The curtain closed on the European Championships last night as Portugal clinched a memorable triumph over the hosts France at the Stade De France, to crush their dream of a Euro 2016 crown on home soil.
Over the last four weeks there has been plenty of stars, flops and surprises. Football Ticket Pad has picked out their Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament...England fans look away now.
Rui Patricio (Portugal): Despite limping through the group stage with three draws against Iceland, Austria and Hungary, Patricio was a consistent performer. The Sporting Lisbon stopper only conceded one goal in the knockout stages and was the hero in the Last 16 when he saved Jakub Blaszczykowski’s penalty in the shootout. He was also in inspired form in the final against France with a string of crucial saves as Portugal sealed their first ever international title.
Jerome Boateng (Germany): Proved why is is one of the best defenders in Europe before he was cruelly sidelined in the semi final against France. Boateng was an instrumental figure for Germany with last ditch tackles, pinpoint passing and forward runs. A real joy to watch this summer.
Leonardo Bonucci (Italy): Prior to the tournament many had written off Italy with their ageing squad. However, the Italian led by example and was the heartbeat of a well-drilled Azzurri defence in their march to the last four. The 29 year old had an impeccable tournament with a man of the match display against Spain in the last 16 and a well taken penalty against Germany in the semi final, before bowing out on penalties.
Ashley Williams (Wales): Wales were one of the Euro 2016 surprise packages and Ashley Williams was a vital part of their success as they reached the semi final. The Welsh captain was heroic in defence with crucial interceptions and clearances as he epitomised the team spirit and character in his country’s memorable campaign.
Raphael Guerreiro (Portugal): The 22 year-old was a shining star for Portugal with a string of impressive displays at Euro 2016. Guerreiro played every match for Fernando Santos’ men and was able to provide both pace and guile down the left flank. The left-back was resilient in defence, excellent in attack and a real threat from set-pieces. Guerreiro only had two caps prior to the tournament and now he leaves as a Euro winner.
Aaron Ramsey (Wales): The Arsenal man had a superb Euro 2016 campaign. Much was said about Wales being a one man team with Gareth Bale, however, Aaron Ramsey was influential in midfield to emphatically diminish any misconceptions. Ramsey scored in the opening match against Slovakia as Wales won the group. He then put in a man of the match performance against Belgium in the quarter final before cruelly missing the semi final through suspension, where his absence was greatly felt.
Mesut Ozil (Germany): Germany were the pass-masters of Euro 2016 as Mesut Ozil provided the flair and creativity to unlock defences alongside team-mate Toni Kroos. Ozil showed his worth in attack but he also impressed with his defensive work rate,which he seemingly lacked at Arsenal last season. The playmaker also scored the opening goal in the Quarter Final against Italy before crashing out in the last four.
Dimitri Payet (France): Payet was one of the stars for France in their march to the final as he continued where he left off after a scintillating season at West Ham United. Payet burst onto the scene with a stoppage time winner in the opening game against Romania, before adding two more goals as he continued to impress. Payet provided the creative spark for France, stepping up to the mantle on the international stage whilst his compatriot Paul Pogba failed to perform consistently for Les Blues.
Gareth Bale (Wales): The hopes of a nation were heaped onto the shoulders of Gareth Bale and he duly delivered with his performances at Euro 2016 for Wales. The Real Madrid ace showed his quality netting in all three group stage matches as Wales continued to defy the odds and progressed to the semi final.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal): Ronaldo finally experienced international success with Portugal as his side sealed a dramatic title without him for the majority of the final. Despite Ronaldo being stretchered off in the first half, there is no doubting his importance to the side both on and off the pitch as he prowled the touchline with his knee heavily strapped. Ronaldo began the tournament slowly, but his vital two goals against Hungary made Portugal progress to the knockout stages in third place. Ronaldo then added two more crucial goals in the last 16 and semi final. When Portugal’s backs were firmly against the wall, Ronaldo was there to drag them through.
Antoine Griezmann (France): His six goals saw him claim the Golden Boot as he so nearly fired France to Euro glory. The 25 year old had an outstanding tournament and could have so easily been the hero had he not missed a glorious headed chance in the final. The striker was calm and composed in front of goal with deadly finishes and fine interplay in attack for France. Ticket Pad tipped Griezmann as a golden boot contender prior to the tournament. The Atletico Madrid star scored a dramatic late winner against Albania, before scoring twice against the Republic of Ireland to knock them out in the last 16. The Frenchman also scored in the 5-2 rout over Iceland in the Quarter-Final before scoring twice against Germany in the the semi-final.