All of the 23-man squads for each of the 16 European Championship teams have been announced, and we’ve combed through the lists to share seven with you that we feel will make an impact at this summer’s Euro 2012 competition.
The 7 players to watch out for at Euro 2012 are (not prioritized):
1. Alan Dzagoev (Russia)
The CSKA Moscow midfielder revealed that Frank Lampard is his idol and the 21-year-old plays eerily like him – an attacking midfielder with an eye for goal as well as being able to play that ‘’killer pass’’ according to former mentor Guus Hiddink. His 26 goals in 102 games for the Muscovite club, as well as 4 strikes in 18 internationals, underlines his very reasonable return in front of goal for a midfielder. He also holds the record for making his debut at the youngest age for any outfield player, 18, for the Russian national team. He will be expected to supply the attackers such as Pavel Pogrebnyak, Roman Pavlyuchneko and Andriy Arshavin as Dick Advocaat’s side will hope to repeat their memorable run of four years ago when they ventured all the way to the semi-final stage.
2. Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
At 20 years of age and with Barcelona, AC Milan and Manchester United keeping tabs on the Dane, Eriksen has the world at his feet heading into this tournament. Comparisons with Michael Laudrup, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart are not wide of the mark at all as he has established himself as the fulcrum of Ajax’s team since making his debut at the tender age of 17. Described as a ‘’traditional number 10,’’ his world-class passing and dribbling capabilities should see him make a significant impact at the heart of this Danish team. Europe’s finest in the Group of Death.
3. André Schürrle (Germany)
A productive forward throughout every underage level for Germany, this 21-year-old will be intent on continuing his finegoalscoring form at the biggest stage of all. 5 goals in 12 outings for the senior team, 5 in 4 games for the U-21’s and 10 in 11 games for the U19’s will have defender’s quaking in their boots as the Bayer Leverkusen striker will hope to establish himself at this tournament. Only the phenomenal goalscoring record of Mario Gomez this season cut see the Leverkusen man’s minutes curtailed as Germany coach Joachim Low prefers to operate with a lone striker.
4. Yann M’Vila (France)
This 21-year-old defensive midfielder has won much critical acclaim since breaking onto the domestic French scene with Rennes back in 2009. Known for his all-action style of play, he has frustrated some of the best midfielders in France for the last three years as well as being the instigator of many attacks from inside his team’s own half. Frederic Antonetti best summed up midfielder when saying he “reads the game like Makélélé, has the presence of Vieira and can pass the ball like Yaya Touré. The youngster is living up to all these comparisons and is exactly why he was awarded a place in the Ligue 1 team of the year for the 2010-12 season.
5. Luuk de Jong (The Netherlands)
The big striker has been prolific for his native country at underage level and will hoping to bring that with him to Euro 2012. His minutes on the pitch will be limited by the goal-crazy Robin van Persie but Bert van Marwijk will grant de Jong some opportunities and you can be sure the lively FC Twente attacker will be snapping up any chance he can sniff out. Not only is he renowned for his goalscoring exploits but last season, as well as being Twente’s top goalscorer, he also provided his team-mates with the most assists as he seeks to justify Patrick Kluivert’s claim of de Jong being the Netherlands’ “first choice striker for years to come.”
6. Mario Götze (Germany)
When Franz Beckenbauer said Gotze is “impossible to stop,” it was still a bit of an understatement for this teen’s talents. As a 17-year-old in his debut season with Borussia Dortmund, he contributed 5 goals and 15 assists as they won the Bundesliga title during the 2010-11 season and he’s retained the trophy with them again during 2011/12. Despite missing a sizable chunk of football year, he was still able to score 5 and set up 5 for his team-mates in a mere 15 league appearances. He also became the country’s joint youngest ever goalscorer when he netted against Brazil aged 19 years and 68 days old and you can be sure he will be eyeing equally as big scalps this summer.
7. Fabio Borini (Italy)
The Roma striker has re-ignited his career after an ill-fated spell in England with Chelsea and Swansea City respectively. 9 goals in 21 league games for the capital club was enough proof for Italy coach Cesare Prandelli to bring him into the national side last February. His consistent rise from U-16 level to senior illustrate he has shown promise for all of his playing career so far and he will be hoping to realize his potential this summer against the likes of Spain, Ireland, Croatia and possibly more. With
Giampaolo Pazzini and Mario Balotelli the only truly recognized striker in the Italian squad, Borini is expected to get a look in and his fox in the box-like playing style should come to the fore and stake his claim for a starting position at the tournament.