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EURO team camps latest: 25 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.

Republic of Ireland (Garry Doyle, @UEFAcomGarryD)
Warm-up games for major tournaments usually take the form of dress rehearsals yet for five of the 11 men selected to play for the Republic of Ireland against Bosnia-Herzegovina, tomorrow’s match may feel more like a job interview. In particular, James McClean, the 23-year-old Sunderland AFC winger, will know that any performance of note could result in his promotion from the fringes of Giovanni Trapattoni’s party, after he was selected ahead of Aiden McGeady.

The other significant selection sees Darron Gibson replace Keith Andrews in midfield while, with Shay Given, Kevin Foley and John O’Shea all carrying minor injuries, there are also opportunities for Sunderland goalkeeper, Keiren Westwood and Crystal Palace FC defender Paul McShane to impress. Surprisingly, given they are also carrying knocks, Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger will partner one another in central defence.

Republic of Ireland team: Westwood (Sunderland AFC); McShane (Crystal Palace FC), St Ledger (Leicester City FC) Dunne (Aston Villa FC) Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC); Duff (Fulham FC), Gibson (Everton FC), Whelan (Stoke City FC), McClean (Sunderland AFC); Keane (LA Galaxy) Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC)

Greece (Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, @UEFAcomVassP)
The Greece squad’s third day of training on Austrian soil began with a morning off in glorious sunshine in Kitzbühel – quite a contrast with the heavy rain in Athens today. Yesterday evening, Fernando Santos had tried various attacking tactics in training, while insisting on plenty of pressing and quick retrieval of the ball. His players also got some homework in the form of three DVDs featuring matches involving Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia, so they can study what they will be up against.

The squad’s youngest member, 19-year-old Kostas Fortounis, has spoken of his delight at being included. “To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to participate in this preparation stage. You never know what can happen in life and in football especially, even the wildest dream can become reality. Now I am focused on taking this to the next level and making it into the final 23.” Fortounis and his team-mates will try to convince Santos tomorrow in the friendly against Slovenia in Kufstein.

Portugal (Andy Brassell, @UEFAcomAndyB)
Portugal coach Paulo Bento today made clear that he plans to keep his options open as his squad limber up for the EURO with home friendlies against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. John Toshack’s FYROM are first up for Portugal, with the two sides meeting at Leiria’s Estádio Municipal Dr. Magalhães Pessoa tomorrow. “We want to use the 23 players that we have and we’ll only define what will be the starting line-up for Germany closer to the game,” said Bento. SC Braga’s Hugo Viana will hope to have a chance to impress after arriving at the camp yesterday, but Viana’s club-mate Miguel Lopes is a doubt for the game, having had treatment on a back complaint at the team hotel today.

Republic of Ireland (Garry Doyle, @UEFAcomGarryD)
The Republic of Ireland captain, Robbie Keane, has confirmed his injury problems are completely cured ahead of UEFA EURO 2012. Keane picked up a minor hamstring injury at the end of the MLS season with LA Galaxy but confirmed that this was no longer a cause for concern. “I am fine,” said Keane. “I trained with the lads and have no worries.” He also stated his belief that Ireland can upset the odds in Group C, saying: “We can do well. We’re not here to make up the numbers, there’s no question about that. I think we can certainly upset a few people.”

Denmark (Thomas Mark, @UEFAcomThomasM)
It has been more than 18 months since midfielder Thomas Kahlenberg last donned a Denmark national shirt. Yet the 29-year-old is now back in favour after his move to French club Évian Thonon Gaillard FC brought an upturn in fortunes, and he has been telling Danish TV station TV2 Sporten his thoughts on his selection for the EURO. “My game has really improved [in France],” he said. “I played regularly since I got the chance in Evian. Of course my ambition is to play [at the EURO] but at the moment I am just looking forward to meeting up with the entire team, then we will see how far it takes me.”

Czech Republic (Ondřej Zlámal, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)
The Czech Republic playmaker, Tomáš Rosický, has taken another step towards a full recovery from his calf injury. Having trained on his own in the gym this week, he was able to join his team-mates outside for a run this morning. Jaroslav Plašil, meanwhile, is back in full training after an extra break following the end of the French season with FC Girondins de Bordeaux last weekend, and coach Michal Bílek has no other fitness worries with goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobný able to train since Monday after recovering from a hip injury.

The Czech squad had free time yesterday and some of them, including Petr Čech, went to play golf. This afternoon a pre-match training session was planned ahead of tomorrow’s friendly against Israel in Hartberg, Austria.

Germany (Steffen Potter, @UEFAcomSteffenP)
If Germany’s players are looking forward to the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, Real Madrid CF duo Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira appear especially upbeat, having just won the Spanish title. Özil said: “This is definitely the best phase in my life. I am very happy. I have the best season in my career behind me. The feeling of winning the title with Real Madrid was just huge. But the season is not over yet. We want to win the European Championship.” While Özil is sure to have a place in Joachim Löw’s starting XI, there is huge competition for Khedira in the holding role but the former VFB Stuttgart player is confident. “I have been a regular for Real Madrid in the past two years. I have been a regular at a World Cup and ever since have played for the national team when fit,” he said.

France (Matthew Spiro, @UEFAcomMattS)
Laurent Blanc made the most of his first opportunity to put virtually a full squad of players through their paces yesterday. Aside from Franck Ribéry, who will join the team in Valenciennes for Sunday’s friendly against Iceland, the full compliment are present in Clairefontaine after 14 domestic-based players arrived to join up with the foreign-based group.

