Goalkeeper: Rui Patricio
In 120 minutes of action, Rui Patricio made 4 saves to keep the score level at 1-1 in Portugal’s quarter final match against Poland. Then he brilliantly saved a well-taken penalty shot by Jakub Blasczykowski to win his team the match. It was a good performance from the goalkeeper who had his best performance of the tournament to help Portugal reach the semi finals. Rating 7.5/10.
Right Back: Jonas Hector
Although actually a left-back, Jonas Hector makes the team of the week this time around as a right back due to the lack of good right back performances in the quarter finals. Jonas Hector’s performance was excellent for Germany. Not only did he assist Mesut Ozil for Germany’s goal, but he also scored the winning penalty kick in the shootout that sent his nation through to the semi finals. The 26 year old was supposedly thought of to never be good enough to play at this level up until about a year ago, but has since gone on to shatter expectations and slowly build his resume as one of the best left backs in the world. The Cologne defender completed 85% of his passes, whipped in 5 crosses, made 4 tackles and won 100% of his duels in the air to help Germany win their match. He’s been absolutely excellent for Germany in this tournament and turned up with another brilliant performance against Italy in the quarter finals. Rating 8/10.
Centre Back: Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams was arguably Wales’ most dangerous player on the pitch in Wales’ 3-1 win over Belgium! The central defender had 4 shots, 2 of which were on target and one of which was converted for a goal. Chris Coleman said after the match that his captain could have had a hat trick! Williams wasn’t just dangerous in attack though, he was incredibly solid at the back as well. The Swansea defender made 3 tackles, 7 clearances, and completely stopped Romelu Lukaku from playing and getting on the end of all of Belgium’s crosses. He also captained his side to a historic win that sent them through to their first ever semi finals in an international tournament. Ashley Williams has had a brilliant tournament so far and had another fantastic game against Belgium. Rating 9/10.
Left Back: Neil Taylor
Wales have been amazing at Euro 2016 and Neil Taylor has been one of their best performers. Without Neil Taylor’s goal-line clearance early on in the match this could have been a very different outcome. The Swansea defender was so key for his nation in both defense and attack. He had Wales’ first attack of the match, forcing the hand of Thibaut Courtois from close range and then continued to get forward for the remainder of the match, whipping in 3 crosses and creating 2 chances. He was also brilliant in defense, completely taming Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Kevin de Bruyne while in the process making four interceptions, four clearances and completing 88% of his passes. It was another brilliant performance for Neil Taylor as he continues to be one of Wales’ star players at Euro 2016. Rating 9/10.
Defensive Midfield: Blaise Matuidi
Blaise Matuidi controlled the midfield for France against Iceland, constantly winning possession back and then making decisive forward passes for his teammates to get up the field. His assist for Giroud’s early goal was fantastic and was the reason why France were able to go on and dominate the remainder of the game. His passing was so good on the night, completing 93.9% of his passes for a total of 82 passes. He also had 97 touches on the ball, showing how dominant France were in the midfield in the game. The PSG midfielder also made 4 tackles and completed 3 dribbles. Blaise Matuidi was at the heart of everything for France and was one of their very best players in their 5-2 win over Iceland. Rating 9.5/10.
Centre Midfield: Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba was another dominant performer in France’s 5-2 win over Iceland. The Juventus midfielder rose up brilliantly to head in France’s second goal and helped Matuidi completely control the midfield, never allowing Iceland any route back into the match. Pogba completed 93.7% of his passes for a total of 95 passes. He also had 108 touches on the ball, 11 more than any other player on the pitch, won 2 duels in the air, made 2 tackles and made 2 interceptions to help France completely dominate their quarter final match and send them through to the semi finals. Rating 9/10.
Centre Midfield: Aaron Ramsey
Coming into this match I thought that Aaron Ramsey would struggle against Belgium and thought he would get outclassed by defensive midfield superstars Witsel and Nainggolan. The opposite turned out to be true as Ramsey completely controlled the midfield and the game, ensuring that Belgium never had any chance of getting into the match or developing any rhythm among their players at all. Ramsey was the most brilliant player of all in Wales’ 3-1 win over Belgium as he assisted 2 goals and led the majority of his nation’s attacks. Ramsey also had 2 shots, completed 86% of his passes, had 72 touches on the ball and dominated against better players like de Bruyne and Nainggolan. Aaron Ramsey was absolutely brilliant on Friday night and Wales will be missing him dearly for their upcoming semi final match against Portugal as he sits out suspended due to UEFA’s stupid rules. Rating 10/10.
