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EURO team camps: 4 June

Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 23.20CET
Poland's Ludovic Obraniak has been honoured in Pobiedziska, while Germany keeper Tim Wiese hobbled out of training and Italy sweat on the fitness of Andrea Barzagli.
EURO team camps: 4 June
The Czech Republic in training on Monday ©Sportsfile
 
Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 23.20CET

EURO team camps: 4 June

Poland's Ludovic Obraniak has been honoured in Pobiedziska, while Germany keeper Tim Wiese hobbled out of training and Italy sweat on the fitness of Andrea Barzagli.

As the clock ticks down to UEFA EURO 2012's big kick-off on Friday, our team of reporters assigned to each competing nation bring you the latest news from the camps.

All times CET.

Monday 21.20, Poland
(Alex O'Henley in Warsaw, @UEFAcomAlexO)
Ludovic Obraniak was today named as an honorary citizen of the Municipal Council of Pobiedziska. The FC Girondins de Bordeaux midfielder's father, Sigmund, came from the area before having to migrate to France for economic reasons, while his grandfather was also born in the city. Now the Municipal Council has recognised Obraniak's connection with the area and the residents of Pobiedziska are proud to have one of their own representing them at UEFA EURO 2012.

"I wanted to be a Polish national team player, not just to play but also to pay tribute to the memory of my grandfather, who died in 1986," said Obraniak. "Many years ago he brought to France a Polish strip that we cherish as a sacred relic. I dreamed that one day I would also be able to wear the Poland shirt and my dream came true."

Obraniak, who scored twice on his international debut in August 2009 when Poland beat Greece 2-0, will be hoping his latest honour will prove to be a good omen as he prepares to face the same opponents in the opening game of UEFA EURO 2012 on Friday.

Monday 21.09, Germany
(Steffen Potter in Gdansk, @UEFAcomSteffenP)
It has been a busy first day for Germany here in Poland. Arriving at the airport at 15.06, the team swiftly travelled to their beautiful team hotel in the Gdansk suburb of Oliwa and at 18.00 pulled up at the old Lechia Gdansk stadium, where 11,000 local fans were waiting to watch the squad's first public training session.

One of the most important things, according to the 200-300 journalists who cover every Germany match, was the return of influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger to full training. The FC Bayern München player missed the 2-0 friendly win against Israel last week because of a calf injury sustained in the UEFA Champions League final, but took part in a small match at the end of the session. However, there is now a minor concern over second-choice goalkeeper Tim Wiese, who sat out the remainder of training after a collision with Lukas Podolski. The German Football Association (DFB) described it as a "precautionary measure".

The warmest reception was reserved for Miroslav Klose and Podolski, Germany's Polish-born strikers. With Podolski, the man who scored twice against the country of his birth in a 2-0 win at UEFA EURO 2008, turning 27 today, the crowd serenaded him with a special song. Poldi returned the favour by giving TV interviews in Polish and Polish only.

Monday 20.48, Denmark
(Thomas Mark in Kolobrzeg, @UEFAcomThomasM)
After a 45-minute flight and a bus journey lasting an hour and a half, Denmark arrived at their base in Kolobrzeg. The players were happy with the homelike surroundings and the fact that Danish TV channels are available in the team hotel.

Later in the afternoon the squad trained in front of a couple of thousand spectators. "It's amazing," said defender Simon Kjær. "Just look at the support for a training session. This is really big. You just can't wait to get started."

The workout was light – but that will change on Tuesday. "The training today was all about getting started," explained coach Morten Olsen. "We travelled today and though it wasn't for long, the players need to recover. Tomorrow it will be the real deal."

Monday 20.25, Italy
(Richard Aikman in Krakow, @UEFAcomRichardA)
The Azzurri reconvened at Coverciano at noon following a day off, but there was more bad news for Cesare Prandelli as Andrea Barzagli was ruled out of the group stage with a calf strain. Prandelli, who had already said he would reconsider his options following Friday's 3-0 defeat by Russia, must go back to the drawing board again. Barzagli will travel with the squad, but Italy have the option of replacing the Juventus defender up to 24 hours before the opening game against Spain if his injury is deemed too severe. There were also concerns over Mario Balotelli, who pulled up in training feeling his hamstring, though it is thought his injury was not too serious. After a final workout tomorrow morning the squad will fly from Pisa to Krakow.

