With the Euro 2012 draw having taken place last Friday, we take a look at the five players from each group ready to take the tournament by storm next June.
Running the preview in chronological order was the natural way to compile the players, although Group A is the polar opposite of a “group of death”.
Nevertheless here are my five players who could stand out in Group A.
Alan Dzagoev – Russia
Dzagoev currently plays his domestic football for CSKA Moscow. The little attacking midfielder has already played just under 100 games for CSKA and is still only 21.
Dzaoev has the pace and vision to sit in behind Pavlyuchenko and create the goals to see Russia into the Quarter Finals.
If Dzaoev plays to his potential expect a host of top European clubs to be in line for his signature.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos – Greece
One of many Papadopoulos’ in and around the Greek team. This one Kyriakos is a strong defender who is equally adept in playing as a holding midfielder. Kyriakos signed for Schalke last Summer from Olympiakos
Currently not yet a permanent fixture in the Greek squad but should he be called up he will be one to look out for.
Petr Cech – Czech Republic
An easy option I know, but in a group where games will be tight you need a goalkeeper you can rely on and Cech is a great keeper.
Not in the best of form this season for Chelsea but a lot of that lies to the poor defensive displays from André Villas-Boas’ men.
If Czech Republic are to progress from the group they will need their big players like Cech, Milan Baros and Tomas Rosicky to stand up and be counted.
Robert Lewandowski – Poland
The Borussia Dortmund forward, still only 23, is a goalscorer. I would put my mortgage on Lewandowski being Poland’s top scorer in the tournament.
Quick, strong and a cool finisher, the Polish forward has a cracking record in international football.
A goal every three games can’t be argued with.
Igor Akinfeev – Russia
Any Football Manager player will know the Russian ‘keeper. Whether you bought him, tried to lure him to your club or sworn at him when he has had a blinder against your side, Akinfeev had a FM reputation.
Akinfeev is a brilliant shot-stopper and commands his box well. In a group Russia should really win, they have a good backbone of the side in Akinfeev, Vasali Berezutskiy, Yuri Zhirkov and Andrei Arshavin and should they all perform they will no doubt be in the Quarter-Finals.
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