11 Euro 2012 Flops


It was a fairly safe assumption that Stewart Downing would flop had he played and Glenn Whelan or Stephen Ward performed miserably but were never classed as players suited to playing at such a high level anyhow. This list is of individuals who were generally viewed as important members of their respective countries hopes who underperformed in the tournament. I’m going with a Hodgson/Trapattoni 4-4-2 formation.

Shay Given (Ireland) – Poor old Shay didn’t look himself. Well he did, minus the agility and plus a few pounds. He was clearly not fit or sharp. Against Croatia Given fell slowly to his left as the ball ambled past him for the first goal before unfortunately nodding in the third with his head as it came back off the post. Hoping to make amends versus Italy Given was beat by Torres after 4 minutes, his cat like reactions weren’t present as the ball flew through his hands. The game was officially ended as a contest when Shay put the ball on a plate for David Silva and the little monkey duly passed it into the bottom corner. In the last game against Italy it was more of the same. Shay didn’t deal with a shot, shovelling the ball out over the end line and as Cassano flicked on a header the resulting corner Given could only salute the ball with a wave as it went by him. Poor tournament from someone we’ll still love


John O’Shea (Ireland) – This isn’t the Irish team in full, don’t worry. Sheasy had a below par tournament. If the man didn’t possess 5 Premier League medals and a Champions League medal it would be much easier to pass a blind eye. There’s no excuse when a professional footballer is unable to pass a ball 10 yards. O’Shea got in possession and usually gave it a McIlroy sand wedge 40 yards down the pitch to the Croatia/Spain/Italy defender. John O didn’t close down for Croatia’s third & was marking like a Waterford corner back (hitting Mario taps around the midriff with the palms of his hands) for Italy’s second. I figured he could do better.

Johnny Heitinga (Holland) – The Dutchman commented on how ‘team spirit’ was important for England’s chances at Euro 2012 as Tim Krul launched a toaster at Robin Van Persie in the background. Heitinga was terrible in his games against Denmark and Germany, doing enough to make the ‘Top 10 lowest rated players of Euro 2012’ by fans on Goal.com. Holland coach Van Merwijk who slated Heitinga after Holland lost to Belgium in a pre-tournament friendly dropped Johnny for the final group game. That clearly fixed the problem as Portugal easily beat Holland despite a close 2-1 score line.


Richard Dunne (Ireland) – Okay, the last Irishman that’s making the list. No more. Dunne came into the tournament half injured I believe or at least not fully match fit. He didn’t play during the last 2/3 months of Aston Villa’s season due to injury. Still, we all thought he could pull off performances like the resistance of Russian in Moscow during qualifying when he performed immensely. A bad tournament, made mistakes and looked off pace. Arguably Ireland’s best player of the past 10 years may not play in another major tournament.

Michal Kadlec (Czech Republic) – Yes, he’s not a household name & he made a goal line clearance against Poland but did anyone view Kadlecs performance v Russia?? The Independent said ‘Out of position for first and second goal. Lost his man for both and failed to track back. 4’. I reckon that was a kind report. One of the worst defensive displays I’ve ever witnessed. Kadlec went sleepwalking to centre midfield on numerous occasions which left about 2 acres of space for Alan Dzageov to run into. Dzageov scored twice against the Czechs but could have wrapped up the tournaments leading goal scorer in this game alone.


James Milner (England) – You must blame Hodgson for this one. Milner played very little for Man City in their last three months. I think Hodgson picked him because he’s honest and will put in a hard shift, which is essentially used to describe a player lacking technical ability. Milner doesn’t look natural on the right flank and only served as decent protection for Glen Johnson, basically a second right back. Despite putting in more mileage than an old Toyota Carina taxi he was subbed off for Walcott in three of England’s four games when they needed to push on for a win. Milner pumped up the tyres and Walcott rode the bike – Theo missed out on criticism (for once).

Marc Van Bommel (Holland) – Van Bommel and De Jong were supposed to protect the Dutch defence as Sneidjer & co led them to glory. Instead Van Bommel looked at sea during the first two games as the Danes and Germans passed around him and notched up victories against Oranje. After chasing Ozil and friends for 90 minutes which resembled a dog chasing his tail, Van Bommels father-in-law dropped him to the bench for their last group game v Portugal. Van Bommels stated “Before I was a hero, now I am nothing more than the son-in-law of Bert Van Marwijk.”. This is true, Marc now retired from international football is tipping the Holland manager’s daughter –Andra, and she’s not so bad. Google her.


Christian Eriksen (Denmark) – I was really looking forward to seeing him play and marked him out as ‘the one to watch’. While Demark performed admirably in a hard group only Bendtner and Krohn-Deh stood out. Eriksen was anonymous. Made only 2 key passes and was poor defensively with no interceptions and only one tackle in 3 games. He’s a top player who will ultimately be on the books of a major European side but Euro 2012 wasn’t his time to shine.

Ashley Young (England) – Young was viewed as one England could look to for goals, assists and as someone who gave the side attacking flair. He didn’t deliver, literally, with only 1 of his 13 crosses finding an England jersey. Even worse was the fact Young only completed 74.5% of passes in his own half which is the strangest stat I’ve ever come across but strengthens my point, I think. To put icing on the cake Young riffled his penalty off the bar in the shootout against Italy. I really rate Young and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

Lukas Podolski (Germany) – Arsenal fans will have watched this man closely following his £13 million move to the Gunners. He wasn’t terrible but Podolski didn’t set the Euros alight with great displays. Yet again, works hard and has the strongest left foot in the universe but that doesn’t stop some journalists already labelling him a flop buy for Arsenal. Lukas may succeed in the Premier League, if he doesn’t there is always a singing career waiting for him. Here’s Podolski showing that Germans have a sense of humour by recently teaming up with a Cologne based band called Brings to create the pop song ‘Halleluja’.


Karim Benzema (France) – Many had bets on Benzema for top goal scorer or Benzema top scorer + X team to win the Euros. Can’t blame anyone for betting on him, he lit up La Liga this year with 21 goals in 34 appearances in the league alone. In the French jersey Benzema dropped deep to pick up possession and never looked like their spearhead in attack. By the end of the group stages Benzema had the most shots in the tournament without scoring once – 17 attempts, 0 goals. Le bullshit.

Notable absentee:

Alexander Kerzhakov (Russia) – Remember this chap wounding fans 5 yards either side of Petr Cechs goals in the Russia v Czech Republic game? Well, Kerzhakov started all 3 of Russia’s games, had a total14 shots and I can confirm that NONE of the 14 hit the target, let alone the net.



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