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EURO team camps: 29 May

Published: Tuesday 29 May 2012, 16.58CET
Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-president Demetrio Albertini has explained the decision to cancel tonight's Italy game, while Andy Carroll will wear the England No9 shirt.
EURO team camps: 29 May
England and Everton defenders Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka ©Getty Images
 
Published: Tuesday 29 May 2012, 16.58CET

EURO team camps: 29 May

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-president Demetrio Albertini has explained the decision to cancel tonight's Italy game, while Andy Carroll will wear the England No9 shirt.

UEFA EURO 2012 is 10 days away and excitement is building ahead of this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine. UEFA.com 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.

Italy (Richard Aikman, @UEFAcomRichardA)
The Italy squad felt the tremors of the earthquake that hit Emilia-Romagna this morning with striker Antonio Di Natale suffering a terrifying lift descent on his way to breakfast at the team hotel. The Udinese Calcio striker emerged unscathed but shaken. It was the second quake to hit the northern Italian region in eight days, and though Parma FC's Stadio Tardini passed a security inspection, the decision was taken to call off the Azzurri's match against Luxembourg, as mentioned below.

Ukraine (Boris Popov, @UEFAcomBorisP)
Looking at the three players to miss out from Oleh Blokhin's final 23-man Ukraine squad, it is interesting to note that none of the unlucky trio played in yesterday's win over Estonia. We can only guess if the fate of goalkeeper Oleksandr Bandura, defender Vitaly Mandziuk, and midfielder Taras Stepanenko had been sealed before the match or if Blokhin was waiting first to assess the form of rival contenders and then, once satisfied, decided to opt for reserve players in other positions.

His decisions can certainly be justified. Bandura has lost out at the expense of the internationally experienced Andriy Pyatov and Oleksandr Goryainov as well as the promising Maxym Koval. Bohdan Butko was chosen ahead of Mandziuk while Stepenanko missed out owing to the surplus of other candidates for the midfield anchor position, including Andriy Tymoshchuk, Ruslan Rotan and Denys Garmash.

Italy (Paolo Menicucci, @UEFAcomPaoloM)
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-president Demetrio Albertini has explained the decision to cancel this evening's planned friendly game between the Azzurri and Luxembourg at the Tardini Stadium in Parma. This followed the earthquake which hit the Emilia-Romagna region this morning. "We really could not play this game, especially out of respect for the people who were hit by the earthquake," said Albertini. "It was a tragedy for Emilia and for the whole of Italy. Our first and only thought goes to the victims of this earthquake right now." Cesare Prandelli's squad left Parma to return to their training camp in Coverciano, Florence.

Russia (Richard Van Poortvliet, @UEFAcomRichVP)
The battle to see who will be Russia's No1 will take another twist tonight as long-term incumbent Igor Akinfeev gets his chance to impress against Lithuania in Nyon. The PFC CSKA Moskva goalkeeper has been his country's first choice for six years but is just returning from eight months out with a knee injury and faces stiff competition from long-time understudy Vyacheslav Malafeev. The FC Zenit St Petersburg stopper is enjoying some of the best form of his career and started Friday's 1-1 draw with Uruguay in Moscow. Coach Dick Advocaat said: "I'm taking advice from goalkeeping coach Sergey Ovchinnikov. It's ultimately my decision and you'll find out who'll be the No1 ahead of the opening group game with the Czech Republic."

England (Andy James, @UEFAcomAndyJ)
There were no further changes to Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad, with Gareth Barry the only player on the preliminary list to fall victim to injury. Glen Johnson (toe) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) were both passed fit, with Hodgson admitting that taking Welbeck posed a slight risk but one worth taking "because we need someone else who can play in the lone striker role aside from Andy Carroll".

As ever, the official squad numbers have got fans speculating as to who might be in the starting lineup to face France on 11 June. Carroll will be hoping to emulate the success of fellow Geordie Alan Shearer in the No9 shirt, while Chelsea FC defender Gary Cahill will have been encouraged about his chances of a first-team spot after being handed No5.

Republic of Ireland (Garry Doyle, @UEFAcomGarryD)
Giovanni Trapattoni has left the injured Kevin Foley out of his final squad with Paul McShane – not in the original squad – drafted in. Keith Fahey has also missed out due to a groin injury meaning that Paul Green, who is looking for a new club after his contract with Derby County FC expired, gets the chance to impress. The midfielder got the good news while at his parents' house in Yorkshire. "A call came from the Football Association of Ireland to tell me to get packed [as] they were booking a flight for me to Dublin," said Green, whose first thoughts were for the unlucky Fahey. "I texted him immediately, saying, 'I'm gutted for you'."

