Rabu, 30 November 2011

Key statistics that have taken Juventus to the top of Serie A

Marchisio 5 Pirlo 3
5 Vucinic
Pepe 3 Pepe 2
Vucinic 2 Matri 2
Lichtsteiner 1 Chiellini 1
Vidal 1 Marchisio 1
Krasic 1 Del Piero 1
Bonucci 1 Lichtsteiner 1

Claudio Marchisio's ability to time his runs from midfield has come in particularly handy this term, with an increased amount of possession in forward positions allowing him to have a greater number of opportunities to make it count. Alessandro Matri heads the goals tally with him, having forced Mirko Vucinic out of the lone striker's position thanks to his ability to get into goalscoring positions with great regularity.

Andrea Pirlo has unsurprisingly been one of the main architects for Juve, with Vucinic also chipping in with the final pass for a trio of goals.

Matri | A regular threat to opposition defences

Matri 28 Matri 13
Vucinic 24 Marchisio 10
Marchisio 23 Vucinic 9
Vidal 23 Pepe 8
Pirlo 20 Pirlo 7
Pepe 15 Vidal 6
Chiellini 11 Krasic 3
Del Piero 8 Chiellini 2
Bonucci 5 Bonucci 2
Barzagli 5 Barzagli 2
Krasic 4 Lichtsteiner 2
Lichtsteiner 4 Giaccherini 1
Giaccherini 3 Estigarribia 1
Estigarribia 3    
Grosso 1    
Quagliarella 1    

Matri has got himself into more scoring positions and had more efforts on target than any other player, with Vucinic and Marchisio close behind. It is perhaps surprising that Arturo Vidal has fired at goal as many as 23 times given that three of his 10 appearances for the club have come as a second-half substitute. He appears much lower down the list of shots on target, in stark contrast to Simone Pepe, who has found the target with eight of his 15 efforts. Andrea Pirlo's 20 shots have delivered no tangible reward in the goals column.

Pirlo 740 Bonucci 88.3%
Chiellini 631 Lichtsteiner 87.6%
Lichtsteiner 547 De Ceglie 87.4%
Marchisio 541 Pazienza 86.8%
Barzagli 520 Barzagli 86.5%
Vidal 497 Chiellini 86.2%
Bonucci 367 Krasic 85.7%
Pepe 364 Pirlo 85.5%
Vucinic 281 Marchisio 85.4%
Matri 209 Pepe 83.8%
Buffon 146 Vidal 82.9%
Giaccherini 123 Buffon 81.5%
Grosso 108 Quagliarella 80.0%
Krasic 98 Grosso 78.7%
De Ceglie 95 Elia 78.6%
Del Piero 76 Estigarribia 77.8%
Estigarribia 45 Giaccherini 76.4%
Pazienza 38 Vucinic 74.4%
Storari 27 Storari 74.1%
Quagliarella 20 Matri 73.7%
Elia 14 Del Piero 68.4%

Pirlo's status as Juve's top passer will come as a shock to nobody. The ex-AC Milan midfielder has found a team-mate from 740 of 866 attempted passes this season. He is followed by full-backs Giorgio Chiellini and Stephan Lichtsteiner, who have contributed both in turning possession-first play into meaningful attacks down the flanks. The accuracy chart is headed largely by defenders, regularly asked to play it safe to unmarked players around them, though Milos Krasic has an excellent conversion rate for an attacking player.

Vidal | A picture of determination

Vidal 144 Chiellini 86 Chiellini 68.3%
Chiellini 126 Vidal 76 Barzagli 62.5%
Marchisio 121 Lichtsteiner 61 Bonucci 62.2%
Pirlo 110 Marchisio 61 Elia 60.0%
Vucinic 110 Barzagli 60 Quagliarella 60.0%
Lichtsteiner 103 Pirlo 54 Lichtsteiner 59.2%
Pepe 102 Pepe 42 Del Piero 55.9%
Barzagli 96 Vucinic 42 Grosso 55.6%
Matri 52 Bonucci 23 Estigarribia 53.8%
Bonucci 37 Matri 19 Krasic 53.1%
Del Piero 34 Del Piero 19 Vidal 52.8%
Krasic 32 Krasic 17 Marchisio 50.4%
Giaccherini 28 Giaccherini 12 Pazienza 50.0%
De Ceglie 26 De Ceglie 10 Pirlo 49.1%
Grosso 18 Grosso 10 Giaccherini 42.9%
Estigarribia 13 Estigarribia 7 Pepe 41.2%
Elia 10 Elia 6 De Ceglie 38.5%
Quagliarella 5 Quagliarella 3 Vucinic 38.2%
Pazienza 4 Pazienza 2 Matri 36.5%

Vidal has been incredibly busy in a defensive capacity for a player who has played the full 90 minutes in only four games this term. While his success rate is not high, he has been the most effective player in terms of tackles per minutes, coming up second on the overall tackles table and attempting more in total than any other Bianconeri player. Chiellini has turned in some excellent defensive performances, making more tackles than any of his team-mates, and he also boasts a better success rate than the rest of the squad.


