Euro 2012: 10 Most Disappointing Players So Far
At Euro 2012, some of the players in this article were all set to light up the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, wow the watching world and dazzle fans across the globe with their spectacular goals and tricks.
But it hasn't worked out that way in the slightest for these players, with some losing their right to be in contention for the title of "greatest of all time," others seeing their reputations and/or transfer values plummet and the rest just confirming to the world how rubbish they really are on the big stage.
And then there are those younger ones who are simply chokers.
Here are the 10 most disappointing players at Euro 2012 so far.
Sotiris Ninis was meant to be the shining star in an otherwise lacklustre Greece team void of any bright attacking talent.
The 22-year-old Panathinaikos winger, an established part of the Greek side with 20 caps to his name, has twice been voted Greece's Young Player of the Year, and came into the tournament with the virtual promise of goals, assists and a dazzling array of skills.
Instead, he's played just one half of football, where he hit just three accurate passes from nine attempted and got dispossessed of the ball twice.
A much-hyped centre-back set to be in the middle of a £20 million transfer battle between Manchester United and FC Barcelona, Adil Rami has failed to live up to expectations at Euro 2012.
The 26-year-old Valencia defender has been helped out heavily by central partner Philippe Mexes, whose reading of the game and decisiveness has hidden Rami's major flaws—his lack of pace and positional awareness.
Such weaknesses were on show against England, and could've been exposed against Ukraine had the hosts not given up hope too soon in that match.
In the two Group D games he's played, Elm has barely made an impact whatsoever.
He has created five goalscoring chances for teammates, but they haven't been easy ones to convert. He's also offered some versatility across the midfield.
Apart from that, the 24-year-old has done nothing of any significance.
These stats alone sum up how disappointing 29-year-old Zenit St. Petersburg striker Alexander Kerzhakov has been for Russia at Euro 2012.
Two games played, 11 shots, zero goals.
Gregory Van Der Wiel
Ajax and Netherlands right-back Gregory Van Der Wiel is said to be one of the best right-sided defenders in world football.
If getting dispossessed in key areas of the pitch, getting beaten for pace by opposition wingers and offering nothing of value in either defence or attack are traits of a great defender, then certainly, at Euro 2012 at least, Van Der Wiel is one of the best.
Set to be a star for his country on their own soil at Euro 2012, Poland and Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has done nothing but disappoint.
In one of the biggest matches of his career against Greece, 22-year-old Szczesny was caught totally out of position to concede an equaliser, before destroying his team's hopes of glory by conceding a needless penalty and getting sent off.
Not exactly the type of thing you'd want from your No. 1 choice 'keeper.
Christian Eriksen was seemingly set to see his transfer value rocket at Euro 2012, with the 20-year-old Ajax playmaker poised to bring his A-game for Denmark this summer.
Instead, in two Group B games he's run around chasing shadows (and not winning any tackles or interceptions), lost possession for his team three times and offered nothing in the final third but for one accurate cross.
To point out the painfully obvious, Eriksen has not lived up to the hype at all.
Mario Gomez and Mario Mandzukic have lit up Euro 2012 with their killer instincts, clever movement and world-class finishing.
One Mario who has displayed none of those traits whatsoever is Balotelli, the enigmatic Manchester City striker who just can't, and has made no effort to, find the net at all.
This particular Mario has been far from super, and it'll now be quite a surprise if he does get a goal at this summer's tournament.
Robin Van Persie
The picture says it all.
Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie may have scored a beauty against Germany, but the misfiring forward has hardly lit up Euro 2012.
His eight shots, with just two on target, and no goals in the game against Denmark—culminating in his side's deleterious 1-0 defeat—is a highly disappointing return, given that for the Gunners this season, the 28-year-old has scored a staggering 37 goals.
No player has been more disappointing at Euro 2012 than Portugal and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
He's scored a record 60 goals in 55 games for his club this season, yet can't even convert the easiest of chances for his country.
The 27-year-old forward has had 10 shots in his two games so far at this summer's tournament, with just four on target, yielding no goals.
Add in the fact he hasn't made an assist yet or done anything of note, and the idea that he's as good as Lionel Messi seems almost laughable.
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