Netherlands (Berend Scholten, @UEFAcomBerendS)
The Netherlands have confirmed their shirt numbers for the tournament, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar given the No9 shirt while Robin van Persie, who wore that jersey at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is 16. Wilfred Bouma takes the place of the injured left-back Erik Pieters as No5, and Rafael van der Vaart (No23) and Ibrahim Afellay (No20) keep their regular numbers.

Coach Bert van Marwijk, meanwhile, has been keeping a close eye on the suits his squad will wear in Poland and Ukraine. "Since 1990 we have delivered the tournament clothing and Bert is the coach who values the suits and casual clothing the most," said Piet Zoomers, the manager of the clothing suppliers. "He has a good sense for fashion and watches every detail." The new suits certainly meet with Van Marwijk's approval, the coach saying: "They are even more beautiful than in 2010. We have to look decent in Ukraine and Poland and honestly, it really looks good."

France (Matthew Spiro, @UEFAcomMattS)
Laurent Blanc has finalised his list of 23 players, deciding to leave Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Yoann Gourcuff behind. The news was confirmed this morning and will come as a relief to the likes of Gaël Clichy, Blaise Matuidi, Marvin Martin and Mathieu Valbuena, whose places were thought to be under threat. The omission of the uncapped Yanga-Mbiwa means France will have just three centre-backs in Ukraine: Philippe Mexès, Adil Rami and Laurent Koscielny. Meanwhile, several French papers are urging Blanc to find room in his starting lineup for in-form striker Olivier Giroud, as well as Karim Benzema. 'Giroud, where do we put him?' asks the lead article in L'Equipe.

Croatia (Elvir Islamović, @UEFAcomElvirI)
Goran Blažević, Šime Vrsljako, Nikola Kalinić and Dejan Lovrenwere the unfortunate quartert to miss out as Croatia coach Slaven Bilić named his final 23-man squad on Tuesday. Fourth-choice goalkeeper Blažević and forward Kalinić were not expected to be in the final selection, but more unexpected was Bilić's decision to select Jurica Buljat ahead of young right-back Vrsaljko. Lovren, meanwhile, is still struggling with injury.

"I told four players that they can go home but I also told them to be ready to come if there are any injuries," said Bilić. "Lovren's medical tests were not good so without him we were down to three central defenders, and I decided to keep Jurica Buljat in the team as a result."

Germany (Steffen Potter, @UEFAcomSteffenP)
Germany looked a far cry from being one of the favourites during their 5-3 loss to Switzerland on Saturday, but there was little outcry from supporters as coach Joachim Löw was forced to field an experimental lineup without his squad's FC Bayern München contingent. Despite having those players back, Löw announced today that he intended to test out his options again in Thursday's warm-up against Israel, and my guess is that he will experiment in the positions that are still up for grabs.

Holger Badstuber is a certainty in central defence, so he may give both Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker some playing time as he looks to decide between the two. All of Germany is waiting to see whether Miroslav Klose or Mario Gomez will get the nod as the team's sole striker, meanwhile, but that decision has most likely already been made and will not depend on the Israel game.

Incidentally, Germany will have the youngest squad at the EURO, with an average age of 24 years and 11 months. Poland are the second-youngest (25 years, 7months) followed by Denmark (27 years, 0 months) and England (27 years, 1 month).

Czech Republic (Ondřej Zlámal, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)
The Czech squad trained at the Strahov Stadium in Prague on Tuesday morning in what will be their only session of the day after their plans for an afternoon work-out were cancelled. Instead, the focus this afternoon will be on the announcement of Michal Bílek's final 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2012 – even if no surprises are expected. The last of those came when Vladimír Darida was called up to replace fellow midfielder Daniel Pudil on Monday, and, despite his disappointment, Pudil quickly took to Twitter to wish his colleagues well: "Life goes on. Good luck, boys!"

Also on Monday evening, the press were invited to a media briefing at the Barcelona Conference Room in Prague's Hilton Hotel, where goalkeeper Petr Čech announced his signing of a new four-year deal with Chelsea FC. "I think it's the right moment to announce the new contract after the end of season and before the start of the EURO," he said. "I won't have to answer questions regarding my future and can concentrate on my play."

