Nine members of the Goal.com team have tallied up their votes for the Euro 2008 awards. Find out the results and offer your own selections below...
1. Iker Casillas (Spain)
Was the most convincing winner in any category, racking up 25 points, and it's not hard to see why. San Iker continues to go from strength to strength as a player and with over 80 caps and just 27 years of age, the sky is the limit for Spain's captain. He was the hero that broke Spain's curse of June 22 - when they have been eliminated from major tournaments three times on penalties - by being the hero in the shootout against world champions Italy. Put in a commanding performance in the final and rarely looked rattled. Deservedly lifted the trophy as captain last night in Vienna.
2. Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
It says something for Gigi's pedigree that he still comes second considering Italy's 3-0 drubbing at the hands of the Netherlands, but even after a colliding with team-mate Christian Panucci in what turned out to be one of the talking points of the tournament, Buffon was a hero for his side, pulling off a heroic penalty save to eventually qualify Italy from the Group of Death and another in the shootout, albeit in vain. Came second to Casillas in Euro 2008, but there is little separating the two best goalkeepers in the world.
3. Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands)
Edged Artur Boruc by one point into third place, largely due to his heroics leading to team success. A distance behind numbers one and two in third, van der Sar was at his best for the majority of the Dutch campaign, compensating for what always looked like a shaky rearguard and made some fantastic saves. Certainly did not deserve to be on the losing side in their extra time elimination against Russia - having kept them in the game as he did - but bowed out of international football on a high note following his Champions League win with Manchester United.
1. Carles Puyol (Spain)
Few would have backed the shaggy-haired stopper to top this list going into the tournament, but being compared to the legendary Paolo Maldini by the quite possibly even more legendary Franco Baresi does not happen without good reason. While he may not have been quite that good, he did take us back to him at his best, following a rocky season with Barcelona. Rallied his troops at the back fairly well; had a few shaky moments but was so solid in the crucial challenges. A comfortable winner.
2. Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
The worry over the past year or two for Italy has been the lack of emerging defensive stars. Blessed as they are, the Azzurri tend to produce one or two undisputed world class stoppers per generation at a minimum, but since the generation of Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta, no heir apparent truly staked their claim until this summer. Still less technically adept than his more experienced compatriots, Chiellini has the energy, physicality and discipline to go on to achieve great things for Italy. Was omitted in the opening game - which Italy lost 3-0 to the Dutch - came in and conceded just one goal in the next three games, with that being a freak goal following a horrific error from the otherwise solid Gianluca Zambrotta.
3. Yuri Zhirkov (Russia)
Some may contest his inclusion as a defender considering most of his contribution was going forward down the left hand side, but Zhirkov certainly proved one of a handful of Russian surprises at Austria-Switzerland. The CSKA Moscow wing-back was tireless down his flank, always serving as a good outlet and quick to get back as well - though he did have some defensive lapses from time to time. Ultimately, this was not a tournament in which defenders covered themselves in glory.
1. Marcos Senna (Spain)
The general concensus has been that Senna is what Spain have always been missing. He has served as a shield for the back for and a man-marker of opposition danger-men and done so brilliantly. There have been moments where he looked somewhat off the pace - and at 31, he has admitted as much - but the Brazilian-born Villarreal captain was simply invaluable to the balance of Spain's midfield and the difference between a good and great Roja - that alone was enough to see him edge his way to the award for best midfielder, this despite the fact he is not afforded the box-to-box freedom he is at club level, proving much more of an offensive threat than given credit for.
2. Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
Despite having moved to Real Madrid less than a year ago and winning La Liga in his first season as the highest scoring midfielder in Spain, Wesley Sneijder still had a fairly low profile going into this tournament. Compared to other players of his position such as Michael Ballack, Deco, Andres Iniesta and even João Moutinho - his name was not as well-known or as highly regarded - but it will be now. Having turned 24 during the tournament, time is on his side, and his versatility as well as defensive work-rate made him something of an all-rounder for the Dutch - being the star performer of an outstanding unit - with two spectacular goals capping his contribution to the tournament.
3. Michael Ballack (Germany)
The German captain grabs third place in what was the most tightly contested category, with very few points separating the majority of nominees. Ballack bossed the opening game against Poland and scored a searing free-kick to settle affairs against Austria, but could not pull his side through as he has so often when they were down against Croatia, and eventually, Spain. He did score a crucial goal against Portugal, but the contentious issue of the push on Paulo Ferreira in the build-up does denegrate that somewhat. A world class player and undeserved losing finalist (again!) and he makes third on our list.
