Euro 2016 team of the tournament: Who makes Coral’s all-star XI and squad?
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | July 10, 2016
As the dust settles on Euro 2016, Coral football experts have got their heads together and come up with their all-star XI and subs that make up our team of the tournament.
Who makes our 23-man roster and the first team after a compelling month-long competition? Read on and you’ll see, and don’t forget to have your say in the comments below…
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Evergreen Azzurri stopper and skipper Buffon shows that age is no barrier to brilliance as he conceded the fewest goals at Euro 2016.
The 38-year-old was beaten only once in four tournament outings, not including the quarter-final penalty shoot-out, though German and French counterparts Manuel Neuer and Hugo Lloris are unlucky to be overlooked.
Right Back: Chris Gunter (Wales)
Another close call for selection came on this flank of defence, with Poland’s Lukasz Piszczek looking back to his best, but we’ve sided with Euros semi-finalist Gunter.
Great raids from wing back as part of an awesome ensemble cast put together by Chris Coleman demand recognition. Dragons teammates like Ashley Williams and Hal Robson-Kanu are unlucky to miss out.
Centre Back: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
Buffon’s Juventus colleague Bonucci is the subject of plenty of column inches right now, as his impressive international displays have seen him linked with following old club and country coach Antonio Conte to Chelsea, but the Manchester clubs are also rumoured to be interested.
So bold was Bonucci that he took a first-ever spot-kick during normal time to equalise for the Azzurri against Germany, before Italy were eliminated in that last eight shoot-out.
Centre Back: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
There’s no denying that Azzurri defender Chiellini is probably the best in the world in his position, and a master of getting away with niggling fouls on opponents.
Poland counterpart Kamil Glik, who has moved from Torino to Monaco, and young France prospect Samuel Umtiti are among the other centre halves to have caught our eye, but there’s just no breaking up that Italian pairing.
Left Back: Jonas Hector (Germany)
How Cologne’s attacking outlet hasn’t yet been bought by a top club is a complete mystery. Hector looked really good going forward for Die Mannschaft at Euro 2016, so it is surely only a matter of time before an offer that is too good to turn down comes in for him.
An honourable mention has to go out to the Republic of Ireland’s Robbie Brady. Be it at full back or pushed further forward, he distinguished himself on the big stage and should be playing Premier League football again next term – despite enduring relegation with Norwich City.
Central Midfield: Birkir Bjarnason (Iceland)
No Euro 2016 team would be complete without a mention for Iceland, and Bjarnason’s two goals make him the standout candidate from their ranks. Although teammate Aron Gunnarsson’s long throws caused chaos in many a defence, it’s with the midfielder that we side.
This tournament was a huge breakthrough for Portugal prodigy Renato Sanches, who demonstrated to a wider audience for the first time why Bayern Munich have paid big money to secure his services.
Central Midfield: Aaron Ramsey (Wales)
If it’s box-to-box brilliance you’re after, then Arsenal engine room operator Ramsey is your man with four assists in as many matches, plus a goal. He was fantastic in Wales’ run to the semis and his absence from the Portugal game was keenly felt.
Germany playmaker Toni Kroos and Belgium bruiser Radja Nainggolan were the ones to just missed out from selection in our all-star XI.
Winger: Gareth Bale (Wales)
Real Madrid man Bale was the other star turn for the Dragons, scoring in all three group stage games and making the winning own-goal in the last 16 tie.
It is his free-kicks, including the one that infamously beat Joe Hart, that Bale shall be best remembered for from this tournament.
Support Striker: Antoine Griezmann (France)
Six goals and the Euro 2016 Golden Boot will be scant consolation to beaten finalist Griezmann, but from an individual perspective he underlined the excellent work he’s been doing in La Liga for several seasons.
Emerging as Les Bleus’ goal-machine, Griezmann will be one of the name that the French will surely build future teams around looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Winger: Dimitri Payet (France)
West Ham attacker Payet is another who produced regularly throughout the tournament, albeit not in the final. His three goals and two assists supplemented the striking exploits of Griezmann nicely.
Other supporting cast members to have caught the eye at the Euros include Belgium stand-in skipper Eden Hazard and Nani, but we’ll come to Portugal…
Striker: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
How ironic the Navigators got their hands on the European Championship trophy despite Ronaldo hobbling off injured during the final. Prior to that untimely knocking of knees with Payet, he had scored three goals and laid on as many for teammates.
Of the proper strikers on display at Euro 2016, Spain’s rangy Alvaro Morata made a real impact, also netting three in fewer matches. Olivier Giroud of France also got that many.
Manuel Neuer (Germany), Hugo Lloris and Samuel Umtiti (both France), Lukasz Piszczek and Kamil Glik (both Poland), Robbie Brady (Republic of Ireland), Renato Sanches (Portugal), Toni Kroos (Germany), Nadja Nainggolan and Eden Hazard (both Belgium), Nani (Portugal), Alvaro Morata (Spain).