Spain's players celebrate after defeating Portugal in their Euro 2012 semi-final soccer match at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Three weeks of soccer provides its audience for both captivating moments and huge duds.
Here are the best and worst from the Euro Cup 2012.
Best Individual Performance in a Match: Andrea Pirlo's takedown of Germany
Like Us on Facebook
There were many: David Silva in the final, Mario Balotelli against Germany, Xabi Alonso against France, Alan Dzagoev's mastery of the Czechs, Ronadlo's destruction of the Dutch and Czech. All these are runner ups to Andrea Pirlo's fantastic exploitation of the Germans in the semi-finals. Pirlo recorded no points the match, but was the catalyst on both goals and outplayed young phenom Mesut Ozil in the midfield as Italy stunne the world and moved onto the finals.
Most Impressive Team Performance in a Match: Spain breaks down Italy's Defense in the Final
Runner ups would include Russia's 4-1 takedown of the Czech Republic, Germany's 4-2 trouncing of Greece, Italy's 2-1 win in the semis against Germany, France's dissection of Ukraine, Sweden embarrassing France 2-0, Greece's 1-0 elimination of Russia, and especially Portugal's 2-1 nullification of the Netherlands. However, Spain played its match of the tournament with a 4-0 rout over Italy was a display of Spain's style and substance wrapped into one. They got goals from bench players, top stars, even a breakout defenseman. Every single one of Spain's players came to play:
Iniesta set up Fabregas for his assist to Silva. Xavi had two assists. Sergio Ramos and Pique shutdown Mario Balotelli, Sergio Busquets shut down Andrea Pirlo, and Iker Casillas made huge saves at the right moments.
Best Tournament Performance by a Player: Spain's Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas scored a tying goal against Italy in the opening match, helped set up the game winner against Croatia, scored the game winning penalty against Portugal, and set up the winner in the final. Fabregas was everywhere in the final match and was Spain's best player considering the minimal minutes he got throughout the tournament.
Runnerups include: Spain's Andres Iniesta, Italy's Andrea Pirlo, Spain's Iker Casillas, Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Germany's Mesut Ozil
Breakout Star of the Tournament: Spain's Jordi Alba
Alba is only 23 and was not a part of any of the other two championship teams for the Spanish. However, he came into this tournament with the onus of replacing the legendary Carles Puyol. He not only stepped in, but exceeded expectations with intelligent play, explosive offensive skills and even a goal in the final that could teach any striker a thing or two.
Runnerups would include Italy's Mario Balotelli, Germany's Marco Reus, and England's Andy Carroll.
Goal of the Tournament: Zlatan Ibrahimovic against France
Ibrahimovic was disappointing throughout the tournament for this writer, but he did live up to his potential with a tremendous goal againt France. Watch it below.
Runnerups for goal of the tournament include Balotelli's strike against Ireland, Pirlo's goal against Croatia, David Silva's goal against Italy in the final, and Michael Krohn-Dehli's header against Germany.
Save of the Tournament: Spain's Iker Casillas robs Croatia's Ivan Rakitic
Late in the match, Casillas made a save that preserved a 0-0 tie for Spain against Croatia and saved their tournament lives. Had that went in, Spain does not advanced to the knockout stages and does not make history.
Most Disappointing Player in the Tournament: Netherlands' Robbin Van Persie
Van Persie went into the tournament as one of the top strikers in the world. He only had one goal to show for it by the end of the tournament; a goal scored when the outcome of his team's match against Germany no longer matter. He was invisible in the final match against Portugal and did nothing to calm his critics.
Runnerups include: Netherland's Arjen Robben, England's Wayne Rooney, Netherlands' Welsley Sneijder
Most Disappointing Performance by a Team in a Match: Netherlands against Portugal
Netherlands got off to a solid start in this one, but then fell apart after scoring their goal and watch the Portuguese run through them for 75 minutes. In a match where its best players needed to play their best, the Dutch simply looked overwhelmed by a superior Portuguese side that was not favored to win the match.
Worst Performance by a Team in a Match: Ireland against Spain
What makes this different from the above category? In the other category, there was expectations and the disappointing side simply did not deliver. This category simply looks at which team looked completely outclassed by its rival. Ireland gave up a goal in the first five minutes for the second straight match and did not look like they belonged on the same field, much less same class as the Spanish side. The final score said it all: 4-0. Spain played a complete game, not because they were at their finest, but because their opponents were at their worst. Fabregas' goal which added Spain's tally was most notable for the fact that Fabregas was the only offensive force in the box on the corner that set it up and he was still able to score with a hoard of defensemen around him. This match nailed Ireland in the coffin and exemplified just how poorly prepared they were to take on top notch talent.
Runner ups include Ireland Vs. Croatia, France vs. Sweden, Czech Republic against Russia
Worst Team of the Tournament: Netherlands
The expectations were tantamount for this team and their performance was shocking at best. No one expected this team that was so star studded to lose all three of its matches and embarrass an entire nation. Ireland could have "won" this category, but their expectations were not as lofty.
There is only one runnerup, the Republic of Ireland.