Pirlo 6.95 11
Matri 6.83 10
Lichtsteiner 6.59 11
Vidal 6.55 10
Marchisio 6.50 11
Pepe 6.46 11
Buffon 6.28 9
Del Piero 6.25 8
Giaccherini 6.25 6
Barzagli 6.18 11
Vucinic 6.10 10
Bonucci 6.00 8
Estigarribia 6.00 5
Storari 6.00 2
Grosso 6.00 2
Chiellini 5.86 11
Krasic 5.83 6
Pazienza 5.75 5
Quagliarella 5.50 3
Elia 5.50 1
De Ceglie 5.00 3

Pirlo and Matri lead the way in the Goal.com Player Ratings by some stretch, with the midfielder chalking up 10 scores over the 6.0 rating for an average performance in 11 games so far. Matri has also recorded only one 6.0 mark, leading to his continued presence in the frontline for Antonio Conte. It may come as a surprise to some to see that Chiellini trails the standings of the regular starters, with his performances at left-back failing to convince our match analysts. The Italy defender has failed to score 6.5 since the clash with Bologna in September, since when he has played almost exclusively away from the centre of the back line.

source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/3276/serie-a/2011/11/29/2779484/pirlo-the-most-passes-chiellini-the-best-tackle-rate-the-key

Top 10 team-mate bust-ups

10. JOEY BARTON vs OUSMANE DABO (Manchester City)
Joey Barton has earned a reputation for being a loose cannon who embraces confrontation, and his rap sheet on and off the field reads like a 19th century Russian novella.

One of his most infamous punch-ups occurred when he was with Manchester City in 2007. Barton attacked Ousmane Dabo and left the Frenchman bloodied and battered during a training session. Dabo pressed charges and Barton received a suspended four-month sentence.

The Englishman never played for City again after the incident and was sold to Newcastle later that summer. Barton finally gave his side of the story years later labelling Dabo a "pussy" and stated that "where I come from there is no rule. You fight until it's over."
Pasquale Bruno was not someone to be messed with. The uber-aggressive Italian lived up to his nickname 'The Animal' after trying to attack a referee when playing for Torino in the early 90s.

Bruno had to be restrained by his team-mates who felt the wrath of the no-nonsense defender after he refused to leave the field of play without a fight.

Order was eventually restored but not before Bruno dished out some serious punishment to his own colleagues. When the dust cleared, Bruno was slapped with an eight-game ban for starting the melee.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is known not to play well with others. The Swede is just as likely to execute a crunching karate kick on a team-mate as he is to score a brilliant overhead kick.

The mercurial striker has been involved in his fair share of disagreements over the years but his dressing room altercation with Mido when the two played for Ajax probably takes the cake.

We'll let 'Ibra' take it from here as per his recently released autobiography: "He grabbed a pair of scissors and threw them at me. It was completely mad.
"The scissors swooshed past my head, straight into the locker room wall and hit with a crack and, of course, I stood up and punched him."
Fernando Ricksen was no stranger to disciplinary problems during his tumultuous three-year stint at Zenit St. Petersburg.

He fought captain Vladislav Radimov just a month after joining the Russian outfit and then renewed hostilities with him during a friendly against Malaga in January 2007.

The feisty Dutchman landed a flurry of punches on his captain, who refused to fight back as players from both teams tried to break up the fracas in the penalty area.

Both were sent off and Ricksen went after Radimov once again on the bench as Zenit coach Dick Advocaat was forced to step in and put an end to the fisticuffs.
Pablo Osvaldo made the news, not for scoring against Udinese last Friday, but instead for punching his team-mate Erik Lamela in the face after the Giallorossi's 2-0 setback at the Stadio Friuli.

The 25-year-old is no stranger to committing such pugilistic acts as he previously floored colleague Nicola Mingazzini in pre-season training when he played for Bologna in 2009.

Osvaldo has received the maximum fine allowable by the Lega Calcio and will not travel with the team to Florence for the encounter against the Viola at the weekend.
5. JENS LEHMANN vs MARCIO AMOROSO (Borussia Dortmund)
Jens Lehmann's antics between the posts made him a polarising figure during his 23-year career.

We all have our favourite 'Mad Jens' moment, like the time he urinated during a Champions League match, or his diving tomfoolery with Didier Drogba.

Lehmann's team-mates were not immune to his temper tantrums as Marcio Amoroso found out during a Bundesliga encounter in February 2003.

The former Germany international was unhappy about conceding a goal and felt the Brazilian was to blame, sprinting half the length of the field to voice his displeasure. He then threw the forward around like a rag doll and received his marching orders from the referee, all the while the goal was disallowed for offside.
John Hartson was caught on video dishing out some serious punishment to team-mate Eyal Berkovic on the training ground in 1998.

The Welshman took down Berkovic with a sliding tackle before trying to help his colleague up off the grass. The Israeli was not content with the apology and lashed out at Hartson, who took exception by kicking his team-mate square in the kisser.

Hartson explains his moment of madness: "Suddenly I have no control over my legs. I am absolutely blazing with fury.

"My left boot cracks out and cracks Eyal under the jaw. I kick him hard like I am trying to score a goal with his head.

