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On target – Off target

On target – Off target
Hits

Antoine Griezmann – The star of France; that’s exactly he was throughout Euro 2016. Griezmann scored a total of 6 goals in the tournament and won the Golden Boot, a probable consolation for the big trophy he and his mates missed out on. Griezmann displayed a scintillating form for France and proved to be their most go-to man in the tournament.

 With a brace against the world champions Germany, Griezmann roared for his country taking his team into the final. Though he was unable to fire in the final and even missed a close range header, there’s no doubt that he was one of the biggest hits of UEFA Euro 2016.

 

Dimitri Payet – The West Ham man was not one of the touted stars of the championship before Euro began but through the course of the tournament, he was a huge revelation for his country. Responsible for getting France out of tricky situations early on in the tournament, Payet proved to be an essential part of French side and managed to get his name in the starting XI on a regular basis. In France’s first fixture against Romania, Payet unleashed a stunning strike to get France out of the 1-1 lock as a winner.


Gareth Bale – The Real Madrid star was the key man for Wales in the qualifiers and he continued his form into the finals of the tournament as well. Touted as one of the stars of Euro in the pre-tournament predictions, he stood by his value and lead Wales till the semi-finals. Gareth Bale also has two beautiful free-kick goals to his credit. Along with Ramsey by his side, Bale produced some excellent performances and even displayed his lethal running skills throughout the competition.


Cristiano Ronaldo – The three-time Ballon d'Or winner was one of the biggest players of Euro 2016. Being the captain of Portugal as well, he was expected to impact Portugal's campaign most significantly. 

Though his campaign didn't begin on the expected path and he even missed a penalty in Portugal's second game against Austria but his two goals against Hungary proved crucial to Portugal's survival in the tournament.

 His 3 goals and 3 assists saw Portugal reach the final of the tournament and though his time in the final was cut short by an injury, his enthusiasm and leadership skills from the sidelines brought Portugal the eternal glory as they won the European Championship.
 
 Aaron Ramsey – Apart from Gareth Bale in Wales, Ramsey was what that gave Wales an edge. He was seen finding and creating spaces in the opposition's half and glided past the midfielders of the other team. He was crucial to Wales' smoothness up front as he linked extremely well with Bale providing dual threat up front. 

They also swapped places very well to suit the games. Ramsey particularly shown in Wales' game against Russia and even outshone Bale in that particular match. Probably it was Ramsey's suspension in the semi-final that cost Wales' dynamic and they eventually bowed out of the tournament.


 Pepe – The Real Madrid full back was one of the best defenders of Euro 2016. It would be safe to say that Portugal rode through on his back. Portugal played like a defending unit, even in the final after losing their key man and captain Cristiano Ronaldo.

 Pepe was the one who put up excellent performances at the back and made crucial interventions for Portugal to glide through. Along with handling his own self, he also took along the other three defenders and created a compact unit at the back, which troubled some of the biggest names of the Euro 2016, including Bale and Griezmann.


A special mention – The youngest player to play in the Euro, the 18-year old Renato Sanches proved to be the emerging star of Portugal. Having signed for Bayern Munich from Benfica, Sanches showed why the Bundesliga giants had invested in him as he also became the third youngest player to have scored in the Euro after Johan Vonlanthen of Switzerland and Wayne Rooney when he struck a beauty against Poland in the quarter-finals. Sanches also won the Young Player of the tournament award.


Misses

 Raheem Sterling – A lot was expected of the Manchester City man who got a transfer of nearly 50 million euro last season from Liverpool. Though Sterling suffered a stuttering season at City, his speed and power at the front was what people hoped to see up front.

 But apart from earning a penalty in the defeat against Iceland, Sterling didn’t show up anywhere. His performances were shockingly ordinary and forget high level action, he didn’t even produce any real wow moment in the mere four matches that England played.

 

Thomas Muller – The World Cup magician played up an extremely disappointing Euro. Thomas Muller was Germany’s key man in their World Cup win and his clinical performances up front were a huge reason behind Germany’s success.

