Euro 2016: team of the tournament

The group stages rattle on and, after two rounds of games, we have a better idea of where teams stand in Euro 2016.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 20th June 2016, 1:12 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2016, 1:28 pm
Euro high (and low) points so far
Euro high (and low) points so far

France, Italy and Spain have already booked their place in the last 16, while the Ukraine are the only team who are officially out of the tournament.

Here's our selection of the best performers from the second round of group matches, with Spain and Belgium leading the way after their dominant victories over Turkey and the Republic of Ireland respectively.

Goalkeeper: Robert Almer (Austria)

Sign up to our daily newsletter

After a shock opening loss to Hungary, Austria desperately needed something out of their clash with Portugal, and thanks to Almer they secured a goalless draw. The 32-year-old was outstanding in frustrating Ronaldo and co with a succession of fine saves, and when he was beaten, the post came to his rescue as Ronaldo missed from the penalty spot.

Right-back: Kyle Walker (England)

The Tottenham right-back was absent at Euro 2012 and then the World Cup two years ago through injury but is making up for lost time in France. Arguably England's best player so far, his marauding runs caused Wales a lot of problems in Lens, while he was also solid defensively as the Welsh struggled to create chances.

Centre-back: Gareth McAuley (Northern Ireland)

After their opening loss to Poland in which they looked out of their depth going forward, Northern Ireland bounced back in style with a 2-0 win over the Ukraine. McAuley was part of a rock solid defensive line that frustrated the Ukrainians, and also headed in the opening goal in a famous win in Lyon.

Centre-back: Michal Pazdan (Poland)

Germany were comfortable winners against Ukraine and many expected them to have too much for Poland as well, but in the end it was the Poles who will have regrets over the 0-0 draw in Paris. That wasn't the fault of Pazdan though, who helped shut down the threat of Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller with Germany never looking like scoring.

Left-back: Jordi Alba (Spain)

He might have been just offside for Spain's wonderful third goal, but Alba was a constant threat charging forward against Turkey, as he has been since a brilliant debut at a major tournament four years ago in Poland and the Ukraine.

Centre midfield: Axel Witsel (Belgium)

If Belgium were disappointing in their opening loss to Italy, they more than made up for it by putting Ireland to the sword in Bordeaux. Playing alongside the equally impressive Mousa Dembele, Witsel barely misplaced a pass all game, while marshalling the game in the middle of the park. Add in his bullet header for the second goal, and it was a great all-round display.

Centre midfield: Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)

It may get lost due to the late drama against the Czech Republic, but Ivan Rakitic was outstanding for Croatia as they threatened to run riot in Saint-Etienne. Running the show alongside Luka Modric, he scored Croatia's second goal with a fine finish. With Modric now struggling through injury, even more responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Barcelona man Rakitic.

Right midfield: Andres Iniesta (Spain)

He plays all over the pitch, but we'll slot him in on the right to start, Iniesta was a cut above against Turkey and looks like the best player in the tournament at the moment. The highlight of his performance might have been when he lifted the ball over a helpless Selcuk Inan, although his through ball to Jordi Alba for the third Spanish goal was pretty special as well.

Left midfield: Marek Hamsik (Slovakia)

Slovakia boss Jan Kozak said that Hamsik deserves a move to a bigger club after his display against Russia, and while Napoli might not be impressed at the statement, the Slovakian playmaker would look at home in any team. He scored an absolute beauty, having already set up Vladimir Weiss for the first, and on this form England will have to be very wary in their final group game.

Centre forward: Nolito (Spain)

Generally he plays on the left, and in this team Nolito would be given something of a free role. At 29, the Celta Vigo man has had an unusual path to the top level, but he enjoyed himself against Turkey, setting up Alvaro Morata for Spain's first before bundling home the second. In a Spanish team apparently struggling for goals, Nolito has a very important part to play.

Centre forward: Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

Under-fire for his display against Italy, Lukaku responded in style with a double against Ireland. Benefiting from the work of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard on the counter-attack, Lukaku showed his finishing skills as he fired in his first from just outside the box, before adding a second to finish off the Irish from closer range. With Sweden next up, Lukaku looks a real contender for the golden boot.

Best goal: Marek Hamsik v Russia

There were a few contenders for this one, but Hamsik's stunning strike gets the nod. From a corner taken short on the left, the Slovakian easily beat Pavel Mamayev before firing an unstoppable right-footed shot past Igor Akinfeev from the edge of the box, hitting the right post and going in.

Best save: Robert Almer v Portugal

There were a few options from this game, but Almer's strong hand to keep out a vicious Ronaldo drive was probably the best of the lot. Lining up from 25 yards out, Ronaldo's effort looked bound for the bottom corner, until Almer somehow managed to dig it out.

Biggest decision: Ireland penalty appeal turned down as Belgium score opener

Shane Long and Irish supporters were furious at not getting a penalty when Toby Alderweireld went in with a high boot in the area on the Irish striker. Cuneyt Cakir saw it differently however and Belgium broke and scored the opening goal. While Ireland were outclassed, a 1-0 lead might have changed everything.

Biggest disappointment: Turkey

This is not the Turkish team that came third at the 2002 World Cup and reached the semi-finals of this tournament eight years ago. After a 1-0 loss to Croatia in their opener, they seemed to fold entirely in their second game with Spain, going down 3-0. While they are not officially out, there doesn't seem to be any way back for the Turks, for whom Arda Turan and Hakan Calhanoglu have been the biggest disappointments.

Best surprise: Northern Ireland

Questioned for their complete lack of ambition in their first game against Poland, Northern Ireland responded in the best possible fashion with a 2-0 win over Ukraine. Their first victory at a major tournament in 30 years, it also gives them a real chance of making it out of the group stages. In their way stand world champions Germany though, so there is still a lot to do.