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jueves, 19 de junio de 2008

EURO 2008: THE BEST TEAM OF THE FIRST ROUND (This article is available in English and Español)

The first round of Euro 08 has just completed and it's time to speak about the best players of the competition until this moment.

GOALKEEPER
The truth is that we have seen good work of different goalkeepers as Stipe Pletikosa against Austria or Gianluigi Buffon against Romania -spectacular save on the Mutu´s penalty- or the sobriety of the Dutch Edwin Var der Sar, but if I have to remark a name, I chose the Polish Artur Boruc, who had a lot of work during this Euro 08, because the Polish defensive line played horrible without coordination, having the rival strikers many face to face against Boruc. If Poland arrived to the last game with options to play the Quarter-final was thanks to the excellent Celtic Glasgow´s goalkeeper, whose value is rising and it is sure that we will see his name related to important clubs like AC Milan or Tottenham Hotspurs.

DEFENDERS

We saw good level in this position too, but I would emphasize the solidity-he is almost impassable- of the Dutch right back, Khalid Boulahrouz-I can not understands his situation this season in FC Seville (it is totally incomprehensible, especially if players like Julien Escude and Javi Navarro had problems with injuries)-and the excellent level-both offensive and defensive- of the phenomenal Croatian right back-although he played against Poland as central defender-Vedran Corluka-we said in the article about Croatia that he is a good player and everybody should follow his progression-. As central defenders, I chose 3 players, the Czech Tomas Ujfalusi- he is a leader, showing security and solidity, he is an excellent player and it is sure that he will triumph in his new club, Atletico de Madrid (this team will have an excellent defensive line, since it has also signed the Dutch John Heitinga)- and the 2 Portuguese central defenders, Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho, whose presence is fundamental for Portugal, because they compensate the presence of the goalkeeper Ricardo, who is an insecure player. So if Portugal gets a good result in this competition, it will be thanks to play of these excellent players. Finally, I must remark the play of 2 left back Giovanni van Bronckhorst-I think that it was a mistake his departure from FC Barcelona, because he is a very solid player both offensively and defensively, with individual technical and tactical discipline (he scored 7 goals this season at Feyernoord ) - and the Croatian Danijel Pranjic, who played excellent, showing all his qualities: technical, good shot and good capacity to make good passes and with work both offensively and defensively.

MIDFIELDERS

It is difficult to chose only 4 midfielders, because we saw a good level in many teams, but there are 4 players, whose play was excellent for me. First, I want to emphasize the labour of the Spanish defensive midfielder Marcos Senna, who played very well, being a lung, he is always in the correct place, helping to the rest of the team. Along with Senna, the superb Croatian playmaker Luka Modric would be in my “dream team”, it is a spectacle to see the play of this young midfielder and of course he can play in any team, so I think that the coach Juande Ramos took a good decision when Tottenham Hotspurs signed this wonderful player. Finally I chose 2 more Dutch players, one of my weaknesses, Rafael Van der Vaart-he always is in the correct place, showing quality, vision of the game, good shot and tactical discipline(he annulled Andrea Pirlo) - and of course the Real Madrid´s player Wesley Sneijder, who has come to this championship with a great level of form and he is doing what he wants with power and ability, showing good vision of the game and great shot-this is de same Sneijder that we saw during his Ajax´s period-.

STRIKERS

There are 2 players who stand out above the rest, because thanks to their goals their teams are in the Quarter-finals.
On the one hand, obviously the Spanish striker David Villa is in my dream team, because he is the top scorer of the first round and he was decisive with his goals-for example, he scored an essential goal in the last minute of game between Spain and Sweden-.As we said in the article about Spain, we did not have any doubt about Villa´s level during this Championship, because Villa is always a guarantee and he is synonymous of quality, work and goal.
On the other hand, we must remark the championship of the turkish Nihat Kahveci, since he is having a difficult tournament because Turkey has had the important injury of Emre, who is the playmaker of the team and without this player, the strikers of the team have many troubles to receive correct passes and so the strikers have a difficult task. But despite this problem, Nihat is showing that he is an excellent striker, knowing to stay in the correct place to score important goals, being a decisive players in different games like against Switzerland-he scored a goal- or against the Czech Republic-he scored 2 goals-.
OTHER INTERESTING PLAYERS

In addition to this Dream team, we want to remark the good job of other players like the Russian Andrey Arshavin-he did not play the first 2 games, because he was suspended, but he could play against Sweden and he showed his tremendous quality, his vision of the game and besides he scored a goal- or the striker Roman Pavlyuchenko– mobility, quality and goal-,or as the Polish striker Roger Guerreiro- he has a big mobility and perhaps he could have a new opportunity in the Spanish football after his period in Celta de Vigo during the season 04-05-or like the Czech Jan Koller-he played well especially if we bear in mind the poor play of the Czech Republic (it is a pity that the Czech Republic does not have more players like Nedved, Poborsky or Rosický)- ,or as the Austrian Andreas Ivanschitz-he is the best Austrian player and maybe the only one with the adequate quality-or as the Portuguese Deco, who had a difficult season in Barcelona but now he is the leader of the Portuguese National team, or like the German Lukas Podolski- when he plays with the National Team, he is a different player, he plays better- and the phenomenal defender Philipp Lahm, who is always a guarantee.

Tonight the Quarter-finals start with a great game, Portugal-Germany.
Cheers,
J&F
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