Monday 20.08, Netherlands
(Berend Scholten in Krakow, @UEFAcomBerendS)
The Oranje landed in Krakow around 17.15 local time having flown in from Amsterdam. The players shook hands with a local welcoming committee while a group of school children waved Dutch flags and sang a football song in almost perfect Dutch. "Hup Holland Hup, laat de de leeuw niet in zijn hempie staan. Want een leeuw op voetbal schoenen, kan de hele wereld aan," (Go Holland go, do not let the lion down, because a lion on football boots can take on the whole world). On Tuesday morning, at 11.00, the players will train for the first time at Krakow's Municipal Stadium.

Monday 20.00, Greece
(Vassiliki Papantonopoulou in Legionowo, @UEFAcomVassP)
After a good rest following their flight yesterday, the squad got straight down to business this morning with a team talk from Fernando Santos and an official photo shoot. Then, in the afternoon, they visited Legionowo, their base for the tournament, before three players gave a press conference.

The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) is operating a policy at UEFA EURO 2012 of putting players forward by shirt number – which should ensure each member of the squad addresses the media – with Kostas Chalkias (No1), Giannis Maniatis (No2) and Giorgos Tzavellas (No3) fielding questions today. Chalkias, having done his bit, then sat in the front row and quizzed Tzavellas about the atmosphere in the camp as their first match approaches.

The young left-back answered that the secret of the team's success in recent years is down to the brotherly love and camaraderie between the players. Chalkias, happy with the response, replied: "Well said, my friend, but now we've got to go and practice." And that is how Greece's first press conference on Polish soil concluded.

Monday 19.36, Russia
(Richard Van Poortvliet in Sulejowek, @UEFAcomRichVP)

Russia have held their first training session in Warsaw ahead of their opening match at UEFA EURO 2012 against the Czech Republic on Friday. All 23 players took to the pitch, including Marat Izmailov and Aleksandr Anyukov, who both missed last week's 3-0 victory against Italy. Izmailov looked slightly off the pace in training and seemed to be holding back at times; however, the 29-year-old insists that he is absolutely fine. "I am feeling good and will try to do everything to make the starting XI for the game against the Czech Republic," he explained.

There was also a concern about Anyukov, who began pointing to his left ankle after training, but the good news is that the defender was moving around freely. Indeed, overall it was a good work-out for the players, and they were watched by around 500 locals who took time out to welcome their new neighbours. Afterwards, Sergei Fursenko, the President of the Russian Football Union (RFS), was full of praise for the team's hosts and thanked them for making Russia feel so much at home.

Monday 19.39, France
(Matthew Spiro in Donetsk, @UEFAcomMattS)

Laurent Blanc kept his cards close to his chest during tonight's press conference at Clairefontaine but did hint he would pick his strongest team, or something close to it, against Estonia in tomorrow's friendly. "It's not certain that tomorrow's team will be the one that starts against England," he said. "But the idea is to put out a team that will resemble the one that will face England as closely as possible."

However, Blanc did warn observers not to read too much into his selection and tactics for the match in Le Mans, saying: "We're not going to show the English everything." Regarding the injured players, the former FC Girondins de Bordeaux coach added that Blaise Matuidi has "made good progress" in his recovery from a thigh problem and refused to rule Yann M'Vila out of the Group D opener. "It's going to be very tight for Yann, but you never know – we may have a nice surprise."

Alou Diarra is nevertheless the favourite to partner Yohan Cabaye in midfield at the Donbass Arena, and the Olympique de Marseille anchorman looks certain to get game time on Tuesday. "We want to get him ready for action," Blanc said. "Alou is very good at what he does and he is always there when we need him. He had three great seasons at Bordeaux and he's a man I appreciate."

Monday 18.35, Czech Republic
(Ondřej Zlámal in Wroclaw, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)
Coach Michal Bílek cancelled his plans for an afternoon training session earlier and allowed his players to choose their own activity instead. Some decided to relax, but ten of them asked for the chance to play a five-a-side match at their Municipal Stadium Oporowska training ground in Wroclaw. That left the team's coach driver and other staff members with some unexpected work, yet they were more than happy to help out and took the group to the ground. In the end, even Bílek himself took part in the action, but, as the match was played behind closed doors, it has yet to leak out how well he fared. What's clear, though, is that the Czech Republic – players and staff alike – simply can't wait for the start of UEFA EURO 2012.

