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EURO team camps latest: 24 May

UEFA EURO 2012 is just over a fortnight away and excitement is building ahead of this summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine. With many of the players reporting for duty this week to begin final tournament preparations, UEFA.com has reporters assigned to each of the teams. They will bring you the latest news from each camp with updates throughout the day.

England (Andy James, @UEFAcomAndyJ)
A new dawn began for the England national team on Thursday as the squad took part in their first training session under new boss Roy Hodgson at the City of Manchester Stadium. Injury doubts Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker each made it through the entire session in the beaming sunshine.

Liverpool FC right-back Glen Johnson , however, had to finish early for treatment on an infected toe, while Manchester United FC striker Danny Welbeck only trained briefly on his own due to an ankle problem. Chelsea FC quartet John Terry, Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole were also given additional recovery time following their UEFA Champions League final glory at the weekend.

Poland (Alex O’Henley, @UEFAcomAlexO)
Damien Perquis is still a major doubt for the host nation. The 28-year-old FC Sochaux-Montbeliard centre-back fractured his elbow in March and Poland’s fitness coach Remiqiusz Rzepka admitted today that Prequis faces a race against time to be fit for Poland’s UEFA EURO 2012 opener against Greece on 8 June. “No doubt about it; we are not sure whether Damien will be 100% fit,” said Repka. However, he also confirmed that Perquis won’t be sent home before the 23-man squad is confirmed on Sunday and will probably feature in Saturday’s friendly match against Slovakia when his fitness will be assessed.

Ukraine (Boris Popov, @UEFAcomBorisP)
Ukraine returned today from Turkey after their first training camp. In contrast to some nations who were drilling their players hard, Oleh Blokhin had other ideas, allowing his players a relaxed schedule to give them the opportunity to recuperate after the club season and enjoy the company of teammates and family who were in attendence.

Though encouraged to take it easy, the players certainly did not heed that advice in the only friendly match they played at the camp, against Turkish Super League club Antalyaspor’s reserve side. Ukraine won 16-1. The good news for the coach is that all players are fit, with only Ruslan Rotan not taking part in the warm-up match due to a minor ankle problem. With only a one night stop-over in Kyiv this evening the side is on the move again tomorrow as they head to Austria for their second preparation camp.

Croatia (Elvir Islamović, @UEFAcomElvirI)
Slaven Bilić kept the press on their toes today, announcing that the team to face Estonia in tomorrow’s warm-up will be full of the unexpected. “Definitely, there will be surprises in the first XI,” said the 43-year-old coach. “It will not be the team which will go out against Ireland in the first match in Poznan. Tomorrow we will play guys who still need to earn a spot in the team. I will give them a chance.”

Olympique Lyonaisse defender Dejan Lovren finally joined up with the squad and will be hoping to overcome a foot injury in time for the finals. “Many things depends on Dejan’s recovery and possible new injuries,” said Bilić. “His injury is serious but we don’t need to rush with the decision yet.” Ivica Olić and Danijel Pranjić are joining the team today after the UEFA Champions League final to complete 27 man roster.

Russia (Richard Van Poortvliet, @UEFAcomRichVP)
Coach Dick Advocaat’s options at the back took another blow today as Roman Shishkin became the second defender to pull out of the Dutchman’s squad. The 25-year-old FC Lokomotiv Moskva full-back withdrew after suffering stomach complaints. However Advocaat remains relaxed about the situation, despite also losing Vasili Berezutski to a thigh injury earlier in the week, saying: “That’s the reason we brought in 26 players. That means one more player has to go, and I’ll make that decision tomorrow.” For those on the fringe of the squad there will be one last chance to impress tomorrow evening as Russia play their first of three warm-up games as they take on Uruguay in Moscow, after which the coach will make his final decision.

