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EURO team camps latest

With two days to go before UEFA EURO 2012 gets under way on Friday, our team of reporters assigned to each competing nation bring you the latest news from the camps.

All times CET.

Wednesday 14.45, England
(Andy James in Krakow, @UEFAcomAndyJ)
England right-back Glen Johnson just told his Twitter followers he is “Poland bound…” and Three Lions fans will be pleased to hear the Liverpool FC defender will be joined by all 22 of his squad-mates on the flight from Luton Airport to Krakow at 15.10CET. The two-and-a-half-hour journey will be good practice for Roy Hodgson’s charges, who will cover another 5,000km travelling to and from their three group games in Ukraine.

Wednesday 14.42, Germany
(Steffen Potter in Gdansk, @UEFAcomSteffenP)
Manuel Neuer and Per Mertesacker met the press today, with the latter pleading ignorance when asked whether he would be starting in central defence against Portugal on Saturday. Reporters, however, drew their own conclusions from the fact that he had been sent to the conference.

“We have a great squad; we have many options and two players in every position so there will be some hard decisions for some players,” Mertesacker said, with Mats Hummels seemingly the man to be left disappointed, Holger Badstuber and Mertesacker regarded as the first-choice pairing.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said that he was glad that a UEFA European Championship was finally being held in Eastern Europe. “I am interested in the people here,” the goalkeeper said. “In South Africa [at the 2010 FIFA World Cup] it was interesting to get to know a different culture, and I am looking forward to more of the same here.”

The FC Bayern München man once more restated Germany’s finals goal, saying: “We want to win the tournament. But right now we are starting from scratch. A win in the opener against Portugal would take a lot of pressure off us.”

Wednesday 14.35, Italy
(Richard Aikman in Krakow, @UEFAcomRichardA)
Italy have called up Cagliari Calcio defender Davide Astori as a potential replacement for Andrea Barzagli, who is struggling with a calf injury. A decision will be made on which player stays with the Azzurri following the results of a scan on Friday. FC Internazionale Milano defender Andrea Ranocchia was not called up as he suffered an injury while training with the Italy squad last week.

Wednesday 14.30, Republic of Ireland
(Garry Doyle in Gdynia, @UEFAcomGarryD)
Republic of Ireland goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly insists Shay Given will be fit for Sunday’s Group C clash against Croatia. The 36-year-old has been troubled by knee and calf injuries for the last two weeks, but Kelly is adamant the Aston Villa FC goalkeeper will start in Poznan.

Kelly said: “There is absolutely no doubt about Shay playing. He is desperate to do so and wild horses would not keep him from that pitch. He would not play if it meant it would impair his performance.”

Nonetheless, Given has been able to train on just three days – as well as playing against the Hungarians in Budapest – since picking up his initial knee injury two weeks ago. He did not train yesterday and may not train tomorrow, either. Kelly said: “We will decide that in the morning. He will train before Sunday.”

Wednesday 14.21, Croatia
(Elvir Islamović in Warka, @UEFAcomElvirI)
Croatia midfielder Ivo Ililčević suffered a knock during training and will miss this afternoon’s session. “It was a knock in the calf, and it’s in a painful spot, but it’s not a serious injury,” said coach Slaven Bilić. “He will miss this afternoon’s training session or he will be working on his own, but I hope he will be ready for Sunday’s match against Ireland. However, we can’t be sure about that.”

Wednesday 14.02, Ukraine
(Boris Popov in Kyiv, @UEFAcomBorisP)
The Ukrainian team touched down at 03.00 at Kyiv Borispol Airport’s brand-new terminal D, to be greeted by a number of officials and journalists. Before last night’s 2-0 defeat against Turkey in Austria, ten players were reported sick with food poisoning, with the unfortunate Anatoliy Tymoshchuk spending part of yesterday attached to an intravenous drip. However, that has now subsided, and all the players are fit, with the exceptions of slight injuries to Bohdan Butko and Denys Garmash, though both have been able to train. Tired after the match, the players have been given most of the day to recover, but will reconvene at their Chapaevka training camp at 21.00 local time.

Wednesday 13.49, Portugal
(Andy Brassell in Opalenica, @UEFAcomAndyB)
Speaking in this afternoon’s team press conference, Bruno Alves says there is plenty of belief to match the talent in Portugal’s squad despite some disappointing recent results. “We have a world-class defence, with a lot of experience,” the centre-back said ahead of their Group B opener against Germany. “We’re working really hard to fix those mistakes, and we’ll be better in Saturday’s game. We have players of the very highest level and believe in what we’re trying to do.”