 But in Euro 2016, Muller just didn’t look like himself and probably, it was his form that cost Germany. Germany couldn’t be very impressive in the competition and Muller was seen missing some good chances. Despite having ten World Cup goals, he failed to find the net even once through the tournament and even missed a penalty in Germany’s shoot-out victory against Italy.


Robert Lewandowski – The Bayern Munich man is considered as one of the finest in the world and it was expected that he would lead Poland to much glory. Lewandowski showed much promise scoring a massive number of 13 goals in the qualifiers, thus equalling the record of David Healy in 2008 and single-handedly got Poland to the Euro finals. 

Contrary to his qualifying performance, Lewandowski netted only once for the Polish and that too in their defeat to Portugal in the quarter-finals. He was supposed to play a bigger role for his team by distracting defenders and creating spaces for his mates, but he couldn’t even create much room for himself.


Harry Kane – After having a brilliant club season with Tottenham Hotspur, Kane was expected to light up England’s Euro campaign and fire up front. But Kane proved to be almost a liability for England and virtually wasted everyone in England’s first fixture against Russia.

 Even after a wasteful display against Russia, Roy Hodgson didn’t write the Spurs man off and he did begin brightly against Wales in England’s second match. But soon he faded away unable to make anything out of the chances that found his feet. He was then subbed off by Hodgson and Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge took his place and scored goals for the team.

  Joe Hart – The Manchester City goalkeeper was Hodgson’s undisputed first choice but contrary to expectations, he couldn’t come out glorious. A goalkeeper of his quality was expected to cover up the mistakes of the English defenders but forget doing that, Hart let a Bale free-kick beat him from long range. 

He was also the one at fault in England’s defeat against Iceland in the Round of 16 as the decisive goal of Kolbienn Sigthorsson passed through his hands. Hart, much like the whole of English squad, managed to be a disappointment at Euro 2016.


 Zlatan Ibrahimovic – The self-proclaimed legend, who came into the Euros after netting 38 times in Ligue 1 for Paris Saint Germain, was looked upon to lead Sweden into the later stages of the competition. Instead of that, he captained his country to only a single point as Sweden were knocked out of the tournament from the group stages as well.

 In a tournament that saw minnows like Iceland and Hungary, who had no apparent big names by their side, shine through, Zlatan’s Sweden took a nose dive. In the three games that Sweden played, Ibra couldn’t score even once and shockingly, got only one shot on target.

A special mention - Paul Pogba - Pogba had a brilliant season with Juventus last season and he was expected to carry his exceptional Serie A performance to Euros as well. Apart from magical glimpses here and there, he's majorly been quite throughout the season.

 Such were the hopes from him that French legend Thierry Henry said that he has the ability to be not just one of the best midfielders in the history of France but the world. Keeping in mind, the kind of quality display people were looking forward to from him, he's been sort of a disappointment.


Player statistics: (in Euro 2016)

Antoine Griezmann: Position - Foward; Matches played - 7; Goals scored - 6
Dimitri Payet: Position - Midfield; Matches played - 6; Goals scored - 3
Gareth Bale: Position - Forward; Matches played - 6; Goals scored - 3
Cristiano Ronaldo: Position - Forward; Matches played - 7; Goals scored - 3
Aaron Ramsey: Position - Midfield; Matches played - 5; Goals scored - 1
Pepe: Position - Defender; Matches played - 6; Goals scored - 0
Renato Sanches: Position - Midfield; Matches played - 3 (3); Goals scored - 1

Raheem Sterling: Position - Midfield; Matches played - 3; Goals scored - 0
Thomas Muller: Position - Foward; Matches played - 6; Goals scored - 0
Robert Lewandowski: Position - Forward; Matches played - 5; Goals scored - 1
Harry Kane: Position - Forward; Matches played - 3 (1); Goals scored - 0
Joe Hart: Position - Goalkeeper; Matches played - 4; Goals scored - 0
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Position - Forward; Matches played - 3; Goals scored - 0
Paul Pogba: Position - Midfield; Matches played - 6 (1); Goals scored - 1
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