"I wish I could turn the clock back and erase the memory. I will always deeply regret it."
Craig Levein and Graeme Hogg were seasoned veterans but the two centre-backs were guilty of a shocking lack of professionalism during a pre-season friendly against Raith Rovers in August 1994.

The two Hearts defenders squabbled over a marking assignment and soon the handbags began with Levein eventually landing a clean shot to the nose of Hogg, who collapsed to the turf.

Hogg had to be stretchered off the pitch and was slapped with a 10-game ban while Levein was stripped of the captain's armband and suspended for 12 matches.

David Batty and Graeme Le Saux squared up to each other just four minutes into Blackburn's Champions League contest against Spartak Moscow in 1995.

The two were apparently arguing over an errant pass and came to blows before they were separated by Rovers captain Tim Sherwood.

Blackburn went on to lose the match 3-0 and the incident led Spartak coach Oleg Romantsev to quip: "Before the match I told my players they will be playing against 11 guys ready to fight for each other for 90 minutes - not with each other."  
1. LEE BOWYER vs KIERON DYER (Newcastle)
The two Newcastle midfielders went at it in front of a shocked St James' Park in April 2005.
Down 3-0 to Aston Villa, Lee Bowyer was upset Kieron Dyer did not pass him the ball and launched an unprovoked attack on his team-mate.
Gareth Barry jumped in and broke up the fight before any more damage could be done.
The referee sent off both players in disgrace as a stunned audience both in the stands and watching on television looked on.

source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/3276/serie-a/2011/11/29/2779724/pablo-osvaldo-punching-erik-lamela-the-top-10-team-mate-bust

The greatest European Championship XI of all time

Formation: 3-4-1-2

Dino Zoff (Italy – 1968, 1980)

The legendary ex-Juventus goalkeeper is most famous for captaining Italy to World Cup glory at the age of 40, but his European Championship record was also outstanding. In seven games split between two tournaments, three of which went to extra time, Zoff conceded just two goals. He was inspired in the semi final toss-of-the-coin win over the Soviet Union, and the replayed final against Yugoslavia as Italy won the cup in 1968.

Matthias Sammer (Germany 1992, 1996)

The best player at the 1996 European Championship in England. Playing as sweeper, one of the very last before the role disappeared, Sammer led a declining and ageing Germany side to glory with a string of indomitable displays at the back. The ex-Dortmund hero regularly burst forward from defence to launch attacks, and scored two goals in the tournament including the winner in the quarter final against a dangerous Croatia side. Sammer was also an important member of the 1992 team that finished runners-up in Sweden.

Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany – 72, 76)

West Germany’s 1972 Euro winners are regarded by some as the best international European team of all time. The leader of Die Mannschaft, of course, was Germany’s greatest footballer in history – Franz Beckenbauer. The Bayern Munich icon completely shut out the Soviets in the final in a thumping 3-0 win. Four years later, in Beckenbauer’s last tournament, he earned a runners-up medal despite a classic semi-final comeback against Yugoslavia, and an almost-heroic recovery against Czechoslovakia in the final.

Paolo Maldini (Italy – 1988, 1996, 2000)

The greatest left back of all time was selected in three Euro All Star Teams. He burst onto the world stage as a 19-year-old during the Euro '88 groups when he silenced Spain’s best player Michel. The Azzurri were eliminated in the semis by the Soviet Union, but Maldini went desperately close to lifting the trophy 12 years later when France equalised in the fourth minute of injury time. At Euro 2000, Maldini featured as a left wing back and established an almost insurmountable backline with Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and goalkeeper Francesco Toldo.

Wilfried Van Moer (Belgium – 1980)

The most romantic story of Euro '80 centred around the 35-year-old midfield veteran. Back in the 1972 quarter final win over Italy in which he scored, Van Moer broke his leg. His career at the top seemed to be over and he eventually went into international exile. Having not played for Belgium in almost five years, Van Moer was recalled by legendary coach Guy Thys for a crucial qualifier against Portugal. He scored and went on to be the star of the finals, displaying the energy of a player 10 years his junior. Van Moer dragged Belgium to the final where they lost 2-1 to West Germany.

Gunter Netzer (West Germany – 1972)

No player has single-handedly humiliated England at Wembley like Netzer did during the Euro '72 quarter final where the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder ran the show and was unplayable as West Germany won 3-1 on the night and on aggregate. The playmaker continued his unstoppable form in the semi-final and final – and the Soviet Union couldn’t get close to him as they were thrashed 3-0 in the Brussels showpiece. Sadly, Netzer wouldn’t shine on the international stage again due to the presence of the great Wolfgang Overath whom he was incompatible with.

Zinedine Zidane (France – 1996, 2000, '04)

Zidane put up a tired showing in his first tournament in 1996, but was at the peak of his powers four years later when France followed up their World Cup success with European glory. In the groups, Zidane delighted with his trademark ‘Marseilles Turn’, in the knockouts the Juventus star scored a stunning free kick winner against Spain in the quarters and the Golden Goal penalty that eliminated Portugal in the semis. Four years later in a divided team he still was able to produce moments of genius – scoring three times – including a magnificent free kick against England.

