We have Portugal and France as our two finalists after 24 nations competed in a 50 match contest in the European Championship finals. With France knocking out Germany and Portugal riding over the Welsh Defence, the semifinals had some brilliant performances from all participating sides. This is the 3rd final for the home team whereas Fernando Santos’s side is playing its second.
Here let us take a look at the top 5 players from the Euros semifinals:-
The French captain made some extravagant saves as he kept the Germans at bay. Germany had many goal scoring opportunities which were denied by Lloris as he maintained a clean sheet. While Neuer made errors, Lloris was adamant and denied any goal to Germany. During added time Lloris made a picturesque save after thwarting a brilliant header by Kimmich. He also kept out Emre Can’s low shot and was truly inspiring as a captain.
Throughout the game it was Germans who were commanding the play but the French defence did a great job keeping out the German attack. Laurent Koscienly was totally instrumental in making timely clearances. The Arsenal’s centre back also took some ingenious headers in set pieces giving Neuer some tough time. Koscienly alongside Samuel Umtiti disbanded the German attack, making a total of 20 clearances combined. Thomas Muller and Julian Draxler were completely neutralized.
Toni Kroos was instrumental for Germany as he made 95 passes in the match. He was dazzling with set pieces as he kept putting in pin perfect crosses and corners around the French goal. He created 3 chances for the German side which they could not convert owing to sloppy finishing. In the absence of Sami Khedira he helped dictating the game alongside Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil. But none of his silky touches could find the net owing to misses by Thomas Muller and Julian Draxler.
The Real Madrid star was somewhat slow in first half but eventually found his rhythm in second half. Ronaldo scored a stunner after jumping to a whooping height of 256 cms. Within 3 minutes he assisted his fellow striker Nani to take his tally to 3 goals and 3 assists. Ronaldo and Nani showed great understanding and vacated the spaces for each other taking their side to finals. Mocked earlier by Portuguese fans, Ronaldo is finding his form as the tournament approaches its end. He deservedly was the Man of the Match as he completely overshadowed his Real Madrid co-star Gareth Bale.
Following a fine performance in the quarterfinals, Antoine Griezmann continued to delight the home fans in the semi finals. After scoring from a penalty and shoving the ball into the net after Manuel Neuer’s error, Griezmann continued to check Germany’s defence time and again. The Atletico Madrid star was intelligent in possession and kept enchanting the crowd with his brilliant dribbling skills. Currently the tournaments top scorer with 6 goals, he is 3 goals away from Michel Platini’s record of most goals in the Euro finals. His teammate Blaise Matuidi has even marked him for the Ballon d’Or against his opponent in the final, Cristiano Ronaldo.