After excellent wins for Germany, England and Italy and some generally solid performances in Round 2, Goal.com offers their players of the round..
Manuel Neuer (Germany) – Admittedly the Schalke goalkeeper wasn’t exactly over stretched by the Finland attack, but he did manage to pull off one excellent block in the first half with the score at 0-0 to deny Finland an opener. Potentially therefore a pivotal moment in the game. Otherwise came out for crosses well and distributed the ball to Ozil on a number of occasions. Certainly merits his place in the Team of the Round after his second clean sheet of the tournament
Michael Lustig (Sweden) - Slightly culpable for the Italy opener when he gave Mario Balotelli too much time on the Italian left flank to work the ball on to his right foot. However, he was excellent going forward delivering several good balls into the box as Sweden looked to try and make their numerical superiority count. His name has been mentioned in connection with West Ham since the tournament started, and on the evidence of this performance, he would certainly be an asset to the Hammers next season.
Benedikt Howedes (Germany) – Appears for the second time in the Team of the Round, and more than justifies his position after coping admirably with the tricky Berat Sadik and coming up with the opening goal from a set piece. A quality defender, whose reputation is certainly being enhanced during this tournament.
Salvatore Bocchetti (Italy) – Was chiefly responsible for keeping Swedish hat-trick hero Marcus Berg quiet, and largely succeeded in his task. Had a strong game against Berg, who failed to make much of an impact on proceedings. Could have got closer to Toivonen for the Swedish goal towards the end of the match, when neither Italian centre-back appeared to be in the picture, but the Genoa defender generally had an efficient match at the heart of the defence.
Kieran Gibbs (England) – Had a composed match against Spain at left-back for England dealing with the Spanish right winger Adrian and getting forward himself throughout the game to assist when appropriate. He ss maturing into a fine player from a long recent line of Arsenal left- backs such as Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy and Armand Traore. Has a terrific future ahead of him.
Fabrice Muamba (England) – Playing as the holding midfielder for England, he had a fantastic match coping with the likes of Krkic and Jurado, both of whom dropped deep to try and influence the game for Spain. Also distributed the ball sensibly to Cattermole and Noble throughout the game, to get England moving forward after recovering possession.
Luca Cigarini (Italy) – The Atalanta midfielder had another good game at the heart of the Italian midfield, especially after his side were reduced to ten men after Balotelli saw red. Helped keep Italy ticking over in the engine room using the ball sensibly. Predictably ended up dropping too deep as the game wore on, but manager Casiraghi should take some of the blame for that because of his negative substitutions.
Lee Cattermole (England) – He just beats England colleague Mark Noble to a position at the heart of midfield as a result of being slightly more willing to get into the box and support the front-men. Popped up in the box on a couple of occasions to cause consternation in the Spanish defence.
Sebastian Giovinco (Italy) – Showed the sort of form that won him the Player of the Tournament at Toulon last summer by influencing the game positively throughout against Sweden first from the right flank and then, following the sending off to Balotelli, from a slightly deeper and central position. Set both Italian goals up, one in open play sliding the ball over to Balotelli and the other with a delicious cross from a free kick plum on to Acquafresca’s head.
Robert Acquafresca (Italy) – Far more of a presence against Sweden than in the first match against Serbia. Was always available for the pass, and got his reward for an excellent match with his first goal of the tournament; a superb header that required anticipation and excellent strength to hold off the Swedish defenders.
Fraizer Campbell (England) – Deserves his place in the Team of the Round not only for his goal against Spain, but his excellent performance against Finland in the first game. Was a substitute both times, but was a constant menace, especially to the Spanish defence, who failed to cope with his pace. We may get to see a bit more of Campbell depending on how bad the injury to Agbonlahor is, but on this evidence, the Villa forward won’t be too badly missed.
Walter Townsend, Goal.com