Dragan Dzajic (Yugoslavia – 1968, 1976)

Regarded by some as Europe's greatest ever left winger, Dzajic was Euro '68's best player. He scored the semi winner versus England with a delightful lob before opening the scoring in the final against Italy. Yugoslavia were set to triumph until a late equaliser from Angelo Domenghini forced a replay that Italy won 2-0. In 1976, he was again up to mischief as he ran West Germany ragged in the semis, scoring to put Yugoslavia 2-0 up. Germany forced extra time with a late comeback and eventually won 4-2. Dzajic was a master dribbler with a vicious left foot.

Michel Platini (France – 1984)

No Euro player has matched the impact that Platini had at France '84. The Juventus fantasista scored an incredible nine goals, including two hat-tricks, and was to France what Diego Maradona was to Argentina at the World Cup two years later. Playing in front of the Fernandez-Tigana-Giresse triangle, Platini broke forward to create havoc. He scored the 119th minute winner in the classic 3-2 semi final victory over Portugal, and also broke the deadlock with a free kick in the 2-0 final success against Spain. Simply the best passer in the history of the game.

Gerd Muller (West Germany – 1972)

Undoubtedly the greatest penalty box striker ever, Muller’s statistics in all competitions are just incredible and this includes in the European Championship. At Euro '72, he scored both goals in the 2-1 semi win over Belgium, and hit another double in the 3-0 final victory against the Soviet Union. In qualifying, Muller scored six goals in six games as West Germany topped Group 8 while he also found the back of the net in the quarter final conquest of Wembley. An absolute goal machine whose record at international level reads: 62 games, 68 goals.

Marco van Basten (Netherlands – 1988, '92)

The symbol of Rinus Michels’ wonderful Euro '88 winners was van Basten, who finished top scorer with five goals. His clinical hat-trick eliminated England, before he scored the 88th minute turn-and-shot to knock out hosts/favourites West Germany. But it was the final itself for which van Basten will always be associated with as he thundered home an impossible volley – the greatest Euro goal ever – to finish off the Soviets in a 2-0 win. Four years later he enjoyed less success as the Dutch lost to shock winners Denmark in the semis, MVB missing a crucial spot-kick.

source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/3284/euro-2012/2011/11/29/2779102/the-greatest-european-championship-xi-of-all-time-featuring

Lima sebab kenapa Real Madrid mampu mendahului Barcelona musim ini


Although he usually wins a trophy in his debut campaign, Jose Mourinho has always asked to be judged on how his teams perform in his second season. Indeed, when the Portuguese was criticised at Inter after landing the Scudetto but failing in the Champions League and the Coppa Italia, his response was clear: "Judge me next year." And in 2009-10, he won it all, claiming the Serie A crown, the Coppa and the Champions League.

It remains to be seen whether that will happen at Madrid, but after last season's Copa del Rey triumph, Mourinho's men have the belief that they can beat Barcelona. And they also have the hunger. The Catalans have won absolutely everything over the last three seasons under Guardiola while Madrid have gone through a drought in terms of major trophies since Pep took over at Camp Nou. That has left Real desperate for success and Mourinho's Madrid look hungrier than their rivals in 2011-12.


While Barca coach Guardiola experiments with three-man defences, midfielders at the back, false nines and a striker on the left, Mourinho has every player - with the possible exception of Fabio Coentrao, whose best position remains unclear - operating in clear roles.

Madrid, meanwhile, have all but perfected their play on the counterattack, breaking dangerously from deep to score having won back possession well inside their own half. Around half of their goals this term have come within 20 seconds of regaining the ball, with the fastest - netted in the 6-2 home win over Rayo Vallecano - timed at just 9.40.

Mourinho's men work day in, day out to perfect these plays in training. And the Portuguese, often unmoved after his side score, will always applaud a goal executed on the break. Do that consistently and he knows that they will be all but impossible to defend against. Indeed, the club's record-breaking start to the season, with 46 goals from 13 games, shows that they're already achieving it.


He's still scoring for fun, but Cristiano Ronaldo has shown a more unselfish side to his game this season, having created six goals for his team-mates already in La Liga.

The Portuguese has bagged 16 goals in the Primera Division and continues to be decisive, even when not at his brilliant best, as shown in Madrid's last two matches - the 3-2 win over Valencia and the 4-1 victory at home to Atletico. At Mestalla he hit what proved to be the winner with a fine goal on the break from a tight angle, while he maintained his superb penalty record - he has scored 18 from 19 as a Madrid player - with two spot-kicks in the derby, in which he also set up the key second for Angel Di Maria.

Crucially, however, Madrid do not appear to depend on Ronaldo as much as last season, while Barca seem to rely increasingly on Messi these days. The Argentine has the same goals tally and number of assists in La Liga, and a better strike-rate in all competitions, but is struggling to score away from home in the Primera Division this term and that's where Guardiola's side have fallen down, with defeat at Getafe on Saturday following previous draws at Real Sociedad, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao.


Madrid may currently be missing centre-back Ricardo Carvalho through injury, but you would hardly have noticed as Sergio Ramos has stepped in with a series of confident displays in the heart of the Real back line, with Alvaro Arbeloa - and even Lassana Diarra - coming in at right-back.

