With the Euro 2012 final merely hours away, it is time to take a look back at the tournament thus far. The following is a complilation of memorable goals, moments, players, and more.
Feel free to share your opinions below!
Golden Ball:Andrea Pirlo gets my nod for player of the tournament to date. He has been simply fantastic, he said the Italians would dominate the midfield vs. Germany and they did, and he has been the key player for Italy. He also benefits here from the fact that Spain have so many quality players that it is hard to pick just one as the tournament MVP.
Best Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon. You can question the fact that he wears hair clips all you want, but at the end of the day neither you nor I could score on Buffon even from close range. Gigi has been fantastic for Italy and has taken his game to new heights as the tournament has progressed. Honorable Mention: Petr Cech, Iker Casillas.
Best Game: Denmark vs. Portugal. In a game that both teams knew they likely needed to win to advance to the knockout phase, Portugal went up 2-0 only to watch their lead erode by the 80th minute due to two goals from the ever-humble Nicklas Bendtner. Then, in the 87th minute, Silvestre Varela scored a dramatic winner leaving Denmark with only a slim chance to advance heading into the final game against Germany. Although the Danes fought valiantly throughout the tournament, in the end it was not to be. Honorable Mention: Greece vs. Poland.
Biggest Surprise: Italy. After the Italians poor showing at the 2010 World Cup, almost no one predicted they'd be in the final. Led by a combination of the old guard and rising talents such as Super Mario, the Italians are one win away from European glory.
Biggest Disappointment: Holland. The Dutch left the tournament with the same number of points in the competition as Ireland as well as Andorra, Lichtenstein, San Marino, and every other European nation that didn't even qualify: zero.
Worst Diver: Sergio Busquets. A notorious diver and known for his infamous "peek" incident, Busquet's diving was again of Olympic quality this summer.
Goal of the Tournament: Danny Welbeck's goal versus Sweden. What class from Welbeck, and what an important goal for the Three Lions. Honorable Mentions: Mario Balotelli's volley vs. Ireland, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal against France.
Funniest Story Related to the Tournament: The international media publishing comic genious and Yahoo! blogger Brooks Peck's intentionally fake story as true. To set the record straight, Ronaldo did not miss the team plane back to Portugal because he usually boards in the first or second zone but instead volunteered to board in the fifth zone this time, decided to buy a Cinnabon, then returned only to find that the plane had left without him.
Saddest Euro 2012 Story: 26-year-old Chinese man dies after staying up all night for 11 days straight to watch all the Euro 2012 games.
Best Aspect of ESPN's Coverage: Use of Coldplay songs. Honorable Mentions: Ian Darke and Macca calling games, and the "awoah oh oh ohh" Intro.
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Drew has been covering soccer for Yahoo! Sports since 2010. His favorite club team is Liverpool, while he natrually is a USA fan when it comes to international soccer. Out of European nations, Germany have always been his favorite national team.