The First Ever MISSY (Making Interest in Soccer Soar, Y’all) Euro 2012 Awards Show!
I don’t think I mentioned it on the blog, but on our Facebook page, I had a Euro 2012 Pickem contest, which was won by, well, my wife. I promise I didn’t help her cheat. Congrats, Missy! Anyway, the reward for winning the pickem contest was having your name mentioned on the blog in conjunction with Euro 2012, blah blah blah.
Best Player in a Championship-Winning Role: Jordi Alba, Spain. It’s tough to pick one player from Spain, because pretty much the entire team are really good, and several had very good tournaments. Alba gets our vote, though, as it was his speed, his threatening runs from deep and his overall threatening play on the left wing which gave a fairly ponderous Spain attack that extra bit of sizzle they needed to win their third straight major title.
Best Player in a Non-Championship-Winning Role: Andrea Pirlo, Italy. More so than probably any player in the tournament, Pirlo willed Italy not only into the knockout stages of the competition but all the way to the final, scoring an excellent free kick against Croatia, dominating England before scoring *that* penalty kick and slicing up a previously unchallenged Germany defense in Italy’s surprise semifinal win. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the ball often enough in the final to really affect the game.
Best Player not Mentioned a lot, but Nonetheless Integral to his Team’s Success: Bruno Alves, Portugal. Most of the acclaim for Portugal was made in the direction of Cristiano Ronaldo and the team’s two fullbacks – and justifiably so – but a defense that conceded just four goals in the competition while facing four Top 10 ranked sides should get some credit, and Alves rarely made a mistake while making the penalty box a dangerous place for opposing attackers.
The “I’d Rather You All Forget I Played” Award Goes To: Samir Nasri, France. It’s true that France advanced to the quarterfinals and that Nasri scored the equalizing goal against England, however, his petulance on the field and negativity off it – including cursing a reporter in front of cameras after their loss to Spain – only served to alienate him from his teammates, the French public, and manager Laurent Blanc, who was removed from his position, probably a bit unfairly, after yet another meltdown from one of the stronger teams in the tournament.
GK – Gianluigi Buffon, Italy
D – Jordi Alba, Spain
D – Sergio Ramos, Spain
D – Pepe, Portugal
D – Joao Pereira, Portugal
M – Andrea Pirlo, Italy
M – Xabi Alonso, Spain
M – Mesut Ozil, Germany
M – Xavi, Spain
F – Fernando Torres, Spain
F – Mario Balotelli, Italy
Bench: Iker Casillas, Spain; Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal; Mats Hummels, Germany; Gerard Pique, Spain; Daniele De Rossi, Italy; Giorgios Karagounis, Greece; Fabio Coentrao, Portugal
Five Players Who Raised Their Stock
Jordi Alba, Spain; Alan Dzagoev, Russia; Joao Pereira, Portugal; Michael Krohn-Dehli, Denmark; Mario Mandzukic, Croatia
Five Players Whose Stock Dropped
Andrei Arshavin, Russia; Arjen Robben, Netherlands; Christian Eriksen, Denmark; Philippe Mexes, France; Wayne Rooney, England
Player Who Will Be THE Star at the Next Euros: Andre Schurrle, Germany