Monday 17.33, Ukraine
(Boris Popov in Kyiv @UEFAcomBorisP)
Andriy Voronin sounded somewhat miffed at the relatively modest attention accorded to the team by the Ukrainian media at their training base in Austria. "Look at Russia," said the FC Dinamo Moskva striker. "Every time any of their players raises his hand there is an update in the media. By contrast, there are no Ukrainian media here in the camp. Maybe that’s down to a limited budget, but there is a feeling we are forgotten out here."

That is certainly not the case, with speculation over the national team’s prospects keeping specialists busy. Respected local coach Vyacheslav Grozniy reckons this Ukraine team is even stronger than the one that reached the quarter-finals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and sees tough choices for Oleh Blokhin over who he selects in midfield and attack. "This Ukraine team have more strength in attack than in defence," said the 55-year-old. "The coaching staff have a conundrum as to which pair of forwards to put in the starting XI. Overall, the team has a superb balance of young and experienced players, and should reach the last eight."

Ukraine plan to fly home straight after tomorrow's friendly against Turkey, landing in Kyiv in the early hours of Wednesday morning. On non-match days, Blokhin has been conducting two training sessions per day, with that exacting schedule leaving players with little in the way of spare time. However, an ordered routine may have helped foster the calm atmosphere in the camp, though there is little doubt that the players are excited about the challenges ahead.

Monday 16.33, Spain
(Graham Hunter in Gniewino, @UEFAcomGrahamH)
Vicente Del Bosque's men were allowed a long lie-in this morning having had to do some hard running last night in Seville to defeat China PR before flying to Madrid, landing just before 03.00CET.

With focus shifting to Sunday's Group C opener against Italy, the Spain coach was relatively encouraged, particularly to find that his policy of giving those players who had performed in the Copa del Rey final a week's break had paid off. Not only did Andrés Iniesta steal the plaudits for his stellar 45-minute show, Del Bosque felt that the FC Barcelona players returned to La Roja's camp in fine fettle.

"I was very pleased with what I saw from Xavi [Hernández], [Sergio] Busquets, [Gerard] Piqué and above all Iniesta," said the man who, since winning the FIFA World Cup, is now Marquis Del Bosque. "However we were a little sluggish in the first half and the ball didn't move as quickly as I'd have liked. China were worthy opponents for us and we knew that they were good at shutting down space."

The European champions will head to Poland tomorrow, landing at Gdansk airport before heading into the countryside to Gniewino, where the weather is like a Spanish winter at the moment. A little perk for the squad is that they have a full-sized bowling alley in their training camp, for those precious few leisure moments which lie ahead.

Monday 16.10, Republic of Ireland
(Garry Doyle in Gdynia, @UEFAcomGarryD)
It is not unusual for a manager to name his team a day in advance of an international, but a week? That is the policy Giovanni Trapattoni has opted for ahead of the Republic's opening Group C game this Sunday against Croatia. By using this evening's friendly against Hungary as a dress rehearsal, the manager has left no doubt about what the make-up of his team to play Croatia will be.

"These are the men who won qualification," said Trapattoni. "They are all in good form. We need to consolidate. This team brings a guarantee. They can play with their eyes closed."

They play considerably better with them open, however, and they need to be on form against a Hungarian side who defeated the Czech Republic last Friday. Yet the signs are that they will be. Unbeaten in 13 games now, Ireland have an eye on the Irish international record 17-game unbeaten streak posted during Jack Charlton's management reign between 1988 and 1990. The remainder of the focus, however, is on Sunday and the commencement of their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign.

"Confidence in the squad is very high," said captain Robbie Keane. "We haven't lost in a long time and long may that continue. The squad has grown in every game in the last year or so and there is a togetherness there which I haven't seen in a long time."

Before then, there will also be a focus on John O'Shea's ankle injury which will be tested for about 75 minutes this evening. Otherwise, the challenge is to avoid further injuries and move on, which Ireland will do within hours of the final whistle, boarding a plane in Budapest which will take them to Gdansk, their Polish base during these championships.

Monday 15.51, Portugal
(Andy Brassell in Opalenica, @UEFAcomAndyB)
Today's the day that Portugal arrive in Opalenica, near Poznan, to take up residence at their UEFA EURO 2012 training base. The squad's flight is set to leave Lisbon airport at 18.00CET tonight, landing in Poznan at around 21.30.