1. David Villa (Spain)
Was there ever any doubt? Scored one point less than Casillas did in the goalkeeping stakes, and though his impact was only well and truly felt in two games, it cannot be underestimated how important it was. He was the difference against both Russia and Sweden - scoring the tournament's only hat-trick and finishing top scorer - and put in great performances as well as a goal return to match. Four goals is not exceptional, but when considering he was rested for one game and tragically injured for most of the semi as well as the final, he grabbed four goals in three and a bit games - there was little more he could have done barring score against an impregnable Italian defence. Has become Europe's most wanted striker off the back of his performances and it remains to be seen where he will end up come the start of the season - or whether he will even choose to leave Valencia after all.
2. Lukas Podolski (Germany)
A fairly distant second despite being just one goal behind Villa in the race for the Golden Boot. Podolski's three goals - all in the group stage - were as cleanly struck as you could hope for, but in the case of all three, they fell fairly fortunately for the Polish-born striker, who was in the right place at the right time to hammer them home. That was the difference between he and Villa, and though his goals may not have been quite as spectacular, his all-round play was invaluable to the Germans. Much of their play came down the left-hand side - where he was deputising - and he provided Bastian Schweinsteiger with an assist each against Portugal and Turkey in the quarter and semi-finals. His performances have alerted new Bayern Munich boss Jürgen Klinsmann, who is now more eager than ever to hold onto him, but he may have a job on his hands...
3. Andrei Arshavin (Russia)
Like Villa, only had two truly impressive games - playing just three in total - but he well and truly wowed spectators worldwide in the small window he was afforded. Missing the first two group games through suspension, he was the driving force behind securing qualification against Sweden and was electric against the Netherlands. His creative influence was incredible and the fact he also chipped in with two goals made him a dead certainty for the list. Almost certainly would have finished higher had it not been for the hype and the stage all becoming a bit too much for the emerging star from Zenit St Petersburg, as he was outclassed by the likes of Puyol and Senna during Russia's 3-0 semi-final elimination at the hands of the champions.
1. Luca Toni (Italy)
So we have awarded the best, now it is time for the one award nobody wants to win, and Luca Toni is top. He had a monumental debut season with Bayern Munich but well and truly failed to replicate that form for his country when it mattered this summer. To his credit, he did score one goal which was wrongly disallowed against Romania, and his plethora of misses against France, though embarrassing, did not ultimately cost his side. Against Spain he was left isolated and played little part in the proceedings and the same can be said for the opener, in which the Azzurri were mauled by the Oranje. Ultimately, dubbed as one of the best strikers, he simply wasn't good enough.
2. Mario Gomez (Germany)
Just one point behind Toni is another target-man who has come off the back of an incredible season in Germany. The youngster's reputation is not quite on the same level of Toni, yet he was everybody's outside bet to take the tournament by storm. Scored none and missed an absolute sitter from all of two yards against Austria, but will count himself unlucky at getting dropped when strike partner Miroslav Klose - who, while they played together, was no better - had not scored in several months leading into the tournament.
3. Karim Benzema (France)
Perhaps could have finished higher on the list given the hype surrounding him being greater than either of the two above him. Benzema has been compared to many of the greats and has had two great seasons with Lyon in Ligue 1 and even impressing in the Champions League, but he looked lost for les Bleus for the entire tournament. Was axed by Raymond Domenech, which says it all, and the closest he came to making his mark was a well-hit effort heading for the top corner against Italy that was brilliantly kept out by Buffon. Having said he didn't want to leave Lyon this summer, it is likely there will now be far less interest than he anticipated.
1. Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands, vs Italy)
The Dutchman was the only player to have two goals nominated and one of them has come out on top. It was a fabulous team goal, beginning with Giovanni van Bronckhorst clearing the ball off the line from an Italy corner, then rampaging down the left flank to be picked out by a superb pass from Rafael van der Vaart. Gio then hit a deep cross to the far post that Dirk Kuyt nodded back across goal for Wesley Sneijder to hammer past Buffon with an acrobatic finish. Exceptional. That made it 2-0 five minutes after the first had been scored, it killed the game and established the Dutch as the tournament's kings of the counterattack.
