Turkey turn up heat
With the final round of Euro 2008 group games now complete, we inspect your Hot or Not ratings.
Last Updated: 19/06/08 2:04pm
With the quarter-final line-up now complete, we have analysed your Player Ratings to salute who's hot and who's not at Euro 2008.
The usual suspects continue to set proceedings alight in Austria and Switzerland, but with coaches shuffling their packs as last eight places were booked with a game to spare, it is interesting to see a few new faces earning Hot or Not praise for the final round of group matches.
Holland and Spain once again score highly in our top 10 averages, but a closer inspection of individual matches reveals a few 'reserves' who have stared, while Turkey have also caught the eye.
Between the sticks Poland shot-stopper Artur Boruc scored well in your opinion with a sweetly taken 9.2, while the seven handed to the Celtic man by reporter Chris Burton saw the greatest difference in opinion this week.
And to demonstrate that it is not only Mr Burton who can show a ruthless side, I have opted to give Gianluigi Buffon the nod as the Italian goalkeeper was awarded an eight by Steve Pass, who has clearly supped a calming cup of tea or two since dishing out a dizzying 10 to David Villa in round one.
Defenders are once again hard to come by as you demonstrate that you would rather see a free-flowing attacking approach than a defend first and ask questions later policy, step forward Romania, as not one stopper makes it in to the top 10.
However, a little bit of detective work allows me to unearth a dependable rearguard as Turkey centre-back Servet Cetin secures a 7.6 average, while journalist James Pearson was impressed by Russian Sergei Ignashevich's stifling job on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
While we are on the subject, Ibrahimovic is - in my humble opinion - one of the most frustrating players in Europe and, having stirred controversy in my last Hot or Not outing with criticism of Cesc Fabregas, I will again risk your wrath by suggesting that even a lowly 5.7 rating for the Sweden striker appears a little generous.
Back to the subject of defending quicker than a team talk from Greece manager Otto Rehhagel, our full-backs come in the shape of the ever-dependable German Philip Lahm (8.7) and Croatia's Manchester City man Vedran Corluka, who was rewarded with an average score of eight for his 64-minute substitute outing against Poland.
In midfield the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Deco and Luka Modric - obviously a few opinionated Tottenham followers out there, none spring to mind in this office - maintain their places among the big-hitters, despite not featuring in the final round of group fixtures and, therefore, I feel it is only fair to look further afield.
Arda Turan fills the left of midfield as he weighs in with an average rating of 8.7 to maintain a spot in our top ten following his goal, which started Turkey's dramatic 3-2 comeback against Czech Republic.
Arda's inclusion could also be attributed to liberal voting by Middlesbrough fans, who have apparently taken Turkey to their hearts due to the presence of cult hero Tuncay Sanli - who scored a 7.7 for his recent goalkeeping stand-in role - after I overheard one witty Teesside wag dub the quarter-finalists 'Turklesbrough'.
Michael Ballack earns a spot as you agreed with Gareth Freil's rating of eight by dealing the Chelsea star an 8.2 for his rocket of a free-kick against Austria, which booked Germany a place in the last eight.
Andrea Pirlo's coolly taken penalty in Italy's 2-0 victory over France secured a closely matched eight and overall 8.1, while Spaniard Xabi Alonso reminded Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez and scribe Robin Hackett of his capabilities with an all-action nine against Greece.
In attack, and with regulars Fernando Torres and Villa putting their feet up, Turkey forward Nihat Kahveci takes his place after earning the highest score of the round (9.2) for his last-gasp double against the Czechs.
And, after serving a two-game suspension to make his first appearance of the finals, Andrei Arshavin will partner Nihat as he demonstrated Russia have more than just a Eurovision Song Contest string to their bow with deserved marks of nine and 8.6 as Guus Hiddink's side booked a showdown with Holland.
We also promised to name those who have failed to impress and Eric Abidal's head will sink further as the French defender follows his red card against Italy with a new Hot or Not record low of 2.3, while Czech keeper Petr Cech is not exempt from blame as he is branded with an average 3.8 for his fumble against Turkey.
To sum up, it is intriguing to see that you have not been influenced by names as a number of fringe players earn the plaudits, but offensive flair continues to dominate as we reach the knock-out stages. Will this continue to be the case? And what of our selections, has an impressive performer been overlooked, or are there any offenders who have escaped the Hot or Not radar?
You can rate players' performances after every match at Euro 2008 and it will be possible to interact with our match coverage throughout the tournament. We will also continue to observe the Hot or Not ratings after every round of games.