Tuesday 27 September 2016

Five who starred and five who flopped at Euro 2016

Mark Mann-Bryans

Published 11/07/2016 | 11:55

Sanchez excelled at Euro 2016 but Muller flopped
Sanchez excelled at Euro 2016 but Muller flopped

Euro 2016 is over after Portugal upset hosts France to win the final in Paris.

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Here is a looks at those players who have lit up the competition and those who endured a summer to forget.

STARS

Gareth Bale - Wales

While the Real Madrid man certainly did not carry the rest of the Wales squad to the semi-finals single-handedly, he scored two signature free-kicks and the last goal in a superb 3-0 win over Russia.

Leonardo Bonucci - Italy

It is always hard for a defender to be included in such a list but Bonucci followed in the footsteps of the likes of Fabio Cannavaro and Paolo Maldini in drawing the plaudits for a superb showing, scoring the equaliser in the quarter-finals against Germany from the penalty spot only to see Italy beaten in an epic shoot-out after the 1-1 draw.

Antoine Griezmann - France

The first man since compatriot Michel Platini to score five or more goals in a European Championship tournament, the Atletico Madrid hitman put in some fine displays for the hosts but had a final to forget, missing a glorious headed chance from close range in the second half after an earlier looping header was helped over the bar by Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio. Finished as Euro 2016's top scorer with six goals.

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Dimitri Payet - France

Following a fantastic first season in the Premier League with West Ham, Payet went into the tournament as a fixture in the home side. He scored a last-gasp winner in the tournament opener against Romania to set the tone for Didier Deschamps' men and struck again, this time in the sixth minute of injury time, against Albania before adding his third of the tournament in the quarter-final win over Iceland.

Renato Sanches - Portugal

Sanches signed for Bayern Munich ahead of the tournament and the 18-year-old has shown why the Bundesliga giants have made such an investment. Although he only made cameo appearances from the bench in the group stages, the former Benfica midfielder was named man of the match after scoring and playing all 120 minutes in the quarter-final penalty shoot-out victory over Poland.

FLOPS

Joe Hart - England

Went into the tournament as Roy Hodgson's undisputed number one but the Manchester City goalkeeper did not cover himself in glory, allowing a Bale free-kick to beat him from long range and then being at fault for Iceland's winning goal in the round of 16 as Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's effort passed through his hands.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Sweden

Fresh from a Ligue 1 campaign where he scored 38 goals, the self-proclaimed legend departed Paris St Germain and looked to lead Sweden to the latter stages of the Euros. Instead he captained the side to just one point, with the 34-year-old not scoring and having just one shot on target as Sweden crashed out at the group stage. International retirement and a move to Manchester United followed.

Thomas Muller - Germany

The Bayern Munich forward has scored 10 World Cup goals during his career but is still to find the back of the net in a European finals. And he was found wanting again when his country needed his goalscoring prowess, missing some good chances, including a penalty in the shoot-out victory against Italy, and failing to lead the line with any success in the semi-final defeat to France.

Raheem Sterling - England

The winger seemingly had the world at his feet after a near-£50million move to Manchester City last summer but the former Liverpool man suffered a stuttering season, following it up with a shocking Euros. Other than earning the penalty in the defeat to Iceland after a shock recall to the starting XI, the 21-year-old's performances were that ordinary he was jeered by some England fans as well as being targeted on social media.

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Simone Zaza - Italy

Zaza was brought on by Italy coach Antonio Conte in the dying moments of extra-time in the quarter-final against Germany, apparently with the sole purpose of taking a spot-kick in the imminent shoot-out. However, he spectacularly failed in his only job, rounding off a peculiar stuttering run-up with a shot which sailed high over the crossbar and led to instant - and inevitable - mockery and memes across social media. His wasn't the only miss in a crazy shoot-out, but it was by far the most flamboyant failure.

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