- 30 Jun 08, 04:58 PM
My colleague Saj Chowdhury has done a bit of a straw poll in the office and here is our(unofficial) team of Euro 2008.
You can see how it compares to the official team here.
Fernando Torres was your star of the final in Player Rater and deservedly so after winning the cup for Spain.
But his two goals in the tournament weren't enough to get him into our overall team. Have we got it right or have we dropped the ball?
Gianluigi Buffon was one of the stars in a defensive-minded Italian team. The superb penalty save from Romania's Adrian Mutu gave the Italians a lifeline in the competition and he also produced another remarkable save from France's Karim Benzema.
Spain's Iker Casillas was the star of the show against the Italians in the quarter-finals, saving two penalties. Turkey's Volkan Demirel was an imposing figure and made two great saves from Swiss pair Ricardo Cabanas and Gökhan Inler and one from Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.
The right-back slot goes to Sergio Ramos, who covered as much of the pitch as team-mate Marcos Senna in the final and was playing out of position during the tournament.
The centre-back pairing consists of Italy's Giorgio Chiellini, for his consistency and outstanding performance against Spain, and Carlos Marchena, who was a leader at the back for Spain.
The left-back slot goes to Giovanni van Bronckhorst, whose energy levels were extraordinary. His best performance came in the opening game against Italy when he scored and then created a goal, joining two swift counter-attacking moves.
Portugal's Pepe, full-backs Philipp Lahm of Germany and Spain's Joan Capdevila were all on the fringes of our select XI and were great examples of defenders who are also effective at the other end of the field.
Spain's Andres Iniesta can play either left or right wing so we've put him on the right. In any case, he had to be included. His fleetness of foot and deft touch was a joy to behold and was at the centre of everything good about his side's forays forward.
The central midfield slots go to Spain's Marcos Senna and Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder. BBC Match of the Day analyst Martin O'Neill made Senna his player of the tournament and understandably so. He allowed the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, David Silva and Cesc Fabregas to strut their stuff further upfield and provided the link between defence and attack.
Sneijder, who worked across the middle, finally showed his true worth on the world stage as the engine of a powerful Dutch midfield. His sublime flick against Italy, followed by a wondrous strike against France, will live in the memories of fans for a long time to come.
And last but not least, Turkey's Arda Turan takes the left spot. The 21-year-old for Galatasaray was one of the stars of the tournament - scoring a spectacular winner against the Swiss, finding the net against the Czechs to start a Turkey fightback and scoring in the shoot-out against Croatia.
Czech Republic's Libor Sionko, Croatia's Ivan Rakitic and the German pair of Torsten Frings and Michael Ballack are all worthy of a shout because of their consistent, high-level performances.
What both Spain's David Villa and Russia's Andrei Arshavin have is a turn of pace and a lot of guile. Villa was expected to play second fiddle to strike partner Fernando Torres but instead he became the tournament's top scorer, opening his account with a hat-trick against Russia.
The much-talked about Arshavin was suspended for the first two group games but was simply scintillating when he returned to the first team, injecting some much needed vitality. His best performance came against the free-scoring Dutch when he scored and provided an assist during the 3-1 win.
Netherlands' Ruud van Nistelrooy, Russia's Roman Pavlyuchenko and Turkey's Nihat Kahveci all had their moments in the spotlight and leave the tournament with their heads held high.
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