Ultimate XI from the group stages of Euro 2016 | Virgin Media
Ultimate XI from the group stages of Euro 2016

Ultimate XI from the group stages of Euro 2016

24/06/2016Sport

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The group stages of Euro 2016 are over, with eight teams off home and 16 progressing through to the next round.

With 36 games behind us and every team having been on display three times things are beginning to take shape.

Fans can pick out the stand-out performers – from the well-established star to the more unheralded surprises.

So who has performed most consistently to the highest level so far? Who has been scoring and assisting goals, or preventing the opposition from doing so?

Here is a combined XI of the best players from the group stages. 

In between the sticks is a man who is currently without a club side – but surely not for that much longer.

Northern Ireland’s hard work and determination saw them through Group C as one of the best third-placed sides, but their goalkeeper also had a large say in their success.

Michael McGovern made 13 saves in their three games, keeping two clean sheets against Poland and Ukraine before producing a heroic performance to keep world champions Germany to one goal. 

In front of the former Hamilton Academical man is a strong defence based around the class of Italy’s Leonardo Bonucci and Germany’s rock Jerome Boateng.

As well as leading the Azzurri’s stout defence Bonucci turned playmaker to provide a perfectly-weighted long ball for Emanuele Giaccherini to finish from. Boateng, meanwhile, has looked typically commanding in defence and comfortable in possession.  

In the fullback positions the industry, fitness and attacking threat of England’s Kyle Walker and Jordi Alba would trouble any opposition.

Although they might not be used to playing alongside each other, as Barcelona and Real Madrid players, the central midfield pairing of Andres Iniesta and Toni Kroos have lit up the first games.

The master of midfield, Iniesta has assisted Gerard Pique’s vital late goal against the Czech Republic, while making Spain tick with countless passes.

Germany’s Kroos has done a similar job for his side, spraying aesthetically-pleasing passes left, right and centre without appearing to break sweat. With their hands on the tiller no side could go wrong.  

This shape has taken Wales to this point – how would you change tweak it for the knockout rounds?

Further forward lies the home nation’s star player so far, Dimiri Payet. The creative midfielder has stood up when his side have most needed him, smashing in the goal of the tournament so far in the very first game on his weaker foot to give France a 2-1 win over Romania. He has two goals and one assist already and will surely continue his remarkable rise.

Should Wales go all-out attack against a team like Albania? What does your bravest selection look like?

Another Premier League string-puller makes the cut, with Mesut Ozil having been in supreme form for Germany so far. The Arsenal man has one assist, but has created a whopping 12 chances from three games, misplacing just one pass in a superlative display against Northern Ireland.

On the other side of midfield is Croatia’s Ivan Perisic, who has stood out in every aspect, scoring twice, providing one assist while still contributing defensively. He is one of the main reason’s Croatia managed to beat Spain 2-1 and top Group D.

In a competition where major stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo have not been at their best, Alvaro Morata currently leads the way as the best marksman. The Spaniard is the competition’s joint-top scorer and shook off a mixed opening game to hit back with two excellent performances.

Morata scored twice in a 3-0 demolition of Turkey before also finding the net against Croatia to take the title of most impressive striker of the group stages.