But Barca have had to reshuffle even more. Captain Carles Puyol has been eased back into action after his knee operation in the summer. He has missed games, along with central defensive partner Gerard Pique, and in the absence of those two, Guardiola has often fielded a makeshift defence made up of midfielders such as Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets. And, while it has worked at home, Barca's back line has been exposed on the road, notably at Real Sociedad, Valencia and again at Getafe on Saturday.

Elsewehere, injuries to Andres Iniesta, Alexis Sanchez, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Ibrahim Afellay have blighted Barca, while Madrid have largely been able to count on Kaka, have welcomed back Nuri Sahin following a long spell out and have barely been troubled, even when players have been missing.


Madrid had problems in attack this time last year. Karim Benzema looked short of confidence and was publicly criticised by Mourinho. When Gonzalo Higuain got injured, the coach claimed that he would be forced to "hunt with a cat" in the league match away to Zaragoza. And the Argentine was later sidelined with a serious injury.

The Frenchman did come good in the end, scoring 26 goals overall in what turned out to be an impressive season, while Higuain returned at the end of 2010-11, too.

But both have begun this season in fantastic form. Benzema, who started in the 5-0 but rarely saw the ball, has 12 goals already, while Higuain has 13. And competition between the two has propelled them - and Madrid - to even greater heights this term.

source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/3277/la-liga/2011/11/30/2781035/what-a-difference-a-year-makes-five-reasons-why-barcelona

The A-Z of Euro 2012

A is for Anti-racism
The only race next summer anyone should be concerned with is that for the chance to lift the trophy in Kiev in July, but after some high-profile racism issues in the game recently, the question of discrimination has been raised. Good to know, then, that stewards at all matches have had extra training in identifying racist fans.

B is for Blatter

Let's face it, it's not even "his" tournament, but Fifa's bumbling president Sepp Blatter is going to say something stupid that overshadows the entire tournament isn't he? If he's not offending homosexuals he's making undermining remarks about women. What next? Belittling racism? Oh.

C is for Clock.

As in "race against the". From the announcement that Poland and Ukraine were to host the tournament, there have been worried looks at watches from Uefa delegates with stadiums behind schedule. But worry not, Uefa head Michel Platini said in September that the countries were "virtually ready for Euro 2012". Oh good, get the virtual head sets out everyone.

D is for Dip

Feeling hot and flustered watching your team playing a critical match in next summer's tournament? Need to cool off? No worries! If you're at the Stadion Miejski in Wroclaw you can go for a quick half-time dip in their built-in swimming pool. Hey! You! No heavy petting!

E is for Eh?
Get those Polish, Ukrainian and Russian phrasebooks handy people, because a lot of the host cities are not exactly English friendly. That's not the people - they will give anyone a smile - but lots of the signs are in native text, so you'd better start brushing up.

F is for la Furia Roja

AKA Spain. AKA World Champions. AKA European Champions. AKA those guys who beat everyone. Or do they? Vicente Del Bosque's side haven't won their last six friendlies - including a hugely embarrassing defeat to England - and don't quite go into this tournament with the sort of all-conquering fear they once commanded.

G is for Guinness
Prep the Guinness! The Irish fans will be out in Eastern Europe in force after the Republic of Ireland qualified for the European Championships for the first time since 1988 after seeing off Estonia in the play-offs. And they will surely take the chance to enjoy themselvs. And quite rightly!

H is for Hotels

Or lack of. Local hoteliers are worried they won't have enough rooms for the scores of football fans expected to flood to Poland and Ukraine for the games next summer. There is space for an estimated 800,000 people yet up to 1 million are expected to don their colours and head on over. Might well need to bring a sleeping bag chaps.

I is for Iron Curtain

Whatever you do don't use the c-word while in Eastern Europe; communism. Poland and the Ukraine are free of the grasp of the Soviet Union which fell just 20 years ago, and have been keen to embrace western democracy since. The games themselves are seen as a huge step forward towards that. Huzzah!

J is for Jagiellonia Bialystok

You don't know Jagiellonia Bialystok? Pah! Call yourself a football fan! (*reaches for the search engine*). The Polish top flight team have had the benefit of money from Euro 2012 to do up their stadium but don't have to let anyone play there next summer. Lucky beggers.

K is for Klitschko

WBC heavyweight champions Vitali Klitschko has been helping the local authorities pick 6,000 volunteers who will take on the tasks that will help the tournament run smoothly, like direct fans to stadiums and help keep Sepp Blatter's hand over his mouth. The boxer did, though, offer his own Blatterism when he mused that “girl [volunteers] have more chances to attract the attention". *facepalm*

L is for Lech Wałęsa

Not a name that will be familiar with many outside Poland, but a national hero who rose to fame after leading the Solodarity movement out of Gdansk on behalf of disgruntled shipyward workers - the Soviet bloc's first indendent union - and went on to be president of the country and an icon for worker power.

M is for Mario Balotelli
Will Super Mario be at the finals next summer? Form on the pitch suggests he will in the colours of Italy. Form off the pitch suggets he bloody well definitley should be there! Can you imagine the fireworks that will go off in some Kiev hotel if Italy win a game, let along the whole damn thing? If he isn't there the tournament will be a poorer place.

