As both major summer soccer tournaments, the Euros and Copa America, come to a close, I have to admit that I have watched basically every match from both tournaments for work or for personal enjoyment. There is world class talent playing in both tournaments and after watching so much soccer I started thinking about which tournamentâ€™s best players would win in a hypothetical match. I have put together my team of the tournament for both competitions and then briefly discuss who would win in a match between the two teams.Â
GK â€“ David Ospina – Colombia
Bench: Alexander Dominguez – Ecuador, Daniel Hernandez – Venezuela
Ospina has been great this tournament, making save after save and allowing only 1 goal leading Colombia to the semifinals (he gave up 2 in that match but made some great saves to keep Colombia in the game). The backups for the team have both allowed more goals than Sergio Romero but have faced far more shots on target and been very impressive in their own right.
Defenders â€“ Jean Beausejour – Chile, John Brooks – USA, Walter Ayovi – Ecuador
Bench: Gary Medel – Chile, Nicolas Otamendi – Argentina, Christian Ramos – Peru
Beausejour and Ayovi were both great getting into the attack in addition to helping their teams defensively and Brooks might have cemented himself as the best USA player with his tournament (minus the Argentina game where no one played well). The bench guys all are more defensive minded and have led solid defensive efforts for their successful teams. Â Â
Midfielders â€“ Jefferson Montero – Ecuador, James Rodriguez – Colombia, Javier Mascherano – Argentina, Jesus Corona – Mexico
Bench: Arturo Vidal – Chile, Phillipe Coutinho – Brazil, Adalberto Penaranda – Venezuela, Rafa Marquez – MexicoÂ
Love this midfield: ton of attack with Mascherano covering defensively. The bench has a ton of talent and versatility. Penaranda was a breakout star for the surprise of the tournament and looked great in the attack. Marquez was my last pick for the team based on Mexico looking good with him in the lineup and completely lost against Chile with him on the bench. I thought Guardado was the lynchpin for Mexico but it seems the ageless wonder drove the team early in the tournament.Â
Forwards â€“ Alexis Sanchez – Chile, Eduardo Vargas – Chile, Leo Messi – Argentina
Bench: Paolo Guerrero – Peru, Gonzalo Higuain – ArgentinaÂ
This front line is extremely dangerous with the lethal Chilean duo playing alongside the best player in our lifetime. The bench forwards have a ton of experience and are world class finishers. Luis Suarez would likely have joined this team if he had made an appearance.Â Â
GK â€“ Manuel Neuer – Germany
Bench: Gianluigi Buffon – Italy, David De Gea – Spain
Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the world and Germany allowed exactly 0 goals in the group stage. The backup spots were tough to pick but Buffon allowed 0 goals in his 2 group stage appearances and De Gea barely beats out Courtois and Lloris. Overall this group is world class.
Defenders â€“ Jordi Alba – Spain, Jerome Boateng – Germany, Leonardo Bonucci – Italy
Bench: Lukasz Piszczek – Poland, Jan Vertonghen – Belgium, Gerard Pique – Spain
Alba is a great two way defender getting forward in the attack. The other two have led amazing defensive efforts for two of the top teams in the tournament. The bench has a lot of experience as well. Overall, this group is a very solid defensive backbone for the Euro squad.
Midfielders – Dmitri Payet – France, Ivan Perisic – Croatia, Toni Kroos – Germany, Kevin De Bruyne – Belgium
Bench: Aaron Ramsey Wales, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic Croatia, Aron Gunnarsson and Gylfi Sigurdsson IcelandÂ
Payet has been wonderful for the home team and looks to have the inside track on being voted the best player in the tournament. The rest of the midfield has been excellent going forward as well. Kroos balances out the very attack minded midfield. Gunnarsson has been a standout for surprise Iceland and I tried hard to slot him in the starting XI. This is an extremely deep midfield where everyone selected has an argument to start.
Forwards â€“ Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal, Alvaro Morata – Spain, Gareth Bale – Wales
Bench: Balazs Dzsudzak Hungary, Robert Lewandowski Poland
Real Madrid fans love this front three. Ronaldo struggled early but played great when it counted while the other two have led their teams in the attack. The two guys off the bench bring a ton of experience and goals to the table.Â
These two teams are sublimely talented and evenly matched. The Euros look to be better defensively while the Copa squad seems to have a more lethal attack. Overall, I think this would be an extremely entertaining match going back and forth but ultimately Messi would end up winning the game on his own. Although this is all hypothetical, one thing is certain: we have been blessed to have both tournaments to watch this summer.