Archive for ‘Player Ratings’

July 2, 2012

Euro 2012 Best XI

Coach – Slaven Billic, Croatia – Was a poor header away from beating, and knocking out Spain, before they hit on the counter and scored. Pushed Spain closer than any other side and would have gone much further but for being in a group with the two finalists.

Gk – Iker Casillas, Spain – Never really looked like conceding. Dominated crosses into the box throughout (the only consistent threat), and his distribution improved as the tournament went on which helped Spain retain the ball.

Fb – Fabio Coentrao, Portugal – Defensively sound and decisive and technically assured when Portugal broke.

Cb – Gerard Pique, Spain – Not a gargantuan display but looked his old self with good reading of the game, tackling and passing.

Cb – Mats Hummels, Germany – Reads the game extremely well and is very comfortable on the ball. Cassano spinning him was a significant, sole mistake in an otherwise utterly convincing tournament from him, but the goal was due to good Italian play at their left wing back spot too.

Fb – Jordi Alba, Spain – So natural and technical on the ball he could really play anywhere as a forward, and with Spain dominating possession that’s essentially what he could be; a later-arriving attacking option. Spain could play with no wingers and dominate the ball because of this man’s direct, linear qualities on the left. Vital.

Mf – Andrea Pirlo, Italy – Pirlo dominated games when consecutive teams failed to press him. Instrumental against England and Germany in particular, making ball retention and switching the ball look effortless. Altered the tempo of games to suit him, before meeting his match against Spain.

Mf – Xavi, Spain – Xavi was just the catalyst for how Spain were approaching games. Always the middle pass in build up play, he played much higher up in the final and pushed Pirlo so deep he was ineffectual. Provided key passes throughout the tournament and just seems to be playing football with an understanding above everyone else.

Mf – Mesut Ozil, Germany – The one attacking player in the German team that was undroppable. His movement and positioning made him impossible to track and provided a fantastic, creative link that makes him suitable for possession play or counter attacking. Finishing is the only thing his game lacks.

Fw – Andres Iniesta, Spain – Iniesta was just consistently brilliant. From the first game v Italy to the final v Italy, Iniesta was the same; creative, inventive, skilful and impossible to get the ball off. He’s perfect at keeping possession and always presses without it.

Fw – Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal – Lived up to expectation and his physical and technical prowess was matched with excellent awareness and positioning. If Bruno Alves’ penalty falls a few inches lower Ronaldo might have carried Portugal to winning the competition.

Fw – Cesc Fabregas, Spain – Fabregas was outstanding in the final, providing forward runs that defenders couldn’t cope with as well as helping maintain possession deeper. His position, a play maker who makes forward over-lapping runs, makes him unique to watch as he is as likely to play a key pass as get on the end of one.

Subs:

Gk -Buffon, Italy – brief moments against Germany were the only times Buffon didn’t look solid and dominating.

Df – Papadopoulos, Greece – Powerful and aggressive, and capable on the ball too.

Mf – Khedira, Germany – his running up and down the pitch was really good to watch. Played well.

Mf – Montolivo, Italy – Really inventive and imaginative. Got tired trying to press Spain in final.

Fw –David Silva, Spain – was reliable and consistent for Spain with being given a lot of responsibility in attack.

Fw – Balotelli, Italy – His second goal against Germany was brilliant, and his performances in general were incredible for a guy only 21.

Fw – Gomez, Germany – Despite being too static and seeing little of the ball against Italy, his three goals were all skilful ones.

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July 2, 2012

Euro 2012 Worst XI

Coach – Bert van Marwijk, Holland – No coach was terrible but van Marwijk made some bad errors of judgement, and the 4-2-4 shape Holland finished with against Portugal showed either the manager was ignorant of cohesive shape, or the players were just ignoring him.

Gk – Chalkias, Greece – A barrelling sprint out in the opening game started a collection of terrible moments for him, capped off with a pass smashed into touch as he exited with a mysterious injury. Positionally shocking, poor with decisions and bad at handling.

Rb – Glen Johnson, England – Johnson’s forward runs, his best asset, were mediocre but much worse was his defensive display. A series of strange decisions and terrible positioning really hindered England and made the defensive two banks of four set up vulnerable.

Cb – Richard Dunne, Ireland – Ireland were always going to invite pressure and be on the back foot, and this really brought out the worst in Dunne who was slow, too aggressive, technically incompetent and utterly lacking in ideas.

Cb – Jerome Boateng, Germany – Looked poor on the ball and was bad positionally too. Not terrible but unconvincing.

