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.