With just three games of the 2016 European Championships to go, now seems like a good time to sit back, stroke the old chin and select the best 11 players from the tournament.
That’s right, it’s Best XI time.
With Germany and France looking incredibly strong, the majority of the team comes from them but Wales is also well represented and so is Italy despite their heart-breaking exit at the quarterfinal stage on penalty kicks.
Below is my team of EURO 2016.
Any complaints with this? Let me know in the comments section below.
JPW’s Best XI at EURO 2016
— Buffon —
— Bonucci — Sigurdsson — Pepe —
— Payet — Kroos — Ramsey — Ozil —
— Bale — Pelle — Griezmann —
In goal the likes of David De Gea, Hugo Lloris, Michael McGovern and Manuel Neuer had their moments but Gianluigi Buffon was a monster between the posts for Italy and held their solid defensive unit together.
In defense I am going with the now very trendy system of having three central defenders. Ashley Williams of Wales can count himself very unlucky at not being included, but I’ve gone for Leonardo Bonucci who has been sublime for Italy. Ragnar Sigurdsson impressed for Iceland throughout and Pepe has been a rock for Portugal as they’ve battled to the semifinals.
Midfield sees a mixture of playmaking and substance with the remarkable Toni Kroos dominating games on his own. Mesut Ozil has missed penalty kicks but in the run of play he’s unlocked defenses and come up with big goals. Dimitri Payet has three goals to his name and has been a revelation for free-flowing France and Aaron Ramsey has been an inspiration in midfield and the heartbeat of Wales’ run to the final four.
Up top I could’ve gone for Olivier Giroud but one big man who has really impressed me — not just for his two goals against Belgium and Spain but for his all-round play — is Italy’s Graziano Pelle. He would win the knockdowns and then Gareth Bale and Antoinze Griezmann would run at the opponents defense. Not bad, eh? Bale has been unselfish but deadly for Wales and Griezmann’s pace and killer instincts see him lead the tournament in goals (4) with the hosts now relying on him.