After a 15-minute afternoon jog, Blanc’s assistant Jean-Louis Gasset organised a ten v ten practice match. It gave the one newcomer, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, a chance to get his bearings. “I’m pleased [Montpellier Hérault SC colleague] Olivier Giroud is here too,” the defender said. “He told me what to expect and we’re sharing a room. I’m here to learn.”

Poland (Alex O’Henley, @UEFAcomAlexO)
Jerzy Dudek arrived in the Poles’ training camp today and the former national team goalkeeper was pressed back into action with two of the keepers in the squad carrying knocks. Both Przemysław Tytoń (muscle strain) and Łukasz Fabiański (shoulder) missed training as they underwent checks on their injuries in Innsbruck – hence Dudek’s invitation by coach Franciszek Smuda to take part in training. Dudek, who played 59 times for his country, is a free agent having left Real Madrid CF, but has left the door open on a return to club football after UEFA EURO 2012.

Sweden (Sujay Dutt, @UEFAcomSujayD)
John Guidetti got 18 goals in 17 games on loan at Feyenoord but will miss the EURO due to an inflamed nerve. At a press conference in Stockholm Guidetti, who said he should be back for Manchester City FC’s pre-season, dismissed the prospect of travelling to the EURO as a spectator. “No, it would be like being handed a bag of sweets and then only get to sniff the contents.” Guidetti is as prolific tweeting as he is scoring, and in that sense is very different from Sweden’s captain. In Visby,when the press asked Zlatan Ibrahimovic about various tweets attributed to him, the AC Milan man responded: “I don’t have Twitter. So now you know.”

Netherlands (Berend Scholten, @UEFAcomBerendS)
After Stijn Schaars’ arrival yesterday, today it was Arjen Robben’s turn to join the Dutch training camp in Lausanne, with training rescheduled till later this afternoon to allow him to take part. Robben was given a few days’ extra rest by coach Bert van Marwijk after the lost UEFA Champions League final with his FC Bayern München side – though he did produce a 15-minute run-out (in an Oranje shirt) which he was contractually obliged to fulfil in the Netherlands’ friendly against his Bayern side on Tuesday.

For brothers Luuk and Siem de Jong, being in Lausanne holds special significance as they were born in Switzerland as the children of Dutch volleyball internationals. “I was born within half an hour’s distance from Lausanne,” said Siem, “and I have already booked a holiday in Switzerland this summer with my girlfriend.”

Meanwhile, expectations are high on the home front. In a poll of over 100,000 readers by the daily newspaper De Telegraaf, 70 per cent believe the Dutch can win the EURO, while 16 per cent voted for Germany and nine per cent for holders Spain.

England (Andy James, @UEFAcomAndyJ)
There was bitter disappointment for Norwich City FC goalkeeper John Ruddy on Friday as the 25-year-old was forced to withdraw from the England squad for UEFA EURO 2012. Ruddy had been called up on the back of a strong first season as a Premier League regular but will now miss the tournament after suffering a broken finger in training on Thursday. He will travel will the team for Saturday’s warm-up match in Norway before returning to his club for continued treatment. Ruddy is due to marry on 2 June, when England take on Belgium at Wembley, and will be replaced in the squad by Birmingham City FC shot-stopper Jack Butland.

Spain (Graham Hunter, @UEFAcomGrahamH)
This is a slightly odd day for Spain coach Vicente del Bosque. Although he has the majority of his squad at his disposal at least six (Gerard Piqué, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, Sergio Busquets, Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez) of his principal players will contest the Copa del Rey final between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona in Madrid tonight.

Not only will del Bosque hope for no injuries, given the withdrawal of David Villa, he will regret that he cannot be there personally to study the form of his stars because he is preparing for Spain’s first pre-UEFA European Championship friendly – tomorrow against Serbia. A good test for the third Group C match against Croatia.

Ukraine (Boris Popov, @UEFAcomBorisP)
Today the Ukraine squad left for Tirol, Austria, where they will be based in the run-up to the finals – playing friendlies in Kufstein against Estonia (28 May) and in Innsbruck against Austria (1 June), before facing Turkey in Ingolstadt, Germany on 5 June. Yesterday the squad had returned to Kyiv from their first training camp in Turkey, where they were joined by wives and girlfriends, although coach Oleh Blokhin was absent for a few days owing to the death of his mother.

Italy (Richard Aikman, @UEFAcomRichardA)
After three days’ hard training the Azzurri played their first warm-up match at Coverciano yesterday, a 70-minute game against Serie D side Virtus Vecomp Verona. Cesare Prandelli deployed a 4-3-2-1 formation with Sebastian Giovinco and Antonio Cassano starting behind lone striker Antonio Di Natale. All three scored in the first half, with Di Natale netting twice. Antonio Nocerino and Fabio Borini made it 6-0 in the second half, prompting Prandelli to say: “All our strikers are proving themselves worthy of a call-up and I could take them all. We could always leave an extra defender out.”

The players also received a visit from half a dozen members of Italy’s 2006 FIFA World Cup-winning squad yesterday –  namely, Alessandro ‪Nesta, Filippo ‪Inzaghi, Massimo Oddo, Gianluca ‪Zambrotta, Marco Materazzi Materazzi and Simone Barone. For Claudio Marchisio, there is an obvious desire to emulate that group with another trophy. The Juventus player, a late arrival after playing in the Coppa Italia final, may have collected a Serie A winners’ medal this term but he is hungry for more: “Nobody should assume we have come here with our bellies full. We are as good as Spain and we fear no one.”

Source Article from http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1801966.html?rss=1801966+EURO+team+camps+latest:+25+May

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