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

Here is a look at one young player from each of the 4 Group C teams. These players are most likely to make an impact for their respective country at the Euro 2012.

Group C


Ivan Perisic


Date of Birth2 Feb, 1989 (age 23)
ClubBorussia Dortmund
PositionLeft midfielder
International Caps8
International Goals0

Stats for 2011/12


Player Profile

Talented left sided midfielder Ivan Perisic has progressed tremendously into one of the game’s finest young players in the last 3 years. Perisic is a good dribbler, has a fine left foot and is not too shabby in the air, but most impressive of all his abilities has to be his knack of scoring goals. In his short but already impressive career, he boasts a remarkable CV. He was the top scorer in the Belgian Pro League with his time at Club Brugge and was duly awarded the Player of the Year in Belgium in the 2010/11 season, and this year he became a German League Champion with current club Borussia Dortmund playing an important role in their surge to the title. Bigger clubs are already starting to take note of this young man’s development and a good tournament at the Euros will do his already growing reputation a world of good.

Probability of making an impact at the Euro 2012 3/5

Ivan Perisic is one of the few young players present in an ageing Croatian side at the Euros. Croatia coach Slaven Bilic usually prefers to go with a more experienced starting line-up. It was evident in the qualifying stages where Perisic was used only sparingly, mostly as a substitute. It will be interesting to see if Bilic has developed enough faith in younger players like Perisic to trust them with a starting role. But even if Perisic does not get a start, be sure that he will make a huge impact as a substitute, a role he has fulfilled so admirably this season with his club side Borussia Dortmund.


Mario Balotelli


Date of Birth12 August, 1990 (age 21)
ClubManchester City
International Caps8
International Goals1

Stats for 2011/12


Player Profile

What is there to be written about Mario Balotelli that has not been said already in the media? It is a clichéd thing to say about Mario Balotelli but he is an eccentric, unpredictable, temperamental, petulant, arrogant, controversial but extremely talented young man. There may not be enough adjectives in the Oxford Dictionary to describe the personality of ‘Super Mario’. His antics have been glamorized to such an extent by the media that his prodigious talents are seemingly ignored. People are more interested in his antics than his deeds on the football pitch. Such antics both on and off the pitch have led most fans to adore him and some fans to vigorously hate him which almost often encourages him to do something crazy to get himself into the limelight. Mario Balotelli is a wonderfully talented footballer. Blessed with phenomenal strength, pace, power, technical skill, finishing ability and a powerful shot, Balotelli is a complete striker, all at a tender age of just 21. His potential is just terrifying. But what is more terrifying (well at least for his manager) is his petulant behavior and lack of discipline. There is a great chance that Balotelli might just throw away a potentially wonderful career which would be a great shame but if he can just somehow convince himself to concentrate only on football and keep his behavior in check he will undoubtedly become a world class player.

Probability of making an impact at the Euro 2012 4/5

Balotelli due to ill-discipline has not nearly represented Italy as many times as he should have. Strict disciplinarian Cesare Prandelli was reluctant to take Balotelli to the Euros but must have thought he is a risk worth taking because of Balotelli’s ability to impact a football match. Balotelli will probably be lined up along side another volatile player in Antonio Cassano in a 4-3-1-2 formation. It is a fearsome strike force from which fans can certainly expect some goals and a lot of fireworks. Prandelli has asked Balotelli to ‘grow-up’ in order to fulfill his potential and if he is able to do so by keeping discipline, he might finally make the headlines for the right reasons. Italy have an outside chance to win the Euros and they certainly need Balotelli on his best behavior in order achieve the slim prospect of going all the way.

Republic of Ireland

James McClean


Date of Birth22 April, 1989 (age 23)
International Caps2
International Goals0

Stats for 2011/12


Player Profile

From the obscurity of playing in the League of Ireland at Derry City to the bright lights of Premier League appropriately at the Stadium of Light, and then a ticket to participate at the Euros for the Republic of Ireland. The rise of James McClean from being practically an unknown in the football world to one of the most exciting young players in Europe has been spectacular to say the least. A confident young player with very good dribbling skills and a penchant of scoring vital goals, McClean has terrorized even the most established of defenders in the Premier League this season. Voted Sunderland’s Young Player of the Season he has established himself as a very important member for the Black Cats this season, turning in some magnificent performances.

Probability of making an impact at the Euro 2012 2.5/5

A team assembled on the principle of hard work and determination rather than skill, Republic of Ireland stand virtually no chance in many people’s eyes of getting into the knock out rounds, in a group containing football powerhouses Spain and Italy. In order to have any chance of qualifying they will need all their players to perform at their level best and hope players like McClean provide a spark of genius. James McClean’s selection for the Republic of Ireland team was marred by controversy as Ulster Loyalists vehemently opposed his inclusion, but that should be the last thing on McClean’s mind ahead of the biggest tournament in his life. He will most probably start on the bench with Trapattoni most likely to go with McGeady and Duff as his preferred wingers. McClean will surely be used as an impact player and due to his relative anonymity opposition defenders may not know what’s coming at them. It has been a fairy tale season for this young man and he will certainly be hoping add a final chapter on this fairy tale season by giving a good show at the Euros and maybe causing a few upsets on the way.


Jordi Alba


Date of Birth21 March, 1989 (age 23)
PositionLeft Back
International Caps5
International Goals0

Stats for 2011/12


Player Profile

Jordi Alba emergence as one of the best young left backs in Europe has been remarkable this season.  Quick, solid in defence, dangerous going forward, good crossing ability and possessing great tenacity, Alba is everything you look for in a full back. He has had a very impressive season with Valencia this term winning many admirers on the way with a certain Barcelona and Manchester United being heavily linked with the young full back. Spain certainly looked to have found a long term solution in the form of Alba at left back for years to come. A good tournament will certainly speed up his ambition of playing for one of the best clubs in the world and establish him as a star for the future.

Probability of making an impact at the Euro 2012 4/5

It would take a madman to criticize a team which has won the Euros and the World Cup back to back and point out weaknesses in that team. But if one area of weakness had to be pointed out in the all conquering Spain team it would have been the left back position. Joan Capdevila with all due respect did a great job for Spain but he was never able to convince the media or the fans. Now, that Jordi Alba has emerged and made the left back position his own, Spain look a near-perfect team which is horrifying for the opposition teams. Jordi Alba looks like the undisputed left back for Spain and he might just hold on to that position for years to come. Spain fans will be hoping Alba can reproduce his club form at international level and if he does Spain certainly look overwhelming favorites to win, with all the world class talent at their disposal.

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