Ashley Young goes tumbling over a stray blade of grass.

by James Oddy

The standard of football in Euro 2012 was largely excellent but inevitably that didn’t stop certain players – including some big names – from woefully under performing.  In selecting my Euro flops my criteria has been fairly loose. Some have been picked for individual errors whilst others were chosen for barely turning up.

GK – Shay Given (Ireland)

The Euros wasn’t a great tournament for keepers. Szenchey was awful and Peter Cech was a shadow of the keeper that used to be so imperious for Chelsea. But Given pips them both simply due to his immense importance for an Irish team which needed defensive stability. His performances were nervy and error strewn, which seemed to radiate to the rest of the team. Hopefully he can have a better season with Villa and regain the form he’s capable of.

DF- Damien Perquis (Poland)

Franciszek Zmudas controversial choice to include players who qualified for Poland via blood rather than birth seemed ill-judged when seeing the performances of Perquis. He’s a player I admit to knowing little about, but the pressure of being a controversial squad selection seemed to get to him. He was a constant weak link in a Polish defence that needed to play above and beyond its natural level to keep the host nations dreams alive.

DF-Johnny Heitgina (Holland)

The Dutchman is a solid defender for a solid premier league team. That does not mean that he should be the key part of a team that were many people’s pre tournament favourites.

DF – Sergi Ignasevich  (Russia)

An experienced defender with a decent reputation but his error to allow Greece to score the winner had a major hand in a team that had once again flattered to deceive. At 32, the defender may be wondering if his best chance for international glory has been squandered.

DF- Philippe Lham (Germany)

A controversial selection perhaps but unlike the rest of the defenders I’ve selected, he has a reputation as one of the worlds best at either full back positions. He had a strong tournament, but his lapse of concentration in allowing Mario Balotelli to get beyond him and score that excellent second goal in Germany’s surprise loss was shoddy from a player who always looks so assured at the highest levels. He also missed a decent chance in the second half, just when Germany needed some inspiration.

MF- Ashley Young (England)

After an encouraging season for Man United, the winger looked to have finally cemented his place for England with some strong pre tournament displays. But he seemed overawed and incapable of combining the ‘new’ England’s commitment to shape and discipline with the need for quick, incisive breaks

MF- Arjen Robben (Holland)

There can’t be many sights this side of Messi and Ronaldo in football that’s more thrilling than seeing a fit and on form Robben performance. Unfortunately, he was very poor. His late season form (missing key penalties against Dortmund and Chelsea) seemed to hang over him all tournament.  He frequently took the wrong options, cutting inside and blasting over wildly, almost as if to prove to himself as much as others that he was still the player who can cut defences to ribbons.

MF- Keith Andrews (Ireland)

Andrews progression from being a largely lower league footballer to a regular for his country is proof that hard work and commitment can reap real rewards. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to allow him, or any of Ireland’s midfielders for that matter, to live with the likes of Luka Modric, Xaxi or Pirlo. While he provided some threat with his powerful long range strikes, his anger and frustration at being sent off against Italy did his team few favours in a game they had to provide a performance in.

FW-Wayne Rooney (England)

A players it’s impossible to pin down. In theory he is England’s best for years, and perhaps he deserves a mention amongst the world’s elite. Yet he continues to let personal problems, ill discipline and fitness issues affect his ability to show what he’s really capable of in a major tournament. Seeing the ball cannon off his shins and feet was a depressing sight for a player who is capable of skills of the most sublime standard.

FW-Karim Bezema (France)

Benzema encapsulated the French team as a whole. He looked classy and dangerous against England, but quickly went downhill for the rest of the tournament. Against Spain, he was completely ineffective, a blunt tip of a team unwilling to chance their arm.

FW-Van Persie (Holland)

Unlike Rooney and Benzema, Van Perise looked to be giving everything he could to try and save his team from a humiliating early exit. Yet perhaps that was the issue. Van Persie is a beautifully languid player, who can produce finishes and bits of skill with seeming ease. Yet in this tournament he seemed to snatch at chances and his movement and self-confidence appeared to evaporate.