UEFA Euro Cup 2012: Picking the Best XI so Far

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UEFA Euro Cup 2012: Picking the Best XI so Far
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Would Mats Hummels abysmal showing against the Italians see him designated to the bench of the ideal starting XI? If so, who would take his place? Andres Iniesta or Cristiano Ronaldo on the left-flank? Surely Xavi is in there. Right?

Here’s the ideal starting XI from the Euro 2012 thus far.

 

Goalkeeper

Iker Casillas edges out both Joe Hart and Gianluigi Buffon on account of his splendid displays thus far. He has only conceded one goal, and he was instrumental against the Portuguese, especially during the penalty shootout.

 

Defenders

Although Mats Hummels had a dismal showing against the Italians, he has been spectacular in all the other matches and therefore warrants his position.

Joining him at the center of the defence is Pepe, who has been one of the best players this tournament. He has looked sharp, made crucial interceptions and tackled efficiently—not to mention the swiftness with which he has moved the ball around.

Against Spain, too, he gave an astounding performance.

For the left-full back, it was a toss-up between Jordi Alba and Fabio Coentrao, but I think Alba just edges it for his offensive contributions. Teammate Arvalo Arbeloa joins Alba at the right, although it could also be awarded to Matthieu Debuchy of France.

 

Midfielders

Michael Steele/Getty Images

The magic formation these days seems to be 4-2-3-1, and that’s what I am going to stick with as well.

Sami Khedira has proved himself to be the motor of the team, and with Bastian Schweinsteiger sitting a bit deeper than usual, he was really shone. Throughout the tournament, he has looked full of energy  and gave another resounding performance against the Italians (although, he seemed to run out of steam after the first half).

Alongside him is of course Andrea Pirlo who warrants a position on account of his stupendous display against England alone. Against Germany too, he created space, moved the ball around and was instrumental in keeping possession.

If Steven Gerrard had not been such a non-entity against the Italians, the position in front of Pirlo would be rightfully his.

However, he was afforded too little space and could not dictate the game. Hence, Mesut Özil usurps his position. Although Özil has not been as instrumental as hoped, he has nonetheless remained a potent threat. Despite being clamped down by opposition defenders, he has been able to navigate in tight areas, push the ball wide and orchestrate the play.

Cristiano Ronaldo takes the left-attacking-midfielder position on account of his terrific displays against Holland and Czech Republic and edges out Andres Iniesta. David Silva is the designated person on the right flank.

 

Forward

The mercurial Mario Balotelli cements his position as the central forward for putting his team through to the finals. In the other games, despite having not been clinical with his finishing, he has been intelligent enough to be in the right areas. With him on form, the Italians might get past Spain.

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