Lb – Jetro Willems, Holland – You can’t be too hard on a player playing at a major tournament who is born in 1994, but Willems inexperience showed, and was a bit all over the place.

Mf – Glenn Whelan, Ireland – Whelan’s only really competence is in ball retention and possession, so to say he was bad at it pretty much sums up a dire display from him, as he was wasteful the rare occasions his team had the ball, and too static without it.

Mf – Van der Vaart, Holland – His weaknesses were clear as day against Portugal, where in a midfield role the team carried him defensively and in attack he was often too far ahead of the play which cost Holland dearly when they lost the ball.

Mf – Florent Malouda, France – His role was shuttling the ball between midfield and attack, an important link up, but was rubbish defensively and wasn’t creative or imaginative in possession either. Hard to justify his selection.

Fw – Arjen Robben, Holland – It’s not unreasonable to expect a lot from Robben and he really didn’t deliver. Has had a terrible season in the big games and, along with his other high profile team mates, put in average performances at best.

Fw – Robin Van Persie, Holland – RVP is at the peak of his powers, and as a more dynamic striker, should have contributed more in terms of build up and link up play. Rare poor finishing from him too which cost Holland.

Fw – Wayne Rooney, England – His re-introduction shipped Young to Left midfield where he was ineffectual in attack, whilst Rooney himself was sub par in attack and defensively cost England the game against Italy by failing to track Pirlo at all. For a guy who has long been seen as a hard worker and a selfless player, he was extremely selfish and didn’t work hard off the ball. Ss a result, Italy, through Pirlo, kept the ball for long periods and dominated possession, meaning England didn’t compete as closesly as they should have.

Subs:

Gk – Sifakis, Greece – It suddenly became clear how Chalkias was first choice. Cost Greece a goal or two v Germany.

Df – St Ledger, Ireland – Not as bad as Dunne but still poor.

Df – Terry, England – Was constantly caught out with balls over the top, which cost a dissallowed goal against Ukraine and was exposed by Italy several times.

Fw – Podolski, Germany – £10m move to Arsenal doesn’t look such a bargain after a memorably bad 45 minutes against Italy.

Fw – Nani, Portugal – It’s getting to the point where it’s foolish to expect Nani to be relied on in big games. A skilful and gifted player who isn’t living up to potential.

Fw – Kerzhakov, Russia – 15 shots, none on target.

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June 15, 2012

Spain player ratings v Ireland

Casillas, 6/10 – Had only a minute amount to do and did it without fault. Untested for the most part and much of his involvement was collecting hopeful crosses.

Arbeloa, 7/10 – Impressive in a high supporting full back position, perhaps benefitted from Spain’s near constant possession of the ball, and looked comfortable in a more advanced role, which was important in a side that lacks linear width.

Sergio Ramos, 7/10 – Competitive and aggressive, giving no sense that Ireland could beat Spain physically.

Pique, 7/10 – Completely understanding of Spain’s ball retention and a good proponent of it even as a centre back.

Jordi Alba, 7/10 – Suited terrifically for the system. Technical and quick, a very natural fit.

Sergio Busquets, 6/10 – Nowhere near as pivotal or instrumental as when he plays for Barcelona, yet against ROI this never really manifested itself in a way that was problematic for Spain. Not getting the most out of him due to him overlapping with Xabi Alonso.

Xabi Alonso, 7/10 – Gives a directness to Spain’s play that makes the side ruthless on the counter attack, and his shorter range passing fits the style perfectly.

Xavi, 7/10 – His impression on the game extends beyond his technical passing, which is perfect, to a wider sense that he possesses the knowledge of where the ball should be and where it should go at all times.

David Silva, 7/10 – A slick performance and a clever goal. Constantly floating into spaces.

Iniesta, 8/10 – The best player today, and never ever gives up possession no matter the pressure and minute space he has to work in. Compelling and brilliant to watch, gives so much to this side.

Torres, 6/10 – Torres’ brace only tells half the story, with his goals being the exception to quite a sub par performance. His touch was lacking and his passing isnt as succint or even technically capable enough to slot seamlessly into the attack, instead often hindering their tika-taka and ruthless counters. The benefits of his inclusion were clear; giving the attack a reference and occupying the centre back’s attention, as well as providing a ball in behind that stretches the play for Spain, yet these are more characteristics of playing a striker than they are good play from Torres.

Subs:

Cesc Fabregas, 7/10 – Unique running from Fabregas, and a brilliantly struck goal when Ireland failed to defend a corner.

Xavi Martinez, 6/10 – Showed good ball control and concise passing.

Cazorla, 5/10 – A more direct option who it would be interesting to see more of.

 

Iniesta kept the ball remarkably