After this morning's final training session on Portuguese soil - at Lisbon's Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica - reserve goalkeeper Beto told the media that the squad remain relaxed despite Saturday's defeat to Turkey. "We have to just concentrate on us, on what we want to do and what we can do," he said. "Portugal don't have any pressure going into the finals because we're not the favourites."

Monday 15.28, Czech Republic
(Ondřej Zlámal in Wroclaw, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)

The long saga that has been troubling the Czech nation all through the build-up to UEFA EURO 2012 seems finally to be over. Captain Tomáš Rosický has not trained at full tilt since he suffered a calf injury in Arsenal FC's final game of the season at West Bromwich Albion FC on 13 May. Before coming to Wroclaw, the midfielder had trained alone and only occasionally joined his team-mates, but during the Czechs' first training session in Poland, Rosický was involved in every activity. The relief was palpable throughout the squad, and no doubt back home.

"All my squad is fit," said Czech coach Michal Bílek. "Tomáš will play in the opening match [against Russia on 8 June]. He showed his class during the training session. When he gets the ball, he can create space, make that clever pass, and he is quick on the ball. You could see today how much he is looking forward to playing. I believe he will increase the quality of our lineup."

Monday 15.09, Denmark
(Thomas Mark in Kolobrzeg, @UEFAcomThomasM)

"We need to do better," Christian Eriksen stated when he was asked by the Danish television station DR if he was happy about Denmark's performances in the warm-up games against Brazil and Australia. "That includes me as well. And I will do better. Perhaps our game could have been better in the beginning, but we will keep on developing."

Echoing the sentiments of the AFC Ajax midfielder, coach Morten Olsen has also been harsh in his judgment of those friendly showings. "If we make the same kind of mistakes against Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands, then forget about it. We might as well pack our bags and go home." Denmark beat Australia 2-0 but lost 3-1 against Brazil the week before, and will face the Netherlands in five days time in Kharkiv.

Monday 14.55, Sweden
(Sujay Dutt in Kyiv, @UEFAcomSujayD)

Markus Rosenberg, who was substituted at half-time in last Wednesday's 3-2 win against Iceland with a sore knee, will not be ready to play against Serbia tomorrow. The SV Werder Bremen forward had not featured in Group E qualification but got a chance to prove himself in the friendly. Since then he has been working out with the team physio and the camp is confident about the 29-year-old's fitness. "He'll be back in action in a few days," Sweden press officer Hans Hultman told Expressen.

One of the reasons for Rosenberg's start against Iceland was Johan Elmander's foot injury. Elmander warmed up with the squad yesterday and took things steadily as he gauged the reaction. "It feels a bit stiff and painful," he said, but the Galatasaray AŞ forward remains hopeful of being available for the 11 June Group D game against co-hosts Ukraine. "If it continues like this, then absolutely I'll be ready."

Monday 14.32, Czech Republic
(Ondřej Zlámal in Wroclaw, @UEFAcomOndrejZ)

Almost 2,000 fans came to watch the Group A contenders' first training session at their training base, the Municipal Stadium Oporowska in Wroclaw. Supporters brought Czech flags and a welcome banner saying "Ahoj!" and responded to the mini-games as if they were cup finals, cheering wildly when goals were scored. Chelsea FC's UEFA Champions League winner Petr Čech received a rapturous reception whenever he was involved and captain Tomáš Rosický received a similar ovation. Czech fans must have been happy to see Rosický in full training after an injury scare, and the Arsenal FC midfielder appeared to train at full capacity.

"It was a very good decision to have an open training session - we were very pleasantly surprised that so many fans came to the stadium," said Czech coach Michal Bílek. "It was a pleasure for my boys to train in such an atmosphere. All of them feel how much everybody is looking forward to this big tournament."

Monday 13.49, England
(Andy James in Krakow, @UEFAcomAndyJ)

The England squad are enjoying one last opportunity to relax today before reconvening for their final briefing on home turf on Tuesday and flying out to their base here in Krakow on Wednesday. No doubt many of the players will spend the time with family and friends ahead of what will hopefully be an extended stay in Poland and Ukraine.

The injury situation continues to dominate the back pages of the country's newspapers, with Gary Cahill the latest first-team player to withdraw. His replacement, Liverpool FC youngster Martin Kelly, has caused plenty of discussion and also means the England squad has more Reds players (six) than from any other club.

