Congratulations to Spain, since the first days I played and watched this game I realized the importance of losing and losing to the best, and in this case the Azzurri can say they lost to the Champs. The difference between Spain and the rest of the competition in this tournament was epitomized in this final, which was possession and aggression. This team was as comfortable with the ball in the middle of the pitch as they were on the attack, and in the back. All wins, no goals in the knockout stages, means this team really deserved this trophy.
Now to hand out some awards…
Player of the Tournament: Xavi
This guy dictated the pace in a very impressive midfield, and did exactly what a great midfield leader is supposed to do. Great stuff from Xavi all around. Now you can see why he is compared to Pirlo.
Team of the Tournament: Turkey
If you watched any of their games, you should know why. The cardiac kids made a game of every single time they were on the pitch, and with players injured, and suspended they still gave every last ounce for the cause.
Most Underrated Player: Senna
The Spanish defensive mid was a beast, and he made the difference today and against Italy. He did the dirty work and took pressure off Xavi, and the suspect Spanish defense. He looked like Rino in 06, no fatigue, no quit, and only intensity. I will take that kind of effort any day of the week.
Most Overrated Player: Arshavin
A great game against the Dutch, but when his team needed him against Spain he went MIA. CRon can easily be considered here but as well, because the Ze Germans gave him fits, but a guy like Arshavin was being anointed the second coming, after 1.5 good games.
Coach of the Tournament: Hiddink
It is hard to not pick Aragones, whose subs were spot on. Or Terim who really made something out of nothing, but it was Guus for me. The man smoked his country of birth, and got this team firing on all cylinders into the knockouts stages.
Most Disappointing Player of the Tournament: Toni
Not going to say anything more here.
Most Surprising Player: Podolski
Kid barely played all season long and came out swinging in this tournament. Have to admire him for really playing with passion for his country, when it seemed that many other players seemed to lack that desire this tournament. He deserves first team football, and I hope he finds it.
Just a few more thoughts that I want to share from this tourney…
-Have to feel bad for Ballack in just 60 days I have seen a class guy like Ballack on the wrong end of the podium twice.
-Cesc Fabergas is a special player, and the rest of the youth on this Spanish team have a very bright and interesting future ahead of them.
-Lot of potential didn’t come out in this tournament, Gomez for example, but a lot of other guys were able to shine through, like David Villa.
OK, onto some Milan Musings…
-Adebayor continues to be fickle, and I am beginning to wonder how much is coming from him and how much is coming from agents, press, and speculation. This team needs a striker, and the fact that Galliani is not seeking alternative options, and is willing to stand fast yet again, is to much for me to handle right now.
-I am also growing increasingly frustrated about the lack of desire for defensive help; I just hope that the youth system has some gems waiting in the wings. There is talk that Antonini will play left back, instead of left midfield. Which means Abate may factor in more than I had anticipated which I am very OK with. I guess it is time to wait and see on this front…