N is for Netherlands
Is this the year they finally realise the talent in their supremely gifted squad and win that elusive trophy - the sort that has evaded their grasp for a century despite producing some of the best players the game has ever known. Or will they just kick everyone in the face again? Who knows.

O is for 'oh my, what's that on your face?'
Is anyone else worried that Petr Cech may slowly be turning into Darth Vader? Since colliding with Reading's Stephen Hunt in 2006, the Czech Republic goalkeeper has worn first a head guard and now a face guard that slowly appears to be taking over his face. Next stop the Deathstar.

P is for Poznan

The Polish city made famous by the terrace craze of linking arms with the fan next to you and jumping up and down while facing away from the action. The Lech Poznan supporters impressed the Manchester City supporters with the act during last season's Europa League and now it has taken the Etihad by storm. Expect to see it at a Polish stadium near you soon!

Q is for Quit
Fabio Capello will be saying goodbye to England at the tournament, come what may. Ukrainian football legend - heck, Ukrainian legend AND football legend - Andriy Shevchenko will play for his country for the last time in the summer too. Others are bound to follow, some even against their will!

R is for Rooney

Or is it? The England man will be missing from the Three Lions group stage games thanks to a red card picked up in qualifying, and if Fabio Capello's side don't make it through to the knockout stage, Euro 2012 fans won't get to see the Manchester United striker's new fuller head of hair strut his stuff.

S is for Slavek and Slavko

Each year there are a pair of characters who annoy everyone, turn up to every game and no-one really knows what is the point of them. No, not Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, but the official mascots! The names of this year's efforts were voted for by 39,000 bored fans. A moment's silence for the names not chosen; Siemko & Strimko and Klemek & Ladko. Ok, that's enough.

T is for Trains

High speed trains that will take fans between host cities, to be exact. Because let's face it, the 1,835 km trip between Gdansk and Donetsk is not exactly an overnighter in the car. There are, of course, worries the preparation of the trains is behind schedule, although those have been waved away by organisers.

U is for Underwhelming expectations
All football fans want their coaches to be realistic of course, but French boss Laurent Blanc went one further when he told reporters last month that his side "won't win Euro 2012". Given what happened at the World Cup, does he really think his players need any more discouragement?

V is for Van Persie

Can the Arsenal star take his superb club form onto the international stage next summer. RVP has notched 35 goals in 36 games during 2011 but has struggled to make his mark for the Netherlands in big tournaments.

W is for Wilshere

If, as expected, Arsenal's young star has recovered from a troublesome ankle injury by the start of the tournament, he could well be a key figure in Capello's new look, young midfield. If not, the Three Lions fans might be lumbered with Frank Lampard or the man whose injuries are keeping accident lawyers in business - Steven Gerrard.

X is for Xavi

The Spanish midfield maestro and widely accepted as best player on the planet could be making his final swansong for the World Cup and European reigning champions. At 31 and in the twighlight of his career, the Barcelona star will be aiming to help his nation become the first ever to retain the European Championship trophy.

Y is for Yann M'Vila

Despite having a name that brings back horrible memories of pop dolts Hanson's 1999 hit (and I use that term loosely) 'Mmbop', the France midfielder has a serious chance to make a name for himself after impressing in qualifying and for club side Rennes. He could even be plying his club trade for Arsenal by the start of the tournament.

Z is for Zlatan

Possibly the only footballer who can hold a crazy candle to Mario Balotelli. Actually that's not a good idea, Mario will only set fire to something. But if Sweden do well expect Ibrahimovic to repeat his 2005 Scudetto win celebrations at Juve - "I slept in the bath tub. Now I hold my vodka much better”. There'll be enough vodka swilling around in Poland and Ukraine, so let's just hope the bath tubs are up to scratch.

source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/3284/euro-2012/2011/11/30/2777911/from-super-mario-balotelli-to-vitali-klitschko-the-a-z-of

Players who need to move clubs in January to save their Euro 2012 dream


Appearances 5
Goals 0
Goal average 0%
Appearances 31
Goals 0
Goal average 0%
Potential moves Valencia, Malaga Villarreal
Per cent chance of leaving 20%
Raul Albiol signed for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema. But the former Valencia centre-back never completely convinced in his first season at the Santiago Bernabeu under Manuel Pellegrini and the Chilean's replacement, Jose Mourinho, wasted no time in bringing in Ricardo Carvalho to partner Pepe.

Those two played the bulk of the games last term, with Albiol filling in at times when Pepe was utilised as a midfield enforcer. But in the final of the Copa del Rey, Sergio Ramos moved inside to play as centre-back, with Alvaro Arbeloa coming in at right-back and with Carvalho out this season, Mourinho has continued to use Ramos in the middle, restricting Albiol to just five appearances so far.

The Valencia-born defender doesn't appear to be in the Portuguese' plans in the long term, but with Carvalho still out and Madrid launching an assault on both the Primera Division and the Champions League this season, Albiol is un unlikely to be allowed to depart in January.

