It probably won’t go down as the greatest tournament in history, and the debate over whether third-placed teams should be able to progress past the group stage will doubtless rage on, but enough of the negatives. Euro 2016 provided enough entertainment over the space of a few weeks to merit praise, so much so that we’ve decided to hold our very own Oscars ceremony in honour of it. You’re very welcome to agree or disagree in the comments section below!
Best Team: Wales
Because the eventual winners didn’t win a game in 90 minutes until the semis, and the pre-tournament favourites and hosts finished as runners-up, we can fly the flag for the Welsh Dragon without fear of retribution. Their campaign will be best remembered for that win against Belgium, but whichever way you look at it, Chris Coleman‘s boyos punched way above their weight.
Best Goal: Xherdan Shaqiri
It’s rare to see an overhead kick hit the back of the net at any level, but for it to happen in an international tournament is virtually unheard of. So despite a disappointing campaign, the Swiss can at least lay claim to this particular honour, despite what the BBC pundits may say.
Biggest Flops: Belgium
It would have been easy to pick England out for this one, but they were never expected to actually win the whole thing. However, the same cannot be said of the Belgians, who were dumped out of the tournament by a gutsy Welsh outfit, despite being a goal to the good. It would certainly seem that the tag of ‘The Golden Generation’ is fast becoming one of the biggest sporting albatrosses ever.
Best Team Performance: Iceland (v England)
In the interests of sharing these awards out, and because they deserve an honourable mention of some sort, we’ve gone for what’s been classed as the worst moment in English football history. The Scandinavians were a goal down early doors, but two quick-fire replies, followed by around 70 minutes of stout defending, ensured a night to remember/forget.
Funniest Moment: Simone Zaza
The penalty shootout that decided the quarter-final between Germany and Italy was in itself a comedy of errors, but the crazy, tip-toed run up and ensuing spot-kick from Juventus striker Zaza stood out. Now, thanks to a video that’s gone viral, we’ll never view seagulls in the same light again.
Best Fans: Northern Ireland
This is the only award for activities off the pitch, but it’s the fans that make a tournament as much as the players. There were some unsavoury goings-on between some sets of supporters in the early stages, but the Ulstermen, women and children ended up staying until the second round and did themselves and their nation proud wherever they went.
Surprise Package: Portugal
Be honest, did you ever think they were going to win it?