Republic of Ireland (Garry Doyle, @UEFAcomGarryD)
Giovanni Trapattoni is not the type of man, or manager, to wrap his players in cotton wool but the veteran Italian is playing his hand cautiously ahead of Ireland’s departure to Poland. Seven of his 23-man squad are carrying minor injuries, the most worrying of which surround goalkeeper Shay Given and defender John O’Shea. Aston Villa FC stopper Given is to return from London this evening after seeing a knee specialist following an incident during training on Monday. “He will be fine for the finals,” said Trapattoni. “But I’d be an idiot if I risked him against Bosnia on Saturday.” Instead, Keiren Westwood will deputise. O’Shea (ankle), Richard Dunne (abdomen), Robbie Keane (hamstring), Shane Long (back), Jon Walters (knee) and Keith Andrews (muscle complaint) are all doubts for Saturday’s game.

Germany (Steffen Potter, @UEFAcomSteffenP)
FC Bayern München’s UEFA Champions League defeat and the repercussions it could have on the Nationalmannscaft’s chances at UEFA EURO 2012 is still a big issue within the German press. “On Saturday night, eight frustrated Bayern players will arrive in the training camp,” writes Bild. “Their mood? Catastrophic! It is hard to imagine that of all people Bastian Schweinsteiger will lead us to Europe’s throne after his failure from the spot.” The paper goes on to point out that coach Joachim Löw will only have five full days of training with the entire squad.

Spirits may be low in the press but Formula 1 drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg came into the camp to lift the mood among the players, taking a number out for a spin. “It was very interesting to see what they did with a vehicle, they command the cars on an entirely different level than we do,” said Bayer 04 Leverkusen forward André Schürrle.

Greece (Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, @UEFAcomVassP)
Greece arrived in their training camp in Kitzbühel on Tuesday and have been working non-stop ever since with two sessions per day. Coach Fernando Santos however is unable to enjoy the idyllic setting as he has more important things on his mind. The Portuguese boss is seeing to it that his 25 players remain in a good physical condition as several of them had club commitments until Sunday. Goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias said: “We are pressured by time. Nevertheless, we have to make these days ahead of us count and that’s why our training sessions are longer”.

The only player training individually is FC Schalke 04’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who is nursing a groin injury. The 20-year-old is expected to join his teammates by the end of the week but will be sidelined for the friendly encounter against Slovenia at Kufstein on Saturday.

Denmark (Thomas Mark, @UEFAcomThomasM)
After the exciting finish to the Danish championship which saw FC Nordsjælland claim a first title all eyes have now turned to the gathering of the national team. After initially leaving three spaces in his squad free, coach Morten Olsen added goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard to his pick of 20 players on Saturday and today completed his selection as Jores Okore (FC Nordsjælland) and Nicklas Pedersen (FC Groningen) were welcomed into the final lineup.

Because of the celebrations among Nordsjælland players Tobias Mikkelsen, Andreas Bjelland and Okore, today’s training was shifted to the afternoon and the three champions will now join the rest of the players preparing for the friendly match against Brazil in Hamburg on 26 May.

France (Matthew Spiro, @UEFAcomMattS)
Preparations today begin in earnest following the arrival of 14 domestic-based players at Clairefontaine. Among those afforded extra time due to the late finish of the French season was Jérémy Menez and for the first time since winning the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in 2004 the Paris Saint-Germain FC midfielder is reunited with Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa. Nasri is excited about the prospect of the quartet playing together again, saying: “Back then we told ourselves we might get the chance to all play in the seniors one day. Now the dream is coming true.” FC Bayern München’s Franck Ribéry is the only player yet to arrive, while Loïc Rémy has declared himself “confident” of recovering from a thigh injury in time for France’s opener against England on 11 June.

Czech Republic (Ondřej Zlámal, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)
UEFA Champions League winner Petr Čech finally caught up with the squad at the Czech training camp in Bad Waltersdorf in Austria, arriving during the second half of the training match against a regional representative team from Austria’s lower divisions and being welcomed by a huge ovation from the stadium as the Czechs won 7-1. “Day by day I absorb in my mind what has happened but now there is EURO in front of me, I am back in reality,” said the goalkeeper. “I hope the preparations will lead to a successful tournament for us.”

