Euro 2012: Who Makes Your ‘Team Of Round One’?

Chris Wright

12th, June 2012


By Chris Wright

It’s gone by in the wink of an eye, but with Ukraine’s win over Sweden last night bought the opening round of group games at Euro 2012 to a close.

Here’s our select XI from the first eight games…

GK – Przemyslaw Tyton (Poland): Coming on to replace the red-carded No. 1 and then keeping the resultant penalty out with your first touch? That’s what’s known in the business as ‘pretty sweet’.

RB – Matheiu Debuchy (France): Debuchy’s been earning plaudits all season at Lille and it was immediately apparent why. A fashionable raiding full-back who is almost certain to land himself some fancy shcmancy new employers after the tournament.

CB –  Mats Hummels (Germany): This guy is good, in fact we’ll even stretch to ‘damn good’. He’s come under a little criticism for being yet to really reproduce his regal Dortmund form for Die Mannschaft, but his stellar performance at the back against Portugal t’other night was a huge step in the right direction.

CB –  Joleon Lescott (England): People worry about Lescott, principally because he comes off as being a bit timid, but he was a colossus at the back for England against France – especially as things became increasingly fraught towards the end. Scoring his country’s first goal at a major tournament was also a nice touch.

LB – Sebastian Boenisch (Poland):  As with Debuchy, versatile full-back Boenisch did most of his best work yomping forward, overlapping his winger all afternoon, providing wide support and looking like an all-round decent prospect. His work rate was high and unfaltering.

MF – Daniele De Rossi (Italy): We’re cheating slightly as he actually played as an ever-so-slightly advanced centre-half against Spain, but De Rossi was brilliant doing what he does best – making things bloody horrible for the opposition. The odd sleeves were a bit puzzling though.

MF – Wesley Sneijder (Holland): Kept on putting things on silver platters for his strikers, only to see chances spurned like chance-spurning was going out of fashion. This pass was a thing of pure, untainted beauty.

MF – Andres Iniesta (Spain): The best player on the pitch by a googoltrillion miles during Spain’s 1-1 draw with Italy.

FW – Andrey Arshavin (Russia): The best we’ve seen him play for years, Arshavin was pulling strings all night in Russia’s 4-1 thumping of the Czech Republic – angling cute through-balls hither and thither for others to profit from. Wonderful to watch and just pips two-goal Alan Dzagoev to the punch.

FW –  Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden): Nuts to those (largely English meeja types) who continue to dismiss Zlatan’s ability – he was immense against Ukraine in his new deeper-than-usual role for the national side. Stronger than adamantium-reinforced concrete, he never lost possession once, even when it was being played in to him at neck-height – though we’ll conveniently choose to overlook the lashed shot that screwed out for a throw-in.

FW – Andrey Shevchenko (Ukraine): With a partisan crowd ebbing him on, Ukraine’s national sporting idol defied his creaky knees to score two spectacularly good headers and win the host nation’s opening game. A galloping hero with the dewy, mournful eyes of a Labrador puppy.

Right. That’s us done, now it’s your turn…

Posted in Euro 2012, Featured, Opinion, Photos, Top 10s & lists

Share this article: Email


  1. Conor says:

    Modric and Dzagoev are both pretty unlucky to miss out IMO but this is a pretty tight list. I also thought Simon Kjaer was immense against the Dutch but Lescott and Hummel seems fair.

  2. scotspur says:

    Boenisch as LB? i thought he lost possession often when bumbling forward and was caught out many times.
    i’d push for martin olson, maybe simon poulsen, possible lahm (naturally)

  3. Anand Viswanathan says:

    Alan Dzagoev instead of Ibra for me.

    Rest of the lineup seems fine

  4. Bakes says:

    Boenisch? And no Agger/Kjaer? Scandalous.

  5. Nuno says:

    That picture of Iniesta is just great!
    But… no Balotelli or Torres? For shame Chris…

  6. Jarren says:

    Haha yeah, that picture of Iniesta is amazing.

  7. Meldeath says:

    Though I’m Polish and it’s nice to see players of my national team included in teams like those, I’m really really really (insert as many ‘really’s as you wish) confused as to why Boenisch figures here at LB. I think he was actually one of the worst performers for the Polish side – wasn’t too sure in his tackles, left too much space on the flank, and to top it off Greece’s goal wouldn’t have been there had Boenisch done his job better.

  8. Chris says:

    @Meldeath, Bakes, Scotspur: First things first; remember, this isn’t a team of the tournament we’re talking about – just XI players who impressed me during the first eight games.

    While he may not have been the best on show (Coentrao would be a good shout there), personally, of all the LBs on show in the first round of games, Boenisch IMPRESSED me the most.

  9. Fredmeister says:

    I thought lescott was alright, but he humped way too much possession away. At one point we’d had the ball for about 2 minutes, the frogs were just starting to over commit in the pressing, and he blasted an aimless long ball straight to their keeper. Great at the back tho.

  10. PolePosition says:

    LB for Boenisch? Please watch second half again.

  11. Benjamin says:

    Dzagoev instead of Zlatan and Shevva in the middle.

  12. Toz says:

    Dzagoev misses the list and you have Ibra in there? Surely this is a piss take.

  13. Toz says:

    Balotelli? The man wasted a perfectly good chance by walking it in and letting Spain get back. Not to mention he didn’t even pass it when he could have had the chance. Wasteful and a an even bigger prick than I made him out to be, his punching of the ground was childish and downright stupid.

  14. Wesley says:

    Dzagoev should be in, Boenish was horrible, I myself was positively surprised by the performance of our 18yr old Dutch left back Willems. Great passing all game, no defensive errors. First official match ever.
    And just because he made two goals with his head (does he ever miss like that??) Mandzukic next to the other header master Shevchenko up front.

  15. David T says:

    Agger? Pirlo? I thought Boesnich was crap personally.

  16. The Belgian says:

    I’d choose De Rossi as a CB instead of Lescott and Pirlo in De Rossi’s spot in midfield, but that’s debatable.
    I just completely disagree on Boenisch. He was good going forward, but when he tracked back, he was absolutely horrible in defense. He got passed with ease almost every time, and if Ninis was a little bit better in crossing/finishing, Greece could’ve even had the lead at half time. Then Salpingidis came in, and the rest is history. Boenisch was Poland’s weak spot if you ask me, I’d put J. Alba or Willems over Boenisch in that XI any time.

  17. Markell says:

    Just wanted to say that the Debuchy boy looked excellent- glad to see others rate his performance as well. The rest of the side is solid, no quibbles to be had for me!

  18. Peter says:

    Boenisch = crap. Also, De Rossi played as a centreback. No Dzagoev? No Diarra? No Modric? No Kjaer?

  19. Per says:

    Debuchy – Hummels – Agger – Alba
    Dzagoev – Sneijder – Modric – Iniesta
    Mandzukic – Arshavin


  20. Bruno says:

    Coentrao has been by far the best left back in the tournament. Was brilliant against Germany.

  21. pray4muamba says:

    no one makes my team because everyone has been playing shyte football!

  22. Moxey says:

    I’d possibly include Voronin in there. He was unrecognisable from the player who was at Anfield a few years ago (and I don’t mean because he cut his hair short).

  23. gilbert says:

    Samaras Samaras Samaras Samaras

    Samaras Samaras
    Samaras Samaras

  24. Chris says:

    Andrea Pirlo probably deserves at least an honorable mention.

    He played a different style to Iniesta, but I think he was as vital and effective in his role for Italy as Iniesta was for Spain.

  25. Guff says:

    Iniesta, Sneijder & Boenisch? LOL you must be playing bingo.

Leave a Reply