Ultimate XI from the quarter-finals | Virgin Media
Ultimate XI from the quarter-finals

Ultimate XI from the quarter-finals

04/07/2016Sport

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So the quarter-finals are behind us, with just the best four sides remaining in France at Euro 2016.

Poland, Belgium, Italy and Iceland have fallen by the wayside, exiting the competition after coming up short in their fifth match of the tournament.

Portugal came from behind to draw 1-1 and triumph on penalties over Poland to reach the semi-finals without having won a single one of their games so far in normal time.

Wales’ amazing run continued as they produced a wonderful team performance to beat world number two-ranked side Belgium 3-1 and progress.

Germany got the better of Italy for the first time in nine attempts in a major tournament on penalties, but only after a dramatic, nerve-wracking shoot-out.

The hosts France also rolled on, clinically dispatching Iceland 5-2 with four first-half goals.

The four games were full of drama, excitement and edge-of-the-seat moments, but which individuals stood out enough to warrant a place in the ultimate XI of the round?

In between the posts for this team is Mr Dependable, Manuel Neuer, who despite conceding his first goal of the tournament put in a solid performance against Italy.

He was beaten by Leonardo Bonucci’s penalty in normal time – the first goal he’d let pass him in a staggering 438 minutes of play at Euro 2016 – but he produced heroics when it really mattered.

Neuer saved spot-kicks from Bonucci at the second time of asking and Matteo Darmian to out-do the great Gianluigi Buffon and send Germany through.

The Germans also provide both fullbacks in the team, with Jonas Hector and Joshua Kimmich shining despite playing in an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation as wingbacks.

Hector provided excellent width throughout the game, sending over five crosses and held his nerve when it mattered most to slot his penalty past Buffon. 

Kimmich, meanwhile, created three of Germany’s five chances in 120 minutes and buried his penalty – a staggering achievement for a 21-year-old thrust into intense pressure.

Is this Germany’s strongest XI? Have your own say with the Virgin Media Lineup Builder!

In the centre of defence are two rocks of their respective defences: Ashley Williams and Leonardo Bonucci.

Despite playing at centre-back, both scored in their games: Williams a strong header from a corner and Bonucci from his first-ever career penalty outside of a shoot-out.

Williams led his side by example, getting in the way of plenty of shots and keeping Belgium’s star-studded line up at bay, while Bonucci played a characteristic raking long ball to send Emanuele Giaccherini through on goal.

In the centre of midfield are two other stand-out performers from their respective games.

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey created two goals against Belgium to become the tournament’s joint-leading assist-maker on four but will cruelly miss the semi-final after picking up his second booking of the competition.

Portugal’s Renato Sanches, however, has surely earned another starting role in his side’s next game after rifling in his first international goal from the edge of the box, while he also fired his penalty into the roof of the net. 

How would you build Portugal’s XI around Renato Sanches? - try Virgin Media’s Lineup Builder here!

Dimitri Payet put on another superlative display against Iceland to continue his outrageous form, rifling in a left-footed finish from the edge of the area before floating in a perfect free-kick for Olivier Giroud to score.

As good as Payet was, his teammate Antoine Griezmann stole the show with two assists and a delightful chipped finish in the same game. He created five chances overall and looked irresistible.

Completing the French trio in attack is Giroud, who bagged two goals with typical finishes – a powerful low drive and a header.

Only one man can lead the line in this team. Hal Robson-Kanu is without a club after leaving Championship side Reading, but his phone will be ringing off the hook now. 

You can build your own Wales’ XI with the Virgin Media Lineup Builder here!

The Wales striker gathered Ramsey’s pass before throwing a wonderful faint to get space and fire past Thibaut Courtois and put Wales 2-1 up. 

Ultimate team (4-3-3): Neuer; Kimmich, Williams, Bonucci, Hector; Ramsey, Sanches, Payet; Griezmann, Giroud, Robson-Kanu