For the second successive UEFA European Championship, Spain provided the winner of the Castrol EDGE Index, Sergio Ramos taking the honour in 2012 following a historic night at Kyiv's Olympic Stadium.
The 26-year-old, who succeeds metronomic midfielder Xavi Hernández in topping the pile, climbed seven places to the summit courtesy of a display in which he was heavily involved at both ends of the field.
A cornerstone of the holders' impenetrable defence, the Real Madrid CF man finished just ahead of club-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who had led the standings since the end of the group stage. Gerard Piqué, Ramos' centre-back partner, completes the podium; he is the second of seven Spain players in the top ten, including their entire rearguard.
Ramos was in the thick of the action from the off against the Azzurri, having two efforts on goal – one a free-kick, the other a header – in the first seven minutes and four overall, two of which were on target. At the other end, a block from Andrea Barzagli and his retrieval of possession on 15 occasions swelled his match rating to 9.69, the third highest for a game at UEFA EURO 2012.
Ramos, ever-present in La Roja's unprecedented third consecutive major tournament victory having also topped the Index at the FIFA World Cup, was instrumental in Vicente del Bosque's team keeping five consecutive clean sheets in Poland and Ukraine. The fourth of those came in the semi-finals, when he helped shackle Ronaldo, whose three goals and tournament-record 15 shots on target were responsible for the bulk of his overall 9.61 mark.
Piqué, Ramos and full-backs Jordi Alba and Álvaro Arbeloa – sixth and seventh respectively – limited the opposition to just 21 shots in six matches. In addition to this, the indefatigable Alba owes his rise from 14th to his well-taken goal, his first at international level, in the final.
The holders are further represented by Xabi Alonso (fourth), Andrés Iniesta (fifth) and Sergio Busquets (ninth). Alonso was a model of consistency throughout with his passing, with only Xavi completing more than the Madrid midfielder's 490. Crucially, in Index terms, 251 of these were forward passes in opposition territory.
Pepe (eighth) and Claudio Marchisio, on the losing team in the showpiece, make up the top ten.
1 – Goals conceded at UEFA EURO 2012 by Spain in 570 minutes of action.
2 – Vicente del Bosque is the second coach after Helmut Schön to win a FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship.
5 – David Silva had a role in more goals at UEFA EURO 2012 than any other player (two goals, three assists).
189 – Minutes in which Fernando Torres scored his adidas Golden Boot-winning total of three goals.
531 – The tournament-high total of passes completed by Xavi Hernández, at an average of 89 per game.
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