To finish off our coverage of the European Under-17 Championships, here’s a look at our Team of the Tournament.
Goalkeeper: Edgar Badia (Spain)
– Spain had a poor tournament, being eliminated from contention in the Group Stages, but that was nothing to do with goalkeeper Edgar, who was impressive in keeping three successive clean sheets. He was called upon to make a few crucial saves but never quite had the help of his attacking team-mates to progress.
Right Back: Bienvenue Basala-Mazana (Germany)
– The strong and marauding Basala-Mazana was a rampaging force in attack for the winners, but was never short in his own end either. Capped a fine tournament with the clinching goal in the 2-0 Semi Final victory over Italy.
Centre Back: Robert Labus (Germany)
– Whilst partner Shkodran Mustafi earned a move to Everton early in the competition, Labus shone throughout as a cool, unbreachable presence at the heart of a defence which only conceded twice throughout the competition. He found the back of the net at the start of the 4-0 win over England to boot.
Centre Back: Darnel Situ (France)
– France were one goal away from being in the Semi Finals themselves, but as it transpired they finished fourth in their group and failed to qualify for the World Cup this summer. Captain Darnel Situ was a constant force at the back, and scored a crucial late goal on matchday one against Switzerland with a lovely volley, having surged into attack.
Left Back: Luke Garbutt (England)
– The youngest player in the tournament was also one of the most impressive. He scored his country’s only goal of the fortnight with a crisp effort from the edge of the box before coming out as one of the only players with any credit from their capitulation to Germany. He was rested for the final group game in favour of a more attacking effort but came off the bench to try and get a late goal in an attacking role.
Central Midfield: Kofi Nimeley (Switzerland)
– Switzerland surprised many with their appearance in the Semi Finals but after a solid group stage including a win over Italy and a draw to eliminate defending Champions Spain, Nimeley was at the heart of it. His tireless, strong performances in the engine room really drove his team onto success.
Central Midfield: Oguzhan Ozyakup (Holland)
– Holland’s captain went narrowly close to lifting the trophy himself, but can be happy with his personal tournament. He scored the first goal of the competition early against England and carried on in fine fettle, confidently pulling the strings from the middle of the pitch.
Left Midfield: Christoph Buchtmann (Germany)
– It seems everything good Germany did inevitably went through their Liverpool-based winger-cum-defender. Given a more attacking role throughout this tournament he scored a goal and had a hand in four more, and he even found time to miss matchday three suspended. His vision and sumptuous left foot was a constant threat.
Right Midfield: Mario Gotze (Germany)
– Gotze didn’t strictly line up wide right but must find a way into the team of the tournament. His silky dribbling, awareness and skill was a joy to behold and he scored a lovely goal against England as the highlight of his own fortnight.
Striker: Lennart Thy (Germany)
– Coming into the competition with a slight injury, Thy missed the opening clash with Turkey, but started against England and never looked back. He notched in that game, then added a clinical second in the following game against Holland. His third of the competition against the same opponents earned him a share of the golden boot and put the Germans on their way to success.
Striker: Luc Castaignos (Holland)
The Feyenoord hitman started slowly and wasn’t impressive against England, but scored against Turkey before stepping up a gear in the knockout rounds. He scored the game winning goal against Switzerland to reach the Final and then put the Oranje ahead in Magdeburg. Not even the golden boot share could console him at full time, as he was inconsolable.