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EURO team camps: 28 May

Published: Monday 28 May 2012, 22.17CET
As the countdown to UEFA EURO 2012 gathers pace,'s band of team-dedicated reporters bring you all the latest news from the training camps across Europe.
EURO team camps: 28 May
Portugal's Nélson Oliveira has been praised by national team record scorer Pedro Pauleta ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 28 May 2012, 22.17CET

EURO team camps: 28 May

As the countdown to UEFA EURO 2012 gathers pace,'s band of team-dedicated reporters bring you all the latest news from the training camps across Europe.

UEFA EURO 2012 is 11 days away and excitement is building ahead of this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine. has reporters assigned to each of the teams as they continue their final tournament preparations with friendly matches this week. They will bring you the latest news from each camp with updates throughout the day.

Netherlands (Berend Scholten, @UEFAcomBerendS)
A scan has confirmed defender Joris Mathijsen suffered a hamstring strain during the warm-up defeat against Bulgaria. The Málaga CF defender was forced off with the injury 16 minutes into the friendly game, the Netherlands' first home defeat in 19 matches. The news, following an MRI scan, will provide a headache for coach Bert van Marwijk who had named his final 23-man party hours before kick-off. A Dutch statement said: "In the coming days we have to wait and see how the injury develops."

Russia (Richard Van Poortvliet, @UEFAcomRichVP)
Russia have arrived in Switzerland, where they will continue their final preparations ahead of UEFA EURO 2012. Within hours of landing, the players were put through their paces by coach Dick Advocaat, whose side face Lithuania on Tuesday in Nyon, followed by an encounter with Italy in Zurich three days later.

After drawing 1-1 with Uruguay on Friday in Moscow, the Russia coach hinted that he will give fresh faces an opportunity to impress in the forthcoming friendlies. The 64-year-old said he was "generally satisfied" with how his team are preparing but is eager for improvement. "During the match with Uruguay we tried various things tactically, especially pressing the opposition. This is something I think we need to improve and will be trying to do so against Lithuania," said Advocaat.

Germany (Steffen Potter, @UEFAcomSteffenP)
Sometimes it is tough being a coach, never more so than when making the final cuts to a squad heading to a final tournament. All those former internationals who were once left out, despite making it into the preliminary squad, will tell you that it was one of the toughest moments of their lives. Joachim Löw and his staff will have been well aware of that before making their decision to leave out Sven Bender, Julian Draxler, Marc-André ter Stegen and Cacau from Germany's final squad for UEFA EURO 2012.

The decision will be especially hard on 31-year-old Brazilian-born VfB Stuttgart forward Cacau, who had high hopes of making it to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the country of his birth. His chances seem to have ended with today's decision as Löw and his staff have come to the conclusion that players like VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marco Reus (who has 18 Bundesliga goals this season compared to Cacau's eight) provide more attacking threat.

France (Matthew Spiro, @UEFAcomMattS)
There has been a mixed reaction to France's 3-2 win over Iceland. While Les Bleus extended their unbeaten run to 19 games, the media expressed concern about their defending. "We need to look at the back," ran the headline in L'Equipe, who described Philippe Mexès as "a constant worry” and Patrice Evra "hardly reassuring".

On the other hand, substitutes Olivier Giroud and Franck Ribéry received plaudits for their late impact. "Giroud changed everything in two minutes," claimed the sports daily. Ribéry, meanwhile, was pleased with his 85th-minute leveller, saying: "It was the kind of goal I score for Bayern. I played with freedom." Laurent Blanc will finalise his squad on Tuesday morning, eliminating two names from his 25-man list.

Republic of Ireland (Garry Doyle,@UEFAcomGarryD)
It seems almost obligatory for anyone travelling with this Republic of Ireland team to get a knock of some description. To date, eleven players have missed a training session nursing some ailment or other, Darren O'Dea being the latest to receive treatment for a thigh injury. Even Paul McShane, called up to act as cover, had to rest an ankle injury. The good news is that Shay Given and John O'Shea are nearing full fitness again.

"Shay is all right for Wednesday," said coach Giovanni Trapattoni. "And it's 90 per cent [certain] that John O'Shea will play too." The game in question is a friendly against a local Tuscan side, a match which will interrupt the week's training camp in Montecatini.

