4 Young Players that May Set Euro 2012 Alight From Group A

The European Championships is one of the most prestigious international tournaments in the world of football. It only pales to the World Cup in terms of popularity. It is a stage where legends are made, where dreams are fulfilled, and where acts of genius on the pitch are immortalized. Since its inception in 1960, there have so many great moments that will live long in the memory of the people. Marco Van Basten’s impossible volley against the USSR in final of ’88, Antonin Panenka’s unique penalty to win the cup for Czechoslovakia in ‘76, legendary USSR goalkeeper Lev Yashin guiding his USSR team to victory in the inaugural tournament in ‘60, French maestros Michel Platini and then Zinedine Zidane with supreme grace and craft inspiring their French team to the cup in ’84 and 2000 respectively, super-sub Oliver Bierhoff’s brace winning it for the Germans in ’96, underdogs Denmark in ’92 and Greece in ’04 triumphing against all odds. All these moments have their unique place in history.

The Euros also provides a platform for young players with burgeoning reputations to shine. It is a great opportunity for young starlets to prove their worth and launch their careers towards success. Stars such as Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Dennis Bergkamp, to name a few, paved their path towards super stardom by impressing at the Euros.

Here is a look at one young player from each of the 16 participating teams most likely to make an impact for their respective country at the Euro 2012.

Group A

Czech Republic

Tomas Necid


Date of BirthAug 13, 1989 (Age 22)
ClubCSKA Moscow
International Caps26
International Goals7

Stats for 2011/12


Player Profile

Towering striker Tomas Necid is one of the brightest young talents to emerge from Czech football. Currently plying his trade in the Russian league with CSKA Moscow, Necid is considered a hot prospect by both club and country. He is very good in the air and has predatory instincts in front of goal. He made a name for himself by becoming the top scorer of 2008 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, scoring with four goals in as many games.

Probability of making an impact at the Euro 20122/5

Although considered a bright young talent, it seems very unlikely he will get a starting berth. With the Czechs deploying a system with only one up top, experienced Milan Baros or compatriot Tomas Pekhart look more likely get the nod to start ahead of Necid. This however does not rule out his involvement in the tournament as he will surely be used as an impact substitute. His physical presence and strength will certainly cause a problem for opposition defenders. He is undoubtedly capable of chipping in with a goal or an assist which might prove invaluable if the Czechs are to qualify for the next round.


Kyriakos Papadopoulos


Date of Birth23 February 1992 (age 20)
ClubSchalke 04
PositionCentral Defender
International Caps7
International Goals2

Stats for 2011/12


Player Profile

Strong and athletic defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos has to be one of the most promising young defenders in the world today. On the back of a very strong season for Schalke 04, Papadopoulos’ stock has risen incredibly with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal keeping close tabs on him. Strong tackler and blessed with good positional sense, he defends with so much maturity which belies his tender age. It is sometimes easy to forget that he is only 20 years old. His potential is frightening and the experience of playing in a big tournament like the Euros will only make him better.

Probability of making an impact at the Euro 20124/5

Kyriakos Papadopoulos is most likely to start at the heart of the defence alongside the more experienced Avraam Papadopoulos. Kyriakos Papadopoulos certainly has to perform to his level best in order to keep the dangerous Polish and Russian attack at bay. Having already established himself in the national team with some impressive performances and crucial goals in the qualifying rounds, Papadopoulos is certainly already one of the most important members of the current Greek squad. He unquestionably has the talent to succeed and he needs to back it up the Euros by putting up a strong defensive display for Greece which he most probably will.


Robert Lewandowski


Date of Birth21 August 1988 (age 23)
ClubBorussia Dortmund
International Caps40
International Goals13

Stats for 2011/12


Player Profile

What a season it has been for Robert Lewandowski. Aged only 23 he seems to have the world on his feet. Having scored 22 goals in the Bundesliga this season he helped Borussia Dortmund to a league and cup double. He is already considered one of the best strikers in Europe. Blessed with incredible touch and technique, he is always capable of a moment of brilliance when you least expect it. He is good in the air and is a very prolific finisher. He seems to be the complete striker. No wonder top clubs are eying him up and no wonder Dortmund are desperate to keep hold of him.

Probability of making an impact at the Euro 20124.5/5

He is no doubt Poland’s most important player. He will most probably start as a lone striker for Poland, a role he fulfilled for Dortmund so impressively. The co-hosts will be heavily reliant on this young man for goals and if given the right service he will deliver. He already has 40 international caps to his name in which he has scored 13 goals. There is every possibility that Robert Lewandowski will become one of Polish football’s all time greats. He needs to start off by scoring goals and helping Poland put up a good show at the Euros. Backed by home support there and bags of talent there is no reason why the young Pole will not be able to do so.


Alan Dzagoev


Date of Birth17 June 1990 (age 21)
ClubCSKA Moscow
PositionAttacking Midfielder
International Caps19
International Goals4

Stats for 2011/12


Player Profile

Young creative midfielder Alan Dzagoev is one of the most exciting prospects in world football. Awarded the best young player in the Russian Premier League in the year 2008-09, Dzagoev has gone from strength to strength becoming one of the finest young playmakers in the world today. He is a very important element for both club and country. With an ability to change a game with a defence splitting passes and with a decent goal scoring record Dzagoev is certainly a dangerous player for opposition defences to deal with.

Probability of making an impact at the Euro 20124/5

Dzagoev is already a vital part of the national team. His potential was realized early at national level and he was given his first cap at the tender age of just 18. He is most likely to start just in hole behind the two strikers. It is undoubtedly be the job of Dzagoev to provide the creative force for the Russian attack. With Russia having a decent attacking line-up containing Andrey Arshavin and Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Dzagoev will no doubt enjoying playing the “trequartista” role. If Russia is to qualify to the next round, they will certainly require Dzagoev to have a good tournament.

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