Euro 2016 Semi Finals Team of the Week

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris

Hugo Lloris arguably had the best goalkeeping performance of the tournament so far at such a crucial time as he kept the ball out of the net despite constant pressure from the German players. Lloris made 5 stunning saves to keep Germany out. One of those saves, from the head of Joshua Kimmich was absolutely glorious and nine times out of ten would have been a goal. If Antonie Griezmann hadn’t been man of the match by a mile, the honour certainly would have gone to Hugo Lloris. Rating 9.5/10.

Right Back: Cedric Soares

Cedric Soares came into form at the perfect time for Portugal, playing a massive role from right-back for Portugal as they made it to the final. The Southampton defender was excellent in Portugal’s semi final match-up against Wales, making 4 tackles, 5 clearances, and putting in 4 crosses to try and create chances for his teammates. He also had 64 and was defensively solid all game long, helping Portugal keep a clean sheet and dominate their match going forward, as they won 2-0. Rating 8/10.

Centre Back: Jose Fonte

Jose Fonte completely stopped Hal-Robson Kanu and Sam Vokes from playing in Portugal’s semi final match against Wales and was so crucial to their 2-0 win. Jose Fonte won all of his duels in the air, had 1 seriously good chance to score a goal, completed 88.1% of his passes and helped Portugal keep Wales’ shot tally down to just 3 Gareth Bale shots on target. Jose Fonte has been excellent ever since coming in for Ricardo Carvalho in the Round of 16 and fully deserves to have an appearance in the team of the week of this tournament. Rating 8/10.

Centre Back: Laurent Koscielny 

Laurent Koscielny had a brilliant game against Germany in France’s semi final match as Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil were completely anonymous the entire game. Koscielny dominated his defensive third and led France’s back line to a crucial clean sheet,. The Arsenal central defender also won 3 duels in the air, blocked 2 shots, made 2 interceptions and made 11 clearances to keep Germany out of France’s penalty area. Hardly anyone could get past Koscielny on the night and he led his back line to a brilliant 2-0 victory. Rating 8.5/10.

Left-Back: Raphael Guerreiro 

Another difference maker for Portugal against Wales. A lot has been made about how Portugal just have a few superstars and the rest are just your average Euro 2016 players, but this young left-back has been a rising star in this tournament and looked absolutely excellent in Wednesday night’s semi-final. Raphael Guerreiro assisted Cristiano Ronaldo’s header with a picture-perfect cross to give Portugal the lead, but he wasn’t done there. The Borussia Dortmund new-arrival also created one other chance, put in three crosses, made 1 tackle and 1 interception to help Portugal keep their dominance in the game. He was excellent in the semi-final match and was one of Portugal’s key performers. Rating 8.5/10.

Defensive Midfield: Joshua Kimmich 

Although Joshua Kimmich was definitely supposed to be playing as a fullback, you wouldn’t have known it as he was constantly running around in the midfield. Kimmich was everywhere on the pitch on Thursday night and was Germany’s best hope of getting a goal back in the game. The Bayern Munich defender had two incredible shots that could have drawn Germany level or gotten them back into the game. The first was a glorious left-footed strike that graced the post while the other was an outstanding header that forced Hugo Lloris to make the save of the tournament so far to keep him out. Kimmich was excellent for Germany, helping them keep 67% of the possession as he had 51 passes and 81 touches. He also put in 7 crosses, had two other shots off target, created 1 chance and made 3 defensive clearances. Joshua Kimmich was brilliant on Thursday night against France and was unlucky not to be on the winning side. Rating 8.5/10.

Centre Midfield: Paul Pogba 

Paul Pogba was excellent in the centre of midfield for France yet again in this tournament as he set up Antoine Griezmann’s second goal of the night and controlled France’s play from midfield. Paul Pogba was dominant in all aspects of the game on Thursday night, having 2 shots, 2 tackles, 1 interception, 50 touches and creating 2 chances. The Juventus midfielder was one of France’s most dangerous weapons in attack and was so crucial to their 2-0 victory over Germany. Rating 8.5/10.

