My Euro 2012 Starting XI
by rick olivares photo by getty images
Goalkeeper – Iker Casillas (Spain)
Defenders: Fabio Coentrao (Portugal), Pepe (Portugal), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Jordi Alba (Spain)
From the early stages that included Portugal’s poor start, Coentrao and Helder Postiga carried the Seleccao. Coentrao was consistent from start to finish. Ditto with Pepe. With Sergio Ramos and Jordi Alba on one side, no one is getting through.
Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Sami Khedira (Germany), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
The way I view the 33-year old Andrea Pirlo for this Euro 2012 is the way I saw Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup – one last brilliant hurrah. Zizou was 34 in his last tournament. But Pirlo will be like another Juventus stalwart in Alessandro del Piero as he will be playing well into his late 30s. Does He have enough to take Italy into Brasil? That Panenka will be remembered forever.
Andres Iniesta. He wasn’t Player of the Tournament for nothing. Good things come in small packages.
Sami Khedira was the best of the German side that hummed but never matched the pace and game that was on display in South Africa.
Cristiano Ronaldo got better as the tournament progressed. That he was unable to take a penalty during the semis match with Spain will be debated forever.
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Italy), Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
Balotelli came out and showed the world what he can do when he isn’t an off-field distraction. As for Fabregas, the false nine is just fine. Props to Vicente del Bosque for a most unorthodox lineup.
Bench: Luigi Buffon (Italy), Steven Gerrard (England), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Gerard Pique (Spain), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Mesut Ozil (Germany)
How about that Spanish team? That should be the best starting XI anywhere.