Three Lions captain Steven Gerrard has described his "anger" at losing so many key performers. "To do well in these tournaments you have to have your big players," said the 32-year-old. "To lose Gary [Cahill] is another huge blow on the back of Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry."

Monday 13.15, Poland
(Alex O'Henley in Warsaw, @UEFAcomAlexO)

Co-hosts Poland have decided not to train in the afternoons ahead of Friday's UEFA EURO 2012 opening game against Greece following a request from the players. Speaking at today's briefing, press officer Tomasz Rząsa explained that after Saturday's friendly against Andorra the players had asked the coach Franciszek Smuda if the training sessions could be reduced from two to one per day.

"The players felt that the game against Andorra was a hard workout," said Rząsa after training at Warsaw's Municipal Stadium Polonia. "On the back of a hard training camp in Austria, the players asked for the afternoons off and the coach agreed to this, so up until the Greece game we will only have one training session in the morning. Then in the afternoons the players can rest up, meet their families and have some free time."

Rząsa also eased concerns over a knock picked up by striker Robert Lewandowski against Andorra. "He took a kick in the leg but he's OK and took part in full training," he added. "We have no other injury problems."

Monday 12.05, France
(Matthew Spiro in Donetsk, @UEFAcomMattS)

The feeling in France is that the serious business really got under way at Clairefontaine yesterday. Having eased his squad through the gears during the first two weeks of the training camp, Laurent Blanc and his staff significantly upped the ante when the players returned from two days off. 'An intense reunion' read the L'Équipe headline, a reference to the pace, commitment and determination displayed during yesterday's training game. "If training sessions reflect the way a team play, this is an encouraging sign," the sports daily noted. "There was a high level of intensity and quality."

Yann M'Vila (ankle), Blaise Matuidi (thigh) and Steve Mandanda (foot) all missed the work-out due to injuries. Reports in France claim both M'Vila and Matuidi are out of the England match on 11 June, though Mandanda should recover in time to take his place on the bench.

There is good news regarding M'Vila's recovery, however. The midfielder returned to Clairefontaine in excellent spirits yesterday and is hoping to feature in the second Group D match against Ukraine. "His ankle sprain is moderately serious but there have been no complications," read a statement from the French Football Federation (FFF), which confirmed that M'Vila will travel with the group to Ukraine on Wednesday. Before then, Les Bleus have a final friendly to negotiate, against Estonia in Le Mans tomorrow.

Monday 11.57, Portugal
(Andy Brassell in Opalenica, @UEFAcomAndyB)

Paulo Bento's Portugal squad were put through their paces in their final training session in Lisbon this morning. The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) announced yesterday that the trio of Nani (foot), João Moutinho (heel) and Fábio Coentrão (hip) would all be absent from the session as they receive treatment for minor injuries.

Once training is completed, there is little time for rest as a day of official engagements lies ahead of the group before their scheduled departure for Poland this evening at 18.00CET.

Monday 11.49, Croatia
(Elvir Islamović in Warka, @UEFAcomElvirI)

Sunday was a free day for Croatia's players. After drawing 1-1 in Oslo with Norway, Slaven Bilić's men returned home for one last time before the finals. The players were scheduled to gather today for a final training session at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb before flying to Warsaw tomorrow and settling into their base in Warka, 70km outside the Polish capital.

Eduardo da Silva's goal in Norway was arguably the biggest plus to come out of the match. "The goal raised my confidence a lot," said the FC Shakhtar Donetsk forward. "I believe we will be fresh for our opening game against Ireland and that we will be in top form then. I have one wish for the EURO – I want to play. I want to be on the pitch and to score some goals but all of us want that."

Monday 11.35, Spain
(Graham Hunter in Gniewino, @UEFAcomGrahamH)

The old proverb about whether a glass is half-full or half-empty applies to Spain's 1-0 win over an athletic, smart and very defensive China in Sevilla last night.

Firstly, a win is a win. Vicente Del Bosque's reigning European champions now have three straight victories in their warm-up matches and have only conceded once. Moreover, 1-0 is becoming a key score for the Spanish. Just as the UEFA EURO 2008 final was decided by a single Fernando Torres goal, the 1-0 score has become the trademark of the modern, winning era. However, La Roja were within six minutes of finishing 0-0 for the first time in Del Bosque's 55-match reign and, glass half-empty, very nearly conceded twice in the first half.

