My all-Euro 2008 team

It’s been only two weeks since the final of Euro 2008, and already clubs are gearing up for the 2008-09 European soccer season. Everton kicked off its pre-season yesterday with a 0-1 loss to a Swiss club.

Before Euro 2008 fades from memory, I thought I should put up my select 23 man squad for the tournament.

Here are the starters:

Casillas — Spain
S. Ramos — Spain
Van Bronckhorst — Holland
Pepe — Portugal
Simunic — Croatia
Senna — Spain
Sneijder — Holland
Xavi — Spain
Deco — Portugal
Pavluchenko — Russia
Villa — Spain

And the reserves:

Buffon — Italy
Boruc — Poland
Zhirkov — Russia
Prodl — Austria
Puyol — Spain
Hamit Altintop — Turkey
De Rossi — Italy
Schweinsteiger — Germany
Arda Turan — Turkey
Podolski — Germany
Arshavin — Russia
Van Nistelrooy — Holland

Player of the tourament — Senna
Runners-up — Sneijder and Deco

Notice the absence of the super-stars one would have expected to dominate the tournament — Torres, Ballack, Ronaldo, Pirlo, Ribery, and Ibrahamovic. Of this group, only Ballack consistently appeared on the other lists I’ve seen.

It’s not that any of these players was poor. To the contrary, all had very good tournaments, although some of them under-performed by their standards. It’s just that so many lesser stars, and a few relative unknowns, excelled. And that was a major reason why the tournament was such a pleasure to watch.

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