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John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

De Gea, Rooney, Sterling and Martial among Euro 2016 disappointments

ESPN FC's most disappointing XI.

Portugal beat France 1-0 to win Euro 2016 but it was a tournament where plenty of big names failed to deliver. Here's ESPN FC's most disappointing XI from the tournament.

GK David De Gea (Spain)

Perhaps it was the difficulty he found himself in on the eve of the tournament? Maybe it was Spain coach Vicente del Bosque's delay in naming him ahead of Iker Casillas? But De Gea never looked settled in France. He kept clean sheets in the 1-0 and 3-0 wins against Czech Republic and Turkey respectively but made crucial mistakes in a 2-1 loss to Croatia and also to Italy in the round of 16.

He should have been used to playing behind a bad defence, considering Manchester United's decline in the past three years, but after letting Ivan Perisic's effort slip past him at his near post in the defeat to Croatia, he diverted the ball to Giorgio Chiellini to score Italy's opener in the Azzurri's 2-0 win that knocked them out.

RB Igor Smolnikov (Russia)

Russia's horrible tournament gives them little in the way of hope ahead of the World Cup on home soil in two years' time.

Smolnikov may not even have been the worst of them -- they were all terrible apart from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev -- but his incompetence against both Slovakia and Wales in 2-1 and 3-0 defeats respectively made him the worst right-back at Euro 2016.

CB Sergio Ramos (Spain)

Many observers question why Ramos is held in such high regard and his propensity to be on the scene when chaos descends leads the reasons why. When De Gea wobbled against Croatia, Ramos had left him unexposed, allowing Nikola Kalinic to score the equaliser.

When Italy ended Spain's reign, it was lack of defensive organisation that finished them -- and that's Ramos' responsibility as captain. He was flat-footed for both goals in their 2-0 defeat.

David De Gea
Sergio Ramos and David De Gea both had an uncertain Euro 2016.

CB Lorik Cana (Albania)

Led his country to their first ever major finals but became the first player to be sent off at Euro 2016 when he committed two bookable offences within 36 minutes against Switzerland.

He only returned for the final seven minutes of a 1-0 defeat of Romania that was not enough to secure qualification for the round of 16 and promptly retired from international football after that.

LB Jordan Lukaku (Belgium)

He only featured against Wales due to Jan Vertonghen's suspension but, though he was not one of the three defenders bamboozled by Hal Robson-Kanu's Cruyff turn and finish, he had let Aaron Ramsey escape to supply the striker. Lukaku had earlier missed a header and allowed Ashley Williams to score Wales' equaliser."

CM Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)

His handball against France led to a penalty that turned a tight affair the hosts' way in the semifinals.

Whenever called on, he looked so short of the dominant, driving force he was in Germany's 2014 World Cup final victory, and unfit for purpose. The Marseille semifinal was his first start since January, and it eventually showed. A shadow of his former self

CM David Alaba (Austria)

Ahead of the tournament, the suggestion was made by some fans that Alaba might be a superior talent to France's Paul Pogba. Even if Pogba never quite ignited, he still had a far better tournament than Alaba, who looked utterly lost as Austria imploded.

When coach Marcel Koller put Alaba (who is used to playing in defence for Bayern) at No. 10 against Portugal, it was a dreadfully poor fit, as he completed just 53 percent of his passes before being subbed off early in the second half.

CM Wayne Rooney (England)

England manager Roy Hodgson indulged his captain by playing him in the position he had latterly filled for Manchester United, where he had lost his striking place to the 18-year-old Marcus Rashford.

Against the likes of Russia, Wales and Slovakia, Rooney was granted space to play "Hollywood ball" diagonals as he wished, but when it came to the crunch against Iceland, Rooney wilted, his passing radar malfunctioning as much as his first touch. If the captain tried to emulate Steven Gerrard or Paul Scholes, then he failed badly.

FW Raheem Sterling (England)

Sterling has not deserved the vilification he has received back home in England, but if there was a player symbolic of Hodgson's inability to turn plentiful young talent into coherent, winning football, it is English football's most expensive player.

Sterling was subbed off at half-time in England's second match, the 2-1 defeat of Wales, having done little to justify his starting spot in that or the 1-1 draw with Russia. Hodgson then returned the £49 million man to the team for the Iceland catastrophe, removing him after another hour of anonymity. At 21, and with Rashford around, the Manchester City star is in danger of becoming yesterday's news.

FW Thomas Muller (Germany)

In two years, it is eminently possible that Muller (who, at 26, has already scored 11 World Cup goals) might emulate compatriot Miroslav Klose's record haul of 16. But he has yet to score at a Euros, having played 11 matches.

Muller's trick is to ghost into positions where defenders cannot find him, yet in France he ended up in a series of blind alleys, and his lack of tactical discipline saw him come in for some heavy criticism back home.

FW Anthony Martial (France)

As France attempted to clear their heads in the wake of Eder's 109th minute goal in the final, the option Didier Deschamps called for was Martial, a player he had barely used since a hugely disappointing group game outing against Albania. It didn't work, as Martial got caught up in traffic during his 10 minutes on the field.

Of France's raft of young talents, Martial had clearly failed to convince his manager. He proved little use as a rescue act, either.

John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JohnBrewinESPN.

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