Football365’s Euro 2016 awards

Daniel Storey

Best player – Antoine Griezmann
Dropped from France’s second game by a coach who hadn’t thought to play him in his best position. Moved into centre stage, literally and metaphorically, thereafter, and ruled the tournament’s knock-out stages. Until the final. But still.


Best young player – Renato Sanches
Used only sporadically by Fernando Santos in the group stage, but given more responsibility as the tournament progressed. Bayern Munich have got themselves a bloody star.


Best match – Hungary 3-3 Portugal
Football is lovely when strategies are followed and plans executed, but there’s nothing quite like ‘It’s A Knockout’ football to make you giggle with glee.


Best goal – Xherdan Shaqiri (vs Poland)
Eden Hazard deserves standing applause for his run and finish, but Hungary’s defence was particularly accommodating. We typically prefer handing these awards to a team goal, but Shaqiri’s overhead kick was astonishing, and deserves the nod.


Best team performance – Italy vs Spain
Italy’s performance against Belgium was impressive enough, but they saved their best for the defending champions. Resolute defence, total dominance in midfield and enough danger in attack to make Spain pay twice.


Worst team performance – Russia vs Wales
England should consider themselves highly fortunate to be overlooked (as should Austria), but Russia ‘win’ this one for their shambolic defensive performance against a Wales team looking to win Group B.

“After losing to Wales me and some players gathered in my room, talked until 9am and then concluded: ‘We’re shit’ in unison,” said Russia coach Leonid Slutsky. Honest.


Best individual performance – Eden Hazard vs Hungary
A magnificent goal, a fine assist, four chances created, 12 completed dribbles (two more than every other player on the pitch combined) and the type of display that made Chelsea fans slightly moist downstairs in anticipation of getting their 2014/15 Hazard back. Shout out to Michael McGovern against Germany.


Worst individual performance – David Alaba vs Portugal
Austria’s captain and best player was picked as an attacking midfielder with his country needing a win. He was substituted after 65 minutes having had one shot (off target), created no chances, dribbled past no players, made no tackles and passed the ball at a completion rate of 52.6%. And yes Harry Kane, you are lucky.


Best moment – Gudmundur Benediktsson
Although Hal Robson-Kanu-Cruyff deserves an honourable mention, it can only be Icelandic commentator Benediktsson’s reaction to his country’s late winner against Austria, a goal that confirmed their place in the last 16. Exceptional.


Best celebration – Robbie Brady vs Italy
Brady gets respect for the picture, his little sister gets love for the video.


Sexiest kit – Belgium (away)
It would be easy (and perhaps just) to give Croatia’s home shirt this award every single time, but Belgium deserve respect for their away kit attempt. Who doesn’t look good in baby blue?


Best PR decision – Reykjavík Grapevine
The lifestyle magazine’s decision to embrace the Euros and tweet about Iceland’s progress. It went really, really well.


Worst PR decision – Cristiano Ronaldo
“They put the bus in the net so it’s difficult when one team don’t try to play football and try to win the game… They celebrated like they had won the tournament, or something. That’s a small mentality. That’s why they’ll do nothing in the competition” – Ronaldo makes new friends in Iceland.


Best use of social media


Biggest mindf*ck – One-person kick-offs


Dimmest quote – Mark Pougatch
“Should Roy Hodgson drop Joe Hart for the quarter-finals?” – ITV’s anchor at half-time as England were losing 2-1 to Iceland. Don’t worry about it, fella.


Best excuse – Arsene Wenger
“Everyone is a bit groggy. I ask myself if the England players were themselves not left a little groggy by the whole thing.”

It was definitely Brexit that made England cock it against Iceland.


Best pundit – Slaven Bilic
More authoritative, insightful and eloquent than every other pundit used. And it’s his second language.


Worst pundit – Martin Keown
“Germany know only one way to play, they just keep going for it,” was perhaps his finest tournament moment.

That’s probably because they’re 2-0 down with ten minutes left in a semi-final, Martin.

The expert summariser has perfected anti-insight.


Most Glenn Hoddle moment
“We have to football our way in now in a footballing way because they’ve got all footballers out there at the moment” – Glenn Hoddle.

Runner-up: “Hamsik is two-footed. That’s left foot and right foot.”

England manager, you say? When can you start?


Award for international diplomacy – Igor Lebedev
“I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting. Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!” – deputy chairman of the Russian parliament member of the Russian football union’s executive committee does his thing. Roll on the World Cup.


Deep thinker – Marc Wilmots
“I live with criticism, but apart from death, I don’t think anything else can effect me. People being negative is not interesting for me. People who criticise are never going to have a good life.”

Yeah, but you are a bit sh*t mate.


And the one thing we’ll all remember about Euro 2016…
X is on fire, Y’s defence is terrified.

My brain is more scorched than Will Grigg.


Daniel Storey