Wednesday 13.05, Republic of Ireland
(Garry Doyle in Gdynia, @UEFAcomGarryD)
The possibility of Shay Given missing Sunday’s opening UEFA EURO 2012 Group C game against Croatia is increasing. It has now emerged Given has a calf injury in addition to the knee problem he was receiving treatment for. After nearly three weeks’ intensive training, the Republic of Ireland players were given just their second day off today. Goalkeeping coach, Alan Kelly, will be delivering a press conference at 13.30.

Wednesday 12.52, Czech Republic
(Ondřej Zlámal in Wroclaw, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)
Forward Milan Baroš sat out this morning’s training session at the Municipal Stadium Oporowska. In the morning, he went to Wroclaw hospital for a scan on his thigh injury. He returned to the stadium, but did not take part in the session.

“The scan did not reveal any rupture; Milan Baroš will stay with the team,” said Czech team doctor Petr Krejčí. “The muscle is only slightly strained. He will join the team in training tomorrow. After that, we will decide whether he can be passed fit for the opening game. If Milan does the full training session with the team, he will be ready to play; if he trains on his own, he will not.” The Czechs will hold their final pre-match training session at the Municipal Stadium Wroclaw on Thursday evening.

Wednesday 12.44, Poland
(Alex O’Henley in Warsaw, @UEFAcomAlexO)
Most of the questions at Poland’s press briefing this afternoon related to Kazimierz Deyna, whose remains were returned from the United States to his homeland today. Press officer Tomasz Rząsa informed the media that coach Franciszek Smuda and goalkeeping coach Jacek Kazimierski attended the requiem mass at Warsaw cathedral and the funeral afterwards at Powązki cemetery. Midfielder Maciej Rybus was especially keen to pay tribute to Deyna as they both started their careers at Legia Warszawa. “Deyna is a Poland legend and I’m proud to play for the same club,” said Rybus. “I watched all the old games, so I know exactly how good Deyna was. He is an inspiration for all generations.”

Turning his attention towards the opening game against Greece, Rybus added: “We can’t be over-confident. We have to respect our opponents. They are a good team but I think we’re better and will show this on the pitch.” Meanwhile, the Polish Football Association (PZPN) confirmed that Friday’s game will be played under a closed roof.

Wednesday 12.12, Poland
(Thomas Mark in Kolobrzeg, @UEFAcomThomasM)
It is an easier job to be the commander-in-chief for Denmark at UEFA EURO 2012 than it was back in 2010 at the FIFA World Cup.

“The terms are different now,” coach Morten Olsen said. “Back then, the question was whether to name inexperienced players in the squad who frankly weren’t playing all that well at that stage, or to bring in players of a higher standard even though they were not entirely fit to play.” Players like Simon Kjær and Nicklas Bendtner struggled with injuries but were chosen to play in South Africa.

Wednesday 12.03, Poland
(Alex O’Henley in Warsaw, @UEFAcomAlexO)
Polish prime minister Donald Tusk dropped in to see the national squad at their team hotel in Warsaw this morning. A keen football fan, who still plays the game every week, Mr Tusk wished Franciszek Smuda and his players good luck before predicting that Poland would win their opening UEFA EURO 2012 game against Greece.

“I would love to say we’d beat Greece four or five-nil, but you’d laugh at me if I was wrong,” said Tusk. “So, instead it’s safer for me to say we’ll win 1-0. I also think we’ll beat Russia 2-1 in the second game. Hopefully, Poland will go on to win the tournament but if we can’t have that, let’s hope that Spain win it again.”

Wednesday 11.47, Greece
(Vassiliki Papantonopoulou in Legionowo, @UEFAcomVassP)
With two days left until their opening UEFA EURO 2012 match against co-hosts Poland, Greece will train at 17.00CET in Legionowo. Just one session, as Fernando Santos wishes to prevent any fatigue going into the tournament, after what has been a fortnight of intensive work in Austria and Poland. The focus is now on preparing for that first game, working on set pieces in attack and defence.

With teams speaking to the press in shirt-number order, today is the turn of Greece’s Nos 6, 7 and 8 to speak: defensive midfielder Grigoris Makos, forward Giorgos Samaras and central defender Avraam Papadopoulos. It is Samaras’s second EURO, and Papadopoulos’s first. He played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, while Makos is a rookie, having missed the final cut for South Africa.

Wednesday 11.32, Croatia
(Elvir Islamović in Warka, @UEFAcomElvirI)
After arriving in Poland yesterday and holding an open training session in front of hundreds of local fans, Croatia have a closed training session this morning and at 13.30 will hold a press conference, where coach Slaven Bilić should speak. At 18.00, the team will train again behind closed doors.

