EURO2012 With Euro 2012 in full swing here’s a look at some of the key players of the teams and their strengths and weaknesses. SRIRAM J.
Might be the second best team after Spain coming into the Euro 2012 finals. Having lost to Spain in WC 2010, they would definitely seek revenge and would like to go one step further to win the all important trophy.
Strengths: Arjen Robben is possibly one of the most devastating wingers on the right side of the park. With Netherlands falling under the group of death, he could possibly be the match winner. Van Persie’s fine goal scoring record for Arsenal should be a big boost to Bert Van Marjwik. He not only often finds the back of the net, but also takes free kicks with sheer power.
Weakness: Their last trophy came in 1988 during which the Oranje had a powerful team. Since then they have found it tough to break the jinx.
Undoubtedly the top contender. Having won the World cup 2010 in South Africa and the Euro2008 in Austria-Switzerland, La Furia Roja will be aiming to defend its title.
Strengths: Possibly the strongest squad coming into Euro 2012, this team remains a nightmare for the opposition. With players like Xavi, Iniesta, Torres and Casillas plying their trade in top clubs, they bring plenty of experience and talent.
Weakness: With Barcelona legend Carles Puyol out of this tournament, much will depend on his fellow clubmate and Shakira’s favourite Gerard Pique to command the backline.
Having been knocked out in the previous two major competitions at the group stage, much will depend on coach Laurent Blanc’s ability to take the team to a new level and reach greater heights.
Strengths: Under the 4-3-3 formation, it has an attacking team which can hurt its opponents with its creative players.Playmakers Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery will play up front, alongside striker Benzema, and the duo will provide the main attacking thrust for France.
Weakness: France was inconsistent throughout qualifying and questions over its form remain. Also, its star players like Benzema and Ribery had long seasons for their clubs and doubts over their fitness are yet to clear up.
Portugal has faced a tough group stage for the past few competitions now. Having been drawn into the group of death this time too, it won’t be easy for the Portuguese to progress to the knockout stages.
Strengths: Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the most talented player at Euro2012. His ability to dribble past opponents, shoot from long ranges and his thunderous free kicks may give Portugal an outside chance of winning the group.
Weakness: Since too much depends on Ronaldo, this team has been called a single man army in the past. Even though Portugal has world class players like Nani, Meireles and Pepe, none of them has carried their rich club form to benefit their country.
Roy Hodgson, the recently appointed Three Lions manager, will want to lead England deep into the tournament. His team comprises plenty of experience in all the departments.
Strengths: Joe Hart, the top goal keeper in the EPL, is in a rich vein of form after having helped his club Manchester City secure its first ever league title after 44 years. Young players like Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Walcott and Welbeck have shown much progress in the last 12 months and could make a serious impact from the bench.
Weakness: Its only competitive victory came in the 1966 World Cup on its home soil and since then it has been underachievers. With Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill out injured even before the tournament starts, questions remain about the other players’ fitness.
Another team that finds itself in the group of death is Germany. Like Holland, they couldn’t go past Spain at World Cup 2010. A newer style of play under Joachim Loew is proving the doubters wrong and the team could arguably be the biggest threat to Spain.
Strengths: The German midfield is one of the most admired as it possesses the likes of Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller. Ozil’s ability to find the right ball for the forwards and Muller’s dribbling will make Germany stronger going forward.
Weakness: The new centre back pairing of Hummels and Badstuber is relatively inexperienced. Although they have performed decently for their respective clubs, it’s the understanding between the two which will really matter, if Germany is to win the Euro 2012.
Sriram is an IT professional.
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