Monday, July 2, 2012

Euro Awards 2012

By Alex Miles

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Player of the Tournament - Andrea Pirlo

Though Italy eventually came up short, Signore Pirlo can't be ashamed with his own performance. In what could very well be his last major international tournament, the Juventus player was on majestic form. Managing to contribute a goal and two assists, it was Pirlo's range of passing and playmaking abilities that drew plaudits. He was particularly devastating against England and Germany.

Team of the Tournament - Spain

Eventual winners, if you had to pick a song to summarize La Roja's tournament, it would be "My Way," by Frank Sinatra. Criticized for their tactics, their lack of a striker, and their "boring" style of passing, the Spanish responded by winning the tournament after an excellent display of their abilities against Italy. It was the Spain of old, with the crisp and incisive passing. They achieved history at this tournament, and teams will certainly seek to emulate them for years to come.

Manager of the Tournament - Cesare Prandelli

The 54-year old former Fiorentina manager acquitted himself well. Facing a controversy at home (one so big that withdrawing from the competition was considered) and a miserable run of results leading up to the tournament, Prandelli responded by bringing his team within 90 minutes of victory. He took two strikers who could start a fight in an empty room -- Cassano and Balotelli -- and turned them into an excellent pairing. He coped with injuries to key players like Chiellini. He has risen to the challenge of managing his national team well, and it looks like he has an intriguing career in front of him.

Young Player of the Tournament - Jordi Alba

Alba was possibly Spain's best player this tournament, which is no scant praise. The 21-year-old left back will complete his summer switch from Valencia to Barcelona shortly after the tournament's conclusion, and a bright future awaits him. Full of pace and tireless energy, Alba was dependable in defense and relentless going forward. An excellent finish for Spain's 2nd goal in the final was rewards for the young Spaniard, who has drawn comparisons to a certain Brazilian fullback who once plied his trade marauding from Sevilla's defense and now wears the number 2 for Barcelona.

Goal of the Tournament - Zlatan Ibrahimovic v France

Cross, this is Zlatan. Zlatan, this is cross. Zlatan hits cross with sublime technique and athleticism. 'Nuff said.

Match of the Tournament - Denmark 2 - Portugal 3

A little bit of everything in this game, with Portugal turning it on in the first half to take a 2 goal lead. Denmark stormed back courtesy of two goals from an unlikely scorer, Nicklas Bendtner. Not to be outdone, Portugal took the lead and the points thanks to Silvestre Valera's goal in the 87th minute. It was a thrilling, pulsating match throughout and deserves this award.

Biggest Disappointment - The Netherlands

More like the Neverlands. Seriously, guys, not even a point out of the group stages? You were in the World Cup Final two years ago, and you couldn't muster a single, measly point this tournament? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Goat of the Tournament - Tie between UEFA and Istvan Vad

UEFA fined Nicklas Bendtner €100,000 for displaying an unauthorized advertisement on his underwear waistband, which he showed off for the cameras after his second goal of the game against Portugal. UEFA fined the FAs of Croatia (€80,000), Russia (€30,000), and Spain (€20,000) for their fans engaging in racist chanting and abuse. Wait, what? That doesn't make any sense at all.

Who is Istvan Vad? He was one of the extra referees assigned to the touchline in the England vs. Ukraine game. He seems to have forgotten what he was supposed to do, because he clearly missed the ball crossing the line in what would have been an equalizer for the Ukranians. What exactly is the point of these guys again?

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