At international level, the 26-year-old - a World Cup winner despite failing to feature in South Africa - looks safe at the moment, despite an error-strewn display in Spain's 3-2 win over Chile in early September.

Question marks over Carles Puyol's fitness and the lack of top-class competition at the back means he is likely to travel to Poland and Ukraine whatever happens this term, but he will hope to feature more in the second part of the season to safeguard a place in Vicente del Bosque's squad.


Appearances 14
Goals 1
Goal average 7%
Appearances 7
Goals 1
Goal average 14%
Potential moves Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham
Chance of leaving 90%
Cahill would be entitled to believe he is currently one of England's first-choice central defenders after starting the final three Euro 2012 qualifying matches. But the Bolton star will know that is faces pressure for his place from all angles, with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott and Phil Jones fighting to partner captain John Terry at the heart of the Three Lions' defence.

While Cahill has performed impressively for England, his club form has been well below the standard he set last term. Some poor individual errors, especially positional mistakes, have contributed to Bolton sitting 18th in the Premier League with 31 goals conceded from 13 games.

Cahill has expressed his desire to play in the Champions League and Fabio Capello has spoken of his preference for his England players to feature in Europe's elite competition.

The 25-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and Bolton are almost certain to sell in January for between £6-8 million rather than let a valuable asset leave for nothing in the summer. Cahill was the subject of summer bids from Arsenal and Tottenham but Bolton would not lower their £15m valuation despite the club's £93m debts.

The word within the game is that Chelsea are desperate to sign a centre-back in the New Year and have emerged as favourites to sign Cahill as they look to plug a leaky defence. Arsenal are believed to have ended their interest in the former Aston Villa man while Tottenham will only make a move if they suffer an injury crisis.

The only obstacle to Cahill's departure could be Bolton's league position. If Owen Coyle's side find themselves in a potential relegation battle, the club could decide to let Cahill run down his contract, with survival itself estimated to be worth £35m.


Appearances 15
Goals 7
Goal average 46%
Appearances 46
Goals 15
Goal average 32%
Potential moves Newcastle, Sunderland, QPR, Everton
Chance of leaving 20%
The Tottenham striker has not started for England since September 2010 when he suffered an ankle injury days after scoring a hat-trick for the Three Lions against Bulgaria.

Ever since, Fabio Capello has continually overlooked Defoe in favour of strikers with far less talent and even Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has admitted the 29-year-old will find it “difficult” to make the Euro 2012 squad.

That is because Defoe has had for a role mainly as a substitute role at White Hart Lane, where he is regarded as the club's third striker behind Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael Van der Vaart.

Defoe has started just one of Tottenham's last six league matches and has spoken of his desire for regular first-team opportunities. Redknapp has insisted the diminutive frontman has been "unlucky" and insists he will not be sold.

The former West Ham man has looked sharp this season when he has featured, scoring seven goals in all competitions, and Spurs fans will remember well that he left the club for Portsmouth in January 2008 in search of first-team football. Defoe will not be short of offers but he is unlikely to want to leave London, where is in in the process of having a new house built, having point-blank rejected the prospect of a move to Newcastle over the summer.

While Defoe may be frustrated and worried about his Euro 2012 prospects, it will take a substantial offer for Spurs to consider selling the player. Emmanuel Adebayor is only on loan, Rafael Van der Vaart has an inconsistent injury history while the club plan to offload Roman Pavlyuchenko in January.


Appearances 2
Goals 0
Goal average 0%
Appearances 27
Goals 0
Goal average 0%
Potential moves No interested clubs thus far
Chance of leaving 30%
Eduardo joined Benfica on loan in the summer after a just one season at Genoa. Despite being a regular choice at the Serie A side, his frequent mistakes led to the club signing Sebastian Frey in the summer because, as president Enrico Preziosi described, about “four to five bloopers” could be expected from the Portuguese per season.

The 29-year-old then opted for a move to the Estadio da Luz outfit, who were already interested in him prior to the move to Genoa, hoping to fill the shoes of outbound Roberto. However, around the same the time as Eduardo joined the club, Benfica signed Artur Moraes from Sporting Braga. Reports quickly emerged that the two had developed a fractious relationship as they both targeted the No.1 position.

The truth is that Eduardo has found himself coach Jorge Jesus’ second choice, as Artur has earned rave reviews for his performances between the sticks. As a result, he has only made two official appearances to date, both in the Portuguese Cup, and has lost his place in the Portugal national team to Sporting CP’s Rui Patricio.

Eduardo’s playing opportunities at Benfica will remain limited, and he will have to consider a January move to find regular action if he wants to have a chance of earning a starting place in Paulo Bento’s Seleccao at the Euro 2012 finals.


Appearances 11
Goals 0
Goal average 0%
Appearances 16
Goals 4
Goal average 25%
Potential moves Montpellier, Fulham, Fenerbahce, Koln, Wolfsburg
Chance of leaving 95%
Andre-Pierre Gignac's dream move to Marseille, the side he supported as a boy, has been almost wholly a nightmare for the Martigues-born striker.