Tomislav Dujmović is feeling optimistic: “We are planning to stay here until 1 July,” said the defensive midfielder, adding: “Personally, I expect to play at the EURO and we are all hoping we can reach the knockout stage – that would be a good result for us. Then it will be down to a lot of little things, some of which we have no control over, so after the group stage everything is possible.”

He also told UEFA.com: “We had a wonderful welcome here in Warka and people are doing everything they can so we can feel at home, so that will probably make us feel better about staying here.”

Ivan Rakitić confirmed that. “They have really done everything for us. I think we are all very happy; now it’s up to us to get prepared and to be good,” said the midfielder. “The expectations are really high, and in that sense, very important for us, so we will put everything into this competition – we will give our best because we want to be good.”

Wednesday 11.31, Netherlands
(Berend Scholten in Krakow, @UEFAcomBerendS)
Late this afternoon, at 17.30, there will be a training session at Krakow’s Municipal Stadium, with a crowd of around 25,000 expected, to be followed by a press conference featuring coach Bert van Marwijk and a player.

Wednesday 11.27, Germany
(Steffen Potter in Gdansk, @UEFAcomSteffenP)
Joachim Löw and his staff have laid down the law for the German national team during their stay at UEFA EURO 2012.

WAGs: Players’ wives, children and girlfriends are allowed to come into the team hotel after matches. Team manager Oliver Bierhoff added: “But we have not decided yet if the wives are allowed to stay overnight.”

Alcohol: Beer and wine are permitted, but of course, only in moderation.

Twitter and Facebook: Germany’s players are allowed to use social media during the tournament but must never write anything negative about team-mates, opponents or referees, and may not reveal the details of any internal meetings.

Leaving the hotel: The players are allowed to leave the hotel in their spare time, but must stay within an hour’s journey of the training base. They have to be back between 23.00 and midnight.

Wednesday 10.58, France
(Matt Spiro in Donetsk, @UEFAcomMattS)
After nearly two years in charge, today is the day Laurent Blanc has been looking forward to. It is the day Les Bleus fly out to Ukraine to commence their latest tilt at a major title. He could hardly have dreamed of a better way to prepare either: Karim Benzema and friends registered their biggest win of the Blanc era last night – beating Estonia 4-0 in Le Mans – and extended their unbeaten run to 21 games.

Spirits are higher than they have been for some time and fans are starting to believe France might not only just win a match – something they have failed to do at a major finals since 2006 – but actually reach the tournament’s latter stages. “We feel good – we are ready!” Benzema declared after scoring two goals and setting up one with a brilliant flick for Franck Ribéry against Estonia. Jérémy Menez added the gloss to the win with another goal in added time.

Blanc expressed concern about his side’s defending and will also be worried about the state of Alou Diarra’s knee. The Olympique de Marseille midfielder, who is the only fit holding player in the squad with Blaise Matuidi and Yann M’Vila also sidelined, has some swelling after receiving an early blow last night, but he played for an hour and later insisted it is “nothing too serious”.

In the meantime, here in Donetsk we are preparing for France’s imminent arrival. Our television crew will be ready to greet the team when they land this afternoon, while my French colleague Frédéric and I will be waiting for them at their base camp – FC Shakhtar Donetsk’s training complex situated about 30 minutes outside town – in the early evening. After so much work and so much planning – from Blanc, his staff, players and of the course all of the UEFA.com team – I’m sure everyone will be delighted to be getting down to the serious business today.

Wednesday 10.45, Portugal
(Andy Brassell in Opalenica, @UEFAcomAndyB)
Yesterday evening’s open training session, Portugal’s first at their Polish base in Opalenica, was warmly welcomed by excited locals, but the serious business begins today. Paulo Bento will lead his squad in a private training session on one of several pitches at the team hotel’s training complex, with only the first 15 minutes open to the media. That, and a 12.30CET news conference, will tell us more about the recovery of Manchester United FC’s Nani, who missed a second successive day of training yesterday as he continued to receive treatment to a bruised foot.

Wednesday 10.38, Denmark
(Thomas Mark in Kolobrzeg, @UEFAcomThomasM)
The Denmark squad all seem fit, with no serious injuries reported three days before kick-off in Kharkiv. Lasse Schøne is still a little troubled by a sore hip but nothing indicates that he will not be available for the first match against Netherlands.

Up until 18.00CET the team will just relax in the hotel facilities and maybe watch some of the Danish TV channels the hotel manager had installed for them. There is no golf course though, much to some players’ chagrin.

We have spoken to greenhorn goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and Anders Lindegaard and tomorrow we will have a sit-down interview with new No1 Stephan Andersen. Then we will have an update on Christian Eriksen, who has been criticised for his recent form. We will find out how he is getting on and whether all this talk is getting to him.