Right Attacking Midfield: Renato Sanches
Renato Sanches became the youngest player to start for Portugal at an international competition and the youngest player to score in a Euro 2016 knockout match on Thursday when he lined up and scored a fantastic goal against Poland. The 18-year old was the best player on the pitch on Thursday, dominating the midfield and bossing all of Portugal’s attacks. Sanches completed 7 dribbles, had 97 touches, completed 93% of his passes and took 3 shots, two of which were blocked and the other found the back of the net. It was a brilliant performance for Renato Sanches against Poland and without him, Portugal may not have even progressed to the next round. Rating 9/10.
Attacking Midfield: Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann swapped out his man of the match, two goal performance against the Republic of Ireland in the Round of 16 for an even better possible man of the match, one goal, two assist performance against Iceland. Antoine Griezmann ran the show for France against Iceland, pulling the strings from a midfield position that suited him so well. The Atletico Madrid forward assisted Paul Pogba’s header and then Dimitri Payet’s left footed strike before scoring a glorious goal himself to give his team a 4-0 lead! Griezmann had 60 touches, completed 89.1% of his passes and created 5 chances for his teammates to score! He was absolutely incredible for France and continues to be one of the very best players at Euro 2016 as France now look to go on and win this tournament. Rating 10/10.
Left Attacking Midfield: Dimitri Payet
Dimitri Payet was arguably even better in France’s match against Iceland than he was on opening day when he ran circles around Romania and scored a stunning winner to give France a 2-1 victory! Payet was incredible against Iceland, scoring a great left-footed shot and then later on assisting Giroud once again for another great headed goal. He was constantly dropping into midfield always trying to get on the ball and create something for his nation. The West Ham midfielder also had 3 shots, created 2 chances, had 74 touches, and whipped in 3 crosses to help France keep all of the pressure on Iceland for the entire match. It was another incredible performance from Dimitri Payet as he is on his way to being named the tournament’s best player. Rating 10/10.
Centre Forward: Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud did absolutely everything right in France’s 5-2 win against Iceland. He was so dominant in the air, bullying two tough defenders in Sigurdsson and Arnason that no other forward has been able to cope with in this tournament so far, including cry-baby Cristiano Ronaldo! Giroud scored 2 fantastic goals against Iceland; One stunning left-footed volley in the first half and one clinical header in the second half. He also assisted Antoine Griezmann’s goal, created 2 chances, won 4 duels in the air and helped out in defense with 4 tackles! It was a brilliant performance from the criticized striker as he dominated the match and was arguably one of France’s most important players in their fantastic win. Rating 10/10.
Substitutes: Pepe, Leonardo Bonucci, Kamil Glik, Nani, Gareth Bale, Hal Robson-Kanu, Robert Lewandowski
Player of the Week: Aaron Ramsey
This was the toughest week for Player of the Week so far with so many players showing off their talent so amazingly well in the quarter finals. Payet, Griezmann and Giroud were all amazing in France’s 5-2 win over Iceland but ultimately this week’s player of the week has to go to Aaron Ramsey. Everyone was expecting Belgium to win their match against Wales, yet somehow the tiny nation of 3 million people managed to defy expectations and beat FIFA’s 2nd highest ranked team by a score of 3-1. So what happened? Aaron Ramsey happened. Aaron Ramsey was brilliant on Friday night and ran the show, dominating the midfield and never allowing Nainggolan or Witsel any space to get into the match after Belgium went up 1-0. He also had 2 assists and led the charge for most of Wales’ attacks. Without Aaron Ramsey, it is unlikely that Wales would have even gotten to this point let alone win this match and make it to the semi finals! Aaron Ramsey was incredible against Belgium and is going to be such a big miss for Wales in the semi finals.
Manager of the Week: Chris Coleman
Chris Coleman had another excellent performance on Friday night, setting up his team so well to get the most out of his very best players. Bale, Ramsey, Williams and Allen were all brilliant on the night and Wales’ manager has to be credited. He seems to be turning Joe Allen into one of the world’s best centre midfielders when he is nowhere near that quality. Aaron Ramsey has had an amazing transformation, coming off of an averagely good season with Arsenal to become one of the best players of the tournament. Gareth Bale has completely outclassed his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo that he normally gets overshadowed by. Chris Coleman deserves credit for all of this. Belgium came into this match coming off of a 4-0 win over Hungary and Coleman somehow managed to take a team of underdogs and turn them into world-beaters as they made players like Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne look average! Wales have been brilliant at Euro 2016 and their stunning 3-1 win over Belgium was just one more example of it.
Game of the Week: Wales 3-1 Belgium
A classic Euro 2016 encounter with both teams fighting for their lives in the competition for a place in the semi finals. Despite the France-Iceland encounter that had seven goals, this game still was the best watch of the week, arguably the best of the tournament so far.
Best Moment: The celebrations after the game in the Wales-Belgium match after Wales realized they had just reached their first ever semi-final at a major tournament ever.