Sports

Greece, Portugal dominate CBC Sports Online all-star team

UEFA had their say, now it's our turn. In the spirit of UEFA announcing its 23-player tournament select team on Monday, CBC Sports Online proudly presents its own Euro 2004 all-star squad.

FIRST TEAM

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon, Italy: Even though Italy was knocked out in the first round, Buffon still distinguished himself as the best goalkeeper at the tournament. He made several miraculous saves against Denmark, Sweden and Bulgaria, and gave up only one goal from open play.

Defence: Traianos Dellas, Greece: The AS Roma defender was a model of consistency during the tournament, anchoring the Greek back line with marvellous aplomb. He also scored the game-winning "silver goal" against the Czechs in the semfinals and was never caught out of position.

Ricardo Carvalho, Portugal: He demonstrated why is widely considered one of the best fullbacks in Europe with his steady play. His perfectly-timed tackles and superb man-marking skills helped keep Spain's Raul and the Netherlands' Ruud van Nistelrooy (two of the most dangerous strikers in soccer) off the scoreboard.

Giorgios Seitaridis, Greece: One of Greece's unheralded heroes. Alongside Dellas, Seitaridis served as the lynchpin of a stingy Greek defence that kept high-scoring France and the Czech Republic at bay. He did a brilliant job of completely shutting down Milan Baros (the tournament's top scorer) in the semifinals.

Jorge Andrade, Portugal: His own-goal against the Dutch aside, Andrade was a defensive rock for Portugal. He formed a solid partnership with Carvalho, and was just as effective moving forward in attack as he was helping to anchor the back line.

Midfield: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal: The best player of the tournament. The youngster scored two goals and played with all the guile and craftiness of a seasoned veteran, using his breakneck speed, mazy dribbling skills and sublime ball control down the right flank to perfection. His inch-perfect crosses into the penalty area also caused serious problems for defenders.

Pavel Nedved, Czech Republic: The Czech captain was a dominant force for his country, combining exquisite playmaking ability with dogged and determined ball-winning skills in midfield. The fulcrum of the attack, Nedved led the way for an awesome Czech team that racked up 10 goals.

Theodoros Zagorakis, Greece: The Greek captain was a true inspiration for his team, playing every minute of all six games as Greece went on to win the title. Zagorakis led by example with his hard work and gutsy performances.

Maniche, Portugal: Overshadowed by Ronaldo, but there's no denying Maniche's contribution to the Portuguese cause. He scored in the penalty-shootout win over England and netted the game-winner against the Dutch in the semis. Was a constant threat for Portugal with his surging, penetrating runs through the middle.

Forwards: Milan Baros, Czech Republic: Baros scored five goals and won the Golden Boot as the tournament's top scorer. The Liverpool marksman distinguished himself with his scoring touch and deadly finishing.

Wayne Rooney, England: The "golden boy" of English soccer was the talk of the tournament in the opening round, scoring a pair of goals in back-to-back games. The teenager shredded the Croatian and Swiss defences with his bristling speed and bullish play, and clearly demonstrated why he is one of the most dangerous goal-scorers in the game.

SECOND TEAM

Goalkeeper: Andreas Isaksson, Sweden: Isaksson was sensational between the posts for Sweden, particularly in the opening round against Italy.

Defence: Alessandro Nesta, Italy: Italy crashed out in the first round, but it wasn't because of Nesta. The AC Milan centre-back marshalled a stingy Italian defence that only gave up one goal in open play.

Jaap Stam, The Netherlands: Carried the defensive load (as usual) for the Dutch and did a great job of containing Swedish strikers Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the quarter-finals.

Sol Campbell, England: - Did a brilliant job of leading England's back line with his steady, defensive play.

Christian Woerns, Germany: One of the few bright spots for a German team that failed to progress beyond the first round.

Midfield: Frank Lampard, England: With captain David Beckham nowhere to be found, Lampard stood up and took charge of the English midfield, scoring three goals and leading the attack.

Karel Poborsky, Czech Republic: The veteran showed he's still got it, stamping his impression on this tournament with his great playmaking skills and deft touches. He linked up well with his strikers, continuously setting up Baros with scoring chances.

Arjen Robben, The Netherlands: A true revelation for the Dutch. The youngster used his speed to burn many a defender down the left wing, and created many scoring chances with his teasing crosses into the middle. He also scored the decisive goal in the penalty shootout victory over Sweden, sending the Netherlands through to the semifinals. Zinedine Zidane, France: Scored three goals (and single-handedly saved the French against England) and was fantastic in the first three games of the tournament with his outstanding touches and vision.

Forwards: Ruud van Nistelrooy, The Netherlands: Bagged four goals and scored late against Germany to help the Dutch earn a tie. Showed great goal-scoring instincts in his first major international tournament.

Jon Dahl Tomasson, Denmark: Quietly went about his business but was his usual reliable self by scoring three goals for Denmark. Showed superb finishing technique and was the catalyst of the Danish attack.

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