Wednesday 10.22, Czech Republic
(Ondřej Zlámál in Wroclaw, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)
Will Milan Baroš train or not? This is the question to be answered during the Czech team morning training session at the Municipal Stadium Oporowska. The Galatasaray AŞ forward did not finish the Tuesday session, leaving ten minutes earlier than his team-mates. A scan on his thigh was planned for early this morning, though the Czech medical team said it was a precautionary measure. The Czech training session starts at 10.30, with the first 15 minutes open to the media.

Wednesday 10.18, Germany
(Steffen Potter in Gdansk, @UEFAcomSteffenP)
Today is one of only three coveted and important full training days for the Germany camp before their UEFA EURO 2012 opener in Lviv on Saturday.

Again, you must remember that not even in the pre-tournament camps did Joachim Löw have a full squad at his disposal, so it is no surprise that again there will be two full sessions. The afternoon training session may be open to the media again, but we are not sure about that right now. At 12.30 there will be a press conference with Manuel Neuer and Per Mertesacker (which might be yet another hint that the latter will indeed start in central defence) and I will be tweeting live in English from there. There might be an opportunity for some one-on-one interviews, but we will have to wait and see.

Wednesday 10.13, Italy
(Richard Aikman in Krakow, @UEFAcomRichardA)
After a warm welcome in Krakow, Italy begin their first day in Poland with a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp before an afternoon training session at the Municipal Stadium Krakow. “We still have a few more sessions to experiment,” said coach Cesare Prandelli, who in the injured Andrea Barzagli’s absence, is persevering with a three-man central defence, with midfielder Daniele De Rossi at its heart. Also missing from last night’s workout was right-back Christian Maggio with a tight hamstring. Mario Balotelli had a similar problem on Monday but was back with a bang last night, delighting the 13,000 locals with a hat-trick in the Azzurri’s practice match.

Wednesday 10.11, Spain
(Graham Hunter in Gniewino, @UEFAcomGrahamH)
The sun is finally splitting the sky as Spain prepare for a big day’s work. Vicente del Bosque has scheduled two, open, training sessions at 10.30 and 19.00 – something which is typical of La Roja’s approach. Having flown without incident to Gdansk, and installed all their personnel at the Mistral Hotel in Gniewino, Spain reported that Jesús Navas had a scan on his hand yesterday following a training ground collision. No bone damage was sustained and the Sevilla FC winger only has bruising to cope with.

Three players, Fernando Llorente, Javi Martínez and Pedro Rodríguez, took no part in any of the three Spain pre-tournament friendlies so the emphasis will be on them showing well in training.

Another facet of Spain at a major tournament is that a large swathe of the national media travelled with the team to Poland and are installed in the small villages round isolated Gniewino. Del Bosque knows that Spain’s status as world and European champions means that, as the days pass, a steady flow of the planet’s media will head towards this corner of the Baltic coast to see them.

Wednesday 10.08, Sweden
(Sujay Dutt in Kyiv, @UEFAcomSujayD)
Sweden signed off in front of their home fans last night with a 2-1 win against Serbia. Goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson did not complete the match, but assured media afterwards that it was nothing serious, just a minor thigh twinge. Forwards Johan Elmander and Markus Rosenberg sat out the match entirely but hope to be available once UEFA EURO 2012 begins in earnest.

At 15.00 the Swedes board a plane bound for Kyiv where they are set to play all three group matches. The team’s arrival also means that, for me as reporter in Kyiv, the tournament switches from test mode to the real deal.

Wednesday 10.03, Poland
(Alex O’Henley in Warsaw, @UEFAcomAlexO)
Press officer Tomasz Rząsa has confirmed that there will be a training session today at 17.00. Most of Franciszek’s Smuda’s recognised first XI had a gym workout yesterday followed by a tactical session in the evening which was closed to the media. It was interesting to hear experienced midfielder Dariusz Dudka talking about the pent-up energy levels among the players. They are itching to get the first game under way. “We want to start the show now,” said Dudka.

Wednesday 10.00, England
(Andy James in Krakow, @UEFAcomAndyJ)
After a week of preparation, exploration and anticipation, our tournament finally begins in earnest today with the arrival of the England team. Roy Hodgson will take his side through one last training session on home soil before they head to Luton Airport for their flight to Krakow, the Three Lions’ home for at least the next fortnight, hopefully longer.

The squad touch down at 17.55 local time and of course we will be there to welcome them, as will a group of lucky local schoolchildren, who will sing songs as the players disembark. From there the side will travel to their city centre hotel to get acclimatised before switching into tournament mode tomorrow with their first training session at the Hutnik Stadium. It starts here!

Source Article from http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1807640.html?rss=1807640+EURO+team+camps+latest

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