Spain (Graham Hunter, @UEFAcomGrahamH)
Spain hit the road for Berne in Switzerland this morning ahead of their second warm-up game against South Korea tomorrow. For the press pack, meanwhile, it was time to mull over what proved a fascinating day yesterday, with slight hints that Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and David Silva could all start against the South Koreans.

The Chelsea FC striker, fresh from winning the UEFA Champions League, spoke about his season and what lies ahead. "I feel fresh, in form and we are here to try and win this tournament," he said. "I can't stop the debates about who should and should not be here, but each of us has been selected on his own merits. I finished with an FA Cup and a Champions League medal, so that's not too bad. The loss of Carles Puyol is a tough one, on and off the pitch, but if I'm asked to take some of his captaincy responsibilities then no problem."

Away from the action, key midfielder Xavi Hernández and club mate Victor Valdés have been finalising their time off prior to joining the squad by helping Samuel Eto'o open one of his foundation's colleges in Gabon.

Poland (Alex O'Henley, @UEFAcomAlexO)
In an interview with the daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Poland captain Jakub Błaszczykowski admits the Polish players have a ritual before every game. "There is always a national flag in our dressing room and every player touches it before going out for a game," said Błaszczykowski. "The latest ritual is that we listen to music in the dressing room. There isn't a playlist as such – we just put the music on and listen. More or less we like the same kind of music so there are no big quarrels about that. But if someone isn't happy, we just tell him to cover his ears and not listen."

With two wins from their friendly internationals against Latvia and Slovakia during their training camp in Austria, Błaszczykowski and the entire Polish nation will be hoping their 'lucky' ritual continues into their opening UEFA EURO 2012 fixture when the co-hosts play Greece in Warsaw on 8 June.

Denmark (Thomas Mark, @UEFAcomThomasM)
Today's confirmation of Thomas Sørensen's injury-enforced absence from Denmark's squad means an opportunity for 25-year-old Leicester City FC goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, son of Peter. Coach Morten Olsen said of the uncapped Schmeichel Jr: "While we are forced to do without our experienced first choice in goal, I'm calm naming Kasper Schmeichel as the new goalkeeper in our squad. He's really serious about his work and we have followed him closely throughout his season at Leicester."

If the Danish population had their way Anders Lindegaard would replace Sørensen as first choice, with 75% of voters in a poll conducted by national TV station DR selecting the Manchester United FC goalkeeper as their No1 even though he has been out injured for two months. "I'm still short in a few little areas, but it will come and then it will all work out for me," said Lindegaard. "If I make it work I know I'm the best."

Portugal (Andy Brassell, @UEFAcomAndyB)
One of Portugal's more experienced campaigners, forward Hélder Postiga, spoke to the media after training on Monday in Obidos – a session that Ricardo Quaresma sat out, but which Miguel Lopes was able to participate in. Looking back on almost a decade of international service, Postiga pinpointed UEFA EURO 2004, which Portugal hosted, as his best memory of the competition. The Real Zaragoza CF front man said he had "more happy memories than sad ones, such as the final [loss to Greece]. I've played with the best that there is in Portuguese football and I'm proud of it."

Sweden (Sujay Dutt, @UEFAcomSujayD)
As the Sweden squad settle in for a few days in Gothenburg, several of them will feel right at home. Coach Erik Hamrén and assistant Marcus Allbäck both reside in Sweden's second city, as well as Tobias Hysén of IFK Göteborg. Kim Källström, Pontus Wernbloom and Anders Svensson all grew up there, meanwhile, and Johan Elmander, Samuel Holmén and Johan Wiland are from towns nearby.

In Gothenburg they will resume training again after a day of rest and recreation on Monday. Some of the players played golf while others buckled up and raced some very fast cars. The winner on the circuit was, not surprisingly, Zlatan Ibrahimović, known for his love of sports cars.

Greece (Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, @UEFAcomVassP)
Greece coach Fernando Santos is expected to give a press conference today or tomorrow to discuss his decision to omit midfielders Alexandros Tziolis and Panagiotis Kone from the final 23-man squad announced last night and reflect on the work done at their Austrian training camp.

His captain, Giorgos Karagounis, has already given some insight into the days spent in Kitzbuhel. "We are working a lot on tactics, more than in previous tournaments. We are getting into a rhythm and we need the friendly games in order to put on to the pitch what we are doing in training."

There was a small piece of good news yesterday evening when Vassilis Torossidis returned to the training ground and did some light jogging – indicative that the swollen knee he sustained in Saturday’s match against Slovenia is nothing too serious. However, he does miss Thursday's friendly against Armenia.

Last updated: 07/06/12 16.23CET

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