Coach Michal Bílek´s main worries are related to the fitness of playmaker Tomáš Rosický who is recovering from a calf injury though Bílek is hopeful the Arsenal FC man will be fit to appear in the final pre-tournament friendly against Hungary in Prague on 1 June.

Italy (Richard Aikman, @UEFAcomRichardA)
A 32-man provisional squad has been at Azzurri headquarters in Coverciano looking to convince Cesare Prandelli that they are worthy of making the final cut. Among them is Mario Balotelli, the Manchester City FC forward who is desperate to go to Poland and Ukraine. “The Azzurri shirt means everything to me,” he said. “I want to show that I can enjoy my football in a winning side. For a footballer it’s wonderful to be able to play in a tournament like this. It’s emotional.”

The Italian press say that Prandelli has been looking at the forward pairing of Antonio Di Natale and Sebastian Giovinco, while Gazzetta Dello Sport also runs with “Chiellini already eyeing Spain”, suggesting injured Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini will be fit in time for the opening game against the reigning champions.

Netherlands (Berend Scholten, @UEFAcomBerendS)
Following a 3-2 friendly defeat by FC Bayern München, the Netherlands headed back to their Lausanne training base where Mark van Bommel, Gregory van der Wiel, John Heitinga and Robin van Persie, all absent against Bayern, were put through their paces in an intensive session. Coach Bert van Marwijk revealed his displeasure at the performance in Tuesday’s warm-up game. “We scored two good goals but if we had concentrated we could have score more,” said the 60-year-old. “We gave it away and the midfield lacked discipline on occasions.”

That midfield has received reinforcement today as Sporting Clube de Portugal’s Stijn Schaars reported for duty following the Portuguese Cup final, while Arjen Robben is expected to arrive tomorrow. Ibrahim Afellay, who is part of the FC Barcelona squad preparing for Friday’s Copa del Rey final, will report on Monday.

Spain (Graham Hunter, @UEFAcomGrahamH)
Austria has become a magical place for La Roja. It is the country in which they won UEFA EURO 2008 and where they held their training camp prior to following that up with victory at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa two years later. Now Vicente del Bosque’s side is back training in the ski resort of Schruns. The principal preoccupation is David Villa announcing that he will not be fit for the tournament. Santi Cazorla admitted: “Without Villa we wouldn’t have won those two tournaments.” More positively, Andrés Iniesta said: “It’s a typically honest and brave thing for David to do, to voluntarily hand a colleague the chance to take his place.”

Portugal (Andy Brassell, @UEFAcomAndyB)
SC Braga’s Hugo Viana today joined up with Portugal’s UEFA EURO 2012 squad after a hectic Wednesday. Called up by Paulo Bento as a replacement for the injured Granada CF midfielder Carlos Martins, Viana was caught by surprise. On holiday with his family in Tenerife, O Jogo reports that he helped his wife and children pack their suitcases before dashing back on a flight to Porto. Viana will take part in his first training session with the squad this evening at the Estádio Municipal de Óbidos, shortly after he gives a press conference alongside his coach.

Sweden (Sujay Dutt, @UEFAcomSujayD)
Erik Hamrén welcomes his squad to the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea later this afternoon while three players – Anders Svensson, Tobias Hysén and Christian Wilhelmsson – will join a day later due club commitments. AZ Alkmaar’s Rasmus Elm arrives on schedule but has been given permission to leave the camp on Saturday to attend his brother David’s wedding. Meanwhile, several players flying in from Stockholm had to hastily rearrange their travel plans after the sudden bankruptcy of Skyways airlines on Tuesday. One man not affected is Zlatan Ibrahimović and, as always, much media focus is on the team captain. “Zlatan lands this afternoon” was the headline in local paper Gotlands Tidningar.

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EURO team camps latest: 24 May
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