Trapattoni also suggested he would play Keiren Westwood in goal, Kevin Foley at right-back, Stephen Kelly at left-back, Sean St Ledger and Richard Dunne as his central defensive pairing with Stephen Hunt, Darron Gibson, Paul Green and Keith Andrews likely to complete the midfield. Simon Cox and Jonathan Walters will start up front.

Ukraine (Boris Popov, @UEFAcomBorisP)
Ukraine are ready for their friendly against Estonia this evening in what is their last test before Oleh Blokhin names his final 23-man squad. Local media and fans are divided over whether the coach has already selected the three players who will be omitted from the final selection or if he is going to base his decision on tonight's game. The good news emerging from the Ukrainian camp this afternoon is that there are no fitness concerns, which will come as a relief to the co-hosts who have already had their three main goalkeepers ruled out through injury.

Portugal (Andy Brassell, @UEFAcomAndyB)
After the bonding experience of the official team photos, it is business as usual for Portugal today at their Óbidos training base. Saturday's draw against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia yielded a few positives, namely some game time for late inclusions Hugo Viana and Nélson Oliveira, with the 20-year-old SL Benfica forward praised by national team record scorer Pedro Pauleta in today's A Bola.

"I wasn't surprised [by Oliveira's call-up]," said the former Paris Saint-Germain FC striker. "He's a player who finished the season very well. He's young, one for the future and is talented, so deserves the opportunity." Another player who might have got an opportunity on Saturday, full-back Miguel Lopes, hopes to return to training in today's early evening session following back trouble.

Italy (Paolo Menicucci, @UEFAcomPaoloM)
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli cut seven players from his initial 32-man squad on the eve of the friendly against Luxembourg in Parma. Goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, defenders Davide Astori, Salvatore Bocchetti, Domenico Criscito and midfielders Luca Cigarini, Ezequiel Schelotto and Marco Verratti were all omitted with Prandelli set to drop two more for his final 23-man squad tomorrow.

Denmark (Thomas Mark, @UEFAcomThomasM)
William Kvist is prepraring for his first final tournament with Denmark and the central midfielder's improvement in recent years has made him a vital member of the national side. The 27-year-old sat out Saturday's 3-1 defeat at the hands of Brazil because of an abdominal muscle strain but is ready to return in another pre-tournament friendly against Australia this weekend. "My job will be to read the game and hold the centre of midfield when we attack and contribute to our defending," said Kvist.

England (Andy James, @UEFAcomAndyJ)
England manager Roy Hodgson faces a nervous wait to find out the results of Gareth Barry's groin scan today. The Manchester City FC midfielder's appearance in Saturday's 1-0 win against Norway was cut short by the injury just 25 minutes after he came on as a substitute. Liverpool FC's Jordan Henderson would be the obvious replacement for the 31-year-old, although Everton FC defender Phil Jagielka might also get the call after impressing over 90 minutes in Oslo. Meanwhile Scott Parker, who had been a doubt for the tournament with an ankle problem, has spoken of his delight at a timely return to fitness: "I'm glad things have cleared up a bit and I'm ready to go."

Croatia (Elvir Islamović, @UEFAcomElvirI)
Croatia are playing a training match in Austria today against local fourth division club SV Neuburg. Coach Slaven Bilić was keen to emphasise the importance of match practice ahead of naming his final 23-man squad tomorrow evening. "It will not be a match like against Estonia but although it's a lower division club any match is better than the best training session," he said.

Dejan Lovren is still the squad's only serious injury doubt but the Olympique Lyonnais defender will not give up hope of recovering in time. "My whole life I have been dreaming of playing for Croatia in such a big tournament and I will be so sad if I miss the EURO," he said. "I am not giving up while there's even a tiny chance that I will play."

Greece (Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, @UEFAcomVassP)
Today's training session in Kitzbuhel was intense with just a few hours to go until Fernando Santos announces his final 23-man squad for the finals. Vassilis Torossidis missed out with a swollen knee he sustained on Saturday but Giorgos Fotakis, who has recovered from a toe injury, and Kyriakos Papadopoulos returned and both are expected to feature in Thursday’s friendly against Armenia in Kufstein.

"I believe that we will be good and ready when the time comes for our matches in the final tournament," said the versatile Giannis Maniatis, who made a name for himself at right-back but has recently featured in midfield. "We have room for improvement but our work here will pay off. Our coach speaks to us all the time, explaining what he wants from us. What we do here will be reflected in our first match against Poland. This is the greatest season of my life. I try to do my best in the midfield or as full-back but what matters is what the whole team gives their all and I can see us improving constantly."