Centre Midfield: Toni Kroos

Although Toni Kroos was on the losing side of the Germany-France semi-final, he was absolutely excellent and ran the show for Germany. Paul Pogba had a good game but Blaise Matuidi struggled to cope with him as Kroos completley controlled the midfield, making 123 touches on the ball to Pogba’s 50 and Matuidi’s 43. Among those 123 touches, 95 of those were passes, 8 of them were crosses and 3 of them were chances created. He also had 2 shots and helped out in defense with 2 tackles and 1 interception. It was another dominating performance from the Real Madrid midfielder but it wasn’t enough to inspire his team to a semi-final victory. Rating 9/10.

Attacking Midfield: Antoine Griezmann 

The player of the week without a doubt yet again. Antoine Griezmann was absolutely incredible on Thursday night and was the difference maker in their 2-0 victory. Not only did he score both goals, but he was all over the pitch, covering so much ground and his link up play, his dribbling on the ball, his defensive work ethic were all second to none on the night. Griezmann put in 5 crosses, created 2 chances and had 7 shots, 4 of which were on target. The Atletico Madrid forward also completed 5 dribbles, more than any other French player and helped out in defense with 2 tackles and 2 interceptions. Antoine Griezmann has been the player of the tournament so far and showed his class fantastically well on Thursday night. Rating 10/10.

Right Striker: Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo really was the difference once again for Portugal, this time inspiring them to a 2-0 victory over Wales. The Real Madrid forward scored a fantastic header to give Portugal the edge and the lead, but he was constantly putting pressure on Wales’ defense the entire match, taking 9 shots (only two of which were on target). Ronaldo also assisted Nani’s goal, whipping in a half-pass/half shot ball into the area that Nani converted. He just proved too much to handle for all three of Wales’ defenders and bullied them around all game. Ronaldo won 3 duels in the air, created 2 chances and kept all the pressure on Wales all game long to lead Portugal to another European final. Rating 9.5/10.

Left Striker: Luis Nani 

Luis Nani has been incredible in this tournament. He has arguably been Portugal’s key man as he has been their only player to be so consistently good in every single game. The Valencia forward hasn’t been outshone by Ronaldo one bit and has looked lively every single game, putting in another fantastic shift against Wales. Nani isn’t even a forward, yet he’s flourished playing as an unorthodox striker in this tournament. Wednesday’s Semi Final match against Wales was no different for the Portugal striker as he scored a fantastic goal, reacting from a mishit shot from Ronaldo so well. He helped Ronaldo dominate the game up front and constantly put pressure on the Welsh defenders who have been so resilient in this tournament so far. Nani completed 95.7% of his passes, an excellent amount for a forward, while also having 2 shots, creating 2 chances and scoring one very instinctive goal. Nani has had an excellent tournament and could have made the team of the week several times but his fantastic display in the semi finals finally earns him his place in the starting eleven. Rating 9.5/10.

Formation: 4-3-1-2

Player of the Week: Antoine Griezmann 

The 25-year old is developing into one of the very best players on the planet with his form at Euro 2016 and had another incredible game against Germany in the semi-finals. His two goals took France into the finals, but it wasn’t just his goals on the night that earned him this honour, his overall play was absolutely brilliant. He was all over the pitch covering so much ground and his link up play, his dribbling on the ball, his defensive work ethic were all second to none on the night. Griezmann put in 5 crosses, created 2 chances and had 7 shots, 4 of which were on target. The Atletico Madrid forward also completed 5 dribbles, more than any other French player and helped out in defense with 2 tackles and 2 interceptions. Antoine Griezmann has been the best player of the tournament so far and showed his class fantastically well on Thursday night to earn himself the Player of the Week Award for the second time in this competition. Rating 10/10.

Manager of the Week: Fernando Santos

Fernando Santos has done excellently well in the knockout stages of this competition. He hasn’t ever been afraid to change his lineup and look for ways to improve and Wednesday night’s semi final match was no different. With an injury to Pepe and a suspension to William Carvalho, Santos brought in Bruno Alves and Danilo Pereira to fill the void and both worked excellently well. He also stayed with the two unorthodox strikers in Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo which was the difference in Portugal winning the match and he left out big name players like Joao Moutinho and Ricardo Quaresma in favour of the more in favour players like Adrien Silva and Renato Sanches. Portugal are the first team in this tournament to truly outplay Wales and their 3-5-2 formation and Fernando Santos has to be given a lot of credit for what he’s been able to accomplish with this group of players who are not really all that special by any means.

Moment of the Week: Crisitano Ronaldo’s headed goal that gave Portugal a 1-0 lead. It was a fantastic leap and a fantastic goal that people around the world can’t stop talking about.


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