Euro 2016 : Not so Good 11

As it is with everything in life; you must have the Good, the Bad and obviously for good measure the Ugly; in as much as we have praised those that lit up the Euros; we have to give some form of recognition to those that did not cover themselves in glory.

Just like our tournament’s best eleven, our not so good eleven would line up in a 4-3-3 formation as follows:

Kiraly

Gabor Kiraly (Goal Keeper- Hungary)

If not for anything, for his choice goal keeper’s apparel.

Kieran Clark (Right Back – Ireland)

Relegation type performance especially when you add the own goal against Sweden.

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David Alaba (Left Back- Austria)

Dude, you are a full back, snap out of it; you can’t be Maradona.

Martin Skrtel (Center Back – Slovakia)

Lived on the edge through out the tournament.

Wales v Belgium - EURO 2016 - Quarter Final

Jason Denayer (Center Back – Belgium)

He was given a rerun of his past and a glimpse into his future by Wales’ Robson Kanu.

wilshere

Jack Wilshere (Midfielder – England)

Had absolutely no business at Euro 2016 and it showed.

Lorik Cana (Midfielder – Albania)

Early Bath for the first red card of Euro 2016 in Albania’s first ever match at any major International competition.

Adan Turan (Midfielder – Turkey)

Not a good outing for Turkey’s top performer of many years

Martial

Anthony Martial (Left Wing Forward – France)

Put every foot wrong all the time he was called upon.

Raheem Sterling  (Right Wing Forward – England)

I was not disappointed at all.

Harry Kane (Center Forward – England)

When you are designated to take the team’s set pieces; you should know, something is just not right.

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson (Managerial Muppet of the Euros – England)

Contingent/Squad selection wrong, match day team selection and substitutions all wrong. Absolute Muppet.

 

Euro 2016- Team of the Tournament

As the curtains come down on another one month of a show piece football event; we have been wowed by the performances of some players, whilst we may have had those that failed to live up to the billing or the hype; these eleven plus manager are our standout performers from Euro 2016. As always i expect to have different views with respect to this selection; but you must admit; Portugal’s victory, the heroics of Wales, the fairy tale of Iceland and the capitulation of France at the final hurdle tilted my choices a little bit.

The Selection will assemble in a 4-3-3 formation as follows:

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Rui Patricio (Goal Keeper- Portugal)

The last line of defense in a dogged Portuguese defensive line and set up; very integral to Portugal’s European conquest.

Joshua Kimmich

Joshua Kimmich (Right Back- Germany)

Steady, Solid and never afraid to venture forward; one of the best youngsters to grace the tournament; in him, Jonas Hector and Jonathan Tah; Germany have a defensive structure that can serve them for many years to come.

Raphael Guererro

Raphael Guerreiro (Left Back-Portugal)

He has been a joy to watch all through the tournament; it is quite clear why Dortmund decided to spend 12 Million Euros on him quickly before the bigger European sharks come calling on the strength of his Euros performance.

Leonardo Bonucci (Center Back – Italy)

A keen eye for a pass, solid and dependable on the ball, very efficient in tackles and interceptions; Juventus have a huge job on their hands trying to keep him.

Pepe (Center Back – Portugal)

Forget his irritating antics; he is a damn good defender; little surprise he was named man of the match in Portugal’s finals victory against the French.

Joao Mario

Joao Mario (Central Midfielder – Portugal)

Solid, all round midfielder with a very good engine; a true midfield workaholic. A strong component of the Portuguese midfield along with Adrien Silva that provided the foundations on which Portugal’s success is built.

Toni Kroos (Central Midfielder – Germany)

Probably Germany’s best player at this Euros, will be remain an integral part of the German Machine’s future.

Aaron Ramsey (Central Midfielder – Wales)

I do know I would get plenty of stick for his inclusion, but you can’t take anything away from his influence on that resilient Welsh side. Little wonder what may have been if he took part in the Semi Final clash against Portugal; also special recognition for Joe Allen, for his performances in the Welsh Midfield.

bale

Gareth Bale (Right Wing Forward – Wales)

The only true world class player in the Wales team, he led by example and played his part in a remarkable adventure for the Welsh.

Cristano Ronaldo (Left Wing Forward – Portugal)

Legendary status confirmed, another Ballon D’Or confirmed; the debate on him and Messi takes another twist with Portugal’s success at the Euros. Can he be mentioned among the greats now?

Antoine Griezmann (Center Forward -France)

Two big finals disappointments in one season, I doubt the Golden Boot can console him in anyway. He has had a great season with Atletico Madrid and had a great tournament with France.

Fernando Santos

Fernando Santos (Manager – Portugal)

Tactically astute and meticulous; his attention to detail and the changes made game in, game out as the tournament progressed; ensured Portugal got better as the tournament continued.

 

*** Special Mention for Gigi Buffon, Granit Xhaka, Ivan Perisic, N’kolo Kante, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Marek Hamsik, Laurent Koscielny, Andreas Iniesta, Kevin De Bruyne, Radja Nainggolan, Olivier Giroud, Alvaro Morata and Antonio Conte

 

** Selection material Courtesy Line Up 11 App

EURO 2016: My Final Predictions

It all began on the 10th of June, with host nation France kicking off proceedings against Romania at the Stade de France. The newly introduced 24 team format which saw a lot of cagey and tentative encounters during the group stages burst to life as the tournament progressed into the knock out phase with the likes of Wales putting up inspiring performances and the tiny country of Iceland having a fairy-tale beyond the group stages.