Czech Republic (Ondřej Zlámal, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)
The Czech team arrived in Prague on Sunday afternoon with coach Michal Bílek allowing his players some free time ahead of meeting up this evening. The Czech daily Sport reviewed the team's training camp in Austria and acknowledged the positive atmosphere and excellent team spirit.

Bílek's contract extension was also discussed as well as the inclusion of young midfielder Vladimír Darida in place of Daniel Pudil. After starting for FC Viktoria Plzeň against AC Milan and FC Schalke 04 in UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League respectively, Darida expressed his delight at being named in the 23-man squad. "It's another dream fulfilled," he said. The only injury concern in the squad is Tomáš Rosický who has been struggling with a calf complaint.

Poland (Alex O'Henley, @UEFAcomAlexO)
As they prepare to return from their Austrian training camp, the Poland squad have been reflecting on the benefits of their trip. Defender Marcin Wasilewski highlighted the importance of keeping two clean sheets in as many pre-tournament friendlies and his burgeoning partnership with fellow centre-back Damien Perquis.

"We've never had fantastic conditions like this before," said Wasilewski. "We had everything that we wanted and asked for. This was very important as we could focus on hard work. I am optimistic after this camp. We won two games, against Latvia and Slovakia, both 1-0. As a central defender I am very pleased that we didn't concede any goals.

"My understanding with Damien Perquis is getting better from match to match, although I wish we had more time to work together. We have one more friendly against Andorra and then the tournament starts. I am glad we have two days off after we get back to Poland. It will help to clear our heads and spend time with family and friends before we gather again and start focusing on the first game against Greece."

Italy (Richard Aikman, @UEFAcomRichardA)
Christian Maggio fielded questions at yesterday's press conference, where he spoke highly of the atmosphere among Cesare Prandelli's Azzurri. "This squad is stronger both in terms of quality and motivation compared to the one that left for [the 2010 FIFA World Cup in] South Africa," said Maggio. "There has been something special in the air at Coverciano these last few days."

Italy have been trying out various iterations of the 4-3-1-2 system in training, with Riccardo Montolivo the latest player to attempt the 'trequartista' role behind Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano. There was a visit of a different nature later in the day when Andrea Bocelli, the opera singer, popped in to meet the players. After lunch Prandelli, Gianluigi Buffon, Cassano and Balotelli dropped in to a local children's hospital to visit some of the patients. Later today the players will leave for Parma where Italy will host Luxembourg in a friendly on Tuesday evening, by which time we should know Prandelli's final 23.

Spain (Graham Hunter, @UEFAcomGrahamH)
It is typical of their last two major tournaments that Spain leave the locals happy wherever they train. Just as in Neustift, Austria, four years ago and then Potchefstroom, South Africa, during their successful FIFA World Cup campaign, La Roja opened the doors to training in Schruns this morning.

Nearly 3,000 locals attended and were treated to a mini match plus some autograph signing. More training at 18.30 tonight then it is off to Berne for Vicente Del Bosque's European champions, where they will play Korea Republic on Wednesday. There are encouraging words, meanwhile, from 2008 UEFA European Championship-winning coach Luis Aragonés: "The current depth of riches in Spanish football means Vicente could choose from a variety of players in each position."

Sweden (Sujay Dutt, @UEFAcomSujayD)
Johan Elmander, who fractured his foot while in action for Galatasaray AŞ on the final day of the season, is recovering quicker than expected and hopes to start jogging this week in a bid to prove his fitness ahead of Sweden's Group D opener against co-hosts Ukraine on 11 June. "They said I would need eight to ten weeks," he said. "I'm not great at maths, but I knew that would mean I wouldn't make it back in time for EURO."

Elsewhere on the injury front, Andreas Isaksson is back in full training following a  shoulder injury. Elmander and Isaksson's wives have joined Kim Källström's other half in raising funds for a Ukrainian orphanage. "My wife has been down there so we know what they need," said Elmander. In Visby, Elmander's shirt, Isaksson's goalkeeping gloves and a pair of Källström's boots were put up for auction to raise money.

Last updated: 07/06/12 16.26CET



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