Ranking Chelsea's Players at Euro 2012 So Far
For anyone who cares more about club football than the remaining four teams, this article is for you.
With England out, it's about time to start talking about the English Premier League again. Of course, you have to watch the remaining matches, but it will be for mere pleasure.
Chelsea had a pretty respectable showing at the European championships. Seven players made their nation's roster, and for the most part, they've done Chelsea proud.
9. & 8. Gary Cahill/Frank Lampard, England
Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard were both selected for the England side, but neither were able to play due to injury.
Cahill's absence might not have been felt. Considering how good Lampard is at penalties, there's no reason to belabor the point.
7. Juan Mata, Spain
Chelsea's player of the year hasn't seen a second of the pitch at Euro 2012.
Considering Spain has five of the top 15 midfielders in the world, it's nothing to be ashamed of.
6. Raul Meireles, Portugal
Raul Meireles had a forgettable second half of the season at Chelsea, but he's been pretty solid for Portugal.
He hasn't done anything spectacular, but he has done a solid job supporting the attack. Against Spain, though, he will need to do a lot of chasing. If he remains diligent, Portugal should be able to slow La Roja down.
5. Florent Malouda, France
After the embarrassment at the 2010 World Cup, France had a lot to prove.
In their first two matches, it looked like the side could contend for the title. Then reality set in. France was horrible against Sweden and Spain, promptly being eliminated from the tournament.
Florent Malouda didn't do anything special, but he put in a solid tournament for the French.
4. Petr Cech, Czech Republic
Anyone else think it's cool that Petr Cech is from the Czech Republic?
No? You already noticed that? It's lame anyway? Whatever.
Cech had a brutal start to the tournament, getting trounced by Russia 4-1. Then Cech had an absolute howler in game two against Greece. Luckily, the Czech Republic was able to win the match and go on to win Group A.
Cech played a good game against Portugal, and it took a great goal from Cristiano Ronaldo to knock the Czechs out of the tournament.
3. Fernando Torres, Spain
Fernando Torres is a necessary piece in Spain's championship puzzle.
Spain needs a striker to stretch the field. If they don't, Portugal will be able to send their wing-backs up, and they will counterattack La Roja right out of the tournament.
For whatever reason, Vicente del Bosque has kept Fernando Llorente on the bench and Torres has only played 174 minutes in his four appearances. Spain needs a striker, and del Bosque needs to choose.
Torres has looked dangerous so far. He hasn't finished all his chances, but he's been knocking on the doorstep. If del Bosque gives him a chance, Torres could climb this list.
2. Ashley Cole, England
Forget the missed penalty. Ashley Cole makes the difficult look easy.
For over a decade now, Cole has locked down the left side of England's defense. Outside back is a thankless job, and Cole has done it year after year.
He's predominantly a defensive-minded player now, and with England dropping so deep, Cole had a tough task. He played well for his country once again, even if he wasn't rocking his classic shaved-head look.
1. John Terry, England
Mr. Chelsea had himself a pretty darn good tournament for England.
With the racist allegations against John Terry, Roy Hodgson needed to decide if the former England captain was worth the trouble. He took a chance on Terry, and Hodgson was not disappointed.
Terry was very good in each of the games, having a spectacular moment in just about all of them. His clearance off the line against Ukraine was one of the smartest pieces of football I've seen in a long time (even though the replay suggested it was a goal).
And his block against Mario Balotelli (one on one) was one of the toughest plays you'll see a defender ever make, even if Terry was the one keeping Balotelli onside. These moments demonstrate that with Terry, nothing is ever black and white.
At the same time, with Terry, you get great skill, effort and leadership. Simply put, Terry had a great tournament.