2. Arjen Robben (Netherlands, vs France)
There can be little surprise that another Dutch goal has made the list, and this finished just one point behind Sneijder's. Again, this one came straight after a goal - but this time, one from the opposition - with Thierry Henry having raised France's hopes with their only goal of the tournament to make it 2-1, but within a minute, the Oranje had stormed the French area and Robben, seemingly cornered on the left, turned and rocketed a shot past Gregory Coupet at his near post. It is a goal that cannot be described to its full justice in words alone. An incredible strike, and again, completely killed the game.
3. David Villa (Spain, vs Russia - second goal)
Well he had three to choose from in this game alone, but in a distant third place behind the two Dutch goals is tournament top scorer David Villa. He had already put them a goal to the good with a tap-in, and as Spain were hitting top gear with exceptional passing and movement, it was a counterattack that saw Andres Iniesta play a sublime through-ball between two defenders for Villa, who showed exceptional goal-scorer's instinct to hit it first time under the onrushing Igor Akinfeev. One for the purists.
1. Germany 3-2 Turkey (semi-final)
While knockout games regularly absorb the viewers purely due to the amount at stake and their incredibly high profile, few entertain quite as much as this one. Turkey - comeback kings in the midst of a huge injury and suspension crisis - took on pre-tournament favourites Germany, who after a slow start, picked off Portugal with consummate ease to book their place in the quarters. The Germans were back, this was the end for Turkey just as it had been for South Korea six years ago - and indeed it proved to be - but not in the manner anyone expected.
Fatih Terim's Turks dominated and deservedly took the lead after an ingenuitive move out on the right ended with the ball first crashing off the bar from Colin Kazim-Richards and then being bundled in by Ugur Boral. The Turks had not scored first all tournament and it was clear to see why, with Bastian Schweinsteiger powering into the area just five minutes later to equalise. The game continued to be all Turkey, though, and Germany were just hanging on before a deep, innocuous Philipp Lahm cross was headed home into an empty net, with the suicidal Rustu Recber having come to claim a ball that he had no chance of getting anywhere near. It looked as if they'd thrown it away with just 10 minutes to go, but the relentless Semih Senturk grabbed his third equaliser of the tournament following great work from Sabri on the right on 86 minutes. Would the comeback kings do it again? ... No. Slack defending and a tremendous run saw Philipp Lahm - who'd had an awful game - storm into the area and hit a bullet of a shot in at the near post to win the game at the death. Heartbreaking for Turkey, but a match for the ages.
2. Netherlands 4-1 France (Group C)
The Group of Death was not without its entertainment, that much is for sure. The Dutch proved that their win over Italy was no fluke when they beat fellow World Cup finalists France by the same margin of three goals just three days later. They took an early lead when Dirk Kuyt headed home from a corner, and just as les Bleus were threatening to get back into the game, breaching the Dutch rearguard with alarming regularity, an incredible gamble from coach Marco van Basten paid off when one substitute, Arjen Robben, sped down the left and fed another, Robin van Persie, to give them breathing space. It wasn't to last too long, as Willy Sagnol's teasing ball across the box soon after was delicately touched on by Thierry Henry into the back of the net, but Arjen Robben was down the other end within seconds to hammer home a previously nominated spectacular third for the Dutch that needs no describing. The game was as good as over, and Wesley Sneijder added a beautiful fourth when a neat and simple passing move gifted him a couple of yards of space from 25 yards out and he crashed his effort into the top corner to compound France's misery.
3. Russia 3-1 Netherlands (quarterfinal)
Another Netherlands game, but this time, they lost. Despite Russia's emergence, few saw them overcoming the Dutch, who at that time, looked the team of the tournament. However, they were second best all night against Guus Hiddink's men, who edged them in every department and took a deserved lead through Roman Pavlyuchenko. The football was electric and the game looked to be over, only for Wesley Sneijder to curl in a magnificent free-kick for Ruud van Nistelrooy to head home just three minutes from time. The Dutch were tipped to go on and win it, but the Russians restored their momentum in extra time and added not just one but two beautifully crafted and well-taken goals, with Andrei Arshavin the star.