A total of 110 goals have been scored thus far with top marks man Antoinne Griezmann leading the golden boot race with 6 goals, We are now down to one game, the all-important final game and it is between the host nation France who have won the last two major tournaments that they hosted battling it out with a team who has never won a major tournament in their footballing history, Portugal.

Saturday, 10th July

Portugal vs France- Stade de France (Paris)

It has been an amazing run for the Fernando Santos led team, from barely going past the group stages to not winning in 90 minutes in 5 games, and then a convincing win over Wales at the semi-final stage, the team has lived up to the hype. Ranked as far outsiders before the tournament and parading the likes of the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo, top players like Nani, Pepe, Moutinho and young sensation Sanches, the team has proven that this generation of stars clearly want to break that jinx for the nation.

A lot of credit has to go to Fernando Santos who has had to adjust his defence almost at every stage, also had to tweak his midfield seeking the right mix for every game, he has built a strong compact team that even when it is not scoring goals, it is equally not conceding, he would however be hopeful that Pepe is fully fit to regain his place in the starting XI.

For the French, Didier Deschamps has had a stable squad, naming an unchanged team for the last two games, the players all have a clean bill of health and expectations are high as the fans believe that this is their year once again.

ronaldo

The two sides have met in the past in 1984 and 2000, with France coming out victors on both occasion and also going on to be crowned champions. The French are yet again favorites to win this game and would rely on the brilliance of dynamic forward Griezmann yet again, Ronaldo on the other hand will feel this is his best chance at immortality with a 10th Euro goal and a first trophy for his National team on the cards, which will add plenty gloss to his already illustrious career.

 

This is one game that I feel will not be as clear cut as many would expect, the French showed against Germany that they can take their chances whilst at the same time, leave spaces open in the defence which the Germans failed to exploit, the very organised Portuguese team will pose a different kind of problem to Deschamp’s boys and it may take more than 90 minutes for a winner to be determined yet again.

Prediction: My heart says Portugal, but my head says France. The French to edge this.

EURO 2016: My Semi- final Predictions

Well, Well, Well; here I am again putting my name and reputation on the line and for some reason I think I have earned a bit of a right to have a little chip on my shoulders. The numbers don’t lie, do they? 75% accuracy in predictions is no small feat from the Round of 16 to the Quarter Finals; I have done well; now i am aiming for 100% with three games left till the presentation of the Holy Grail of European football.

Here’s my Preview of the Semi Finals along with my predictions:

Wednesday 6th July
Wales Vs Portugal- Lyon

It is now down to just four teams and whilst many prior to the first ball being kicked in June could have predicted that the Portuguese team could get this far, very few gave the Welsh any chance of going beyond the group stages. Not only have they however made it thus far, they have done so even in a more convincing manner with some exciting football from the likes of captain; Ashley Williams; star performer; Gareth Bale, free agent Robson Kanu and Aaron Ramsey who would sadly miss today’s game due to suspension.

bale
A lot has been said about the fact that the Portuguese team despite parading an exciting bunch of players are yet to win a game inside 90 minutes, barely scathing through the group stages, needing a 117th extra time winner to see past Croatia and only getting past Poland in the quarter final via penalties. This game has been largely hyped as the battle of the Galaticos, Cristiano Ronaldo versus Gareth Bale, that is the advertising sub-plot but as we have seen in most of the matches at this tourney thus far, both may not even play much of a role as the Welsh have formed a unit where even if their star player is not on form, the likes of Joe Allen, Andy King who likely replaces Ramsey and Robson Kanu keep the spirit of the team going. For the Portuguese, we have seen flashes of brilliance from the likes of Nani and young Sanches who convinced on his first start, Jose Fonte will be hoping his partner at the back Pepe is passed fit to start today after an injury scare as their fans will not like to see veteran Ricardo Calvarho up against lighting quick Gareth Bale.

ronaldo
This is a game where Portugal go in as the bookmaker’s favourites, but the Welsh have gained enough confidence thus far to actually believe they can win it. There is also the place of the ‘12 year’ rule, which saw outsiders Denmark win at the 92 edition and Greece repeating the act in 2004, is this to be the year of another dark-horse? The Welsh will surely be rooting for that. I expect a close but interesting game, where the Portuguese organisation will be well tested and the star duo will be playing with a point to prove.
Prediction: Portugal to edge this.

Thursday 7th July
Germany Vs France – Marseille
This is probably a game that would have been befitting of the finals. Hosts France up against World cup champions Germany, the Germans will go into this game having managed to survive the Italians who were one of the most compact and organised team at this tourney, but their penalty victory has come at the expense of losing key players like Mario Gomez, Sami Khedira both injured, Matt Hummels suspended and Bastian Schweinsteiger doubtful, these are positions that Joachim Low will be having sleepless nights finding replacements for.

low bastian
The French on the other hand had it easy in their quarter final game against Iceland finishing the game as early as the first half with a 4-0 lead, which allowed them to rest some key players in the 2nd 45, even though concerns remain about their defense.

payet
The Germans are slight favourites at this stage because of their antecedents at major competitions, whilst the French have the support of their home fans as they are just one step away from the finals. It promises to be another keenly contested encounter with the likes of tournament leading scorer Antoine Griezmann seeking to add to his tally but it will take more than individual effort to pass beyond the much disciplined German machine.

Prediction: May go into extra-time, the Germans should win this