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11th Jul 2016

Just two Portugal players made the statistically ‘best’ XI of Euro 2016

Three Frenchmen are there too

Tom Victor

Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph was a victory for hard work, as Fernando Santos’ team lifted the trophy after winning just one game inside 90 minutes.

The champions progressed to the knockout stages after drawing all three group games, before needing extra-time to see off Croatia and penalties to edge past Poland.

Wales were seen off at the semi-final stage in the only 90-minute victory, before France became the third team to take Santos’ men into extra-time in the final.

GettyImages-545946494Lars Baron/Getty Images

With such a triumph of endurance, we can put Portugal’s success down to teamwork as much as we can attribute it to individual performances.

Cristiano Ronaldo only showed flashes of brilliance, as did Nani and Ricardo Quaresma, so it’s no surprise that the only Portuguese players in Opta’s statistically-devised team of the tournament play further back than the three creative outlets.

Rui Patricio was named goalkeeper of the tournament after conceding just once in four knockout games, while left-back Raphael Guerreiro – who came close to deciding the final when his free-kick cannoned off the crossbar – also makes the cut.

Three players from runners-up France are also involved – right-back Bacary Sagna, midfielder Dimitri Payet and forward (and tournament top-scorer) Antoine Griezmann.

Sagna and Payet are two of five Premier League players in the XI. The others are Arsenal midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil, plus Chelsea and Belgium star Eden Hazard.

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