Armchair Pundit

Euro 2012 Team of the Round

Alex Chick

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The final round of group games proved a stage for so-called underperformers to come to the fore.

Cristiano Ronaldo produced an electric display as Portugal beat Netherlands, making his critics eat their words.

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic also shone, scoring a brilliant volley - as did Mario Balotelli, who does not make our side.

Balotelli's Italian compatriot Antonio Cassano does make the cut, putting controversy behind him with a glorious display against the Irish.

Even John Terry might have squeezed in had he not been so reliant on myopic officials to maintain England's clean sheet against Ukraine - instead his fuss-free colleague Joleon Lescott is selected.

We reserve two places for members of the Greek team that produced one of the shocks of the tournament, dumping Russia out.

And for the first time there is no room for any Spaniards after their unconvincing win against Croatia - whose midfield maestro Luka Modric also marshals the centre of the park in our team.

Let us know your personal Team of the Round at the bottom of the page.

Goalkeeper: Maarten Stekelenburg (Netherlands) - Expert rating 7, user rating 6.2
It has been a thoroughly miserable tournament for the Dutch, who departed after losing all three games. But spare a thought for Stekelenburg, who seemed to be fighting almost a lone battle against Portugal at times. There can have been no better save at Euro 2012 than his stop from Nani, springing across his goal and spreading himself to stop the winger's goalbound shot. And, as far as we are aware, Stekelenburg wasn't involved in any unseemly in-fighting.

Right-back: Joao Pereira (Portugal) - Expert rating 8, user rating 6.1
Delivered a perfectly-balanced exhibition of the full-back's art against the Dutch, looking impenetrable at the back and consistently dangerous going forward. So comprehensively did he nullify Wesley Sneijder that the midfielder switched positions at the break. And the gorgeous through-ball to set up Cristiano Ronaldo's opening goal was one of the passes of the tournament so far.

Centre-back: Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Greece) - Expert rating 8, user rating 6.0
The 20-year-old helped keep Greece in Euro 2012 with a fantastic defensive display against Russia. Papadopoulos only came into the side due to namesake Avraam Papadopoulos's injury in the opening game, but he has thrived at the heart of the Greek defence. His highlight against Russia was a perfectly-timed clearance from an Andrei Arshavin cross - he prevented a certain Russian goal.

Centre-back: Joleon Lescott (England) - Expert rating 7, user rating 6.0
The Manchester City man has made the most of his opportunity following Gary Cahill's injury, and now looks clearly the superior half of England's centre-back partnership. While he did not clear any shots from 'off the line' (a younger Terry would have reached the ball before it crossed), Lescott made an equally important intervention, getting to the rebound first after Joe Hart spilt a Yevhen Konoplyanka shot.

Left-back: Federico Balzaretti (Italy) - Expert rating 8, user rating 6.5
Was a beneficiary of Cesare Prandelli's switch to a back four as he came into the team against Ireland, but did all of his best work going forwards as Italy booked their last-eight spot. Teed up countless chances for Antonio Cassano and Antonio Di Natale as he raided consistently down the left. Blotted his copybook with a yellow card for - quite literally - rugby-tackling Aiden McGeady.

Central midfield: Luka Modric (Croatia) - Expert rating 8, user rating 7.1
Croatia might have gone home, but not before giving Spain an almighty scare. Slaven Bilic's side matched the world champions throughout, nullifying the intricate Spanish passing and carving out chances of their own. Modric was at the heart of the Croatian effort, most notably with his superb cross from which Ivan Rakitic should have scored the goal that would have sent his side through.

Central midfield: Giorgos Karagounis (Greece) - Expert rating 8, user rating 7.7
Karagounis doesn't get many goals - just nine in 120 caps. But the 35-year-old has mastered the art of timing. He scored his country's opening goal in their crazily unlikely Euro 2004 triumph, and eight years later rattled in the goal that booked Greece a quarter-final place at the expense of the much-fancied Russians. They might not be much to look at, but few would begrudge this side giving some joy to a country in pain.

Right wing: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - Expert rating 9, user rating 7.6
No player received more stick for his performances in the opening two games, and no player answered the critics as perfectly as Ronaldo, who scored both Portuguese goals in the 2-1 win over the Netherlands. Ronaldo finally grabbed his first goal of the tournament, slamming home Joao Pereira's through ball, and added a second on the counter-attack - where Portugal were routinely devastating. He also hit the woodwork twice for good measure. How do you like him now?

Attacking midfield: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) - Expert rating 8, user rating 7.2
For a man who 'never performs on the big stage', Ibrahimovic has some impressive stats - like eight consecutive league titles at club level. In the final round of games he became the first player to score twice or more at three separate European Championships. Of course, his detractors will say he only turned on the style after Sweden were knocked out, but only a true curmudgeon could question the sumptuous quality of his volley against France.

Left wing: Vaclav Pilar (Czech Republic) - Expert rating 7, user rating 6.9
The new Wolfsburg signing has been one of the Czech Republic's stand-out performers throughout this tournament, and he delivered when it mattered in the 1-0 win against the co-hosts. He was a constant presence throughout the game, equally comfortable going down the line and cutting inside, and was not afraid to take a shot at goal. Although he was not involved in the winner, he is undoubtedly a key man for Michal Bilek's side.

Striker: Antonio Cassano (Italy) - Expert rating 8, user rating 7.1
After his homophobic remarks dominated headlines early in the tournament, Cassano showed his quality on the pitch with a superb performance against Ireland. Six months removed from heart surgery, the AC Milan striker scored the opening goal of the night, and dovetailed brilliantly with Antonio Di Natale. After spending his career being considered an expendable luxury player, Cassano now looks indispensable for the Azzurri.

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Cristiano Ronaldo scores past Maarten Stekelenburg

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