Rabu, 20 Jun 2012

Top Ten: Euro 2012 Absentees

Who are the best players to miss out on Euro 2012?

10. Edin Dzeko, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dzeko occasionally looks like a carthorse for Manchester City, but the striker carried his country's hopes of reaching Euro 2012 with four goals, second only to Adrian Mutu in Group D. However, despite Dzeko's efforts, Bosnia and Herzegovina finished a point behind France and were then thrashed 6-2 by Portugal in the play-offs. The bridge in class shouldn't prove a problem in the 2016 preliminaries though - with eight additional places available - and Dzeko, along with midfield prospect Miralem Pjanic, will lead Bosnia and Herzegovina's quest to reach their first European Championship in five attempts.

9. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Iceland

Sigurdsson certainly knows how to spank in a fine goal and whether he ends up at Liverpool or Swansea, it'll be great to see him in the Premier League again next season. The 23-year-old is Iceland's brightest prospect, but he has only featured in nine matches for the senior team, missing their solitary qualifying victory against Cyprus. It's unlikely that Iceland will reach Euro 2016 either, with the team currently ranked 131st in the world and former talismen Eidur Gudjohnsen and Heidar Helguson now in the twilight of their careers. Still, at least we can enjoy Sigurdsson displaying his talents in England's top flight.

8. Nuri Sahin, Turkey
Sahin spent most of last season on the sidelines after suffering several injuries following his move to Real Madrid from Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund. At 23, Euro 2012 arrived at the perfect time for Sahin to showcase his playmaking skills. However, perhaps rather surprisingly, Guus Hiddink's Turkey failed to qualify after Croatia taught them a lesson in the play-offs. Turkey are one of the strongest teams to miss out this summer and with players such as Mehmet Topal and Arda Turan in the team, they should make it to France in 2016. The sooner we see Sahin pitting his talents against other top players on the international stage, the better.

7. Gokhan Inler, Switerzland
Former Arsenal target Inler impressed in his first season for Napoli following his €12 million move from Udinese last summer. The 27-year-old helped the Neapolitan club pick up their first trophy in 22 years when they defeated Juventus in the Coppa Italia final and the team narrowly missed out on the Champions League spots in Serie A. However, along with international teammate Xherdan Shaqiri, the midfielder failed to inspire Switzerland to finish above Montenegro in England's Euro 2012 qualifying group. A 2-0 defeat to Wales in the penultimate fixture was the team's most disappointing result, but Inler will lead them again in the 2016 qualifiers, where Switzerland stand a strong chance of achieving their aim.

6. Stevan Jovetic, Montenegro
Despite Fiorentina finishing a lowly 13th in Serie A last season, Jovetic out-scored his Montenegro teammate Mirko Vucinic, who won the Scudetto with Juventus. Jovetic's impressive displays for Viola are rumoured to have attracted a £20million offer from Chelsea, with several suitors pursuing the 22-year-old striker. His club form has been replicated at international level, with nine strikes in 20 matches for Montenegro as they finished runners-up to England in only their second ever qualifying campaign. Montenegro's rise has been somewhat meteoric and they will be in contention for a place at France 2016.

5. Serbia's Defence, Serbia (Titter)

The current 16-team format of the Euros serves to punish complacency, and Serbia were the biggest underachievers in qualifying. Despite possessing a formidable back four in Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Vidic, Neven Subotic and Branislav Ivanovic, Serbia finished below Estonia in the preliminaries, losing 3-1 at home to their group rivals. Their defence would be an imposing test for anyone at Euro 2012 and it would have been fascinating to see them do battle against the likes of Germany's attack. However, players such as Man United reject Zoran Tosic and Juventus' Milos Krasic (who only made nine appearances last season) failed to fire Serbia past Estonia's might and they face a tricky test against Croatia and Belgium to reach World Cup 2014.

4. Marek Hamsik, Slovakia
Hamsik has clocked up 245 Serie A appearances since making his debut for Brescia seven years ago. As an essential cog in Napoli's quick counter-attacking style, the attacking midfielder scored 12 goals and provided 11 assists last season. However, despite captaining Slovakia to the second round of World Cup 2010, Hamsik failed to inspire the team past Ireland and Russia in Euro 2012 qualifying. The 24-year-old's flair would have been an entertaining addition to this summer's competition, but Slovakia should be there in 2016 when the format opens up to allow weaker teams to qualify.

3. Eden Hazard, Belgium

The most expensive player on this list at £32million, Hazard is tipped for a bright future with both Chelsea and Belgium. The winger sparked the biggest transfer battle of the summer when he decided to leave Lille, with the Blues joined by Manchesters City and United in the race for the 21-year-old's signature. Hazard's 20 goals and 15 assists in Ligue 1 last season fired Lille into third place and secured the club a hefty fee for their prodigious talent. Along with Chelsea, Belgium will be hoping to eke out Hazard's quality over the next four years as they seek to reach their first international tournament since 2002.

2. Gareth Bale, Wales

Apart from Belgium and Serbia, the other countries that failed to qualify for Poland and Ukraine have only one or two players deserving of a place on this list, with no-one better illustrating this trend than Bale. The 22-year-old is Wales' most exciting talent by some distance, and with Craig Bellamy likely to retire before 2016 qualifying, the pressure to carry the team will be on his shoulders. Wales are ranked 22nd in Europe, so have reasonable expectations to reach the next European Championship in France. But while watching Bale test himself against the likes of Sergio Ramos would no doubt be enthralling, his Championship-level teammates would surely struggle with the challenge.

1. Vincent Kompany, Belgium
After Kompany's performances for Man City this season, he would have been one of the best defenders in Poland and Ukraine had an exciting young Belgium team qualified. However, for all the current hype, Belgium only finished third in Germany's preliminary group, two points behind Turkey (who were convincingly beaten by Croatia in the play-offs) and just a single win ahead of Austria. Kompany should be able to make up for lost time in 2016 though, when his young teammates will have matured to mount a serious assault at qualification. 

source: http://www.football365.com/topical-top-10/7825070/Top-Ten

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