After a barren first campaign hindered by injury problems and a loss of form, his second season at Stade Velodrome following a big-money move from Toulouse has turned even more sour. Unable to break into the starting XI past youngster Jordan Ayew and top scorer Loic Remy, his patience was finally broken before last week's Champions League meeting with Olympiakos.

On discovering he was not to be involved in the side, he reacted angrily towards head coach Didier Deschamps, with reports stating that he kicked a water bottle against the dressing room wall before insulting the World Cup winner.

A move in the winter is now inevitable, though because of the huge fee that OM paid le Tefece for his services - €18m (£15.5m) according to reports - a permanent transfer at this time of year seems unlikely, with a six-month loan probable.

There was much interest from the Premier League in the summer, with Fulham and Newcastle amongst those interested, and if he is to break into the France squad for Euro 2012 a move to a team where he is likely to play a key role is vital.

When Raymond Domenech was in charge of les Bleus, Gignac was a favourite, but Laurent Blanc has yet to select him for France, and the burly front player has much to do to prove himself to the former Bordeaux boss.


Appearances 7
Goals 1
Goal average 0%
Appearances 73
Goals 7
Goal average 9%
Potential moves Anzhi Makhachkala
Chance of leaving 10%
France's attack is laced with quality on paper, but all too often in recent years the sum of its parts has fallen short of what it should have been. Though Florent Malouda has enjoyed his moments in the national team's jersey, he has been an under-performing player in recent internationals.

Such has been his fall from grace, the former Lyon player is not guaranteed a place in Blanc's 23-man squad to travel to Ukraine and Poland, particularly as his place in Chelsea's starting XI is no longer assured.

The arrival of Juan Mata combined with the ascendancy of Daniel Sturridge at Stamford Bridge means that he is no longer an automatic selection in Andre Villas-Boas' mind, and if he is to play a peripheral role in the remainder of the Blues' campaign he may also fall out of Blanc's thinking too.

France have other options in a left wing berth. Franck Ribery is liable to take the role on the left should Jeremy Menez remain in form until the summer, and behind him there's a host of players able to operate in this role, such as Dimitri Payet, Mathieu Valbuena or perhaps even Paris Saint-Germain's Nene, who has hinted that he could trade national allegiance to France having been overlooked by Brazil and Spain.

Malouda featured only briefly in the November internationals, and though France did not perform especially well, the 73-time capped player was not a noticeable absentee.

There has been little concrete interest in Malouda in recent weeks, though he did reject Juventus in the summer because of wage reasons. However, Anzhi Makhachkala are rumoured to be interested in the Frenchman, and finances are unlikely to be a problem for the Russians. Not playing at a high-profile side may just equally hurt Malouda's chances of playing in the summer, though.


Appearances 11
Goals 0
Goal average 0%
Appearances 16
Goals 1
Goal average 6%
Potential moves No interested clubs thus far
Chance of leaving 30%
Once considered the crown jewel of German youth football, Marko Marin has stagnated over the last 12 months, stepping out of the limelight along with his oft-struggling club, Werder Bremen.

He made the DFB's 23-man squad for the 2010 World Cup and was considered something of a 'secret weapon' by coach Joachim Low, who valued his dribbling ability as unique amid a talent pool that emphasises quick passing rather than one-on-one offence.

Since then, however, the 22-year-old has been dropped from the Germany squad, and now is not even assured a starting role at Bremen. He has yet to score this season had been benched for three consecutive matches before returning to action in his club's win over Stuttgart on Sunday.

A natural winger with superb balance and skill in beating defenders individually, Marin is quite clearly struggling to adapt to a central playmaking role in Thomas Schaaf's squad, the same task that had been entrusted to his club predecessors, Diego and Mesut Ozil.

Although he has not yet voiced discontent with his situation, a move may be required for Marin to achieve his best form once more, and make a bid to find his way back into Low's favour. All that is now missing is an interested club, which could be difficult to find given his dearth of form.


Appearances 3
Goals 0
Goal average 0%
Appearances 25
Goals 6
Goal average 24%
Potential moves AC Milan
Chance of leaving 60%
Quagliarella and Milos Krasic have been the main losers in Antonio Conte's revolution at Juventus Stadium, with the two given very little playing time under the former club captain. The striker has been told by his coach that he needs to show in training that he has the appetite to improve as a player in order to win more playing time, but he has be given little more than the occasional substitute's appearance so far this season.

There was talk over the summer that Quagliarella and Conte had had a falling out, and while that remains unproven, what is certain is that the lack of minutes on the pitch for the ex-Napoli man is causing serious harm to his hopes of being included in Cesare Prandelli's squad next summer, with Mario Balotelli, Sebastian Giovinco, Alessandro Matri and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo all preferred by the Azzurri coach.

Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano would likely travel if proven fit in time, while Antonio Di Natale has been told he will be selected if he's still scoring goals in March.

There have been rumours of interest in a loan move for Quagliarella from Milan, but Juve could veto such a deal in order not to strengthen a title rival, meaning a January move - should one come about at all - will likely not be to a high-profile club, perhaps reducing his hopes of making a big impact in the second half of the campaign.

source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/3284/euro-2012/2011/11/30/2774312/albiol-defoe-quagliarella-more-the-players-who-need-to-move