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Bucharest
February 1, 2023
SPORTS

Euro 2012 kicks off today in Warsaw

Sixteen European national teams will start competing on Friday for the European Football Championship in Poland and Ukraine. The three-week tournament will display the essence of world football in the highly-competitive event: will it be the reigning champions Spain? Or is it England‘s turn? Wait for a shocker – Greece?The Euro title holders, Spain, have the bookmakers on their side – but one can hardly predict a sport such as football. Germany and Holland are strong competitors to Spain, who should be on the lookout for Italy, never an outsider and always among the strongest teams. Outsiders could be Ukraine, pushed on by its public (the final will be held in Kiev), not to mention neighbouring Russia, who surprised in the previous edition, according to poland2012.com.After today’s opener Poland – Greece, the most awaited games of the week-end are of course Germany – Portugal (on Saturday, Group B) and Italy – Spain (on Sunday, group C). It will be really interesting to see just how Germany’s coach Joachim Low lines up his side against Portugal on Saturday. How to stop Cristiano Ronaldo? That is surely one of the more interesting questions for the coach, uefa.com comments.With eight FC Bayern Munich players in the squad, it makes sense to take a closer look at how Jupp Heynckes overcame Ronaldo’s Real Madrid CF in this season’s UEFA Champions League semi-finals.In Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng and Philipp Lahm, Low boasts three of Bayern’s four defenders in those two matches, and it looks likely that he will field all of them. However, contrary to Heynckes’ approach with Bayern, when Badstuber and Boateng operated in the centre and Lahm played as a right-back, Low seems set to deploy his skipper at left-back, with Badstuber and Per Mertesacker in central defence and Boateng on the right.Portugal may have been handed perhaps the toughest UEFA EURO 2012 group possible in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands but leading them out as captain will be perhaps the most celebrated player in the whole final tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo.The Real Madrid CF forward told uefa.com that although Portugal did not have the smoothest qualification, they do have huge potential under the guidance of coach Paulo Bento. But one goal in a three-match winless run in 2012 is hardly the ideal way to prepare for the UEFA European Championship. The first duel within Group C will be the encounter of the current European and World Champions Spain with Italy. The Spaniards started their last great tournament with defeat 0:1 against Switzerland in the first match in their group. During the tournament they mostly did not charm their fans with their play, but they managed to win the Champion’s title.Although the Spaniards are expected to repeat their success from four years ago, many football experts think that the best times of that team are already over. An important test will be their duel with world champions from 2006.After their last defeat at the tournament in South Africa, this time Italians are ambitious to achieve a much better result. Apart from Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, the team’s leader will be the controversial Mario Balotelli, responsible for the team’s scoring output at the championships.It seems that Spaniards should get over Squadra Azzurra after all and that the party of Vicente del Bosque will earn 3 points in their first group match.

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