UEFA's technical team has named 11 players from champions Spain, including tournament MVP Thiago Alcántara, in a 23-man all-star squad for the Under-21 finals in Israel.
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Eleven players from champions Spain have been named in the UEFA technical team's 23-man all-star squad from the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, including player of the tournament Thiago Alcántara.
Thiago, the scorer of a first-half hat-trick as La Rojita defeated Italy 4-2 in Tuesday's final in Jerusalem, and goalkeeper David de Gea, who did not concede a goal until the final, are honoured with places in the squad for the second successive tournament. Both had featured following Spain's triumph in Denmark in 2011.
Nine of their team-mates are selected for the first time, including four-goal adidas Golden Boot award winner Álvaro Morata and fellow forward Rodrigo. Alongside Thiago, colleagues Isco – who also scored three tournament goals – Asier Illarramendi and Koke have their work in the Spain engine room recognised, while four defenders are picked: Marc Bartra, Iñigo Martínez, Martín Montoya and Alberto Moreno.
Runners-up Italy contribute four players to the squad – goalkeeper Francesco Bardi, captain Luca Caldirola, midfielder Marco Verratti and striker Fabio Borini, who hit a late winner in the semi-final victory against the Netherlands as well as the Azzurrini's second in the final.
The Dutch are represented by Bruno Martins Indi, Adam Maher, Luuk de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum, while Ørjan Nyland and Stefan Strandberg make the 23 after helping Norway reach the last four. Two players from nations knocked out in the group stage, Russia's Alan Dzagoev and Germany captain Lewis Holtby, complete the group.
Of Spanish playmaker Thiago's nomination as player of the tournament, the UEFA technical team said: "As captain of the title winners, Thiago displayed leadership qualities on and off the pitch and, throughout the tournament, was an influential figure in his team's performance with impressive box-to-box work; exceptional ball control even in the tightest of situations; ability to dictate the tempo of play; intelligent ball-winning based on anticipation rather than tackling; and outstanding playmaking skills based on a wide variety of short and long passing. His three goals in the final represented a unique individual achievement and reward for his contributions to his team's success."
The members of the technical team in Israel were Jean-François Domergue (France), Peter Rudbæk (Denmark), Dany Ryser (Switzerland) and Dušan Savić (Serbia), captained by UEFA's chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu, with Mordechai Shpigler (from the host nation) acting as link-man to UEFA's Development and Technical Assistance Committee.
2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship all-star aquad
Goalkeepers: Francesco Bardi (Italy), David de Gea (Spain), Ørjan Nyland (Norway).
Defenders: Marc Bartra (Spain), Luca Caldirola (Italy), Iñigo Martínez (Spain), Bruno Martins Indi (Netherlands), Martín Montoya (Spain), Alberto Moreno (Spain), Stefan Strandberg (Norway).
Midfielders: Alan Dzagoev (Russia), Lewis Holtby (Germany), Asier Illarramendi (Spain), Isco (Spain), Koke (Spain), Adam Maher (Netherlands), Thiago Alcántara (Spain), Marco Verratti (Italy).
Forwards: Fabio Borini (Italy), Luuk De Jong (Netherlands), Álvaro Morata (Spain), Rodrigo Moreno (Spain), Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands).