the Schweinsteiger issue: his set pieces in the final were uniformly awful and cost his team dearly.

    A.S. – Lahm has been the same guy the whole time: dangerous going forward, a bit of a liability at the back. Turkey and Spain just did a good job exploiting it.


  • kpugs

    That’s a decent team, and this is by no means easy. But I don’t like that I see in the media Arshavin being picked as a striker. He’s really a midfielder who can, when needed, play up top. I think he definitely deserves to be picked in the midfield for any all-tournament team, it’s almost a slight on him that I see so many people picking him as a forward.

    Not that I could do any better, of course.


  • 4now


    how Hiddink could not be manager of the tournament for anyone baffles me.


  • Michael

    Ballack played is way off the team. Not only was he ineffective (albeit slightly injured), he played the game a little “dirty”. Nothing wrong with playing hard but he had 3-4 tackles that had nothing to do with winning the ball, in my judgment.


  • Thom

    Senna was to me the top performer in this tournement. Without his hard nosed, fly paper like defensive cover in midfield Spain does not have the time to do what they did in dominating misfield possesion in every match. Player and surprize of the Euro’s to me.


  • wow

    ives that might be the craziest (i mean that in all negative ways) formation ever. ballack isnt a holding midfielder (in the same way that michael bradley isnt an attacking or transition midfielder (he’s pure defensive) – though im not going to lie a 4-1-4-1 like the italians did in world cup 2006 looks ok – drop arshavin, bump ballack up, and put in another defender. i knwo you were trying to pick the best players, but either just pick the best players regardless of position or pick an actual feasible lineup.


  • Ives

    Wow, I have no idea what you’re rambling on about. Would it make you feel better if I lined it up in a 3-4-1-2, because it can work that way as well. Name your own Best XI or move along.


  • Astan

    We shouldn’t criticise Italy too much. They were the only team that did not lose to spain. They knew they couldn’t compete with spain and played defense to the penalties. If they had won at penalties Donadoni would have looked like a genius. Against Russia and Germany Italy would have had better chances.

    Italy usually plays badly in early stages but conserves strenght. Some teams that waste too much energy early, like Holland, lose later. One of the keys to winning international tournaments is usually to conserve strenght and just do as much as necessary but not more.

    Take 2006 for example. Argentina (the best team in the tournament) played 120 minutes against Mexico in the 1/8, and then lacked strenght to beat Germany who it dominated most of the game and then lost in penalties. Germany had to go 120 minutes against Argentina and then lacked the strenght to beat Italy which had an easier match the round before. Its often a matter of who has the most gas left in the tank.


  • wow

    arshavin — villa

    schweinstager — senna — xavi — snjeider

    zhirkov — chiellini — puyol — boswinga

    real on the fence about pavlyuchenko/arshavin, and schweinstager/pdolski/nihat. arshavin disappeared against spain but i dont think they would have gotten there without him, and though villa missed the final, i dont think spain would have been there without him either. torres had a great tournament, but he wasnt as important overall for spain, though his final goal was wonderful. not having a turk on there is unacceptble, but such is life. on my bench: pavlyuchenko, nihat, ramos, torres, ballack (was germany, but i left him off because he disappeared in a few games, maybe due to injury)


  • A.S.

    “A.S. – Lahm has been the same guy the whole time: dangerous going forward, a bit of a liability at the back. Turkey and Spain just did a good job exploiting it.”

    But why is it impressive for so many when a fullback scores a goal (and/or gets an assist) going forward but gives up 3 goals in his main job protecting his own goal?

    Lahm was beaten *repeatedly* by both Spain and Turkey. Including numerous times he was one-on-one with an attacker and he was made to look foolish. Incredibly, Lahm was named to the official all tournament best 23! That’s just incredible to me. There’s no way the fact that he’s dangerous going forward makes up for how much of a liability he was in the back.


  • Street

    I disagree with the Ballack inclusion. Granted he scored an uber-ridiculus goal he was just not the catalyst that was needed for Germany. I would prefer to have any of the Turkish midfield over a slow, mistiming Ballack


  • Dylan






    That would be my top XI.


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