Bonuses for the manager? Andrés Iniesta played sublime football when he came on, Raúl Albiol got some valuable minutes, Iker Casillas augmented his record as the international player with the most victories and the most games without conceding – and Spain won. Another bonus is that Del Bosque chose well. If Italy and Ireland, both defensively well-organised sides, can press as well as China managed then this test against José Antonio Camacho's team is excellent preparation.

Glass half-empty: Spain lacked sharpness, a killer pass and the finishing touch. Glass half-full: it remains very hard to resist the European champions, and whether it is Iniesta, Silva, Torres or Juan Mata who pops up with the winning solution, few in Spain will care. So long as they win. The countdown to Italy in Gdansk on 10 June has started in earnest.

Monday 11.24, Russia
(Richard Van Poortvliet in Sulejowek, @UEFAcomRichVP)

After settling into their Warsaw hotel last night, the Russia squad will get acquainted with their training facilities at the Sulejowek Stadium for the first time today. The modern, impressive complex is located a 45-minute drive out of the city centre, giving the players plenty of time to relax ahead of the 17.00 session.

Though there is plenty to see and do in the old historical centre of the city where the players are staying, the rather gloomy and unseasonal weather could mean that the more adventurous members of the squad leave it until another day before heading out to explore and soak up the excitement and atmosphere building in the Polish capital ahead the tournament.

Monday 11.15, Netherlands
(Berend Scholten in Krakow, @UEFAcomBerendS)

After a day off following Saturday's confidence-boosting 6-0 win over Northern Ireland in their final warm-up game, the Netherlands will gather this afternoon in Amsterdam to board their flight to Krakow.

Meanwhile, central defender Joris Mathijsen, still out with a hamstring injury he suffered against Bulgaria on 26 May, hopes he will be ready in time for the Oranje's opener against Denmark on 9 June. "I have been able to sprint again and it felt good," said the Málaga CF man. "If I can join the group training on Tuesday or Wednesday it should be sufficient to be back for the Denmark game."

Forward Dirk Kuyt used his free Sunday to finalise a transfer from Liverpool FC to Turkish club Fenerbahçe SK on a three-year deal. "I am really looking forward to this," said the 31-year-old. "Fenerbahçe is a beautiful club to continue my career at. They show ambition and that suits me. It was also important for me to have this completed before the EURO. I wanted to start the tournament with a clear mind. I can now focus fully on the tournament."

Monday 11.09, Italy
(Richard Aikman in Krakow, @UEFAcomRichardA)

The Italian press may have been disappointed by Italy's third successive friendly defeat but they are trying to find positives from Friday's 3-0 defeat by Russia. 'Wake up Italy' was Gazzetta dello Sport's headline on Saturday, but the pink paper finds a parallel with the Azzurri's uninspiring preparation for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which they went on to win. "The 0-0 with Ukraine in Lausanne before the World Cup in 2006 was also anything but scintillating: 'Italia a la camomilla' ('Italy on the camomile tea') ran our headline but Pirlo did switch on that evening and he hasn't switched off since."

The daily also recalled UEFA EURO 2000 when Gianluigi Buffon injured himself against Norway in the build-up to the tournament which he would miss with a broken hand. In came Francesco Toldo who inspired his side as much as anyone to reach the final that was lost to a golden goal against France, saving a raft of penalties in the semi-final shoot-out against the Netherlands. Buffon is injured again, but the medical staff are hopeful scans today will reveal no serious damage to their captain's shoulder.

Meanwhile, Cesare Prandelli has decided to promote video analyst Filippo Lorenzon from Italy's Under-21s to help plot the downfall of his Group C opponents.

Monday 11.01, Republic of Ireland
(Garry Doyle in Gdynia, @UEFAcomGarryD)

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has given the clearest indication yet of what his starting XI will be to face Croatia in their Group C opener on 10 June.

The team he has selected to play Hungary tonight will almost certainly be the team who subsequently face the Croats six days later. That means Kevin Doyle has won his battle to start ahead of Shane Long, that John O'Shea and Shay Given have recovered from injuries, and that the game in Budapest is a final dress rehearsal before the show begins in Poland and Ukraine.

The team Trapattoni has selected for the Budapest friendly is: Shay Given; John O'Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Stephen Ward; Damien Duff, Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady; Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle.

Last updated: 07/06/12 16.24CET

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