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Toni, the natural choice to lead Euro 2008 flop XI
Starting at the back there is nothing like a commanding goalkeeper and we have three contenders who have been nothing like a commanding goalkeeper.
Petr Cech made a bid by dropping a straightforward catch that enabled Turkey to come from the dead and knock the Czech Republic out while Rustu Recber’s 100 percent ratio of blunders to games in his two appearances also earned notice.
However, the number one shirt goes to 38-year-old Jens Lehmann for his creaky, leaky display in Germany’s semi-final win over Turkey.
There was stiff competition at centre back too, though Marco Materazzi was an almost unanimous choice after finally rediscovering his long-lost Everton form — disappointing, shall we say — in Italy’s 3-0 defeat by the Netherlands.
Lilian Thuram, who was involved in all four goals conceded by France against the Dutch, was in there fighting but Russia’s Roman Shirokov, never to be seen again after Spain thumped four goals through, round and over him, gets the shirt.
France are well represented though as Willy Sagnol and Eric Abidal slot in at fullback.
There were a wide range of contenders for the four midfield slots but another Frenchman, Florent Malouda, was a clear favourite as he reproduced the form he has been showing all season for Chelsea — none.
Daniele De Rossi was supposed to be the purring engine at the heart of the Italian midfield but instead operated like a Vespa on the wrong fuel and walks in.
Four years ago Angelos Basinas helped Greece to their unlikely title but this time he was anonymous. There might have been other Greeks who were as bad or even worse but, as captain, he gets in with something of a representative role.
Freddie Ljungberg, Gennaro Gattuso and Tranquillo Barnetta all attracted votes but the final midfield spot goes to a man who was personally and publicly blamed by his coach for his team’s failure, Poland’s toothless Ebi Smolarek.
Up front there were any number of candidates. Nicolas Anelka had more scowls than shots, Henrik Larsson should have called it a day after two retirements while Martin Harnik was handed the chance to become an Austrian hero but flopped.
However, Mario Gomez has to play given that he arrived with such a fanfare but was then so ineffective that Germany redesigned their formation rather than keep him in.
Alongside him is the player who attracted more votes than anyone, someone for whom the term “lump” could have been invented.
Slow, immobile, clumsy and, when finally presented with some chances to show his ability in the air — poor in the air. Step forward, slowly, Luca Toni.
Such are the motivational qualities of Guus Hiddink that he would probably mould this bunch of misfits into title contenders.
But our disparate group will instead take to the hypothetical field under the guidance of Roberto Donadoni, who since he has already been sacked as Italy coach, is at least available.
PHOTO: Italy striker Luca Toni after being fouled by Eric Abidal in the area during the 2-0 win over France. June 17. REUTERS/Tony Gentile