Euro 2016 Individual Awards Predictions

With the group predictions already posted for the Euros, it’s time for my “expert” picks on who will win the individual awards, and what team will take home the crown.

Golden Boot: Thomas Müller (Germany) – Thomas Müller has a knack for scoring in international tournaments. Over the last two World Cups, the Bayern Munich center forward has scored ten goals. In his one trip to the Euros, however, Müller was unable to score at all.

While there may be some better goal scorers in the tournament (e.g. Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo), I think that Müller and Germany will be in the tournament longer than most teams. His group isn’t the hardest draw of the bunch (Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Poland), and I could see Müller feasting on some of these weaker defensive units. Look for him to finally open his Euro goal scoring account.

Getty Images

Player of the Tournament: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium) – Could this finally be the year that Belgium solidify their position as one of the best teams in Europe? The Belgian squad has plenty of big name players, and I feel like one in particular could really take the cake in France. Kevin De Bruyne has emerged as one of the best midfielders in Europe over the last two seasons, and this is his first tournament

This year at Manchester City, the Belgian battled through injury to register seven goals and nine assists (second most on the team). Deployed on the wing and in behind the strikers, the 24-year-old has all the skills necessary to thrive at the Euros. If his surrounding cast *cough* Eden Hazard *cough* can perform at their peak, De Bruyne could be in for a statement tournament.

Golden Glove: Hugo Lloris (France) – No other team in this tournament, perhaps with the exception of Germany, have higher expectations than France. The host nation appears to have all of the pieces needed to make a deep run into the Euros this year. In attack, Antoine Griezmann is coming off of a 32-goal season at Atlético Madrid. In the midfield, you have the likes of Paul Pobga, Blaise Matuidi, Dimitri Payet and Premier League champion N’Golo Kanté. The backline features Raphaël Varana, Patrice Evra, Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny.

And don’t forget about the man between the sticks for Les Blues, Hugo Lloris. The 29-year-old was one of the best keepers in the Premier League this season for Tottenham and was a big reason why they finished with the joint-best defensive record in the league. In a relatively easy group, Lloris probably won’t get tested too much until the knockout stages, but even then I don’t see too many people scoring against France.

Champions: France – Going back to the paragraphs above, I feel like this French team is one of the most talented squads of recent memory. On top of that, there doesn’t seem to be any outward signs of another treason like the one at the 2010 World Cup. At every position, the French have at least one player that could arguably walk on as a starter for any other country in the tournament. In their last ten matches, Didier Deschamps’ side have lost just once, beating the likes of Holland, Russia, Germany and Portgual.

The players have told reporters that the pressure they face as hosts won’t be similar to the pressure Brazil faced two years ago at the World Cup. This public support will only last if the team is playing well, and I think that the squad will do just that. They haven’t won this historic trophy in 16 years, but that wait might be coming to an end very very soon. Just like I did for the NHL this season, let’s go Bleus!

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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