In the spirit of positivity after my list of the most disappointing players of Euro 2012, I thought it only fair to compile my team of the Tournament. I've plumped for a 4-3-3 formation.
Goalkeeper - Iker Casillas (Spain)
I am a rare and very isolated critic of Casillas - its not that I don't think he's good, he's just slightly overrated and has a bad habit of palming balls out to the centre of the goal. But its churlish to say anything more bad than that about a keeper who conceded one goal in six games. Probably his most important moment was saving a penalty against Portugal, without which Spain would have lost.
Left Back - Jordi Alba (Spain)
His run and goal in the final was just emblematic of the rampaging problem he gave opposition defences all tournament - and had 5 clean sheets in the process. Time to put to bed the myth that attacking fullbacks make you weak defensively.
Center Half - Pepe (Portugal)
One of the most dislikeable players in the game; but also a tremendous footballer - magnificent against Spain in particular, imposing, dangerous, and not intimidated at all.
Center Half - Sergio Ramos (Spain)
Stepped into the centre when Carlos Puyol went out injured and did an admirable job. Distributed the ball well and made sure Pique didn't get too far out of position. Guts to go with the positional sense.
Right Back - Joao Pereira (Portugal)
A tournament that started out as great for Right backs fell away as Gebre Selassi and Debuchy made tournament ending mistakes, and Johnson went home earlier than him. But Pereira was great in his own right, showing the modern value of the attacking fullback.
Midfield - Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
My personal player of the tournament - the pieces around him moved and this wasn't the strongest Italy team on paper, but he dragged them through, setting up the only goal scored against Spain, scoring one against Italy before tearing England apart culminating in the coolest penalty scored for many a year. Not bad for a 35 year old.
Midfield - Xavi (Spain)
When I compiled this I tried to leave him out as in some respects this wasn't Xavi at his best - he had to come off a couple of times when he tired - but Spain are defined by their midfield, and their midfield is defined by Xavi. How can you criticise anything he does?
Midfield - Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
This might be a personal preference for the sort of football I like to see, but to me, Schweiny is a perfect component of a team - a battling midfielder who knows how to use the ball when he wins it back - see his two assists against Holland for what I mean.
Wide Forward - Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
A strange tournament for Cristiano - two games in which he missed a lot of chances, then two games in which he looked unstoppable, before frustration against Spain. But in every single game, he was a factor, and teams had to make a custom plan for him, which tells its own story.
Striker - Mario Balotelli (Italy)
Not a good tournament for strikers as I've mentioned before, but Balotelli was the only one of them who scored when it actually mattered - his two excellent goals against Germany sending the underdog Italy to the final in a knockout stage bereft of goals.
Wide Forward - Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Television audiences everywhere, say thank you to Andres Iniesta. Watching Spain passively strangle a game to death isn't for everyone, but with Iniesta you have a player who constantly wants to drive forward and force the play. Without him, I cant imagine what watching Spain would be like.