Spanish soccer team pose for a picture before their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match against France at Donbass Arena in Donetsk, June 23, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Charles Platiau)
Spain's players celebrate after defeating Portugal in their Euro 2012 semi-final soccer match at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, June 27, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Michael Dalder)
Italy's Antonio Cassano with baby in his hands (R) looks on team mates as they celebrate their victory against Germany at Euro 2012 semi-final soccer match at the National stadium in Warsaw, June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger (Photo : REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger)
Germany's Philipp Lahm (L to R), Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng, and Mario Gomez celebrate a victory during their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match against Greece at the PGE Arena in Gdansk, June 22, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Pascal Lauener)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after defeating Czech Republic in their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match at the National stadium in Warsaw, June 21, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Peter Andrews)
How did all the teams rank after the tournament? Who were the best and worst after the Euro Cup 2012? Here they are.
1. Spain: Defending champions; only conceded one goal in the entire tournament and went over 500 minutes without giving up another; they became the first team to ever score four goals in the final; they found a way to win despite not always playing at their optimal best; the list can go on and on. Simply put, Spain is the best team in the world and has will be continue to be a force in 2014.
Like Us on Facebook
2. Italy: The Azzurri are back. Germany should be here, but by virtue of Italy making them look mortal and weak, the Italians take the slot as the second best team at the Euro Cup. Leading up to the final against Spain, they were the stingiest of all the teams in the tournament and had balanced scoring all over the field. Who was Italy's best player? Like Spain, there were many: Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli, Gianluigi Buffon, and of course coach Cesare Prandelli who outcoached Joachim Low in the semi-final.
3. Germany: Germany plays at the same level as the Spanish, but cannot seem to win when it counts; like the Spanish. Germany was expected in the final and possibly to take the crown, but has choked for a third consecutive major tournament. The World Cup 2014 is Joachim Low's last chance to make it happen or Germany will look for a major rehaul.
4. Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo finally woke up and gave the Portuguese what they expected from him on the international stage. The rest of the team rallied around him and gave tremendous efforts against the Dutch and particularly against the eventual champion Spain. They will be good in 2014 and look for Ronaldo to make the most out of his last major international tournament.
5. Denmark: Over England, France, Greece, and the Czech Republic? The Danish got a bad draw when they were slotted with the Germans, Portuguese, and Dutch. Despite that, they started off their tournament with a classy win over the Dutch, then came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie Portugal before dropping the game in the final minutes. They also held highly favorite Germany to a tie for a good portion of the match. The Danish will be a force in Europe for the next few years.
6. Croatia: Another team that would have made a deeper runner if not for the group it got. Croatia beat Ireland, tied Italy, and almost defeated Spain if not for the heroics of Iker Casillas. They were an entertaining bunch and will be a major force in the 2014 World Cup.
7. Czech Republic: The loss to Russia was disastrous but the team was resilient in their subsequent victories and put up a strong defensive effort against the likes of Ronaldo and Portugal.
8. England: England was dreadful in this tournament. Boring, outclassed by most teams that played them, and they should never have gotten as far as they did. However, the fact remains that aside from Spain, this was the only other team to not lose a single game in the tournament, and for that reason they slot this high.
9. Greece: A devastating loss to Germany does not hurt the fact that the Greeks overpowered and tamed the mighty Russians as they walked away with a berth in the group stage. They will be a defensive force in the next few years and could be dangerous in World Cup qualifiers.
10. France: France looked good in the early going, but then imploded with a horrific loss to Sweden and an underwhelming display against the best team in the world. In both matches, France's effort could certainly be called into question.
11. Ukraine: The co-hosts were strong in defeating Sweden, but then they imploded against France and could not solve a sloppy English team.
12. Russia: Russia was supposed to have a ball with Group A (the easiest), but ended up losing when it most mattered. Throw in a tie with woeful Poland and you have a pretty lousy tournament for a team that should have been in the top tier.
13. Poland: The co-hosts were pretty bad, but they managed a tie with defensive Greece and also impeded Russia's prominence in the group. Their loss to the Czech's in the deciding game was unfortunate, but the Polish were able to have a solid tournament despite being one of the worst ranked teams in the tournament.
14. Sweden: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is easily one of the more arrogant players in the game and rarely showed up for the tournament. He had a highlight reel goal, but nothing else worthy of note. The rest of the team simply resembled their captain.
15. Netherlands: This is tough. Ireland or Netherlands for the worst team in the tournament? The Dutch didn't give up as many goals, so the edge goes to them. However, when you have Robbin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, and Arjen Robben leading your attack this should be a contending team that either steals a few matches or does more than get the goose egg in the points column. The next two years will be a world of hurt for the poor Dutch.
16. Ireland: 3-1 to Croatia, 4-0 to Spain, 2-0 to Italy. They lost each and every one of those games by that score They were completely outclassed in every match and are by far the worst team at the Euro Cup 2012.