The men who look likely to receive more than a pat on the back for their efforts this month, with a look at those who are set to return home to nothing but the cold shoulder.
Was relatively unknown before about a week ago, and has often been overlooked by onlookers keen to praise the talents of teammates such as Nikica Jelavic and Luka Modric. But it’s Manzukic who’s grabbed the headlines in this tournament, scoring three goals to give his side a fighting chance of qualification in a tough group. Could be set to join strike partner Jelavic in the Premier League.
Much like Andrey Arshavin in 2008, Dzagoev has captured the onlooker’s imagination and, much like Arshavin was, has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal. With supreme technical ability and an eye for goal, you could certainly see him in a red shirt, and he’ll be a big miss in the competition now his side have been dumped out by the Greeks.
Has been heavily linked with Manchester United and on the evidence he’s shown so far would be a brilliant foil for Wayne Rooney. He’s strong, quick, has an immaculate touch and is deadly in front of goal. Sounds like a typical United forward to me. Has unfortunately suffered from his teammates ineptitude, and faded fast after his opening goal.
Was majestic for Newcastle this season, but you feel Alan Pardew would have been praying his midfielder would have a shocker in Poland and Ukraine. Not the case, as Cabaye has absolutely run the show for the French, capped by a goal against the hosts Ukraine this week. Again Manchester United have registered an interest, and Fergie would no doubt have liked what he’s seen from the former Lille star.
Simply woeful. Doesn’t seem to know how to play football let alone lead the line for his country. His touch is without doubt one of the worst in the championships and could struggle to find a club if Celtic come to their senses and finally oust him. Does however encapsulate the spirit of his country the his tireless but ultimately fruitless running, and will somehow be playing in the quarter finals.
Was absolutely ripped to shreds by Alvero Arbeloa of all people. No disrespect to the Spaniard, who’s improved unbelievably since his switch to Real Madrid from Liverpool, but the amateurish Ward made the right back look like Lionel Messi at times as he was afforded the freedom of the right flank. Could, and probably should, find himself playing in the Championship next season.
The enigma that is Balotelli has flopped big time for Italy this summer. Has made no impact on the games in which he’s been involved, apart from a one on one with Iker Casillas in which the Manchester City forward came to an almost complete standstill before being robbed by Sergio Ramos. Has to do so much more to justify his baggage, but will find that extremely difficult when he’s dropped.
Has been given a glorious chance by Roy Hodgson to make an impression for England after a year of playing for the City reserves, but the former Villa man has blown it big time. Cannot think of anything noteworthy to say about the man, who in fairness works himself to the bone in every game. However, this is international football, and I’ve yet to see the midfielder do anything of quality whatsoever.
Has had a pretty poor time at Chelsea this season, mainly due to the fact he hasn’t played, so it was a shock when he managed to get into a star studied France midfield instead of the likes of Jeremy Menez and Hatem Ben Arfa. Against England he was deployed more centrally and let’s just say he was dropped immediately after. Will surely be booted out of Stamford Bridge in the near future.
The Nicklas Bendtner
A figure of ridicule? At times. A ridiculously egotistical fool? Yes. Whilst Nicklas Bendtner might not be everybody’s favourite footballing genius, he has played very well for a dogged Denmark side who have equipped themselves superbly for the “group of death”. Though no amount of planning could have foreseen just how bad the Dutch would end up, Bendtner has clearly been working hard on his game since an indifferent spell at Sunderland, and could just be playing himself into a decent transfer this summer with Arsenal very keen to get rid.
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