Football

Team of Euro 2012: Round One

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Agger kept the Dutch at bay brilliantly (©GettyImages)
Agger kept the Dutch at bay brilliantly (©GettyImages).

With the opening round of Euro 2012 group stages matches out of the way, GMF assesses the best performers.

Przemyslaw Tyton - Poland (Goalkeeper)

In a dramatic opening game, a great start for co-hosts Poland threatened to turn into a disaster after Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny conceded a penalty, and was sent off in the process.

With the score locked at 1-1, in stepped PSV shot-stopper Przemyslaw Tyton. And the Eredivisie keeper's first act was to save Giorgos Karagounis's penalty. With Szczesny suspended for his side's crucial match with Russia, Tyton will need to be on top form again.

Mathieu Debuchy - France (Right back)

The Lille right-back only has a handful of caps for his country but deputised brilliantly for the injured Bacary Sagna. The Ligue 1 star raided forward confidently, testing Ashley Cole's defensive prowess while shackling Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's attacking forays down England's left.

While he faded in the second half as his side found it difficult to break down Roy Hodgson's stubborn system, Debuchy did enough to extinguish the question mark lingering over France's right-back position following Sagna's injury.

Mats Hummels - Germany (Centre-back)

The Borussia Dortmund star had a shaky start, but soon settled and did enough to fend off competition from Per Mertesacker for a starting berth alongside Holger Badstuber.

Hummels passed excellently - his passing completion nearing 89% - while his partnership with Badstuber marshalled a talented Portuguese attack expertly, ending with a well-deserved clean sheet.

Daniel Agger - Denmark (Centre-back)

The Liverpool centre-half turned in a heroic performance as the Danes upset the odds to beat the Netherlands. His defensive partner, Simon Kjaer, was similarly brilliant, but Agger rightly takes the plaudits for a supreme display.

Fabio Coentrao - Portugal (Left-back)

Coentrao's Portugal may have gone down to a Mario Gomez header, but the Real Madrid star exhibited just why Jose Mourinho paid out close to £27m to secure his services.

Diligent defensively, Coentrao shined when bursting forward, pinning back Jerome Boateng and creating several of Portugal's best chances. An encouraging performance for Portuguese coach Paulo Bento.

Alan Dzagoev - Russia (Right-midfield)

The 'Russian Messi' typified a clinical performance from his country. Russia took their goals excellently, and Dzagoev helped himself to two of the four against the Czech Republic.

The attacking midfielder, who plays his club football for CSKA Moscow, thumped home two powerful finishes, and Euro 2012 just may have found its first breakout star.

Samir Nasri - France (Centre-midfield)

France's chief creative threat, Nasri's close control and eye for a pass always looked the most likely to prise open a stingy England defence.

The Manchester City star capped an excellent individual performance with a fine goal, and took the opportunity to silence his critics in the French media.

Andrea Pirlo - Italy (Centre-midfield)

Against one of the world's best midfield's, Pirlo once again demonstrated his class. Spain packed its team with its passing maestros, but the Juventus star showed he can still play with the best of them.

One particular pass, his defence-splitting through ball for Antonio Di Natale's goal, was magnificent. Made the eye-catching look stunningly simple.

Andrei Arshavin - Russia (Left-midfield)

Arshavin has always been something of an enigma. Capable of the frustrating and fantastic in equal measure, he was at his creative best against the Czechs.

Most of Russia's most penetrating counter attacks stemmed from Russia's left, where Arshavin took up station and preceded to terrorise his opposite number all afternoon. How Arsenal fans must wish the little Russian showed more of this form at the Emirates Stadium.

Mario Mandzukic - Croatia (Striker)

Croatia's forwards ran Ireland into the ground, and Mandzukic's two goal haul is enough to warrant a place in this week's Best XI.

A couple of opportunistic headers, with a Nikica Jelavic toe poke sandwiched between, was enough to see of Ireland. Mandzukic doesn't have a prolific goalscoring record for his country - just seven goals in 30 appearances - but he's begun Euro 2012 brightly.

Andriy Shevchenko - Ukraine (Striker)

The script could hardly of been more perfect for Shevchenko. A goal down in his country's own Olympic Stadium, the co-hosts faced a disappointing opening game defeat.

But up stepped their national hero, Shevchenko rolling back the years to score a terrific brace of headers and send Ukraine top of Group D.

Topics:
Arsenal
Internationals
Jerome Boateng
Ashley Cole
Football
Manchester City
Per Mertesacker
Alex
Andriy Shevchenko
Daniel Agger
Wojciech Szczesny
Bacary Sagna
Liverpool
Samir Nasri
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