A team of technical observers including Sir Alex Ferguson and Alain Giresse will be following the action closely at UEFA EURO 2016, with a whole raft of prestigious awards to be decided.
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Top (left to right): Packie Bonner, Mixu Paatelainen, Savo Milošević, Peter Rudbæk, Gareth Southgate, David Moyes, Thomas Schaaf, Ioan Lupescu
Front (left to right): Jean-François Domergue, Ginés Meléndez, Jean-Paul Brigger, Alain Giresse
As a global audience of millions tunes into this evening's opening game at UEFA EURO 2016, UEFA's technical observers will set to work on their expert analysis of the tournament.
A total of 13 former players and coaches, led by UEFA chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu and including Sir Alex Ferguson and Alain Giresse, will be closely following the action to prepare a technical report on the significant trends and tactical developments, while also deciding on the winners of a number of prestigious awards as the competition unfolds.
Their first order of business will be to elect the Carlsberg Man of the Match for each game. After considering the nominees as voted for by EURO2016.com users, the technical observers will identify the player who has made the most outstanding contribution to each fixture. To make their choice, they will focus on players who fulfil some or all of the following criteria:
- Exceptional skill in attack and/or defence
- Involvement in decisive actions in attack and/or defence
- Tactical maturity and efficiency throughout the game
- A positive attitude with regards to UEFA's Respect campaign
The technical observers will likewise select the nominees for each Carlsberg Goal of the Round, picking out the best candidates at various stages of the tournament for fans to then vote on their favourite.
They will kick off by choosing ten strikes from the group stage, before highlighting five each from the round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals – and finishing by naming five candidates for the Goal of the Tournament. Once the Goal of the Tournament fan-vote winner has been announced, the technical observers will reveal their top ten goals from open play and the five best set-piece efforts.
Applying their considerable knowhow and experience, the technical observers will also name the player of the tournament, honouring the player who shines brightest individually and as part of his team, and whose overall contribution has a major impact on his side's performances.
Using the same criteria, they will additionally select the Socar Young Player of the Tournament, crowning the exceptional performer at France 2016 who was born after 1 January 1994. Last but not least, the technical observers will unveil the team of the tournament, an all-star XI featuring the best players in each specific position in a recognisable formation.
"The observers will be working hard to produce the technical report and are looking forward to what promises to be a great tournament," said UEFA's chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu. "We know that choosing the various award winners will lead to a lot of discussion between the observers but we will analyse the performances of all teams closely and will choose the winners and team of the tournament based not on reputation but solely on the players' performances at UEFA EURO 2016."
Who are they?
Capped 74 times by Romania, the former midfielder represented his country at EURO '96 and UEFA EURO 2000, in addition to the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups. After beginning his club career at Dinamo Bucureşti, where he also retired at the end of his fourth spell, he spent eight years in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach, notably winning the German Cup and reaching the UEFA Cup semi-finals with the Werkself. He is currently UEFA's chief technical officer.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time, Sir Alex spent a glittering, trophy-laden 26 years at the head of Manchester United, winning 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and a pair of UEFA Champions League crowns before retiring in 2013. Before that, he turned Aberdeen into a Scottish powerhouse, clinching a shock European Cup Winners' Cup victory in 1982/83, having also been a prolific forward during his playing days. He has acted as UEFA Coaching Ambassador since his retirement in 2013.
Most recently coach of Real Sociedad from November 2014 to November 2015, Moyes made his name in management at Everton, where he held the reins with aplomb for 11 years after first announcing his potential in the lower leagues with Preston North End. His capable work on Merseyside earned the former centre-back a prestigious appointment as manager of Manchester United upon Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013, and he spent close to a season in charge of the Old Trafford outfit.
A one-club man during his playing days, Schaaf entered Werder Bremen's youth academy in 1972 and served with distinction until retiring in 1995, winning a pair of Bundesliga titles, two German Cups and the 1991/92 European Cup Winners' Cup. Having already started coaching Bremen's youth sides while still a player, he took charge of the senior team between 1999 and 2013, winning three more German Cups and a league crown before short stints at Eintracht Frankfurt and Hannover.
Joint top scorer at UEFA EURO 2000 with five strikes, the retired forward picked up 102 caps and 37 goals for Yugoslavia and Serbia. He reached his century during the 2006 World Cup, having also appeared at France 1998 after a blistering start to his club career with Partizan. Milošević also took in spells with the likes of Aston Villa, Real Zaragoza, Parma and Osasuna, calling time after he helped Rubin Kazan win their maiden Russian title in 2008. He is the vice-president of the Serbian FA.
Paatelainen became the first Finnish player to grace the Premier League while at Bolton in 1995/96, but it was in Scotland that he spent the bulk of his career. Paatelainen's longest stay came at Dundee United, and he also amassed 18 goals in 70 outings for Finland, before his first taste of coaching at Cowdenbeath. In charge of his national side between 2011 and 2015, the 49-year-old spent most of 2015/16 at the Dundee United helm.
England Under-21 coach since 2013, and tipped by some as a future candidate for the senior position, Southgate made over 500 league appearances as a centre-back, excelling in the heart of defence for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough – where he started his coaching journey in 2006. Southgate also collected 57 England caps and helped the Three Lions reach the semi-finals at EURO '96.
An experienced UEFA instructor, Rudbæk established his reputation as a coach in his native Denmark, having started out teaching youngsters the ropes before assuming first-team duties at AaB in 1983. He steered the club into the top flight and was named Danish coach of the year in 1987 – an award he won again in 1996 after leading AGF to Danish Cup glory. That came after a seven-year reign at Viborg, and he briefly returned to AaB in 2001. He is the Danish Football Association's technical director.
A pillar of the youth team set-up for Spain in recent years, Meléndez has helped some of the nation's brightest talents take their first steps in the international game. He started his coaching career with Albacete before joining the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) ranks shortly after the turn of the century, and led the U19s to European triumph in 2006 and 2011, while also serving as assistant to Juan Santisteban during Spain's continental U17 wins in 2007 and 2008.
Dividing his playing career between Sion and Servette, Brigger collected a raft of honours in the Swiss game, including two league titles and five Swiss Cups. He also snaffled the Swiss player of the year award in his final season as a professional in 1991/92, and picked up the equivalent coaching honour while at Luzern in 1996. Aside from a brief sabbatical, he has worked as a member of FIFA's technical study group since 1999. He is currently FIFA's technical study group director.
A member of the legendary 'Carré Magique' (Magic Square) that drove France to victory on home soil in the 1984 UEFA European Championship, Giresse was a high-scoring midfielder who also helped Les Bleus reach the semi-finals at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. All-time leading scorer for Bordeaux, where he won two French titles, Giresse ended his playing career at Marseille before turning to coaching – and is currently in charge of the Malian national team.
Domergue won just nine caps with France but they could hardly have come at a better time, the defender receiving five of them during the 1984 UEFA European Championship – and even scoring both of his international goals in the semi-final win against Portugal. He turned out for the likes of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Lyon during a notable playing career, after which he spent time at the helm of Le Havre and Montpellier. He is currently UEFA's head of football development.
Forever remembered in his native Ireland for his penalty shoot-out heroics at the 1990 World Cup, Bonner picked up 80 caps between the posts over a span of 15 years. For Celtic, meanwhile, he made over 600 appearances in all competitions and won four Scottish titles, later serving as goalkeeping coach and technical director for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). He is the leader of UEFA's goalkeeping advisory group.