ALL 16 TEAMS have now played once, so we’ve chosen a team of the top performers from the first round of games.
Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Bayern Munich’s No1 was called upon to save one of the seven shots Portugal had on target late on in Germany’s 1-0 win and made himself big to keep out subsitute Silvestre Varela. A commanding presence and one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now.
Mathieu Debuchy (France)
The 26-year-old won plaudits for his performances at Lille during the last campaign and was picked in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year. Against England, he was sound defensively and an ever-present outlet in attack. Could earn himself a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs over the next couple of weeks.
Mats Hummels (Germany)
Like so many of Borussia Dortmund’s title-winning team, Hummels is one of those players people are raving about at the moment and on his Euro debut, the centre half excelled at the heart of Germany’s defence.
Daniel Agger (Denmark)
Alongside Roma’s Simon Kjaer, Liverpool defender Daniel Agger put in an excellent shift in the shock result of Round 1. Although the Dutch did have a number of chances to score, they would have had a whole lot more had it not been for Agger.
Jordi Alba (Spain)
Supposedly Barcelona are close to signing the Valencia full-back who has made the left-side of the Spanish defence his own in recent times. A good reader of the game and quick off the mark too, you can see him fitting in well at Barca.
Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
When Pirlo was offloaded by AC Milan last year, some predicted the end was near for one of the best passers of a ball Italian football has seen in years. He played a major role in Juve’s Serie A win and wasn’t showing his 33 years against the European and world champions on Saturday. A joy to watch.
Luka Modric (Croatia)
Was always expected to be the main man against Ireland and neither Glenn Whelan nor Keith Andrews could get near the little Spurs schemer. Despite claims that he may not be fully fit, the Spurs midfielder was outstanding on a bitterly disappointing night in Poznan.
Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Vincente Del Bosque opted to start without a recognised striker for their Group C opener with Italy and Iniesta, along with David Silva and Cesc Fabregas, was tasked with infiltrating the Azzurri backline. The World Cup-winning goalscorer is clearly a man for the big occasions and was a constant threat to Cesare Prandelli’s men.
Andrei Arshavin (Russia)
Euro 2008 was where the Russian captain made a name for himself on the European stage and, four years on, Arshavin has returned from the wilderness to lead this team to a 4-1 win over the Czech Republic on the opening night. Emerging talent Alan Dzagoev came away with two goals to his name, but Arshavin ran the show.
Mario Mandzukic (Croatia)
It took the Wolfsburg frontman just three minutes to find the back of the net against a team who came into the tournament with 11 clean sheets and an unbeaten run of 14 games. A commanding, physical presence, Mandzukic also headed in Croatia’s third, although it did hit the post and come off Shay Given on the way over the line.
Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
What a moment it was for the former AC Milan legendary striker. Not only did he score the equaliser with a superb run and header in front of his home fans in Kiev, Shevchenko beat Ibrahimovic at the front post to grab the winner for the tournament co-hosts.
Nobody gave them a hope against the Dutch but they’ve blown the ‘Group of Death’ wide open with that 1-0 win.
Cesare Prandelli (Italy)
Takes off the ineffective Balotelli for Antonio Di Natale, who scores with his first touch. Also, despite the cloud of controversy that has been hanging over the Italian camp over the past few weeks, got his team to perform against the Spanish.
Brian Kerr (RTE)
Wasn’t always a big fan of his commentating style but have grown to appreciate the former Ireland manager. Well-informed and insightful… plus his pronunciation of some of the names is priceless!
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