Where can you find Fabio Capello, Gérard Houllier and Lars Lagerbäck working together? Before you start conjuring up images of overbooking in a dugout somewhere, the answer is that they will all be in UEFA's technical team at UEFA EURO 2012, helping to produce a technical report on the final tournament.
Prior to leading Sweden into UEFA EURO 2008, Lagerbäck said: "In the past our national association used to send technical observers to report on these events. Nowadays UEFA's technical report is of such a high standard that we don't need to dedicate resources to that any more."
Now in charge of Iceland, Lagerbäck is one of the current or former national team coaches who will be in Poland and Ukraine to provide input for UEFA's technical report on UEFA EURO 2012. Appropriately it is an 11-man team captained by UEFA's technical director Andy Roxburgh. "The brief is to provide a permanent record of the event from a coach's viewpoint and to trigger debate on the trends and talking points which emerge from it," he said.
"A EURO, alongside the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League, is where benchmarks are laid and the most significant trends at the elite end of the game become apparent. These can supply valuable information in terms of pinpointing facets of the game which might need to be built into youth development programmes throughout UEFA's member associations."
Alongside Roxburgh, Capello, Houllier and Lagerbäck will be Jerzy Engel (Poland), Dusan Fitzel (Czech Republic), György Mezey (Hungary) and Holger Osieck (current Australia coach) with Jean-Paul Brigger and Walter Gagg providing FIFA input while Mordechai Shpigler will act as link-man to UEFA's Development & Technical Assistance Committee. For logistical reasons they will be split into two five-a-side teams – one in Warsaw, one in Kyiv – with Roxburgh distributing his time between the two.
The technical team's work is based on first-hand observations at each of the 31 matches. At least two of the team will attend every fixture to make sure each side is watched by a pair of expert eyes. The coaches will be looking at team shapes and the way they evolve; defensive and counterattacking mechanisms; use of the wide areas; the way the goals are scored; differences in footballing philosophies and all the other facets of the game that are of interest to the coaching fraternity. The technical topics and the talking points will not emerge until the ball starts rolling in Poland and Ukraine.
Although the focus will be on the way countries perform as collective units, one of the other tasks facing the technical team will be to acknowledge outstanding individual contributions and, after the final in Kyiv, Roxburgh and his team will be getting together to put the finishing touches to UEFA's All-Star Squad.
The 72-page technical report, published in English, French and German versions, will be officially launched at the 9th UEFA Conference for European National Coaches in Warsaw in late September.
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