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UEFA EURO 2012
UEFA EURO 2012

Soccer News: UEFA EURO 2012

UEFA has all the important information on the upcoming UEFA Europe with video interviews from top soccer players such as Ronaldo who is upbeat about Portugal's chances even though his team may be in the "most difficult" group at UEFA EURO 2012. In his video, Ronaldo is positive about Portugal's prospects under the influence of coach Paulo Bento and says his team just needs to stay calm as everything will go well.

"After kicking off tomorrow, UEFA EURO 2012 runs until 1 July, after which there will have been 31 games in eight different stadiums but just one winner at Kyiv's Olympic Stadium."  What an amazing array of great soccer.  The big question is who will win.

Who Will Win? Spain or an underdog?

EURO 2012 starts soon when Poland takes on Greece and Russia meets Czech Republic with Group A.  This is a good time time to take a closer look at the title contenders and review all the injuiries that will impact the action on the field.

SoccerNationNews' Florian Täger has come up with the important, basic stats on a few of the major contenders and favorites in the competition.  It has been a long road to the final and the best soccer is ahead for all to enjoy.

Spain

  • Inhabitants: 47.19 Million
  • Active players: 3 Million
  • EURO appearances: 9
  • Biggest EURO success: Champion 2008
  • Starting XI: Casillas - Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Jordi Alba - Busquets, Xabi Alonso - Iniesta, Xavi, Silva - Llorent 

As current European and world champion, Spain is the number one contender for this year's championship. Their unique gameplay and world-class players on every position made “La Roja” almost unbeatable in the last couple of years. Only the absentee of the injured Carles Puyol (knee injury) and David Villa (recovering from tibia fracture) could present Spain with a problem. Although no country could ever defend their previous title, most Europeans think that Spain will make it this year again.

Germany

  • Inhabitants: 81.80 Million
  • Active players: 6 Million
  • EURO appearances: 10
  • Biggest EURO success: Champion 1972, 1980, 1996
  • Starting XI: Neuer - Boateng, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Lahm - Khedira, Schweinsteiger - Müller, Özil, Podolski - Gomez

With 3 titles Germany is the record champion of the European championship. Nevertheless their three two performances has brought a little bit of doubt given their defensive fragility at time. Especially the 3:5 against Switzerland and the narrow 2:0 against Israel showed that the German squad is not in best shape for the championship.

On the other hand, one of the Germans biggest qualities is to access best performance right on cue within the tournaments.

France

  • Inhabitants: 65.5 Million
  • Active players: 4.2 Million
  • EURO appearances: 8
  • Biggest EURO success: Champion 1984, 2000
  • Starting XI: Lloris - Debuchy, Mexes, Rami, Evra - Cabaye, M'Vila - Menez, Nasri, Ribery - Benzema

France has been waiting for a title since winning the EURO 2008. It is doubtful if they have a chance this year; the injures of Loic Remy, Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby and Eric Abidal definitely have a debilitating effect on the “Equipe tricolore.” Also the performance in the qualification were not more than average. On top of that, if France can make it to the quarterfinal, their opponent would probably be Spain or Italy.

England

  • Inhabitants: 50.4 Million
  • Active players: 1.5 Million
  • EURO appearances: 7
  • Biggest EURO success: Third place 1968
  • Starting XI: Hart - Johnson, Cahill, Terry, A. Cole - Gerrard, Parker - Walcott, Downing - A. Young, Carroll

England is probably one of the grab bags of this year's EURO. After hanging their head-coach in May, Roy Hodgson had less than one month to prepare his team for the tournament. Wayne Rooney’s two-match-ban and the injuries of Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry are further problems for the “Three Lions.” Being a contender for the last tournaments, England always fell short of both expert and fan expectations. We will see if they can surprise this year.

Italy

  • Inhabitants: 60.62 Million
  • Active players: 5 Million
  • EURO appearances: 7
  • Biggest EURO success: Champion 1968
  • Starting XI: Buffon - Maggio, Barzagli, Bonucci Chiellini, - Marchisio, Pirlo, De Rossi - Montolivo - Cassano, Balotelli

Since winning the World Championship in 2006 Italy’s team has changed a lot. With Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi only three players of the former world champions are left. After a crashing 3-0 defeat in their last test game against Russia, voices were being raised if Cesare Prandelli is the right coach for the “Squadra Azzurra.” Nevertheless it was Prandelli who rejuvenated the age of the team and provided it with modern gameplay.

Netherlands

  • Inhabitants: 16.68 Million
  • Active players: 1.7 Million
  • EURO appearances: 9
  • Biggest EURO success: Champion 1988
  • Starting XI: Stekelenburg - van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Willems - van Bommel, de Jong - Kuyt, Sneijder, Robben - van Persie 

In comparison to the other teams the Netherlands suffer from a lack of quality in their defense. Nevertheless, Coach Bert van Marwijk is aware of that and is trying to figure out how to ensure defensive stability. The offense is the showpiece of the world champion runners-up of 2010; here they have not only quality but also quantity. Being in a group with Germany and Portugal will turn the achievement of the quarter final into a rough challenge.

Important Links for more information:

Spain

BBC - Team Profile
SPOX
Transfermarkt

Germany

BBC - Team Profile
SPOX
Transfermarkt

Italy

BBC - Team profile
SPOX
Transfermarkt

France

BBC - Team profile
SPOX
Transfermarkt

England

BBC

Netherlands

BBC

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