Who is the best team in Euro 2012? Which group of players has been the most impressive so far? Russia and Croatia should be likely candidates to top the first power rankings of the tournament, being the only sides to win by more than one goal.
Our first consideration is the success in this tournament. A team that has yet to claim victory (Spain, for example) can’t be ranked higher than the five that already have. After that calculation we consider the style and strength of each nation before deciding who should be ranked on top and trailing the leaders.
Number 1 – Russia (4-1 Win over Czech Republic)
Alan Dzagoev scored twice while Andrei Arshavin showed that club football & form isn’t everything, drubbing the Czech Republic 4-1 in an exquisite display of counter attacking combined with good, smart, sensible defending. Provided the best performance of the tournament so far.
Number 2 – Germany (Beat Portugal 1-0)
Didn’t play to the level most expected them to show, but they had the toughest opponent out of all the teams that won matches. They were so satisfied with finally scoring through Mario Gomez that the Germans fell back and almost conceded against a Portuguese team remembering they need to attack.
Number 3 – Croatia (Beat Ireland 3-1)
Before their match with Ireland, everyone considered it to be one of the more open and difficult to guess fixtures of the tournament. But Ireland played primitive football, while Croatia combined excellent passing with an effective aerial game, winning 3-1, convincingly.
Number 4 – Ukraine (Beat Sweden 2-1)
Played strong and aggressive attacking football, surprised by the inefficiency and complacency of the Swedish team, while Andriy Shevchenko had another great game to put on his endless resume.
Number 5 – Denmark (Beat the Netherlands 1-0)
The surprise of the tournament thus far. Didn’t excite anyone with their style, but they didn’t ‘park the bus’ like some other squads tend to do. An organized team that defends and attacks with intention, enough to beat one of the favorites to win the tournament.
Number 6 – Spain (1-1 Draw with Italy)
If only Fernando Torres was his own self prior to 2010… Spain never win against Italy in tournaments, so a 1-1 draw after being the first to concede wasn’t so bad. Del Bosque tried to play without a striker, and probably won’t try it again.
Number 7 – France (1-1 Draw with England)
France played their usual passing game with a lot of position switching between the front players, but always seemed to be missing another attacker on one of the flanks and couldn’t really find a clean enough shot from inside the box against a heavily fortified English defense.
Number 8 – Italy (1-1 Draw with Spain)
A modern Catenaccio, if you will, as Italy defended very well, eliminating the Spanish attempts for most of the 90 minutes to create something dangerous inside the box, while relying on long balls and the intelligence of their midfielders to poach a goal, which they managed to do.
Number 9 – England (1-1 Draw with France)
England play the way the media make them feel. They were underdogs coming into the match, so they defended like crazy, managing to score the opening goal through Joleon Lescott and held on to a draw with hardly attempting to create anything via a normal, structured passing game.
Number 10 – Poland (1-1 Draw with Greece)
Began with a bang, but after they went down to 10 men the enthusiasm left their blood and feet. Rely heavily on Kuba and Piszczek pushing forward to Lewandowski, which works until the opposition figures it out.
Number 11 – Greece (1-1 Draw with Poland)
Just like England, actually seemed afraid to use their attacking weapons, few as they may be. The moment that Salpigidis came in, the game changed, and with him in the lineup might look more energetic and threatening.
Number 12 – Netherlands (0-1 loss to Denmark)
The disappointment of the first round of matches, showing nothing in terms of creativity and teamwork. Just four font players looking to score on their own, which slightly changed after some substitutions, but just wasn’t enough against the easiest opponent they were supposed to have.
Number 13 – Portugal (0-1 loss to Germany)
A very talented squad that relies heavily on the magical feet of one men who tends to not show up in international matches. They have plenty of other players who can create around him, but they actually need to believe and try themselves to give themselves a chance to qualify.
Number 14 – Sweden (Lost 1-2 to Ukraine)
Very disappointing effort, that their coach called ‘Lazy’ and ‘Cowardly’. Maybe it was the crowd and the size of the occasion, but you expect this group of very experienced players, including Ibrahimovic, despite his goal, to show much more on this stage.
Number 15 – Czech Republic (Lost 1-4 to Russia)
The best example of naive possession from a side that attacks with too many players, leaving too many holes behind to exploit their very fragile defense.
Number 16 – Ireland (Lost 1-3 to Croatia)
Have only one way of playing, but you can’t expect to win or even manage a draw at this level without a shred of creativity in the approach and attacking tactics.