Euro 2016 team of the group stage: Who features in Coral’s all-star XI?
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | June 23, 2016
With the Euro 2016 group stage at an end, Coral’s football experts reflect on who has performed well?
Check out our choices for this all-star XI from the tournament so far:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Bayern Munich shot stopper Neuer hasn’t let a goal in at Euro 2016 so far, yet has been called upon to make some fantastic saves. Although overshadowed by opposite Northern Ireland number Michael McGovern when last seen in action, there’s no arguing with three consecutive clean sheets.
Right Back: Thomas Meunier (Belgium)
You wouldn’t think a full back could exert that much influence over a team as star-studded as Belgium, but Marc Wilmots’ men haven’t conceded since he was drafted in following an opening group game loss.
Assists from the flanks of defence have proved something of a novelty thus far at Euro 2016, but Club Brugge player Meunier has one as well as two clean sheets to his credit.
Centre Back: Kamil Glik (Poland)
Torino captain Glik isn’t half playing himself into the shop window with some dogged defensive displays in Group C. Although Robert Lewandowski leads the Poles, it’s up to this bruising centre back to marshal the rearguard. The Polish came through their pool without conceding.
Centre Back: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
Antonio Conte’s Azzurri were faultless at the back until the manager rested for Juventus charge Chiellini, who has two shut-outs from as many appearance at Euro 2016. Leonardo Bonucci is unlucky to miss out, but was part of a backline was breached by the Republic of Ireland in a match that admittedly meant more to them than Italy.
Left Back: Jordi Alba (Spain)
What an attacking outlet from full back Barcelona’s Alba remains. With his La Roja teammates often tucking in or cutting inside, forays forward from defence are a hallmark of the Euro holders’ style under Vicente del Bosque.
Alba’s incredible engine means he has helped Spain keep two clean sheets and make a crucial assist so far. Him apart, all-action full backs have yet to statistically flourish.
Central Midfield: Aaron Ramsey (Wales)
Who better for the box-to-box role than Arsenal’s all-action engine room operator Ramsey? Not only did the Dragons dynamo score against Russia, but he has set up two of the other five goals Chris Coleman’s crew have scored during the group stage.
Central Midfield: Luka Modric (Croatia)
Blazers pass-master Modric lit the tournament up with a terrific long-range effort in Croatia’s first game and continues to make his country tick.
Attacking Midfield: Dimitri Payet (France)
Sacre Bleu! France’s forward support Payet certainly has a penchant for late drama with vital goals in the opening two pool matches for the tournament.
Sending home fans into raptures, it is the West Ham United attacking midfielder and not pre-tournament poster boy Paul Pogba that has lit things up Didier Deschamps and Les Bleus. Payet also has an assist to his credit.
Forward: Gareth Bale (Wales)
Yes, he’s been the real deal and Bernabeu star Bale has scored in all three group games. That made the Dragons dangerman an automatic pick from among the forwards for our all-star XI. Wales would not be in the knockout phase, nor even at Euro 2016 full stop, without Bale.
Forward: Alvaro Morata (Spain)
Joining Bale as joint tournament top scorer on three is Spain menace Morata. A rangy player best known for working the channels, he has stepped out of the shadows of his predecessors in La Roja red to lead the Iberian outfit’s attack superbly.
Never mind the dodgy haircut given to him by teammate Sergio Ramos, Morata’s movement and penalty box presence has added the extra dimension Spain were lacked when failing to defend the World Cup two years ago.
Forward: Ivan Perisic (Croatia)
We couldn’t let the all-star XI go by without a word for Croatia, who beat the Spaniard to top spot in Group D. Blazers wideman Perisic has freedom to roam and express himself. That has served Ante Cacic superbly with two goals and an assist for the Inter Milan winger.
Michael McGovern (Northern Ireland), Jerome Boateng (Germany), Eric Dier (England), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Balazs Dzsudzsak (Hungary), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
You’ll find comprehensive coverage of Euro 2016 on Coral’s dedicated section.