1. Fatih Terim (Turkey)
The Turkey coach won this award fairly comfortably, without doubt for his incredible charisma on the sidelines and inspirational influence on his players, who he guided through the toughest times to make it to their second ever semi-final, and their first in a Euro. He had little to work with, but nearly always made the right switches for his team. Perhaps one shortcoming was leaving the defensively suspect Sabri at right-back instead of switching him to right wing and allowing Hamit Altintop, naturally a midfielder, to slot back into defence as what is ironically a more defensively sound option. However, with so few options at his disposal - he barely did not even have three fully fit outfield substitutes against Germany - blame can barely be placed on him. Was linked with a return to club management and reportedly wanted by many around Europe, and despite expressing an interest, has opted to stay on with his country.
2. Luis Aragones (Spain)
He's nearly 70, unashamedly racist and very few people like him - but he won the tournament. While it could be said that he had the players at his disposal to make it work, old Luis garners credit for his unwavering loyalty to one person - himself. While his stubborn nature has often proved a hindrance - and perhaps still did in a few minor matters this summer - ultimately, it proved priceless to Spain, who won their first international trophy in 44 years and only the second in their history. Aragones refused to bow to the pressure to play Cesc Fabregas as he knew it would be one midfielder too many, and rightly trusted Xavi to dictate proceedings. He also remained loyal to defensive midfielder Marcos Senna, knowing the balance he provides cannot be replaced by a more skilful player (and Senna is in fact fairly skilful himself). He was also not afraid to substitute Fernando Torres, who was the hero in the end for Spain but had some selfish and shaky moments throughout the tournament. While bringing along Sergio Garcia only to constantly overlook him and omitting the likes of Raul remain talking points, they are ultimately irrelevant. Luis, like his team, was a deserved winner and has bowed out on the perfect note.
3. Guus Hiddink (Russia)
Major tournaments, underdogs, semi-finals - it's just the usual for Guus Hiddink these days. He has taken a talented crop of players and organised them tremendously well. There are one or two defensive shortcomings which the Spanish were all too good at exploiting, but the tactical precision of Russia's forward play was at times devastating and can largely be attributed to the Dutch coach. Is likely to stay on as boss for the 2010 World Cup despite reported interest from some of Europe's big clubs.
Best Young Player (23 or under)
1. Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
Now we're onto the big awards, and the first of them goes to the Arsenal star. He already won the same award for his performances in the Premier League this season and is here doing it again. Despite being limited to substitute appearances for most games, Cesc not only conducted himself superbly off the pitch, but made almost every one of his performances count, providing plenty of assists, dynamism and also getting his first ever goal for Spain - even if it was offside. Rightfully earned a starting place in the final upon the injury of David Villa, and even though he had his worst game of the tournament on the biggest stage, few can take his achievements away from him.
2. Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
To come second in two categories, Chiellini may just count himself unlucky, but without doubt his time will come. His maturity belied his years and as mentioned before, he was a rock for Italy, moreso than his far more experienced partner Christian Panucci.
3. Lukas Podolski (Germany)
Also had the heartbreak of being a runner-up in another category - and in the tournament itself - but continues to deliver on the big stage despite his youth. He was also a star at the 2006 World Cup and will no doubt be prominent in 2010. Despite being played out of position in left-wing, he showed his maturity in getting on with the job, providing two assists and three goals.
1. Xavi (Spain)
Also voted Player of the Tournament by UEFA, Xavi has just crept into first place here at Goal.com. The midfielder was central to almost all of Spain's play throughout the tournament. Their ability to dominate proceedings no matter who the opposition were can largely be credited to him as well as Marcos Senna. He provided the killer pass in the final for Fernando Torres and was arguably the star performer of the game itself. Made great runs into the box throughout the tournament - one of which saw him grab the crucial opener against a stubborn Russia side in the semi-final - and looked Spain's most consistently classy performer from the first game to the last.
2. David Villa (Spain)
Another Spaniard, and perhaps a contestable inclusion as he only hit his peak in two games, but how vital they proved to be. His goals got Spain off to the start they needed and his partnership with Fernando Torres regularly terrorised defences throughout the tournament. While he modestly attributed some of his success to the Liverpool ace, the same can be said vice versa. An exceptional talent and finally getting the recognition he deserves on the world stage.
3. Michael Ballack (Germany)
Edges past Wesley Sneijder and Andrei Arshavin for his influence (over Sneijder) and consistency (over Arshavin). Had two outstanding games in the group stage plus a disappointing outing against Croatia, and despite not hitting peak form in the knockouts, was a solid performer and provided a perfect dynamic for his side. Deserves great credit for taking the field in the final despite carrying an injury, but again agonisingly finished a runner-up in his career.
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(Article by Sulmaan Ahmad)