Euro 2016 is done and dusted but before we put this tournament to the back of our minds let’s have a look at the main talking points of the tournament.
Goal of the tournament
There are so many contenders for this award. Dimitri Payet set the tone of the tournament with his stunning effort in the opening game but for me the best goal has to be that of Xherdan Shaquiri. The Swiss star produced a sensational bicycle kick in their last 16 clash against Poland forcing the game to extra-time. Take a look for yourself.
Player of the tournament
Euro 2016 won’t be remembered as a great tournament but some players shone in France this summer. Gareth Bale is a strong contender for this award as are most of the Icelandic squad. Overall one player really turned up when his nation needed it and that was Antonie Griezmann. The Frenchman was the leading score with six goals but the timing of his strikes are what sets him apart from the rest. He scored the late opener against Albania in the group stages before bagging a deadly brace in the space of three minutes to send France into the last eight. He also scored a beautiful chip against Iceland before two vital strikes in the semi-final to defeat Germany. He went close in the final but overall the French team didn’t turn up on the night.
Best young player
Renato Sanches showed exactly why Bayern Munich signed him from Benfica before the tournament began. The 18 year-old was impressive whether he started or came from the bench he left his mark on the game. His goal against Poland helped Portugal take the game to penalties and overall he looks to be a future star.
Portugal v Hungary loses out narrowly to Germany v France in my book. Germany dominated the first half but a late penalty put France ahead before the interval. The second half was end to end and was a joy to watch. The 3-3 draw from Group F is a close second but the caliber of the sides in the semi-final just edges it.
Best team performance
Italy dominated defending champions Spain in their last 16 clash.They were resolute in defence,totally dominated the midfield and dangerous in attack to make Spain pay twice.The Italians also put on a stellar display in their opening win over Belgium.
The commentary of Gudmundur Benediktsson on any of Iceland’s goals from the tournament for me. He really showed how much the sides goals meant to the tiny nation. Have a listen for yourself.
Robbie Brady’s goal against Italy secured Ireland’s place in the last 16 and the raw emotion Brady displayed was magical.
The Irish fans were outstanding. They mixed well and never caused any trouble. So many videos of their antics have gone viral but this one takes the biscuit for me:
That’s about it for Euro 2016. It had some great moments and will live long in the memory of smaller nations.